EKN Trackside: 2015 Superkarts! USA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour – SummerNationals Preview – Part 1

Organization returns to the East Coast for first-ever series event at New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana

The popular 2015 Superkarts! USA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour resumes this weekend, as the program heads to the New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana for the first time. A successful SpringNationals in Arizona back in May launched the sixth season of the organization’s championship series, which is helping to take the sport to the next level here in the United States. Adding a new mainstream title sponsor Fikse Wheels, television coverage thanks to the partnership with CBS Sports Network and Torque.TV, and another stellar prize package for the year that reaches over $150,000, the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour is unmatched. The SummerNationals moves east of the Mississippi for the first time since the inaugural SummerNationals in Shawano, Wisconsin, and has racers in the four Stock Moto and four TaG divisions on the docket, with roughly 230 pre-entries signed up for the weekend.

New Castle Motorsports Park will host the SKUSA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour for the first time. Indiana was the organization’s home for many years, before it moved out to California under the direction of the Kutscher family. Regional SKUSA racing took part at the New Castle, Indiana facility in previous years after the track’s construction in 2004. The 1-mile course was designed and built by IndyCar driver Mark Dismore, a legendary name in the sport of karting. The Dismore family continues to improve the amenities surrounding the course, making it one of the popular destinations for the sport of karting here in North America.

eKartingNews.com, the official media partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the sixth straight year of Trackside Live coverage of the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour. Those unable to attend can enjoy live audio and live timing at the EKN Live page – ekartingnews.com/live. Daily race reports can be seen each day, along with updates and results posted to the Official Discussion Thread, in addition to the EKN social media feeds – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Today, EKN begins the preview series by looking at the younger categories – TaG Junior, S5 Junior Stock Moto and TaG Cadet. Wednesday’s preview will cover the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, TaG Master and S4 Master Stock Moto, and the headline categories TaG Senior and S1 Pro Stock Moto are set for Thursday.


TaG Junior

David Malukas moves over to the CompKart to continue his TaG Junior title defense (Photo: D. Malukas)

David Malukas moves over to the CompKart to continue his TaG Junior title defense (Photo: D. Malukas)

The intensity and pressure will be amped up this weekend in New Castle in the TaG Junior division, with the championship hopes on the line and the field increasing to almost 30 drivers. Defending champion David Malukas has the target on his back still, coming out of Phoenix in the top spot of the standings to begin the 2015 title defence. Malukas won the opening round feature and finished third on Sunday to give himself a solid start to the year. His Phoenix weekend was aboard the familiar Top Kart, but the driver is now making the switch over to the growing CompKart brand with J3 Competition.

The leading challengers are familiar names, and long-time competitors to Malukas…Anthony Gangi Jr. and Brandon Lemke. Gangi (Tony Kart) has had success at New Castle, earning his first national championship victory at the facility back in 2010. Lemke has multiple wins at the circuit, and the Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver is coming off a near sweep of Round Two back in Phoenix. Contact between Gangi and Lemke during the second heat race on Saturday has put them further back of Malukas in the standings then what they could be. Gangi is only 105 points out of first thanks to a rebounding fourth place effort on Sunday, while Lemke suffered a DNF which will likely become his drop round heading into the SuperNationals in November.

The two podium finishers alongside Malukas on Saturday included Nicky Hays and Zoey Edenholm. Both Hays (Ricciardo Kart) and Edenholm (Kosmic) are traveling to New Castle for the first time, and they’ll need to bounce back from their tough finishes in Round Two in Phoenix to remain in the championship chase. The race is home track for a number of drivers with plenty of experience at the New Castle circuit. Zach Holden (Top Kart) drove his first ever laps in a kart at New Castle, and needs a solid weekend to put himself in the title chase. His teammate John Paul Southern Jr. (Top Kart) is another with success and plenty of laps logged at the facility, and he currently sits seventh in the point standings.

Drivers making their 2015 SKUSA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour debuts include some possible contenders in Gio Bromante (Merlin), Dario Cangialosi (Deadly) and Canadian Roman DeAngelis (Tony Kart).

Provisional TaG Junior Entry List
[table]
No.,Driver,Team,Chassis,Engine Builder,State
77n,Gio Bromante,Franklin Motorsports,Merlin,Woltjer Racing Engines,NY
28b,Trey Brown,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Tony Kart,High-Rev Engineering,CA
212n,Dario Cangialosi,Mike Doty Racing,Deadly,Woltjer Racing Engines,NJ
47r,Roman DeAngelis,Team Koene USA,Tony Kart,P1 Racing Engines,ON
15y,Colby DuBato,PKS Kart Supplies,Tony Kart,P1 Racing Engines,CA
221x,Zoey Edenholm,Relentless Motorsports,Kosmic,Snow Racing Engines,AZ
29o,Paige Evans,Honeywell Competition,BirelART,Woltjer Racing Engines,OK
76d,Everest Fedler,Unser Racing,Tony Kart,Tru Tech Racing Engines,CO
03d,Max Fedler,Unser Racing,Tony Kart,Tru Tech Racing Engines,CO
00n,Savannah Fitzgerald,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,Comet Racing Engines,PA
551y,Anthony Freese,Leading Edge Motorsports / 51 Motorsports,Intrepid,Leading Edge Motorsports,CA
07n,Anthony Gangi Jr.,Motorsports Driver Development (MDD),Tony Kart,Woltjer Racing Engines,NY
51c,Nicky Hays,Phil Giebler Racing (PGR),Ricciardo Kart,Tru Tech Racing Engines,CA
22t,Max Hewitt,J3 Competition,CompKart,P1 Racing Engines,TX
222j,Zach Holden,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,Comet Racing Engines,IN
18t,Alejandro Jaramillo,Team Koene USA,Tony Kart,P1 Racing Engines,TX
98x,Jagger Jones,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Tony Kart,High-Rev Engineering,AZ
11j,David Kalb,,Tony Kart,Comet Racing Engines,OH
01j,Brandon Lemke,Franklin Motorsports,Merlin,Woltjer Racing Engines,WI
12a,Charles Leong,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Kosmic,P1 Racing Engines,MAC
1,David Malukas,J3 Competition,CompKart,Comet Racing Engines,IL
40j,Jack Miller,Jack William Motorsports,Tony Kart,Comet Racing Engines,IN
211z,Edward Portz,BBR Racing,OTK,P1 Racing Engines,OR
64a,Lester So,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Kosmic,P1 Racing Engines,HKG
20j,JP Southern Jr.,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,Woltjer Racing Engines,OH
214n,Dylan Tavella,PSL Karting,BirelART,Woltjer Racing Engines,NY
34n,Rory van der Steur,,Kosmic,,MD
44x,Dante Yu,Nash Motorsportz,Tony Kart,P1 Racing Engines,CA
82a,Dick Yu,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Kosmic,P1 Racing Engines,HKG
[/table]


S5 Junior Stock Moto

Callum Smith was a blur to the rest of the S5 field at the SpringNationals (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

Callum Smith was a blur to the rest of the S5 field at the SpringNationals (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

Callum Smith hopes to keep his streak intact heading to New Castle. Smith (Praga) drove to a sweep during both days of the SpringNationals, earning a perfect score on the weekend to solidify himself as the championship contender. On the season, including the California ProKart Challenge schedule, Smith has gone six-for-six in main event finishes. Leading the challenge is Evan White (Kosmic). The Canadian from Alberta made his class debut at the SuperNationals in 2014, and finished his first-ever SpringNationals with a fourth and runner-up to end up second overall in the standings. Hunter Kelly (Praga) was the fifth different driver to land on the podium at the SpringNationals, placing third during the Sunday main event to put himself in the championship chase.

Two drivers needing to have solid weekends in New Castle to get into the championship fight include Anthony Freese and David Malukas. Freese (Praga) had the pace to battle for the podium but came up short in both main events. Malukas, the 2014 SKUSA Pro Tour TaG Junior champion, made his first-ever laps and start aboard a Stock Moto machine in Phoenix. Start line launch issues plagued his weekend, despite the fact that he had the pace to contend for the win. The Illinois driver will make his SKUSA debut aboard the CompKart, switching over from Top Kart just this month.

Provisional S5 Entry List
[table]
No.,Driver,Team,Chassis,Engine Builder,State
77x,Josh Early,Musgrave Racing Company (MRC),Top Kart,Musgrave Racing Company (MRC),CA
551y,Anthony Freese,Leading Edge Motorsports / 51 Motorsports,Praga,SwedeTech,CA
27t,Blair Hosie,JB Motorsports,Intrepid,SwedeTech,TX
103y,Hunter Kelly,Leading Edge Motorsports,Praga,SwedeTech,CA
79j,David Malukas,J3 Competition,CompKart,SwedeTech,IL
442y,Callum Smith,Praga North America,Praga,SwedeTech,CA
19n,Rory van der Steur,,Fullerton,,MD
238r,Evan White,Overdrive Motorsports,Kosmic,Ruthless Karting,AB
[/table]


TaG Cadet

Jak Crawford leads a hungry TaG Cadet championship chase with a number of contenders in sight (Photo: EKN)

Jak Crawford leads a hungry TaG Cadet championship chase with a number of contenders in sight (Photo: EKN)

At the SpringNationals, the TaG Cadet division reached the cap of 44 drivers to compete in Phoenix. For the SummerNationals, SKUSA opened up the entry to welcome more than 44 competitors, and is introducing a three-group flight system for the heat races, along with an LCQ to decide the final 44 drivers that will compete in the main event each day. Leaving Phoenix, Jak Crawford earned the top spot in the championship standings. Crawford (Energy) nearly earned a perfect score for Round One, missing out on the fast lap honors after sweeping the on-track sessions. An issue in the opening heat race on Sunday sent him to the tail of the field, as he drove his way back up to sixth, missing out on a top-five finish. The consolation prize for Crawford is leading the championship going into New Castle.

The other driver to score a victory at the SpringNationals was Jason Welage (Top Kart), who finds himself seventh in the standings after a disappointing 15th result in the Round One feature. In total, nine different drivers finished inside the top-five in the two main events at Phoenix. Just eight points out of first is Ryan Schartau. The Ryan Perry Motorsport / Tony Kart driver finished seventh on Saturday after running outside the top-10, but bounced back to contend throughout Sunday, eventually finishing as the runner-up in the Final. Florida driver Lachlan DeFrancesco nearly matched those results, placing sixth on Saturday with fast lap honors. The Benik driver came back to qualify first on Sunday, ending the day third on the podium. Anthony Willis (Benik) was the more consistent driver on the weekend, competing at this home circuit. Willis finished fourth in both main events, putting himself just 42 points out of the championship lead.

Oliver Calvo (Tony Kart) finished fifth on Saturday and remained in the top-10 on Sunday, putting himself fifth in the championship standings. Diego LaRoque (Benik) landed on the podium for Round One, but slipped to 15th on Sunday to put him sixth in the title hunt thus far. Wesley Mason (Benik) was the other podium finisher at the SpringNationals, earning the runner-up spot on Saturday, and he is coming to New Castle sitting eighth in points, with Sam Mayer (Merlin) as the ninth different driver finishing in the top-five in the two main events at Phoenix.

Of the top-nine in the standings, Welage and Mayer have the most experience at the New Castle facility and they will hope that the home track advantage can move them up further in the championship standings. With the long straights at New Castle, the familiar draft-pack style of racing will be seen throughout the weekend, with a forecast of the victory to be decided in the final corner, heading to the checkered flag.

Provisional TaG Cadet Entry List
[table]
No.,Driver,Team,Chassis,Engine Builder,State
04j,Garrett Adams,Comet Kart Sales,FA Kart,Comet Racing Engines,IN
07j,Logan Adams,Comet Kart Sales,FA Kart,Comet Racing Engines,IN
7m,Ian Aguilera,GP VCI Texas,GP,,MEX
81g,Caleb Bacon,CB Motorsports,FA Kart,Comet Racing Engines,TN
5d,Joe Brienza,Unser Racing,Tony Kart,Tru Tech Racing Engines,CO
136x,Logan Calderwood,Ruthless Karting,Kosmic,Ruthless Karting,AZ
63x,Tuesday Calderwood,Ruthless Karting,Kosmic,Ruthless Karting,AZ
12y,Oliver Calvo,PKS Kart Supplies,Tony Kart,P1 Racing Engines,CA
3m,Jesse Carrasquedo Jr.,GP VCI Texas,CRG,,MEX
511j,Elliot Cox,,Top Kart,Comet Racing Engines,IN
1t,Jak Crawford,Nash Motorsportz,Energy,P1 Racing Engines,TX
30f,Lachlan Defrancesco,Team Benik Kart,Benik,Team Benik Kart,FL
108c,Jace Denmark-Gessel,Pure Karting,Tony Kart,P1 Racing Engines,AZ
142a,Jonny Edgar,Team Benik Kart,Benik,Supertune Racing Engines,GBR
48f,James Egozi,Team Benik Kart,Benik,,FL
312s,Rylee Engel,Kartsport North America,Tony Kart,Comet Racing Engines,NC
18j,Riley Erickson,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,Comet Racing Engines,OH
02n,Connor Ferris,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,Woltjer Racing Engines,NJ
344s,Ty Gibbs,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,Woltjer Racing Engines,NC
455f,Reese Gold,Team Benik Kart,Benik,Supertune Racing Engines,FL
44c,Devin Gomez,Sanner Racing,Tony Kart,Sanner Racing Engines,CA
021f,Jade Hubert,Russell Karting Specialties,Parolin,AM Racing Engines,FL
153z,Jacob Hudson,Black Flag Racing Products,Formula K,Tru Tech Racing Engines,OR
198x,Jace Jones,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Tony Kart,High-Rev Engineering,AZ
56x,Diego LaRoque,BBR Racing,Benik,Woltjer Racing Engines,AZ
76j,James Lynch,,Haase,Comet Racing Engines,IL
324j,Owen Mahle,CRP Racing,Top Kart,Woltjer Racing Engines,OH
100c,Carson Mallett,,Haase,Woltjer Racing Engines,CA
888n,Luca Mars,J3 Competition,CompKart,Comet Racing Engines,PA
23a,Wesley Mason,Team Benik Kart,Benik,Supertune Racing Engines,GBR
74s,Tyler Maxson,Team Benik Kart,Benik,Supertune Racing Engines,GA
022j,Sam Mayer,Franklin Motorsports,Merlin,Franklin Motorsports,WI
50y,Tomas Mejia,PKS Kart Supplies,Tony Kart,P1 Racing Engines,CA
45b,Jamie Newton,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,P1 Racing Engines,BM
03n,Robert Noaker III,Franklin Motorsports,Merlin,Woltjer Racing Engines,PA
41z,Josh Pierson,Rolison Performance Group (RPG),Tony Kart,P1 Racing Engines,OR
10z,Jonathon Portz,BBR Racing,OTK,P1 Racing Engines,OR
007n,Annie Rhule,Motorsports Driver Development (MDD),Praga,Woltjer Racing Engines,PA
111j,Gage Rodgers,Trackside Karting Services,BirelART,Fleming Racing Engines,MI
17c,Ryan Schartau,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Tony Kart,High-Rev Engineering,CA
97t,Logan Stretch,,BirelART,Tru Tech Racing Engines,TX
36j,Kyle Thome,Franklin Motorsports,Merlin,Woltjer Racing Engines,WI
01n,Ugo Ugochukwu,Team Koene USA,Tony Kart,Team Koene USA,NY
15j,Jason Welage,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,Woltjer Racing Engines,OH
,Kaden Wharff,Comet Kart Sales,FA Kart,Comet Racing Engines,IN
73c,Anthony Willis,Nash Motorsportz,Benik,Phil Carlson Racing Engines,AZ
125z,Max Wright,Black Flag Racing Products,Formula K,Tru Tech Racing Engines,OR
8a,Matias Zagazeta,PDB Racing,Gillard,BBR Race Engine Development,
[/table]

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