EKN Trackside: 2015 United States Pro Kart Series – GoPro Motorplex – Preview Part 1

Third season set to get underway this weekend in Mooresville, North Carolina

The 2015 United States Pro Kart Series will commence on April 24-26 at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina. This event begins the third season for the program, promoted by Mark Coats, aimed at providing an elite series for TaG and Yamaha competitors along the eastern half of the United States. The entry total for the weekend is reaching the record mark of 169 entries per day, set last year at the season opener at GoPro Motorplex.

This will be the third straight year the Mooresville, NC facility has hosted the opening rounds of the United States Pro Kart Series. The inaugural event saw torential rains greet the first event, which was followed up with perfect weather in 2014. Sticking with the month of April to begin the new season, the USPKS is back to GoPro Motorplex for another exciting weekend of racing. The 7/10-mile course is a replica of the Kartodromo Parma circuit in Italy – which hosted five world championships during its time. Updates have been made to the facility over the last 12 months, including run-off sections at certain points around the course, including an updated turn 2 complex.

eKartingNews.com is once again working with the USPKS to provide EKN Live coverage. Race fans and family members who are unable to attend can tune into ekartingnews.com/live for live audio with USPKS announcer Randy Kugler and live timing from Race-Monitor.com. Daily race reports will be published daily on the site’s home page, updates posted to the Official Discussion Thread, along with breaking news, photos and other links on the EKN Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.


Mini Rok Cadet

Nicholas d'Orlando enters the USPKS opener as a favorite in Mini Rok Cadet (Photo: Florida Karting Photos)

Nicholas d’Orlando enters the USPKS opener as a favorite in Mini Rok Cadet (Photo: Florida Karting Photos)

The Mini Rok Cadet division made its debut with the USPKS program last year, welcoming 27 drivers on the weekend. Pre-entries numbers have matched that, with a projected total to eclipse the 30 driver mark. The key story going into the season is the graduation of a handful of championship contenders and winners from a year ago. Included in that are the top-four from last year’s point standings, including defending champion Dylan Tavella.

Among those returning to compete for the championship is 2013 Yamaha Cadet champion Sam Mayer (Franklin Motorsport/Merlin). Mayer had the speed in his Mini Rok ride all last year, finishing fifth in the standings but was just unable to reach the top of the podium. The 11-year-old will look to end his Cadet career on top in what will likely be his last season in the youngest division. The only driver to win in 2014 and return in the class is Lachlan DeFrancesco. The Benik driver won in South Bend, finishing the year with mixed results and landed eighth in the standings.

The season, including the opening weekend, will be about those drivers who are going to step up and contend. Kart Life star Jason Welage is primed for contention, beginning his first full season with Top Kart USA after placing ninth last year as a privateer entrant. One name that stands out as a possible championship contender is Koene USA’s Nicholas d’Orlando. The New York driver is making his USPKS debut in Mooresville, ready to fight for this year’s title. He finished second in the Florida Winter Tour Rok Cup USA championship recently, and the Tony Kart driver is among the top Cadet drivers in the country.

USPKS is gaining prestige west of the Mississippi with drivers coming east to compete. Colorado driver Hannah Greenemeier (KartSport North America/Deadly Kart), Arizona’s Leland Honeyman (Expirit), and Texan Yusuf Moola (Birel) are among the drivers competing in this weekend. A lot of young pilots are making their Cadet debut, including last year’s Yamaha Rookie champion Luca Mars (KartWerks/CompKart).

Provisional Mini Rok Cadet Entry List

No. Driver Chassis Engine Hometown
18 Caleb Bacon FA Kart Comet Kingsport, TN
48 Gunnar Bischoff Haase Castleton, VT
10 Madison Campeau Praga Comet Gibsonia, PA
30 Lachlan Defranceco Benik Ft Lauderdale, FL
58 Ryan Detlor Praga Comet Madison, AL
15 Nicholas d'Orlando Tony Kart Koene Carmel, IN
148 James Egozi Benik North Bay Village, FL
87 Jeremy Fairbairn Benik Supertune Wellington, FL
111 Tristan Farber Merlin Woltjer Waukesha, WI
2 Connor Ferris Top Kart Woltjer Hackettstown, NJ
34 Hannah Greenemeier Deadly Kart Comet Denver, CO
74 Aidan Harrington Merlin Comet Des Plaines, IL
4 Leland Honeyman Expirit Supertune Peoria, AZ
76 James Lynch Haase Comet Chicago Ridge, IL
888 Luca Mars Praga Comet Sewickley, PA
88 Pauly Massimino Tony Kart Woltjer Indian Trail, NC
27 Tyler Maxson Benik Sargent Covington, GA
22 Sam Mayer Merlin Franklin Franklin, WI
21 Yusuf Moola Birel Iron Rock Houston, TX
3 Robert Noaker III Merlin Woltjer Duncannon, PA
777 Annie Rhule Praga Woltjer Pittsburgh, PA
44 Philip Savopoulos Praga Washington D.C.
99 Stone Slattery Top Kart Comet Dover, NH
36 Kyle Thome Merlin Woltjer Dousman, WI
1 Ugo Ugochukwu Tony Kart Koene Carmel, IN
5 Jason Welage Top Kart Woltjer Cleves, OH


Yamaha Cadet

Sam Mayer looks to put Merlin Nation back on top in Yamaha Cadet for 2015 (Photo: EKN)

Sam Mayer looks to put Merlin Nation back on top in Yamaha Cadet for 2015 (Photo: EKN)

Six different drivers stood atop of the Yamaha Cadet podium in the eight races last year. What is among the most competitive categories of the series, another exciting season is in store. Inaugural series champion Sam Mayer was edged out in the title chase by Dylan Tavella. The defending champ is moving up to Junior, and leaves Mayer as the top returning driver. Mayer could give Franklin Motorsport/Merlin its second class championship in three years, but has a number of driver in the hunt entering the season opener.

Like Mini Rok, numbers are similar to last year’s total and could eclipse the record of 27 from the 2013 opener. About a dozen of drivers will compete in both the Mini Rok and Yamaha divisions, including Jason Welage. The Top Kart USA driver is among the contenders entering 2015. Welage finished last season eighth in the standings. Madison Campeau (KartWerks/Praga) and Aidan Harrington (Merlin) are a couple drivers that will move up the standings this year, with the graduation of a handful of drivers to Junior. Other names will rise up the order as the Mooresville weekend and the season moves on.

Provisional Yamaha Cadet Entry List

No. Driver Chassis Engine Hometown
48 Gunnar Bischoff Haase Woltjer Castleton, VT
10 Madison Campeau Praga Comet Gibsonia, PA
7 Amelia Cangialosi Haase Woltjer Chester, NJ
5 Cameron Christ Birel Comet Lake St Luis, MO
58 Ryan Detlor Praga Comet Madison, AL
18 Talan Drake Merlin Woltjer Riverside, IA
111 Tristan Farber Merlin Source Waukesha, WI
74 Aidan Harrington Merlin Comet Des Plaines, IL
71 Sam Hinds Birel Comet Fairland, IN
23 Ian Hornish Pcr Comet Akron, OH
76 James Lynch Haase Comet Chicago Ridge, IL
6 Mason Maine Tony Kart Switch Lake St Louis, MO
88 Pauly Massimino Tony Kart Woltjer Indian Trail, NC
27 Tyler Maxson Benik Sargent Covington, GA
22 Sam Mayer Merlin Franklin Franklin, WI
03 Robert Noaker III Merlin Woltjer Duncannon, PA
4 Caden Paszkiewcz Merlin Woltjer Hartland, WI
777 Annie Rhule Praga Woltjer Pittsburgh, PA
710 Emil Schultz Top Kart Comet Roswell, GA
99 Stone Slattery Top Kart Comet Dover, NH
36 Kyle Thome Merlin Woltjer Dousman, WI
15 Jason Welage Top Kart Woltjer Cleves, OH


Yamaha Rookie

2014 belonged to Luca Mars, as the Pennsylvania driver won seven of the eight feature races. Eighteen drivers was the most seen in one weekend, the inaugural event in 2013. This year’s opening event has 18 drivers scheduled to compete for the wins in Mooresville, with hopes of racing toward a series championship. Donald Whorton II (Tony Kart) is the top returning driver, finishing fifth in last year’s standings. Others include Chester Brimer (Praga), Nico Montileone (Praga), Conner Churchill (Tony Kart) and Owen Mahle (Top Kart).

Provisional Yamaha Rookie Entry List

No. Driver Chassis Engine Hometown
87 Isaac Beekman Praga Comet Falls Church, VA
99 Bayne Bennett II Tony Kart Switch Granger, IN
11 Chester Brimer Praga Switch Whitmore Lake, MI
15 Camrin Cass Merlin Woltjer Hartland, WI
199 Conner Churchill Tony Kart Switch Beloit, WI
311 Brent Crews FA Kart Borgdona Denver, NC
00 Dawson Crum PCR Woltjer Greenville, PA
77 Jack Gambino Birel Switch Mcdonough, GA
9 Aidan Hinds Praga Comet Loveland, OH
48 Owen Mahle Top Kart Woltjer Ravenna, OH
36 Cole Marr Birel Woltjer Flint, MI
55 Nico Montileone Praga Woltjer Beaver Falls, PA
155 Isabella Robusto Comp Kart Fort Mill, SC
22 William Robusto Comp Kart Fort Mill, SC
10 Lucas Smalec Merlin Woltjer Glenview, IL
88 Nicholas Terlecki Birel CKT Elgin, IL
16 Jax Walker Birel Triple E Marietta, GA
42 Donald Whorton II Tony Kart Comet Montpelier, VA

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