2016 eKartingNews.com Driver Rankings – TaG – October 20
Lemke remains top driver heading into SuperNationals
Senior rookie Brandon Lemke leads the TaG Driver Rankings heading into the SuperNationals 20 (Photo: EKN)
The 2016 season is coming to a close, and thus, so will the eKartingNews.com Driver Rankings. It has been an interesting year, especially in the TaG divisions across the United States. There has been no shortage of events, and at each, it seems to be the same drivers that are competing for the victory. No one in the currant top-10 has yet to win at the SKUSA SuperNationals in the 13 years of the X30 Senior / TaG Senior division with 27 of the current top-50 scheduled to compete at this year’s Las Vegas spectacular.
2015 SKUSA Pro Tour Junior champion Brandon Lemke has soared to the top of the EKN Driver Rankings in his first year. Thanks to a five-win championship at the United States Pro Kart Series, the Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver heads into Las Vegas as the driver to beat for the top spot in the Driver Rankings. Behind him is last year’s #1 Brandon Jarsocrak. ‘Money’ has not seen the top of the podium at the national level since a victory during WKA Daytona KartWeek in December 2015. Second and third-place performances have kept him in the hunt for the top spot. The KartSport North America / Praga driver jumped ahead of Ryan Norberg to enter the SuperNationals in the second spot. Norberg lost a finish at the 2015 US Rotax Grand Nationals, thus dropping to third. The Orlando Kart Center / Tony Kart driver has led the SKUSA Pro Tour standings since the SpringNationals, entering with a comfortable advantage. As we have seen, anything can happen in Las Vegas.
Sitting fourth is 2014 #1 driver Jake Craig. It was a phenomenal season, earning the US Rotax Grand Nationals and the SKUSA Pro Tour championship that year. In August, Craig notched his second US Rotax Grand Nationals title in Sonoma, but is out of contention for the SKUSA Pro Tour crown this year. A SuperNationals victory still eludes his CV, and Craig is back aboard the Tony Kart brand that he dominated with in 2014. Had it not been for getting taken out in the second corner on SuperSunday that year, Craig could have done the SuperSweep.
Momentum is on the side for Braden Eves. The new Manufacturers Cup Series IAME Senior champion recorded four wins in July and September between WKA and USPKS competition. Each and every weekend, the MDD / Kosmic pilot is among the quickest on the track. Eves was among those in contention last year in his first time competing in the Senior category at the SuperNationals, until contact took him out early on SuperSunday. Eves is among the favorites heading into Las Vegas.
The Austin Garrison stock is on the rise as well. Since moving over to the CompKart operation in May, the partnership went through its growing pains, and now, they have built a strong tandem in TaG competition. The Florida driver placed runner-up at the SummerNationals on Saturday, and had a win taken away from a penalty at the USPKS finale. Having not participated at the SpringNationals, Garrison is out of the title chase, so he and CompKart are ‘all in’ for a victory at the SuperNationals.
Up to seventh in the standings is Senior rookie Zach Holden. Has it not been for Lemke’s season, Holden would be considered the top rookie of 2016. The Koene USA / Tony Kart driver won at WKA and USPKS this year, and is inside the top-10 in the SKUSA Pro Tour standings. Holden ran runner-up on SuperSunday in the TaG Junior main event, looking for another trip to the podium in his Senior SuperNationals debut.
Challenge of the Americas champion Christian Brooks is eighth as we near the end of the 2016 season. Brooks was the top rookie in 2015, placing fifth in the EKN Driver Rankings. The Nash Motorsportz pilot has been busy in 2016, racing in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites program, finishing fifth in the driver championship. Brooks was the lone Team USA driver to qualify for the main event at the Rotax Grand Finals in Italy last week, placing 24th in the world. Brooks stood on the podium in fifth for his SuperNationals Senior debut last year, looking for a similar end to the season.
Falling down to ninth is current Team USA Scholarship driver Kyle Kirkwood. The Florida driver lost his 2015 US Rotax Grand Nationals victory from the Driver Rankings total, thus the reason for his drop. His performance with PSL Karting / Birel ART has kept him within the top-10, and is the lead challenger in the SKUSA Pro Tour championship chase. Kirkwood is a former SuperNationals winner, earning the victory in S5 Junior Stock Moto back in 2013, finishing third in S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto the next year. Not racing at last year’s SuperNationals, Kirkwood has room to improve his status in the EKN Driver Rankings.
Completing the top-10 is veteran TJ Koyen. The Wisconsin driver is set to hung up the helmet for full-time racing after roughly 15 seasons at the national level. His plans are to focus more attention to his business Oktane Visual as well as support the Innovative Performance operation in 2017 as driver coach. Koyen worked his way forward throughout the SummerNationals, claiming the runner-up finish following penalties. It was the first SKUSA podium since the SummerNationals 2013. With the SuperNationals as the swan song for Koyen, we hope nothing but the best for him during the week.
TaG #1 – Brandon Lemke
It is not unusual to see Senior rookies show speed and contend for victories during their early first season. Lemke has surpassed that, immediately becoming a front-running contender. After earning the WKA Winter Cup championship, Lemke went on to win five of the eight main events at the United States Pro Kart Series to earn the championship. The Franklin Motorsports / Merlin pilot went the entire WKA Manufacturers Cup Series program without a victory until the finale, winning the last round in New Castle to close out with a victory. Out of the SKUSA Pro Tour title chase, Lemke is gunning for a podium at the SuperNationals next month to finish out the EKN Driver Rankings in the #1 spot.
SKUSA SpringNationals ’16 #2,9,3,1063
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #1,9,2,1068
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #2,9,1,1077
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #3,9,2,1058
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #4,9,1,1067
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #5,9,1,1054
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #6,9,1,1053
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 1.57
Average Points: 1062.9
Total Points: 7440
TaG #2 – Brandon Jarsocrak
Last year’s #1 is still in the hunt. It has been nearly 12 months without a major victory, winning in his Praga debut and KartSport North America first appearance. ‘Money’ has been a factor at nearly every event he’s attended, coming up short with a number of third-place results, finishing out the year with a runner-up at the WKA Man. Cup finale. No championships in either WKA or USPKS competition, the SKUSA Pro Tour title is a tough feat to accomplish, still mathematically in the hunt but out by 259 points. Last year’s ninth place finish was the first time in three years to make the main event. Now having felt the SuperSunday spectacular, Jarsocrak is going for nothing but the #1 spot.
SKUSA SuperNationals 2015,10,9,1090
SKUSA SpringNationals ’16 #2,9,6,1031
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #1,9,3,1057
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #2,9,3,1055
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #3,9,3,1047
SKUSA SummerNationals ’16 #1,9,3,1070
SKUSA SummerNationals ’16 #2,9,5,1046
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 4.57
Average Points: 1056.6
Total Points: 7396
TaG #3 – Ryan Norberg
The shining sophomore of 2016 is Ryan Norberg. As a rookie in 2015, the Florida driver won his first race at the USPKS program and continued to develop behind the wheel. It was a season of jumping around between Ocala Gran Prix on the Tony Kart and Checkered Motorsports aboard a PCR. Securing a spot at Orlando Kart Center, Norberg has shined on the Tony Kart in all different programs. He finished top-five in USPKS and won the only two races in WKA competition. Norberg secured the Rok Cup USA championship and drove to a top-10 finish at the International Final in Italy last week. Now, the focus is on maintaining the SKUSA Pro Tour championship lead he has established with three victories in four races to become the seventh different Senior champion.
SKUSA SpringNationals ’16 #1,9,1,1068
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #3,9,5,1026
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #4,9,2,1057
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #5,9,5,1012
SKUSA SummerNationals ’16 #1,9,1,1092
SKUSA SummerNationals ’16 #2,9,1,1090
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #8,9,4,1020
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 2.71
Average Points: 1052.1
Total Points: 7365
TaG ‘On the Move’ – #11
The last few months were very successful for the KartSport North America driver Jake Donald. A resident of Pittsburgh, two weekends at his home track helped to move him up the Driver Rankings. First was a double win weekend for the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series. The FA Kart driver then returned to the Pittsburgh International Race Complex for the USPKS weekend, claiming two podium finishes. Donald is not scheduled to compete at the SuperNationals, and finishes the 2016 season with a strong resume.
WKA Man. Cup Series 2016 #1,8.5,6,982
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #5,9,8,980
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #6,9,8,979
WKA Man. Cup Series 2016 #7,8.5,1,965
WKA Man. Cup Series 2016 #8,8.5,1,965
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #7,9,3,1030
United States Pro Kart Series ’16 #8,9,2,1041
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 4.14
Average Points: 991.7
Total Points: 6942
EKN Driver Rankings Calculation Process
The EKN Driver Rankings are calculated using a driver’s best finishes in major North American races. Assembled using events from the previous 12 months from the current date, we use a driver’s best seven finishes in TaG and six in Stock Moto to determine their overall current point total. With each new release, results posted from more than one year ago are discarded. To deliver our ranking list, we tabulate the results of all the national programs and selected regional programs. We have included the results for the major one-off events such as the SKUSA SuperNationals, the US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals, the Rock Island Grand Prix, and the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix.
Each race is initially weighted based on the prestige and history of the event or series with a score of ten (10) being the highest attainable base ranking. For 2016, the SKUSA Pro Tour and US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals receive a score of 10 in their initial weighting in the TaG category while the SuperNationals is the lone event in the Stock Moto division. A base ranking of nine (9) goes to the United States Pro Kart Series, Florida Winter Tour Rotax Max Challenge, Challenge of the Americas, Rock Island Grand Prix and California ProKart Challenge. Other national and regional program races were given a base ranking of either 8.5 or 8.
The EKN staff reserves the right to adjust the rankings of each event throughout the year. A minimum entry total for any events considered for the Driver Rankings program is five (5). If an event does not have at least five (5) drivers starting the race, those results will not be tabulated toward the Driver Rankings.
Added to these initial rankings are two variables that help confirm the true importance of an event to the ranking process – field size and field strength. A percentage of one weighting point is added for the size of the field, while the number of existing top 50 drivers entered offers another full point or fraction of a point. The sum of these numbers becomes the overall ranking for any race. Following a race, drivers receive points based on their finishing positions with 100 points earned for a win. Each subsequent position drops by one point with 99 points given to the second place driver and so on throughout the field. These points are then multiplied by the overall ranking to produce a driver’s final point total from each event. Using a driver’s best seven races in TaG, six for Stock Moto, we calculate each driver’s overall score and subsequent ranking.
EKN TaG Driver Rankings – as of October 20, 2016
48.,48,NC,Luke van Herwaarde,11,6202
66.,110,44,Antonio de Lis,7,5834
82.,90,8,James K Russell,8,5640
84.,78,-6,Galo Barros III,10,5613
120.,109,-11,Carlos Rodriguez Lopez,5,3988
148.,146,-2,Davey Hamilton Jr.,4,3206
154.,186,32,Moises De Lavara,4,3166
155.,158,3,Jim Russell Jr.,4,3163
162.,91,-71,Roger Ralston Jr.,3,2773
164.,165,1,Rinus Van Kalmthout,3,2731
196.,207,11,Roman De Angelis,2,1800
205.,213,8,Greg Osborne Jr.,2,1741
208.,216,8,Mauricio J. Hernandez Guillen,2,1726
219.,222,3,David Kalb Jr.,2,1680
286.,299,13,Mauricio Van Der Laan,1,966
293.,308,15,Luis Jose Forteza,1,903
311.,325,14,Sting Ray Robb,1,842
367.,388,21,Hugo Esteban Rangel,1,738