Weather Rushes Opening Two Rounds of Midwest ProKart Challenge

Series packs two rounds into one day as rising Mississippi River overtook I-55 Raceway facility

Derek Crockett and Nick Lougee were the top two Stock Moto drivers at the opening weekend
(Photo: SLKA)

The opening rounds of the 2013 Superkarts! USA Midwest ProKart Challenge were a true challenge – on and off the track – for the competitors who raced to escape the terrible flooding that took place throughout the Great Lakes area last weekend. Flooding was a major concern at the I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri – located alongside the Mississippi River – when officials arrived Friday. With the information in hand, SKUSA elected to condense the two-round schedule from two days into one, with 60 laps of racing facing the drivers. Unfortunately, a number of competitors who planned to compete had to deal with their own personal flooding issues and were forced to miss the event. The racing continued on, as a number of competitors battled around ‘Thunder Valley’ to start out the 2013 season.

Defending S2 Semi-Pro champion Nick Lougee returned, carrying the regional #1 plate and started out the year battling S1 driver Derek Crockett. After a year away from the sport, the 2010 SKUSA Pro Tour S2 Semi-Pro champion returned, committed to contesting the full Midwest PKC. Lougee claimed the pole position and scored the heat one victory. Crockett came through after troubles in the first two on-track sessions to outrun Lougee for the heat two win. In the opening main event, Lougee led the first half with Crockett controlling the second for the overall victory. Lougee would strike back in the second final, leading the entire way as he held off Crockett at the checkered flag. Collin Willis and Jenna Grillo rounded out the S2 podium in both main events, each earning a runner-up finish. The 2012 S5 Junior Stock Moto series champ Erik Nelson began his defense strong, with two victories on the opening weekend. It was nearly a sweep, as Nelson started out on top in qualifying and heat one, but a DNF in heat two dropped him down the order, giving the win to Kyle Kennedy. Nelson bounced back to earn the victory in final one over Kennedy and Max Nufer, and once again in final two, with Nufer earning the runner-up position. Kris Dickson was the lone S4 Master Stock Moto competitor on the weekend, and is expected to see more competition at the next two event weekends.

Jamie Williams bested the TaG Cadet category in both main events (Photo: SLKA)

Jamie Williams bested the TaG Cadet category in both main events
(Photo: SLKA)

The TaG Cadet division has always been strong in the Midwest PKC program, and they put on a great show in Pevely. Defending champion Nick Nufer started the weekend out on top of the time sheets in qualifying, edging out Samuel Paley by 69 thousandths of a second. Nufer held on for the heat one win, but Jamie Williams came through first in heat two. Williams was able to pull away to a two-second victory in the opening main event, with Paley and Nufer completing the podium. Williams doubled up, jumping out to a four-second advantage in final two, with Max Kaeser and Paley trailing. Mick Gabriel ran unchallenged in the TaG Senior division, with local option classes welcoming Bryan Heiple in Yamaha Senior Sportsman and Nick Lueck in Clone Rookie.

Focus now turns toward the next stop, which will take the series north at the beginning of June to the US Air Motorsports Raceway in Shawano, Wisconsin – the site of the 2010 SKUSA SummerNationals. The Kenny Vernberg-designed sprint course is a true challenge to any racer, and will be the only national event to visit this amazing circuit in 2013. The May 31-June 2 weekend will welcome a number of racers unable to attend the opening rounds in Pevely. The series will conclude the 2013 season at the New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana on September 13-15. The state-of-the-art facility owned and operated by IndyCar driver Mark Dismore will host the final two rounds, which will also serve as the SKUSA ‘Midwest Shifterfest’. The event will be a celebration of shifterkart racing in the East. A solid purse featuring $1000-to-win is scheduled for the Open Shifter category, providing the field meets the 10-kart minimum. Anything over that number could expand the purse even further.

To follow the updates regarding the 2013 program, be sure to visit the Midwest PKC section on

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