EKN Exclusive: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 20 – Preview Series – Mini Swift
Seventh different driver set to be crown winner in Las Vegas
eKartingNews.com, the Official Media Partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the Preview Series for the SKUSA SuperNationals 20. Leading up to on-track action of the 20th edition of the marquee SKUSA event and 2016 SKUSA Pro Tour finale, EKN will preview each of the 10 categories that will compete outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino from November 16-20.
Complete coverage of the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 20 can be found at the EKN Event Page. EKN Live – presented by Cooper Tires – provides play-by-play and live timing from qualifying to the final checkered flag on SuperSunday at eKartingNews.com/live.
The TaG Cadet division was introduced in 2010 when the current SKUSA Pro Tour was launched. The class sold out that year, and expanded to 88 drivers since – filling up year after year. Now with the introduction of the Micro Swift class, the Mini Swift category features the elder Cadet level drivers piloting the IAME powered karts. The class is still opened up to the 88-driver total, nearly reaching that mark with 73 drivers set to do battle in Las Vegas.
Six different drivers have stood on top of the TaG Cadet podium over the past six SuperNationals. The first two have made a name for themselves in the motorsports world. Inaugural winner Patricio O’Ward from Mexico has gone on to climb the ladder of the Mazda Road to Indy program, earning victories this season in the Pro Mazda Championship. 2011 winner Logan Sargeant added another win at the SuperNats with a TaG Junior victory in 2014 to close out the Rio facility, and last year won the CIK-FIA World Championship in OK Junior.
Sargeant and 2012 winner Anthony Gangi Jr. are the only United States drivers to win the category, with the past three winners coming from Italy and Great Britain. 37% of this year’s field is made up of drivers outside the United States and Canada, giving the international squad a solid percentage to repeat. What is stopping them is a large core of North American drivers who have shined throughout the 2016 season from coast-to-coast.
Championship Chase: Tight Fight Between Three
The Mini Swift point standings is among the tightest fights at the top of the order. Three drivers enter the SuperNationals, separated by just 14 points. Factoring in the drop already, Arizona driver Diego LaRoque (Benik) jumps from third to first in the championship standings. That drops his Benik teammate Tyler Maxson down to second with Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver Kyle Thome in third. Both LaRoque and Maxson won on the season, each at the SpringNationals while Thome has three podium finishes to his credit with zero wins. Last year at the SuperNationals, Maxson finished fifth and is among three returning podium finishers. Thome and LaRoque were relegated to the LCQ, with Kyle retiring early and Diego coming up just a few spots short of transferring. LaRoque is coming off earning the inaugural Micro Max championship at the 2016 Rotax Grand Finals in Italy, so all eyes will be on the young driver to see if he can duplicate a similar feat in Las Vegas.
Jace Jones and Devin Gomez remain in the mathematical hunt for the Mini Swift championship. They are nearly 200 points out of the top spot, needing a lot of help in Vegas. Jones (RPM / Benik) has only one podium, the opening round in Phoenix, with poor results at the SummerNationals hurting his title hopes. Gomez (Benik) has been consistent with three top-five finishes on the year. A first podium at the SuperNationals could help his cause to break into the top-three of the standings.
Who to Watch: Returning Podium Finishers Lead Wide Open Field
If there is one thing we know, anything can happen in Cadet racing. With over 70 drivers, there is no telling who will come out on top when we finish the action on SuperSunday. Jak Crawford and Anthony Willis experienced the joy of podium ceremonies at the SuperNationals last year, placing third and fourth. Crawford (Nash Motorsportz / Energy) has continued to be among the top rated Cadet drivers in the United States, performing strong overseas as well. Willis (Benik) landed his second-straight California ProKart Challenge title in September, making his bid for one of the top Cadet racers in the last two years.
Among those who has shined throughout the 2016 season is Benik driver Reece Gold. The double SummerNationals winner missed the SpringNationals, however, has won in nearly everything he has competed in this year. The Florida driver won the USPKS title and is among the favorites entering Las Vegas. Luca Mars (Benik) is another championship driver entered for the SuperNationals, coming off a championship in the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series program.
Like the Micro Swift division, a second-generation star is among those competing in Las Vegas. Sebastian Montoya – son of Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montaya – is among those who will battle at the SuperNationals. The Florida driver raced at the SummerNationals, with a best finish of eighth aboard his Birel ART.
We have not seen Ugo Ugochukwu competing here in the United States very much in 2016, spending time in Europe competing. The New Yorker returns back to the USA for another run at the SuperNationals after winning the LCQ last year. Also coming back from strong runs overseas at the 2016 Rotax Grand Finals are Canadian Thomas Nepveu (PSL Karting / Birel ART) and Koene USA / Benik driver James Egozi. Nepveu finished runner-up in Mini Max while Egozi was fourth in Micro Max.
This year, eKartingNews.com is offering up a SKUSA SuperNationals 20 Podium Prediction contest. Rather than the staff here at EKN making the predictions, we want you to make your best guesses for each category competing in Las Vegas. Following the release of each class preview, we are asking racers and race fans to make their predictions with the chance to win EKN Gear.
If anyone is able to predict all five podium finishers in any of the 10 categories, that person will be entered into a drawing to win $200 in EKN Gear. All you have to do is submit your predictions for any of the 10 classes, or all 10 categories by November 15 at Midnight PST in the Official Discussion Thread on the EKN Forums. If you submit, you may edit your choices up until the November 15 deadline. Those who edit their submissions will be disqualified.
The TaG Cadet division joined the @superkartsusa program with the launch of the Pro Tour in 2010. #SuperNats20 marks the first year of the Mini Swift name after six years of the TaG Cadet brand. Four of the six former winners came from outside the United States, including last year’s victor Jonny Edgar from Great Britain. Among the former six previous winners include the second-ever world karting champion from the United States Logan Sargeant. A seventh different driver will add his name to this list, and become the first Mini Swift SuperNationals winner.
2015 – @Jonny_Edgar
2014 – Guiseppe Fusco
2013 – @Leonardo_Marsegliaracing
2012 – @AnthonyGangiJr
2011 – @LoganSargeant
2010 – @Pato_OWard
Mini Swift Provisional Entry List
96a,Norton Andreasson,Team Praga,Praga,,SWE
136r,Justin Arseneau,PSL Karting,BirelART,QC,CAN
81g,Caleb Bacon,Russell Karting Specialties (RKS) / Team Parolin,Parolin,TN,USA
135a,Nicolas Baptiste,Team Montoya,SodiKart,,COL
114a,Lucas Bohdanowicz,AM Racing,AM,,ARG
040a,Luca Bosco,Pure Karting,Tony Kart,,FRA
5d,Joey Brienza,Nash Motorsportz,Benik,CO,USA
27c,Stephen Brucker,Brucker Motorsports,Tony Kart,CA,USA
050a,Vittorio Catino,Pure Karting,Tony Kart,,ITA
020a,Diego Contecha,Pure Karting,Tony Kart,,COL
555c,Cole Cotham,Baldozier Racing,Benik,CA,USA
N3,Jak Crawford,Nash Motorsportz,Energy,TX,USA
131r,Dale Curran,Team Koene USA,Tony Kart,ON,CAN
108c,Jace Denmark-Gessel,Pure Karting,Tony Kart,AZ,USA
025a,Rafael Dias,AM Racing,AM,,BRA
033a,Max Dodds,Team Benik Kart,Benik,,GBR
11x,Aden Dodge,J3 Competition / Formula Works,CompKart,CA,USA
052a,Tom Edgar,Fusion Motorsports,,,IRL
48f,James Egozi,Team Koene USA,Benik,FL,USA
10a,Clara Emanuelsson,Carlson-Benik Kart,Benik,,SWE
02n,Connor Ferris,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,NJ,USA
818a,Guilherme Figueiredo,Rolison Performance Group (RPG),Kosmic,,BRA
122f,Jeremy Fletcher,Ocala Gran Prix (OGP),Tony Kart,FL,USA
3t,Chase Gardner,Jay Howard’s Motorsports Driver Development (MDD),Vemme,TX,USA
138x,Taylor Gibson,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Tony Kart,CA,USA
911c,Kasey Gillis,CRG-SoCal / Empire Karts,Top Kart,CA,USA
112f,Elio Giovane,Team Benik Kart,Benik,FL,ITA
455f,Reece Gold,Team Benik Kart,Benik,FL,USA
44s,Devin Gomez,Team Benik Kart,Benik,NC,USA
52y,Dominic Gorden,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Benik,CA,USA
023a,Mathias Jakobsen,Energy Corse America,Energy,,DNK
198x,Jace Jones,Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM),Benik,AZ,USA
75k,Aiden Kempf,PKS Kart Supplies,Tony Kart,CA,USA
024t,Luke Lange,Dallas Karting Complex (DKC) / SodiKart USA,SodiKart,TX,USA
56x,Diego LaRoque,Team Benik Kart,Benik,AZ,USA
161y,Joseph Levin,Ron White Racing,CRG,CA,USA
044a,Zane Maloney,Kartsport North America,Praga,FL,BRB
288a,Matthew Marrocco,Team Bordogna,Lenzo,,ITA
888n,Luca Mars,Team Benik Kart,Benik,PA,USA
79c,Rylee Martinez,Carlson-Benik Kart,Benik,CA,USA
30a,Esteban Masson,Dallas Karting Complex (DKC) / SodiKart USA,SodiKart,,FRA
74s,Tyler Maxson,Team Benik Kart,Benik,GA,USA
158f,Sebastian Montoya,Team Montoya,BirelART,FL,USA
88x,Carson Morgan,Team Benik Kart,Benik,CA,USA
066x,Cole Morgan,Team Benik Kart,Benik,CA,USA
124r,Thomas Nepveu,PSL Karting,BirelART,QC,CAN
051a,Zak O’Sullivan,Team Benik Kart,Benik,,GBR
41z,Josh Pierson,Rolison Performance Group (RPG),Tony Kart,OR,USA
10z,Jonathon Portz,Rolison Performance Group (RPG),Energy,OR,USA
117y,Oliver Reed,Musgrave Racing Company (MRC),Praga,CA,USA
060a,Lorenzo Ressico,PSL Karting,Ricciardo,,ITA
15t,Santiago Robles,Orsolon Racing,Tony Kart,TX,MEX
83y,Dustin Salaverria,Nash Motorsportz,Benik,CA,USA
9a,Rodrigo Sanchez,BBR Karting,Tony Kart,,PER
029t,Enzo Scionti,Nash Motorsportz,CRG,TX,USA
041a,Francisco Soldavini,2Wild Karting,Tony Kart,,ARG
146a,Alfio Spina,Team GamotoKart,CRG,,ITA
46t,Alex Stanfield,Core Karting,Energy,TX,USA
55c,Bryce Stevens,Precision Works Racing,CRG,CA,USA
106a,Joseph Taylor,Team Benik Kart,Benik,,GBR
08j,Nicholas Terlecki,Franklin Motorsports,Merlin,IL,USA
36j,Kyle Thome,Franklin Motorsports,Merlin,WI,USA
123f,Santiago Trisini,Team Benik Kart,Benik,FL,VEN
518a,Laurens van Hoepen,Team Benik Kart,Benik,,NED
077a,Dilano van ‘t Hoff,Team Benik Kart,Benik,,NED
141j,Kaden Wharff,Top Kart USA / Grand Products,Top Kart,IN,USA
113a,James Wharton,KartSport North America,Tony Kart,,AUS
73c,Anthony Willis,Carlson-Benik Kart,Benik,AZ,USA
292a,Kiki Yuen,J3 Competition / Formula Works,Compkart,,HKG