EKN Exclusive: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 21 – Preview Series – KZ
De Conto attempting to join three-win club and earn another $10k
eKartingNews.com, the Official Media Partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the Preview Series for the SKUSA SuperNationals 21. Leading up to on-track action of the 21st edition of the marquee SKUSA event, 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 15-19.
Complete coverage of the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 21 can be found at the EKN EVENT PAGE. EKN Live provides play-by-play and live timing from qualifying to the final checkered flag on SuperSunday at ekartingnews.com/live
The ‘Top Gun’ of karting, featuring the best of the best, is without a doubt the KZ division. Lighting fast, utilizing the highest advancements in technology for the sport, with drivers who dazzle us with deep braking overtakes. The fences and grandstands are always packed with spectators for every KZ session at the SuperNationals and 2017 will be no different. A nearly sold-out field of 38 drivers will test the limits of their machines, and each other, to claim the $10,000 check for first place.
Twice in the last three years, Paolo De Conto has scored the KZ victory at the SuperNationals. In 2014, he was in his final year with Birel ART before becoming a CRG factory driver. The Italian has recorded a pair of World Championships (2016 and 2017) along with a European title, and is now looking to join the three-win club at the SuperNationals and the odds are certainly in his favor. De Conto is also pulling double duty, making his first S1 start in Honda-powered machinery.
The driver who was able to win in between De Conto’s victories is American star Gary Carlton. The NorCal native has been THE top American shifterkart driver of the past decade. His first SuperNationals triumph in 2006 led to his move to Europe, where he has continued to race against the best in the world, and he has now found a home with IPKarting, driving the Formula K. Carlton has spent the season with LEM, and is looking to join the three-win club as well. Like De Conto, he is also performing double duty in KZ and S1.
Two of the most successful drivers at the SuperNationals in the KZ category are racing under the same tent. 2009 winner Bas Lammers and two-time victor Anthony Abbasse have very similar records at the SuperNationals. Lammers, the Dutch driver who always is carrying a smile while at the SuperNats, has stood on the podium in four of the six races he has contested since his win with Intrepid. His time at Sodi Kart has proven to be successful, placing third a year ago, although this will be his final race with the French team. Abbasse, the longtime Sodi Kart factory driver, won in 2011 and 2013, placing runner-up in his two other starts since his first win, including last year. The Frenchman is returning from a broken collar bone in a June incident, and showed no lack of speed by placing runner-up to De Conto at the World Championships. Victory in Vegas could be a tremendous finish to a stellar comeback. Add in the 2017 KZ2 world title winner Alex Irlando from Italy, and Sodi Kart is coming in with a three-headed monster that could steal the top three positions on SuperSunday.
In total, seven drivers are doing the double. Among them is two-time S1 winner Daniel Formal. The Costa Rican finished sixth last year in his first double duty attempt after winning the S1 category for a second straight year. Formal is looking to make history by earning a third straight win in S1, but that should not take away from his desire, and that of Champion Racing to put the Intrepid brand back on top since its only win in 2009. S1 rookie star Hunter Pickett (Aluminos) and former S2 winner Brian Keck are joining Carlton as the American double duty drivers, while Aussie Joshua Fife (Energy) and Frenchman Jeremy Iglesias (LEM / Formula K) round out the two-class drivers. Iglesias had stood on the podium three times (2007-2009), and is making his first start at the SuperNats since 2011.
Dutch driver Marjin Kremers has been racing all over the world in 2017, including the United States. The Birel ART pilot raced in the X30 Senior division at the SpringNationals and SummerNationals, and was among those challenging for victory at both weekends. Now, Kremers is set to make his KZ debut at the SuperNationals coming off a sixth-place performance at the KZ World Championships. 2011 SKUSA Pro Tour S1 champion Daniel Bray (GP) is making a return to the SuperNationals to help celebrate a decade of racing in the United States. The Kiwi is racing in the KZ division for the first time since 2014.
Team Canada is represented well in the KZ division for 2017 at the SuperNationals with six drivers in total. Antonio Serravalle and Gianfranco Mazzaferro (PSL / Birel ART) have been performing well throughout the season in the shifterkart ranks. This year, however, the attention will be on the return of Robert Wickens to the SuperNationals. The now Verizon IndyCar driver is joining his brother Trevor to contest the SuperNats for the first time since finishing fifth in the DD2 category in 2013 at the Rio. Throughout his career, Wickens has returned to karting to keep himself in racing shape and has proven to be very competitive each winter. There is no question that Wickens could be a top-10 contender throughout the event. The best finish by a current IndyCar driver was Will Power in 2014, racing to second in the TaG Master division.
$15,000 is up for grabs to the podium finishers, including a cool $10,000 as the first place prize. A solid field of drivers will to provide all of us in attendance with a great show under the lights through the entire week. You know each and every driver only has one goal…to be first when the checkered flag flies on SuperSunday.
Provisional KZ Entry List
044a,Anthony Abbasse,Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA,Sodi Kart,,FRA
355y,John Baldasare,Musgrave Racing Company,Formula K,CA,USA
62nz,Daniel Bray,N-Zed Motorsport,GP Kart,,NZL
327j,Andrew Bujdoso,Checkered Motorsports,TB Kart,,USA
50y,Gary Carlton,Leading Edge Motorsports / Formula K,Formula K,CA,USA
1a,Paolo De Conto,CRG Nordam,CRG,,ITA
06a,Pablo Donoso,CKR USA,CKR,,CHL
26nz,Dylan Drysdale,N-Zed Motorsport,GP Kart,,NZL
70a,Joshua Fife,Energy Corse North America,Energy,,AUS
37a,Danny Formal,Champion Racing,Intrepid,,CRI
017a,Jeremy Iglesias,Leading Edge Motorsports / Formula K,Formula K,,FRA
47a,Alex Irlando,Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA,Sodi Kart,,ITA
061r,Kristian Jeffrey,Prime Powerteam,Birel ART,ON,GUY
22y,Brian Keck,Keck Racing,CRG,CA,USA
098a,Marjin Kremers,PSL Karting,Birel ART,,NLD
045a,Bas Lammers,Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA,Sodi Kart,,NLD
67a,Ariel Levi,,Sodi Kart,,ISR
29a,Troy Loeskow,PSL Karting,Ricciardo,,AUS
666r,Isaac Marritt,PSL Karting,Birel ART,ON,CAN
313r,Gianfranco Mazzaferro,PSL Karting,Birel ART,QC,CAN
329a,Maximilian Paul,DRT Racing,DR Kart,,DEU
36y,Hunter Pickett,Pickett Racing,Aluminos,CA,USA
122q,Mike Rivera,CKR USA,CKR,CT,USA
3c,Ricco Shlaimoun,CRG Nordam,CRG,CA,USA
8r,Ethan Simioni,Prime Powerteam,Birel ART,ON,CAN
20a,Yohan Sousa,Kart Republic,Kart Republic,,PRT
282nz,Madeline Stewart,Energy Corse North America,Energy,,NZL
03a,Nikolai Stien,,DR Kart,,NQR
99a,Benjamin Tornqvist,CRG Nordam,CRG,,SWE
38r,Evan White,Overdrive Motorsports,Kosmic,AB,CAN
71y,Ron White,Ron White Racing,CRG,CA,USA
6r,Robert Wickens,Prime Powerteam,Birel ART,ON,CAN
02a,Nicolo’ Zin,CKR USA,CKR,,ITA