EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XIX – Preview Series – S4 Master
Former SuperNats winners fighting for chance to earn Fikse Wheels Pro Tour title in Las Vegas
eKartingNews.com, the Official Media Partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the Preview Series for the SKUSA SuperNationals XIX. In the coming days, EKN will preview each of the nine categories that will compete outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino from November 18-22.
Karting is a sport for all ages, and Superkarts! USA understands that with the offering of the Master categories since its early days. Under the latest era of SKUSA, the S4 Master Stock Moto has become a who’s who of former ProMoto Tour days and ushering in a new crop of drivers that we saw in their younger years in the early 2000s. This year’s field is stacked with talent once again, with nearly half of the 59 drivers qualifying for the 40-kart grid on SuperSunday in 2014. The Super Master division was introduced on the regional level in 2015, with 1/3 of the drivers qualified by their over 45-years of age including former SuperNationals winners. As the category progresses, Superkarts! USA is sure to be promoting and recognizing these drivers at the SuperNationals in 2015 and beyond.
Championship Chase: Two Former Winners Duel for Title
The 2014 championship was decided by the results of SuperSunday, and the same could happen this year. Just 35 points separate Darren Elliott and Jimmy McNeil, the same margin that 2014 champion Gian Cavaciuti held going into the SuperNationals over Jordon Musser. Cavaciuti finished better with every on-track session, including a victory to secure the title. Elliott (Nash Motorsportz / CRG) has never tasted the glory of a SKUSA championship, dating back to beginning off the organization and the ProMoto Tour. McNeil (CRG) was the 2011 S4 champion, coming back to the Master level after time in the S1 ranks. Each have two wins, Elliott’s coming with a sweep at the SpringNationals, while McNeil bested the field at the SummerNationals both days. In the win column at the SuperNats, Elliott has three dating back to the 1998 version of the event with a chance to tie the record for most wins at the SuperNationals while McNeil has two – one each in S4 and G1.
Defending champion Cavaciuti still has an outside shot at the repeating as champion. Factoring the drop race, the Italian GP driver is only 175 points away from the top of the standings. Cavaciuti scored over 200 points more than his two closest championship rivals at the SuperNationals last year thanks to the multiple heat race format, and thus he will need another performance like the one of 2014.
Who to Watch: Former Race Winners and Talented Field Vying for Victory
Aside from McNeil and Cavaciuti, two other former S4 race winners are in this year’s field. The most historic of them all is three-time SuperNats winner Bonnier Moulton. This will be the 19th straight for the Msquared Karting / Tony Kart driver, who stood on the podium at the first ever event next to Alex Barron and Bobby Oergel in 1997. Back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2012 put him among the eight drivers tied with three victories at the prestigious event. Now at the ripe young age of 50, Moulton is looking to bounce back from his first ever flip in last year’s heat races, driving from 26th to 12th in the main event. Chris Jennings triumphed in 2008 when S4 was considered the ‘Heavy’ class of the Stock Moto discipline. Now into his fourth season at the Masters level, Jennings continues to be a threat. The three-time Texas ProKart Challenge champion was the top American driver in S4, placing third while also landing on the podium in the S2 Semi-Pro category aboard his DRT Racing / DR Kart machine. He and his father John are looking at another double duty weekend, this time racing S4 along with KZ2.
The third returning driver from the podium last year is Mike Beeny (MSquared Karting / Tony Kart). A longtime SuperPro and S1 driver, the Utah driver moved to S4 in 2014 and showed to have the pace with the rest of the regular contenders with a fourth place performance. An astonishing 13 of the top-15 from last year’s main event are slated to compete in the 2015 SuperNationals. Names like 2012 Fikse Wheels Pro Tour champion Eddie Olpin, Florida’s Richard Heistand (BirelART), NorCal’s Jim Inglebright (CRG), SoCal’s Robert Marks (CRG), 2014 Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix winner Rob Logan (CRG), multiple IKF Duffy winner Mike Mantel (Power Plus Lubricants / Tony Kart), Canadian Don McGregor (Italian Motors / Italkart) and Italian Mirko Mizzoni (Italcorse).
Only two drivers have competed at every single Superkarts! USA SuperNationals – Moulton is one, and the other is Howie Idelson. The California driver has competed all around the world in the sport, and remains a fixture at the SuperNats, looking to improve on his 14th place performance last year, racing under the Musgrave Racing Company aboard the growing Praga brand.
The last 12 months have not been kind to SKUSA #2 plate holder Jordon Musser. The 2013 champion was unable to have a shot at defending his title through the main event at last year’s SuperNats after contact at the opening corner of SuperSunday, and suffered issues at the two events for this year’s Fikse Wheels Pro Tour. Essentially out of the title chase, the 3G Kart Racing / BirelART driver can focus on just one thing…winning. The SuperNationals is the only title off his historic karting CV, including four Rotax national championships, King of the Streets victories, and more.
Rob Howden – EKN Editor-in-Chief
1. Jimmy McNeil
2. Darren Elliott
3. Bonnier Moulton
4. Jordan Musser
5. Gian Cavaciuti
If you look at the full 59-driver entry list, you can probably point to 10-12 drivers who can be considered to have at least a slim shot at the SuperSunday win in S4 Master Stock Moto. There are a handful of veterans who you know will be in the fight from the get-go; SuperNationals race winners like Gian Cavaciuti, Jimmy McNeil, Darren Elliott, Chris Jennings and Bonnier Moulton, and former #1 plate holders Jordan Musser and Eddie Olpin. I think if you add in Rob Logan, Mike Mantel and Mike Benny, you’ll have your pool of podium hopefuls. Moulton is ridiculously difficult to bet against in Las Vegas, as at 50 years-of-age, he’s run every SuperNationals thus far and is one of our sport’s true natural talents with an unbridled passion for the sport that powers him forward. However, the level of competition in S4 on the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour and in both the California and Texas Pro Kart Challenge series has been raised to the whole new level of late. McNeil is on form, the same impressive pace that saw him win the S4 title in 2011 and then jump to S1 for another go at the young guns of the sport. McNeil wants to get the title back and I predict a win on SuperSunday in an epic battle with Elliott and Moulton. I’ll give Elliott second on a coin flip. Musser and Cavaciuti scrapped at the SummerNats and I see this continuing. I’d put Jennings in there as well, but he’s doing double-duty in KZ as well, and I wonder if that will be a factor, positive or negative.
David Cole – EKN Managing Editor
1. Darren Elliott
2. Jordon Musser
3. John Crow
4. Ryan Kinnear
5. Jimmy McNeil
This is no easy task. Last year, both myself and Howden picked Elliott to win. It was his first SuperNationals back in some time, so maybe we expected too much from him in his S4 debut, recording a DNF. With two years of racing under his belt, Elliott is back at the top of his game. I expect him to win SuperSunday, but it will not be an easy one, and not a dominating performance like he had at the SpringNationals. I love history, and want to see Elliott join Connor De Phillippi with on top of the all-time wins list at the SuperNationals. Musser is going to control the event throughout the week, including qualifying and the heat races. The Texan falls just short of that elusive SuperNats triumph. John Crow and Ryan Kinnear are my dark horses. Crow was quick at the SpringNationals, and will be sneaky fast in Las Vegas. Ryan Kinnear is completing his first season as an S4 driver, and brings youth to the podium aboard his Champion Racing / Intrepid. McNeil is always fast, and I know will be in contention all week. For those who care, I’m keeping Moulton off the podium until SuperNationals XX next year, hopefully winning his fourth SuperNationals victory.
S4 Master Stock Moto Provisional Entry List
|11m||Adrian Aguilera||Team GP / VCI||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|555m||Sergio Aguilera||Team GP / VCI||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|155f||Farshad Bagheri||TB Kart USA||TB Kart||SwedeTech||FL||IRN|
|25u||Mike Beeny||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||UT||USA|
|707y||Justin Bennett||Cambrian Go-Karts||Ricciardo Kart||Cambrian Go-Karts||CA||USA|
|26f||Vicki Brian||Orlando Kart Center (OKC)||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||FL||USA|
|333m||Jesse Carrasquedo||Team GP / VCI||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|1||Gian Cavaciuti||Team GP / VCI||GP||SRS Racing Engines||ITA|
|56c||Kalvin Chen||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||Praga||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CA||USA|
|31c||John Crow||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||FA Kart||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CA||USA|
|16m||Jorge de la Huerta||Team GP / VCI||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|055m||Mario Dominguez||Team GP / VCI||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|674m||Enrico Doria||BirelART Mexico||BirelART||SwedeTech||ITA|
|23u||Todd Edgington||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||UT||USA|
|71c||Darren Elliott||Nash Motorsportz||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|92s||Steve Flatt||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||GA||USA|
|34f||Richard Heistand||PSL Karting||BirelART||SwedeTech||FL||USA|
|19c||Howie Idelson||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||Praga||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CA||USA|
|111y||Jim Inglebright||CRG||Joe White Racing Engines||CA||USA|
|4m||Roberto Islas||Team GP / VCI||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|86c||Erik Jackson||Baldozier Racing||Tony Kart||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CA||BMU|
|175t||Chris Jennings||DRT Racing||DR||SRS Racing Engines||TX||USA|
|85t||Ryan Kinnear||Champion Racing||Intrepid||SwedeTech||GBR|
|65j||Lance Lane||DRT Racing||DR||Lane Racing Engines||IL||USA|
|13z||Terry Lawrence||Black Flag Racing Products||Formula K||SwedeTech||ID||USA|
|87r||Michel LeGrand||PSL Karting||BirelART||SwedeTech||CAN|
|33x||Rob Logan||Nash Motorsportz||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|88y||Kassy Loving||Cameron Karting||Italkart||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|161c||Mike Mantel||Power Plus Lubricants||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|103x||Robert Marks||PKS Kart Supplies / Team Visalia||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|03m||Carlos Marquez||Team GP / VCI||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|10y||Rene Martinelli||TB Kart USA||TB Kart||SwedeTech||CA||MEX|
|71r||Don McGregor||Italian Motors USA / Italkart USA||Italkart||SwedeTech||BC||CAN|
|101x||Jimmy McNeil||PKS Kart Supplies / Team Visalia||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|777m||Carlos Medina||BirelART Mexico||BirelART||SwedeTech||MEX|
|127y||Mirko Mizzoni||Italcorse America||Italcorse||Darcy DeCoste Racing Engines (DDR)||ITA|
|11u||Bonnier Moulton||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||UT||USA|
|2||Jordon Musser||3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King||BirelART||SwedeTech||TX||USA|
|67j||Mark Nagy||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||OH||USA|
|72u||Chris Neria||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||UT||USA|
|27j||Jeffrey Neubert||Team iKart||iKart||OH||USA|
|14u||Eddie Olpin||Powers World Racing||Kosmic||SwedeTech||UT||USA|
|64y||Patrick O'Neill||Ron White Racing||CRG||Joe White Racing Engines||CA||IRL|
|29a||Michael Patrizi||PSL Karting||Ricciardo Kart||SwedeTech||AUS|
|42u||Ryan Pool||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||UT||USA|
|68t||Venkat Reddy||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CRG||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||IND|
|13s||Byron Rothenhoefer III||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||VA||USA|
|21x||Ken Schilling||Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting||Vemme||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|842z||Tyler Shepard||Shepard Performance||Intrepid||Sharkshifter||OR||USA|
|81a||Luis Sousa||PSL Karting||BirelART||BRA|
|17c||Vivek Tandon||CRG SoCal||CRG||Darcy DeCoste Racing Engines (DDR)||CA||USA|
|102x||Darrell Tunnell||PKS Kart Supplies / Team Visalia||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|00f||Tim Ulmen||Praga North America||Praga||FL||USA|
|994y||Kevin Woods||Ron White Racing||CRG||Joe White Racing Engines||CA||USA|