EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XVII – Preview Program – S1
Pro Tour racers looking to conquer in Vegas to secure a $10,000 pay day
eKartingNews.com, the official online media partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the SKUSA SuperNationals XVII Preview Program. Over the coming days leading up to the November 20-24 event, EKN will preview each of the 11 categories that will close out the 2013 SKUSA Pro Tour while competing for a share of the prize package, worth well over $100,000.
For complete coverage of the SKUSA SuperNationals XVII, visit the EKN Event Page
S1 Pro Stock Moto
Getting to the top of your respective field is not easy. But that is what makes it so rewarding when you do. For Stock Moto drivers, the ‘top’ as it were, is the S1 Pro Stock Moto class within the Superkarts! USA ranks. Since the rebirth of the SKUSA Pro Tour, the S1 division has slowly grown through the development of the SKUSA ladder system. Young pilot begin at the S5 Junior stage and move on to S2 Semi-Pro as they become a Senior driver. From there, its graduation time and into the top level of Stock Moto racing to decide just who is the ‘best of the best’.
Lithuanian Simas Juodvirsis was nearly untouchable at last year’s SuperNationals. The Energy Corse driver stood on the top of the order every single official session except for a sixth place finish in the second heat race. Of the 24 talented pro drivers that filled the S1 grid last year, the only other driver to stand atop the leaderboard throughout the weekend was Fritz Leesmann. The PSL/CRG driver took the checkers in the second heat race, and ultimately drove to a runner-up finish on SuperSunday which would earn him the 2012 S1 Pro Tour championship. Alessandro Manetti drove his Praga kart to a solid third place finish. Joey Wimsett rebounded very well after a disappointing final heat race that saw him finish 14th. Wimsett locked in come SuperSunday and drove to an impressive fourth place finish, ahead of Jason Toft who would round out the S1 top five.
Leesmann heads to Vegas with a healthy point lead over the rest of the S1 field as he looks to claim back-to-back Pro Tour championships. Leesmann has pieced together quite the impressive Pro Tour season so far, as he has stood on the podium through every single round of 2013 with two wins. Behind Leesmann is New Zealand ace Daniel Bray. The Kiwi has done big things in the way of ushering his Aluminos team’s brand new chassis to a national audience. Bray gave the new Aluminos chassis about as good of a debut as you could ask as he claimed victory at round three of the Pro Tour in Grand Junction, Colorado at the SummerNationals. After capturing the first win of 2013 followed up by a second place finish at the SpringNationals in Tucson, CRG-USA’s Joey Wimsett sits third in the points picture heading into Las Vegas. 2013 welcomed quite a few new drivers to the S1 category, the strongest of the class rookies through four rounds of racing has been S2 SuperNationals 2012 winner Billy Musgrave. After narrowly missing out on the podium in Tucson, Musgrave stood second on the podium at round four in Colorado.
Podium Predictions: Perhaps the hottest question going into SuperNationals XVII in regards to the S1 class is, will Leesmann be able to claim his first SuperNats victory? The Californian has never taken the checkers for a victory lap around the Rio parking lot. Looking stronger than ever before, Leesmann is certain to be a threat for the top spot come SuperSunday. Bray is a sure bet to stand on the podium when it is all said and done in S1. Bray returns to Vegas with redemption on his mind seeing his race end early last year after ending up in the barriers. Wimsett – along with Leesmann – will attend the SuperNats mere days after representing Team USA at the Rotax Grand Finals. Wimsett, coming off a runner-up finish in the DD2 category – the best by an American in the class – is another driver that comes in with the highest of confidence counting on being in contention for the podium.
Musgrave made his SuperNats debut a year ago, and he did it in style by winning the S2 main event. The California racer will be near the front all week in Vegas. Dutch driver Milan Dontje finished second in S2 two years ago and will be a potential threat once karts hit the track, looking to continue a two year streak of international drivers at the top of the podium in S1. This year, SKUSA added support to those competitors who compete all season on the Pro Tour. Any racer who wins in Las Vegas after competing the full 2013 Pro Tour, will receive the $3,000 check for the victory and a $7,000 bonus for a whopping $10,000 to win. Leesmann, Bray, Wimsett, Musgrave and the other drivers who raced at the SpringNationals and SummerNationals will have that in the back of their mind as they reach SuperSunday.
Wildcards: After claiming victory in the S2 category in 2011, Nick Neri will return to the SuperNats and make his S1 debut. Neri has showed speed everywhere he has gone over the last few years and is absolutely a driver that fans – and the competition – would be wise to keep their eye on. S1 rookie Sabré Cook was in contention for race win at the SpringNats last year, however, a spleen illness set her back this summer. The first femail to win a Pro Tour championship is looking to rebound under the bright lights of Vegas and challenge Musgrave for Rookie of the Year contention. Gracing the S1 field with their presence and skills will be karting veterans Ron White, Tom Dyer, Brett Buckwalter and Jason Toft. At last year’s SuperNats, Toft, Buckwalter and Dyer finished nose to tail as they finished fifth, sixth, and seventh respectfully. White is set to make his S1 debut as the 2002 SuperNats victor is among the most talented in the last 15 years.
Karting Cameo: Spread out across several classes at the SuperNats, professional motorsports drivers often take time from their busy schedule to come take part in the fun of the biggest kart race of the year. Drivers from the Mazda Road to Indy program are set to return to their roots in Las Vegas, and contend for the victory. USF2000 champion Scott Hargrove will return to the SuperNats this year after recording a strong fourth place finish in the S2 category a year ago. After claiming the USF2000 championship in early October, Hargrove was selected to represent Team Canada in the 2013 British Formula Ford Festival. Indy Lights and Sports Car driver Matthew Di Leo will contest the S1 class in Vegas as well. The 19 year old Canadian has spent time in the USF2000 as well as competing in the 24 Hours of Dubai and is after redemption following a nasty wreck at the SuperNats in 2011.
1,Fritz Leesmann,PSL CRG / Diede Racing,CRG,CA,USA
10y,Jason Toft,Muscle Milk / Pickett Karting,GP,CA,USA
13m,Juan Carlos Blum,GP Texas USA,GP,Jalisco,MEX
17f,Nick Neri,Ocala Gran Prix,Tony Kart,FL,USA
19y,Brett Buckwalter,Cameron Karting,Aluminos,CA,USA
38r,Scott Hargrove,Italian Motors USA / Italkart USA,Italkart,BC,CAN
44j,Josh Lane,DRT Racing,DR,IL,USA
51y,Daniel Langon,Muscle Milk / Pickett Karting,Aluminos,CA,USA
56,Matthew Di Leo,Praga North America,Praga,ON,CAN
71y,Ron White,Ron White Racing,CRG,CA,USA
88c,Matias Podboj,Kimball Williams Racing,FA Kart,CA,ARG
141b,Lloyd Mack Jr.,AMV Italy / Musgrave Racing Company (MRC),AMV,CA,USA
155y,Cody Hodgson,Double Nickel Enterprises,Tony Kart,CA,USA
322c,Billy Musgrave,Musgrave Racing Company (MRC),Tony Kart,CA,USA
324d,Christian Bird,CB Motorsports,GP,CO,FIN