EKN Exclusive: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 20 – Preview Series – S4 Master
Three driver fight for championship heading into 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.
It is a new era for the S4 Master Stock Moto division in Superkarts! USA competition. The introduction of the S4 Super Master category into the Pro Tour, the S4 Master class has become the headline division for elder shifterkart competition. The class no longer features multiple race groups at the SuperNationals, with the best of the best set to compete for victory outside the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The class made its SuperNationals debut in 2006 at Sam Boyd Stadium, and has seen just six different winners over 10 years. It has been part of the SKUSA Pro Tour since its re-launch in 2010, with only one driver to earn multiple titles. Jimmy McNeil is both a two-time S4 champion and two-time S4 SuperNationals winner. McNeil came into Vegas trailing Darren Elliott by 35 points last year, making up that deficit over the heat races and adding to it with his third overall SuperNationals victory to clinch his second S4 Pro Tour title (first in 2011). The PKS / Visalia / CRG driver did not begin his title defense strong, unable to stand on the podium at the SpringNationals, coming through for two third-place finishes at the SummerNationals. McNeil trails in the championship standings by 189 points, keeping him mathematically in the title chase but needing a perfect SuperNats event and help to overtake the top three in the standings. Should McNeil win the main event on SuperSunday, it would put him tied for the most SuperNationals victories with Connor De Phillippi at four.
Championship Chase: Three Dog Fight for Pro Tour Glory
Over the last two seasons, Ryan Kinnear has been among the top-ranked Master shifterkart driver. The Texas transplant from Scotland notched his second-straight US Open championship at the beginning of this month, earning the inaugural Challenge of the Americas title this past winter. During the 2016 SKUSA Pro Tour season, Kinnear has stood on the podium in all four main events, with two runner-up finishes in Phoenix and two victories at New Castle. The Champion Racing / Intrepid driver holds a 35-point lead over former series champion Jordon Musser. The 2013 title winner has been a championship contender since 2012, placing third that year, vice-champion in 2014 and fifth a year ago. His SpringNationals victory was his first on the Pro Tour since 2013, missing out on the podium the following day. Two runner-up finishes behind Kinnear has kept the 3G Kart Racing / Intrepid pilot in the hunt. Alan Michel has been the wild card this year as the top S4 rookie. Coming over from the S2 division, Michel was able to land his first S4 victory at his home track in Phoenix. Running aboard a Praga chassis the last two seasons, the Mexican driver from Arizona is joining forces with GP VCI Mexico for the SuperNationals and is only 45 points out of the championship lead.
Who to Watch: Star Studded List of Drivers Vying for SuperNationals Victory
The great thing about Master racing, there are always former winners and former champions competing at the SuperNationals. The 20th edition is no different with multiple drivers who have tasted the bubbly following SuperSunday or raised the SKUSA #1 plate before. Of the six former winners, four are back for another taste of SuperSunday glory including Gian Cavaciuti, Bonnier Moulton and Chris Jennings. Cavaciuti scored the 2014 S4 Pro Tour title with victory at the SuperNationals, his only podium in the past three years in the category. The GP VCI Mexico driver has yet to land on the podium since SpringNationals 2015 as he went on to earn the SKUSA #3 plate for this year. Moulton is set to make his 20th SuperNationals start – tabbed along with 19-time starter Howie Idelson – to design this year’s circuit at the LVCC. Moulton is a three-time winner at the SuperNationals, two in the S4 division with back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2012. The MSquared / Tony Kart driver would like nothing more than to close out the 20th time with his fourth victory to tie the overall mark for the SuperNationals. Jennings was among the winners at the return to the Rio in 2008, when the category was focused more on weight and not restricted to those 30-years-old or above. The DRT Racing / DR Kart driver has made five straight starts in S4, standing on the podium the last two years including a S2 podium in 2014.
Next to Jennings, Mirko Mizzoni (Italcorse) has the best record over the last three years at the SuperNationals in S4. Three-straight top-eight finishes, including two podium finishes put the Italian living in Nevada at the top of the list of contenders. Rob Logan has a similar record by finishing in the top-12 over the past six SuperNationals. The Nash Motorsportz / CRG driver was runner-up to McNeil last year, recording his second podium finish since 2010. Logan is coming off a victory at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, further assisting his odds at a possible first SuperNats victory. Last year’s SuperNationals pole sitter Mike Beeny (MSquared / Tony Kart) has yet to win the big one after being a longtime SuperPro contender, an S1 podium challenger and now for the last two years, a S4 front-runner. His fourth and sixth place finishes at the last two SuperNats put him among the top contenders once again.
Another great thing about Master categories is the ability to bring back former racers. Terry Lawrence is in a resurgence mode for karting, joining forces with eShifterKart and the CKR chassis brand for 2016. Lawrence is seventh in the Pro Tour point standings, looking to improve on two DNF’s in his previous two SuperNats starts. It will be an honor to have former SKUSA CEO Joe Janowski at SuperNationals 20, competing in the S4 division. His father Don Janowski was named as part of the inaugural Superkarts! USA Hall of Fame inductee class. The ‘Polish Hammer’ is back behind the wheel of a GP in Las Vegas. As mentioned, 19-time SuperNationals starter Howie Idelson is part of the group that helped to design the circuit for this year’s event. Idelson has still not committed to competing in the event, with his son Dane racing in the Micro Swift division as well. Either way, there will be an Idelson racing at the SuperNationals for the 20th time.
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 S4 Master division could be one that makes history at the @superkartsusa #SuperNats20. Two different drivers have the opportunity to win their third in the category to tie Jeff Littrell, and also the chance to earn their fourth SuperNats victory to tie the overall leader @Cdephillippi – Jimmy McNeil is the defending champion and has a shot at history, as does co-track designer Bonnier Moulton #EKNatSKUSA #TeamCooperTire 2015 – Jimmy McNeil 2014 – @Gian_Cavaciuti 2013 – Matthew Hamilton 2012 – @Bonnier49 2011 – @Bonnier49 2010 – Jimmy McNeil 2009 – Jeff Littrell 2008 – @freak_z_175 2007 – Jeff Littrell 2006 – Jeff Littrell
S4 Master Stock Moto Provisional Entry List
25u,Mike Beeny,MSquared Karting,Tony Kart,UT,USA
06m,Luis Bolio,Praga North America,Praga,,MEX
333m,Jesse Carrasquedo,GP VCI Mexico,GP,,MEX
48c,Gianfranco Casadei,Mad Croc Karting USA,Mad – Croc,CA,BRA
N3,Gian Cavaciuti,GP VCI Mexico,GP,,ITA
8s,Brian Davies,Fullerton USA,Fullerton,NC,USA
16m,Jorge de la Huerta,GP VCI Mexico,GP,,MEX
78m,Juan Garcia,Nash Motorsportz,CRG,CA,MEX
6j,Joe Janowski,GP VCI Mexico,GP,IN,USA
175t,Chris Jennings,DRT Racing,DR,TX,USA
823m,Victor Jimenez,Koene USA,Tony Kart,FL,MEX
85t,Ryan Kinnear,Champion Racing,Intrepid,TX,GBR
13z,Terry Lawrence,eShifter Kart Racing,CKR,ID,USA
33x,Rob Logan,Nash Motorsportz,CRG,CA,USA
03m,Carlos Marquez,Team Praga (Mexico),Praga,,MEX
10y,Rene Martinelli,TB Kart USA,TB Kart,CA,MEX
N1,Jimmy McNeil,PKS Kart Supplies / Team Visalia,CRG,CA,USA
110c,Alan Michel,GP VCI Mexico,GP,AZ,MEX
127y,Mirko Mizzoni,Italcorse America,Italcorse,NV,ITA
11u,Bonnier Moulton,MSquared Karting,Tony Kart,UT,USA
16t,Jordon Musser,3G Kart Racing,Intrepid,TX,USA
72u,Chris Neria,MSquared Karting,FA Kart,UT,USA
6z,James O’Brien,eShifter Kart Racing,CKR,ID,USA
64y,Patrick O’Neill,Ron White Racing,CRG,CA,IRL
29a,Michael Patrizi,PSL Karting,Ricciardo,,AUS
68t,Venkat Reddy,Musgrave Racing Company (MRC),CRG,TX,IND
842z,Tyler Shepard,Shepard Performance / MRC,Praga,OR,USA
011a,Andre Sousa,PSL Karting,BirelART,,PRT
00f,Tim Ulmen,Dallas Karting Complex (DKC) / SodiKart USA,SodiKart,FL,USA