|eKartingNews.com Driver Rankings – April 15, 2011
The 2011 racing season is officially underway with the winter programs on each coast wrapped up and everyone looking forward to the summer months of racing. Today is the first official release of the 2011 eKartingNews.com Driver Rankings, collecting all the results from events beginning from Daytona KartWeek in December to last weekend. Many drivers have used the winter season to establish themselves in the rankings while others have fallen from the top order.
The changes occurred primarily in the TaG rankings, thanks to the Challenge of the Americas and Florida Winter Tour programs providing great racing and solid fields in the Rotax Senior categories. The new number one, however, gained valuable points in the opening rounds of the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series - Sam Beasley (Arrow). The 16-year old EKN Rising Star award winner from last year jumped over Daniel Formal to steal the number one spot thanks to a victory in Daytona and runner-up in Kershaw. The Ohio driver added more with a sixth place performance at the FWT finale in Ocala. The biggest jump, which was no surprise when he announced his racing schedule, was Australian David Sera (Arrow) into the second position. The runner-up at last year’s exciting SKUSA SuperNationals TaG Senior main event contested the full Florida Winter Tour - earning the series championship. Sera also added a victory at the Challenge of the Americas finale, boosting himself to one position better than he ended the 2009 Driver Rankings season when he raced state-side.
Holding onto the third position but improving his point total is two-time WKA TaG champion Robert Bujdoso (PCR). Another young driver establishing himself in the sport, Bujdoso got off to a shaky start for 2011 in Daytona but backed up his championships from a year ago with two victories in Kershaw. Formal now starts the season in the fourth position, losing some points with a up-and-down Florida Winter Tour. After contesting the series aboard a Kosmic, Formal moved to a Birel kart for last weekend’s Rotax Pan American Challenge in Homestead with two podium finishes. Advancing to the fifth position is the reigning Rotax Grand National champion, Stepanova Nekeel (Tony Kart). The Pacific Northwest driver finished second in the Challenge of the Americas standings after opening the season with a double win weekend in Phoenix.
Sixth in the order is defending Pan American Challenge champion Jesus Rios Jr. A longtime CRG driver turned over to Birel in February for the Florida Winter Tour. At his home track in Homestead, Rios started out the Pan Am season with a double win weekend out-running Formal and former Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr. Another driver making a large jump due to his winter results is Brazilian Felipe Fraga. The CRG driver earned a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals with his championship performance at the Challenge of the Americas, putting himself seventh in the rankings thus far. WKA racer Tommy Andersen (Merlin) moved up two positions, not yet earning a victory this season but will no doubt defend his two Grand National victories come September. Fellow WKA competitor Michael Politis (Merlin) fell four spots to ninth with 2010 Pan American Challenge vice-champion Victor Pedrosa (Arrow) dropping six positions to complete the top-10.
With not much shifterkart racing taking place over the winter months, the Driver Rankings for the Stock Moto category remain fairly unchanged with the same top-10 drivers. SKUSA Pro Tour S1 Pro Stock Moto champion Fritz Leesmann (CRG) holds the number one spot with his Pro Tour counterparts Jason Toft (GP) and Alex Speed (GP) second and third. Leesmann will defend his crown while both Toft and Speed have not committed to the program, thus we should see them fall down the order as the season progresses. Clinton Schoombee (DR Kart) held the number one spot for most of 2010 until settling into the fourth spot. For 2011, he will be the leading contender to dethrone Leesmann. Reigning S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto champion Derek Crockett (GP) sits fifth and will make the jump to S1 this year, hoping the experience and his SuperNationals victory will carry him to the podium in the Pro category.
Sixth place remains Nic LeDuc, who’s 2011 plans remain unknown. NorCal’s Brett Buckwalter (Italkart) has the most experience in North American shifterkart racing than anyone in the top-10 and will use it to his advantage when the Pro Tour kick’s off. Kiwi driver Daniel Bray (GP) has been in New Zealand, racking up the results on his home turf before he plans to return state-side for an assault on the Pro Tour season. Brad Dunford (CRG) picked up his first S1 victory at the ProKart Challenge South opener at Adams in February and should be right there as a contender for the Pro Tour championship. Completing the top-10 is Tommy Thompson, another NorCal driver with unknown plans for 2011 as he has not committed to the Tucson event, thus leaving room for those moving up to the S1 division to advance up the rankings or those who standout in the S2 Semi-Pro category.
TaG Driver Rankings Top-10
|6.||6||NC||Jesus Rios Jr.||17||6984|
For the full TaG Driver Rankings, Click Here
| Sam Beasley|
(Photo: Sean Buur - Go Racing Magazine)
NEW TaG #1 - Sam Beasley
Moving into the number one spot to begin the new season is the 2010 EKN Rising Star award winner Sam Beasley. The Arrow driver from Ohio recorded phenomenal results last season, transitioning from the Junior class to the Senior level. The marquee performance came at the Rotax Grand Nationals, coming from 33rd on the main event grid to an astonishing runner-up finish to earn a trip to the Grand Finals. Now full time as a Senior driver for 2011, Beasley has set the bar for the year. After two WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series events, Sam has seven wins in 14 starts - including two in TaG competition.
|Rotax Pan Am Chall. ’10 - New Castle #1||9||4||975|
|Rotax Pan Am Chall. ’10 - New Castle #2||9||1||1005|
|US Rotax Grand Nationals ’10||10||2||1118|
|Rock Island GP ’10 - TaG Sr.||10||1||1107|
|WKA Man. Cup Series ’11 - Daytona -TaG 1||9||1||1018|
|WKA Man. Cup Series ’11 - Kershaw - TaG 2||9||2||1020|
|Florida Winter Tour ’11 - Rotax #5||9||6||970|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 2.43
Average Points: 1030.4
Total Points: 7213
| Louie Pagano|
(Photo: Sean Buur - Go Racing Magazine)
TaG ‘ON THE MOVE’ - Louie Pagano - #10
Similar to Beasley, Louie Pagano made the transition from Junior to Senior mid-way through the 2010 season. An accomplished Junior driver from California, Pagano is quickly establishing himself as a force in the Senior level. Pagano was a contender at last year’s Rotax Grand Nationals and ran inside the top-five in the two Pan American Challenge events he contested. He has started out the season contesting both the Challenge of the Americas and Florida Winter Tour, helping to boost his ranking position this early in the season and should be expected to continue moving toward the top throughout 2011.
|Rotax Pan Am Chall. ’10 - New Castle #2||9||5||965|
|US Rotax Grand Nationals ’10||10||6||1073|
|Challenge of the Americas ’11 - PKRA #1||9||7||951|
|Challenge of the Americas ’11 - PKRA #2||9||4||981|
|Challenge of the Americas ’11 - CalSpeed #1||9||8||948|
|Challenge of the Americas ’11 - CalSpeed #2||9||2||1009|
|Florida Winter Tour ’11 - Rotax #5||9||8||950|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 5.71
Average Points: 982.4
Total Points: 6877
Upcoming TaG Driver Rankings Events
|4/16||Route 66 Sprint Series #1||TaG 1||Mid-State Raceway||Dawson, IL||8|
|4/17||NorCal Outlaw Series #3||TaG Senior||Blue Max Kart Track||Davis, CA||8|
|4/17||Route 66 Sprint Series #1||TaG 2||Mid-State Raceway||Dawson, IL||8|
|4/30||Great Lakes Pro Series #1||TaG Senior||New Castle Motorsports Park||New Castle, IN||8|
|4/30||IKF Region 11 Sprint Series #1||TBA||Shasta Kart Track||Redding, CA||8|
|4/30||SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals #1||TaG Senior||Musselman Honda Circuit||Tucson, AZ||9|
|4/30||WKA Man. Cup Series #3||Parilla Leopard||Michiana Raceway Park||South Bend, IN||8|
|4/30||WKA Man. Cup Series #3||TaG 1||Michiana Raceway Park||South Bend, IN||9|
|5/1||Cal State Karting Series #3||Spec PRD Senior||Big Fresno County Fairgrounds||Fresno, CA||8|
|5/1||Great Lakes Pro Series #2||TaG Senior||New Castle Motorsports Park||New Castle, IN||8|
|5/1||IKF Region 11 Sprint Series #2||TBA||Shasta Kart Track||Redding, CA||8|
|5/1||SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals #2||TaG Senior||Musselman Honda Circuit||Tucson, AZ||9|
|5/1||WKA Man. Cup Series #3||TaG 2||Michiana Raceway Park||South Bend, IN||9|
Stock Moto Driver Rankings Top-10
For the full Stock Moto Driver Rankings, Click Here
| Fritz Leesmann|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Stock Moto #1 - Fritz Leesmann
Elk Grove, California
The reigning SKUSA Pro Tour S1 Pro Stock Moto champion holds the number one spot in the rankings heading into the 2011 season. A championship in the ProKart Challenge North program helped to add to his four podium finishes from the Pro Tour. Leesmann’s time at the top could be in question, depending on his results this season and his regional schedule - which will be limited. Leesmann has been working more on the wrenches for the past few seasons, which in turn he says has helped in his own performances on the track. Still, the Aluminos/PSL Karting driver is the driver to beat as when the Pro Tour opens up in Tucson.
|SKUSA SpringNationals #1 - S1||9.5||1||1054|
|SKUSA SpringNationals #2 - S1||9.5||2||1037|
|ProKart Chall. North #3 - S1||8.5||1||964|
|SKUSA SummerNationals #1 - S1||9.5||7||993|
|SKUSA SummerNationals #2 - S1||9.5||1||1057|
|SKUSA SuperNationals 2010 - S1||10||2||1130|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 2.67
Average Points: 1039.2
Total Points: 6235
| Josh Lane|
Stock Moto ‘ON THE MOVE’ - Josh Lane - #24
A long-time champion road racer, Josh Lane is looking to build his CV on the sprint side of the sport. The 23-year old has teamed up with the new DRT Racing operation to pilot a DR Kart in the S2 division of the SKUSA Pro Tour. Lane had impressive runs at the SummerNationals and the SuperNationals last year - earning a podium finish at the Vegas event. Lane spent the winter months preparing for his assault on the Pro Tour, trimming off weight and testing as much as possible to be ready for the season. While his opening weekend at the Southwest Regional Cup opener went sour, Lane is looking to bounce back in Tucson and move further up the Driver Rankings.
|SKUSA SummerNationals #1 - S2||9||4||960|
|SKUSA SummerNationals #2 - S2||9||7||930|
|Rock Island GP - King of the Streets||10||18||830|
|SKUSA SuperNationals 2010 - S2||9.5||5||1045|
|Southwest Regional Cup ’11 #1||8||11||786|
|Southwest Regional Cup ’11 #2||8||11||786|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 9.33
Average Points: 923
Total Points: 5338
Upcoming Stock Moto Driver Rankings Events
|4/17||Racing the Rockies #1||Spec 125 Senior||The Track at Centennial||Centennial, CO||8|
|4/23||Utah Kart Championships #3||Spec Light||Miller Motorsports Park||Tooele, UT||8|
|4/30||Great Lakes Pro Series #1||Stock Moto||New Castle Motorsports Park||New Castle, IN||8|
|4/30||SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals #1||S1||Musselman Honda Circuit||Tucson, AZ||9.5|
|4/30||SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals #1||S2||Musselman Honda Circuit||Tucson, AZ||9|
|5/1||Great Lakes Pro Series #2||Stock Moto||New Castle Motorsports Park||New Castle, IN||8|
|5/1||SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals #2||S1||Musselman Honda Circuit||Tucson, AZ||9.5|
|5/1||SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals #2||S2||Musselman Honda Circuit||Tucson, AZ||9|
|5/7||Utah Kart Championships #4||Spec Light||Miller Motorsports Park||Tooele, UT||8|
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 2011, the SKUSA SuperNationals and US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals receive a score of 10 in their initial weighting in the TaG category while the SuperNats is the lone event in the Stock Moto division. The SKUSA Pro Tour and Rotax Pan American Challenge national series events draw a base ranking of nine (9), while the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup, Florida Winter Tour, Challenge of the Americas, IKF 2-Cycle Sprint Grand Nationals and other regional program races were given a base ranking of either eight (8) or nine (9).
The EKN staff reserves the right to adjust the rankings of each event throughout the year. Continuing for 2011 is a minimum entry total for any events considered for the Driver Rankings program. 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.