|November 19, 2008 News
|EKN Trackside: SKUSA SuperNationals XII Preview - SuperPro and TaG
History is in the making this week at the 12th annual National Guard Superkarts! USA SuperNationals. Along with the return to the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the total entry counts are over 400, the most ever for the event. Along with just the location and sheer numbers making history, the driver line-ups are making this one of the most anticipated events in karting history.
Over the next three days, eKartingNews.com will preview all ten classes, split up accordingly. The first day, the three Junior divisions will be under the microscope to point out the early favorites heading into Vegas. The second day will be the Senior support classes, from S1 to TaG Masters. The headline SuperPro division and the TaG Senior class, boasting 100 entries, will be examined thoroughly to point out the big names returning to their karting roots and those making the long journey across the pond from Europe.
To discuss the event, visit the SKUSA SuperNationals XII Official Discussion Thread.
| Marco Ardigo will defend his 2007 SuperNationals title|
(Photo: Go Racing Magazine)
Barron, Elliott, Gidley, Speed, White, Boswell, Bowles, Mandarino, Carlton, Aridgo…
Those names will forever be famous and associated with the word ‘SuperNationals’. The ‘Top Gun’ club, if you will, for karting will either remain the same or gain one more to the prestigious guild following SuperSunday when 28 of the best shifter kart pilots from around the world will battle for the $10,000 first place prize at the 12th annual SKUSA SuperNationals.
With the success of last year’s circuit approved by the CIK-FIA, Superkarts! USA was able to lock that in again for 2008, which has helped boost the level of competition for the SuperPro category. Bringing in former and reigning world and European champions, the best of the North American shifter pilots will look to regain the title.
Last year seemed to be a dominant performance for two-time KZ1 World Champion Jonathan Thonon (CRG). An unfortunate shifter lever breakage cost him the title, handing the win and cash to the reigning and two-time KF1 World Karting Champion Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart). Both are set to return to Vegas this week, Ardigo to defend his SuperNats crown and Thonon to redeem himself.
Hot on his heals and with another year of Euro experience in his pocket, American Gary Carlton (CRG) is set to regain what once was his, the SuperNats title. Carlton impressed again in the European Championship, moving up from the KZ2 to KZ1 division, while coming up just one point short of a third straight national crown here in the States. The new reigning national champion, Michael Vincec (CRG), did some fine driving of his own throughout the 2008 season. Traveling to Europe as well to replace Carlton’s spot in the KZ2 category, he overcame multiple gremlins to score championship points. Back home, he never finished outside the top-five, earning a big win at the mid-season point and earning his first national championship.
| Gary Carlton will lead the North American contingent to regain the SuperNats crown|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
With nearly a victory at nearly every large event across the country, one victory still remains blank on Alex Speed’s karting resume - a headline SuperNats win. The former S1 and K2 (80cc Junior shifter) SuperNats winner has not beat the best of the best in Vegas. His brother won back to back (2000 and 2001), thus the Speed name stands with the rest however Alex, a true karting enthusiast and perfectionist would like nothing more than to add his name to the list above. His brother won aboard a Tony Kart in ’01, thus the mojo could be in Alex’s favor in his second national race on the green machine.
Not much was known about Jeremy Iglesias (Intrepid) heading into the 2007 event, however with an impressive drive to a third place finish last year have the stop watches on him this year. Same for his Intrepid teammate and former ICA national champion Jordy Vorrath. The Canadian has the speed to sit on pole - and earn the new ‘Oakley Lead Foot’ pole award including a new Minute Machine titanium watch - just needs to put the pieces together to be there at the end of SuperSunday.
No stranger to winning at the SuperNats, Ron White and David Jurca would like to add one more to their win totals. White, the 2002 SuperPro winner, is always fast in Vegas. After spending the past two years in open wheel cars, he’s return to karting and slowly gained back the swagger that is often seen with White behind the wheel. Jurca has two victories to his credit, winning the Formula IC division in ’02 as the class was being introduced to North America at the time and a dominate performance in TaG in ’05. The new look Italkart will be in full force in Vegas, with Jurca looking to gain a win in its debut. Other Euros to watch will be Gian Cavaciuti (GP), who was third in 2006, Arnaud Kozlinski (CRG) - fourth at the KZ1 World Cup - making his first SuperNats start, and another first timer Anthony Abbasse, the French KZ2 vice-champion.
SuperPro Provisional Entry List
|1||Jonathan Thonon||CRG||Maxter||Belgian||22||Two-time KZ1 World Champion|
|5r||Michael Vincec||CRG||Maxter||Canada||17||Reigning ICC National Champion|
|10||Gian Cavaciuti||GP||TM||Italy||27||Factory GP Driver / SuperNats podium 2006|
|21||Tony Lavanant||Energy||TM||France||23||Reigning European KZ2 Champion|
|23||Lorenzo Mandarino||Vemme Kart||TM||Canada||22||2005 SuperNats SuperPro Winner|
|24||Michael Andersen||GP||TM||Denmark||20||Dannish GP Driver|
|26||Phil Giebler||Sodi||TM||USA||29||2007 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year / 2005 ICA National Champion|
|28||Danilo Dirani||Tony Kart||Vortex ||Brazil||25||Former Champ Car Atlantic Driver / Florida Winter Tour Vice-Champion|
|30y||Bryan Eady||Intrepid||Maxter||USA||21||Reigning TaG ICC National Champion / Former SKUSA K1 National Champion|
|40||Roberto Toninelli||Intrepid||TM||Italy||29||Factory Intrepid Driver|
|42||Simo Puhakka||PCR||TM||Finland||20||2007 Finnish ICC Champion|
|43||Jeremy Iglesias||Intrepid||TM||France||21||Factory Intrepid Driver / SuperNats podium 2007|
|46||Arnaud Kozlinski||CRG||Maxter||France||27||2006 Formula A World Cup|
|47||Anthony Abbasse||Sodi||TM||France||19||French KZ2 Championship Runner-up|
|48||Norman Nato||Intrepid||TM||Italy||16||Factory Intrepid Driver|
|49||Yannick Savard||CRG||Maxter||France||28||French CRG Driver|
|51||Marco Ardigo||Tony Kart||Vortex ||Italy||25||Reigning World Champion and SuperNats Winner|
|71y||Ron White||GP||Maxter||USA||27||2002 SuperNats SuperPro Winner|
|92||David Jurca||Italkart||TM||USA||23||2002 Formula IC Winner, 2005 TaG Winner|
|100||Adolfo Anguiano||Italkart||TM||Mexico||39||Mexican Italkart Driver|
|110||Curtis Fox||CRG||TM||Canada||18||No. 15 in EKN ICC Driver Rankings / 2007 Grand Prix of Barrie Winner|
|119y||Ryan Yop||Sodi||TM||USA||21||No. 8 in EKN ICC Driver Rankings|
|127||Josh Schreiber||CRG||Maxter||USA||25||1999 SKI Awards Rising Star Winner|
|141||Alex Speed||Tony Kart||Maxter||USA||22||SuperNats S1 & K2 Winner / Former ICC and 80cc Jr. National Champion|
|147||Jordy Vorrath||Intrepid||TM||Canada||26||2004 ICA National Champion|
|151y||Gary Carlton||CRG||Maxter||USA||22||2006 SuperNats SuperPro Winner, Former National Champion|
|161y||Fritz Leesmann||CRG||Maxter||USA||21||2008 Florida Winter Tour Champion / 2008 Canadian National Champion|
|169||Cody Jolly||Intrepid||Maxter||USA||17||Top ICC Rookie in 2008|
| Defending SuperNationals winner Joel Miller returns to TaG to fend off 99 others looking to take his crown|
(Photo: Go Racing Magazine)
Before even hitting the track, the TaG division has made history with the largest field ever for the event with 100 entries. What is more exciting is the fact that nearly the entire field has a legitimate chance at winning in Vegas. However, a good number of drivers who ran up front at last year’s event will be returning to compete at this year’s race, including some new special guests from karting’s past looking to mix it up with the new generation of karting’s best. With that, eKartingNews.com will look at their projected top-ten in no particular order.
What better place to start than beginning with the defending champion, Joel Miller. The 2007 Skip Barber National champion and 2008 Star Mazda Championship runner-up has enjoyed a lot of success over the past three years. In 2006, the ICA National Championship propelled his progression up the motorsports ladder, now part of the MAZDASPEED Driver Development Program. Back aboard the familiar Tony Kart machine, Miller will be among the front runners from the time they hit the track.
Victor Cabrera used his third place last year at the SuperNats to begin what would eventually lead to a national championship in TaG. The Puerto Rican at times throughout the year seemed to be untouchable in his Kosmic package. Only a couple hiccups cost him a perfect season and he would like nothing more than a SuperNats title added to his CV for 2008. Second in ’07 was John Zartarian. A factor in the past two SuperNats in TaG, ‘Zar’ will most definitely be among the lead group this year aboard the same Tony Kart entry.
Ranked second to Cabrera in the EKN TaG Driver Rankings is Indiana’s Kyle Wiegand. The former number one ICC driver ran a limited TaG schedule in 2008, and the big events with podium finishes put him near the top of the rankings. Wiegand is among a solid Top Kart contingent that also includes Chris Scribner and Chris Wehrheim. Finishing eighth and ninth respectively in 2007, both had strong 2008 seasons. Scribner was the Western Division TaG champion while Wehrheim battled in the East. Both challenged for the national crown, ending the year in the top-five along with Wiegand.
| Victor Cabrera would like to add a SuperNats win to his TaG national championship|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Joey Licata Jr. and Joey Wimsett each held the number one spot in the EKN Driver Rankings at one point this season. Licata (CRG) was out for a brief stint during the season after a nasty wreck in Utah during the month of April. An impressive IKF Grand Nationals and national finale in Vegas brought Licata back on the map, looking to improve on his fourth place from last year. Wimsett overtook Licata’s spot at the top before Cabrera relinquished the position. Wimsett has been a rising star and could have been crowned national champion had not been for questionable disqualifications early in the season. Wimsett has put that behind him and now is focused on a SuperNats victory.
Two drivers to keep an eye on will be Brett Buckwalter and Tony Loniewski. Buckwalter (Italkart) spent the summer running regional programs in NorCal, putting in good results. The SuperNats veteran ran 14th last year however he should be able to improve on that this weekend. Loniewski is another with loads of knowledge in karting and is fast on temporary circuits. The 2007 Mazda RoboPong 200 co-winner and Ironman 150 runner-up loves the ‘sin city’ and would like nothing better than to give Energy its first big North American victory.
Six entries are ‘drivers of interest’ but want no special treatment as they want their results to speak for themselves. NASCAR’s Jamie McMurray, IRL drivers Dan Wheldon and Buddy Rice, Indy Lights pilot Bobby Wilson, Rolex Grand-Am driver Michael Valiante and track designer Rocky Moran Jr. will be aboard TaG machines to compete for the win.
McMurray (CRG), found karting during his off-weekends from NASCAR, will compete in both the TaG and S3 division. He’s been seen competing at WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series events over the past two years and other regional events. Rice returns to the SuperNats after running up front at last year’s event while Wheldon, a big supporter and former co-winner of the Mazda RoboPong 200, will be making his first SuperNats start. Wilson, a former ICC national champion, never won at the SuperNats and will make his first start in TaG. Valiante was once the all-time win leader with three victories at the Vegas event and would like to move up to the top with a fourth win. Moran, owner of the now-deceased Moran Raceway in Southern California, designed the circuit for the SuperNats the last two years and enjoys competing against the best karting has to offer.
TaG Provisional Entry List
|1||Joel Miller||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Hesperia||CA||USA|
|2||Ayla Agren||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Slemmestad||Norway|
|04||Dan Wheldon||Top Kart||Leopard||St. Petersburg||FL||England|
|4||Johnny Blair||Intrepid||PRD Fireball||Tacoma||WA||USA|
|5||Buddy Rice||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Phoenix||AZ||USA|
|05||Kristopher Wall||First Kart||Leopard||Cedar Vale||Australia|
|06||Andy Lee||Birel||Rok TT||Maricopa||AZ||USA|
|6||Jordon Musser||Birel||Motori 7||Coppell||TX||USA|
|7||Brandon Adkins||Tony Kart||Leopard||Port Washington||OH||USA|
|8||Richard Benitez||Kosmic||Rok TT||Carolina||Puerto Rico|
|14||Cy Schumacher||Kosmic||Rok TT||Canton||OH||USA|
|16||Chris Wehrheim||Top Kart||Leopard||Norcross||GA||USA|
|17||Chris Scribner||Top Kart||Leopard||Rancho Cordova||CA||USA|
|19||Steven Barros||Top Kart||Comer||Redlands||CA||USA|
|21||Nate Scherling||CRG||Leopard||Colorado Springs||CO||USA|
|22||Victor Cabrera||Kosmic||Rok TT||San Juan||Puerto Rico|
|23||AJ Whisler||First Kart||Leopard||Phoenix||AZ||USA|
|27||Angel Caban||Kosmic||Rok TT||San Juan||Puerto Rico|
|28||Alexandre Humbert||SodiKart||Rok TT||Eckwersheim||France|
|29||James Kovacic||MMK||Motori 7||Forresters Beach||Australia|
|31||Luis Martinez, Jr.||Avanti||Motori 7||Baldwin Park||CA||USA|
|33||Juan Pablo Delgado||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Monterrey||Mexico|
|42||Michael Lewis||MMK||Motori 7||Laguna Beach||CA||USA|
|43||John Zartarian||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Carlsbad||CA||USA|
|44||Bobby Wilson||First Kart||Leopard||Brownsburg||IN||USA|
|46||Emanuele Pagani||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Sanremo||Italy|
|48||Lucas Foresti||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Jupiter||FL||Brazil|
|58||Sergio Pena||Avanti||Motori 7||Catharpin||VA||USA|
|63||Travis Lowe||Kosmic||Rok TT||Pasadena||CA||USA|
|71||Dusty Davis||CRG||Leopard||Las Vegas||NV||USA|
|72||James Bean||First Kart||Leopard||Beverley||England|
|94||Michael Hogg||Italkart||Leopard||North Vancouver||BC||Canada|
|99||Eric Lichtenstein||PCR||Leopard||Buenos Aires||Argentina|
|116||Ryan Green||First Kart||Leopard||North Salt Lake||UT||USA|
|123||Adam Johnson||Energy||Leopard||Iowa City||IA||USA|
|128||Denis Dirani||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Jupiter||FL||USA|
|182||Chris Gomez||Energy||Leopard||West Sacramento||CA||USA|
|247||Michael Herda||Birel||Rotax||Las Vegas||NV||USA|
|354||Mason Marotta||Intrepid||Rok TT||Bakersfield||CA||USA|
|401||Tony Loniewski||Energy||Leopard||Michigan City||IN||USA|
|416||Rebecca Mitchell||First Kart||Leopard||North Salt Lake||UT||USA|
|425||Edward Fortier||Maranello||Leopard||Toa Alta||Puerto Rico|
|471||Cody Tracy||First Kart||Leopard||North Salt Lake||UT||USA|
|482||Pat Iannucci||SodiKart||Leopard||Boca Raton||FL||USA|
|722||Cory Pollock||Birel||Rotax||Canyon Lake||CA||USA|
|10y||Bryan Stephenson||Tony Kart||Leopard||Redding||CA||USA|
|14d||Dale Kistler-Collins||GP||Motori 7||Thornton||CO||USA|
|17c||Joey Licata, Jr.||CRG||Leopard||Van Nuys||CA||USA|
|17y||Anthony Snow||Energy||Leopard||San Jose||CA||USA|
|18y||Neil Alberico||Top Kart||Rok TT||Monte Sereno||CA||USA|
|22r||Brayden Bulger||First Kart||Leopard||Sooke||BC||Canada|
|26j||Pedro Jacobsen||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Jupiter||FL||USA|
|29x||Airel Jimenez||Avanti||Motori 7||Canyon Country||CA||USA|
|32y||Zach Dericco||GP||Leopard||San Luis Obispo||CA||USA|
|3y||Nic LeDuc||Tony Kart||Leopard||Novato||CA||USA|
|408y||Will Martindale||Tony Kart||Leopard||Vacaville||CA||USA|
|40x||Adam Zeen||SodiKart||Rok TT||Huntington Beach||CA||USA|
|412u||Michael Self||SodiKart||Leopard||Park City||UT||USA|
|441y||Troy Diede||Intrepid||Rok TT||Lodi||CA||USA|
|5c||Ryon Beachner||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Lake Forest||CA||USA|
|66b||Lucas Barnett||Tony Kart||Rok TT||Glendale||AZ||USA|
|67x||Andrick Zeen||SodiKart||Rok TT||Huntington Beach||CA||USA|
|71c||Rocky Moran, Jr||Tony Kart||Leopard||Coto de Caza||CA||USA|
|77k||Nicola Galloni||GP||Rotax||Marina Del Rey||CA||USA|
|81y||Craig DiGrazia||Rosso Korsa||Leopard||San Rafael||CA||USA|
|86c||Erik Jackson||CRG||Leopard||Long Beach||CA||USA|
|86j||Kyle Wiegand||Top Kart||Leopard||Bargersville||IN||USA|
|8k||Alex Akers||Tony Kart||Leopard||Glendale||AZ||USA|
|90x||Justin Miller||Birel||Rok TT||Scottsdale||AZ||USA|
|96r||Bob Wakeling||CRG||Rok TT||North Vancouver||BC||Canada|
|99x||Erik von Zeipel||Birel||Rotax||Los Angeles||CA||USA|