EKN Trackside: 2015 Superkarts! USA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour – SpringNationals Preview – Part 1

New era of national karting series begins at PKRA

The 2015 season for the Superkarts! USA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour is set to begin at the Phoenix Kart Racing Association in Glendale, Arizona. The sixth season of the organization’s championship series is reaching new heights, welcoming new title sponsor Fikse Wheels, full television coverage thanks to a partnership with CBS Sports Network and Torque.tv, and another record breaking prize package well over $150,000 for the year. The future is bright, and the numbers showing with nearly 200 drivers set to battle in the four Stock Moto categories and the four TaG divisions.

This is the second trip for the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour to the PKRA facility in its current form, dating back to the early days of the organization with the ProMoto Tour debuting in Glendale. The 3/4-mile, 12 turn course is a mixture of technical and fast corners, including the famous ‘monza’ turn.

eKartingNews.com, the official media partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the sixth straight year of Trackside Live coverage of the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour. Those unable to attend can enjoy live audio and live timing at the EKN Live page – ekartingnews.com/live. Daily race reports can be seen each day, along with updates and results posted to the Official Discussion Thread, in addition to the EKN social media feeds – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Today, EKN begins the preview series by looking at the younger categories – TaG Junior, S5 Junior Stock Moto and TaG Cadet. Wednesday will cover the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, TaG Master and S4 Master Stock Moto with the headline categories TaG Senior and S1 Pro Stock Moto on Thursday.


TaG Junior

David Malukas will attempt to become the first two-time champion in TaG Junior (Photo: EKN)

David Malukas will attempt to become the first two-time champion in TaG Junior (Photo: EKN)

During the first three seasons of the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour, the TaG Junior category was dominated by west coast drivers. In 2013, Brazilian Yurik Carvalho propelled himself to the top of the championship podium with a victory at the SuperNationals. Last season, Illinois driver David Malukas used a double-win weekend at the SummerNationals, coupled with a runner-up at the SuperNats, to earn the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour title. Carrying the SKUSA #1 plate, the target is now set for the 24 drivers taking part at this year’s SpringNationals. Malukas is considered to be one of the top Junior drivers in North America, and has a busy 2015 schedule that includes the defence of his title while also competing in the S5 Junior Stock Moto category for the first time. No stranger to double duty action, the Top Kart pilot is primed to have an excellent shot at defending his crown.

Among those that are considered the best in the Junior ranks within the United States include a handful competing at the SpringNationals, with a majority coming from the East Coast. Malukas’ teammate Zach Holden earned championships throughout his Cadet career, and added more during his first two seasons as a Junior pilot. New York’s Anthony Gangi Jr. (Tony Kart) was a winner at the 2012 SuperNationals in TaG Cadet, and placed third last year in Las Vegas. There is no question the speed is there for the rising star, so the biggest factor will be eliminating mistakes if he wishes to be there at the end each day for the victory. Heading into his second season as a Junior, Franklin Motorsports’ Brandon Lemke has made a name for himself among the top contenders. The 2015 season has started off strong, with the Merlin driver earning the Florida Pro Kart Series winter title, and he is heading to Phoenix riding off three victories and a runner-up finish at the USPKS event at GoPro Motorplex this past weekend.

With a new season comes on the graduating class from the lower level. This year’s crop of Junior rookies is strong, with many possible contenders to land victories or even the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour championship. It has been an impressive first four months for California driver Trey Brown (Tony Kart). The 2014 California ProKart Challenge TaG Cadet champ was solid at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas, and continued that momentum into the California PKC campaign. Following two runner-up finishes, Brown recorded his first Junior victory at Buttonwillow a few weeks ago. John Paul Southern moved to the Junior ranks at the end of last season and put himself right toward the front of the pack. The Ohio driver has remained toward the front end of the field thus far in 2015 and will make his SpringNationals debut in Phoenix, filling out the Top Kart three-headed monster paired with Malukas and Holden. Right there with Brown on the West Coast is Jagger Jones. The grandchild of Parnelli Jones, son of PJ Jones, stood in Las Vegas as the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour champion in TaG Cadet. The Ryan Perry Motorsports driver grabbed his first Junior podium at the recent California PKC event, and home track advantage could be a big boost to put him in the hunt over the weekend.

One of the more recognizable TaG Cadet graduates is Dylan Tavella (Tony Kart). The New Yorker was among the drivers featured in the Kart Life television program this winter, and he comes into the Junior ranks with a solid resume as a Cadet driver. Tavela has shown a knack for excellent race management, and can be counted on to be in the right position for the win at the end of hte race. Coming from Mexico, Sebastian Alvarez is another driver to watch. The PSL Karting pilot earned the Rotax Challenge of the Americas and Florida Winter Tour Mini Max titles in March. Alvarez will make his Junior debut this weekend aboard the new BirelART.

Others to follow on the stopwatch include Texan David Ilavia aboard the new CompKart chassis, the always-fast Chase Farley (Energy), and California driver Nicky Hays (FA Kart).

Provisional TaG Junior Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine Builder State Nat.
294m Sebastian Alvarez PSL Karting BirelART PSL Karting TX MEX
28b Trey Brown Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Tony Kart High-Rev Engineering CA USA
15y Colby DuBato PKS Kart Supplies Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines CA USA
221x Zoey Edenholm Kosmic AZ USA
201y Chase Farley Snow Racing Energy Snow Racing Engines CA USA
76d Everest Fedler 2Wild Karting Tony Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CO USA
03d Max Fedler 2Wild Karting Tony Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CO USA
00n Savannah Fitzgerald Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Comet Racing Engines PA USA
07n Anthony Gangi Jr. GT7 Motorsports Tony Kart Woltjer Racing Engines NY USA
888c Hannah Grisham Phil Giebler Racing (PGR) Tony Kart Mack Motorsports CA USA
51c Nicky Hays Phil Giebler Racing (PGR) FA Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CA USA
22t Max Hewitt J3 Competition CompKart P1 Racing Engines TX USA
222j Zach Holden Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Comet Racing Engines IN USA
27t Blair Hosie JB Motorsports Intrepid JB Motorsports TX USA
232t David Ilavia J3 Competition CompKart J3 Competition TX USA
98x Jagger Jones Pure Karting Tony Kart High-Rev Engineering AZ USA
01j Brandon Lemke Franklin Motorsports Merlin Woltjer Racing Engines WI USA
1 David Malukas Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Comet Racing Engines IL USA
40j Jack Miller Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Comet Racing Engines IN USA
106c Anthony Sawyer Nash Motorsportz Tony Kart Hyper Racing Engines CA USA
49c Jonathan Shone D Power Racing Mad – Croc P1 Racing Engines CA USA
20j JP Southern Jr. Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Woltjer Racing Engines OH USA
214n Dylan Tavella PSL Karting BirelART Woltjer Racing Engines NY USA
44x Dante Yu Nash Motorsportz Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines CA USA


S5 Junior Stock Moto

California PKC point leader Callum Smith is among the contenders  in this year's S5 Junior division (Photo: dromophotos.com)

California PKC point leader Callum Smith is among the contenders in this year’s S5 Junior division (Photo: dromophotos.com)

The 2014 graduating class from the S5 Junior division is another solid group of drivers that will be making big strides over the next few years in the development up the SKUSA ladder system. The departure of these pilots opens up the door for new drivers to contend for race wins and the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour championship. The field for this year’s SpringNationals may be lacking in size, but the talent level is strong. Among them is defending TaG Junior champion David Malukas. The Illinois driver will have a go at both divisions, similar to what Christian Brooks did last season. Regarded as one of the top Junior pilots in the country, this will be his first attempt at the shifterkart category. Experience will be on the side for others returning back to the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour. Jason Pettit (Aluminos), Evan White (Kosmic), Anthony Freese (Praga) and Ryan Lewis (GP) all competed at the SuperNationals last year, with Lewis the top finisher among them. This year, Pettit has one podium finish at the Califorina ProKart Challenge in three races, sitting third in the standings. Momentum is on the side of Callum Smith (Praga). A newcomer to the category, the Aussie who now resides in California has won the opening three rounds of the California PKC program. Other new faces include fellow California drivers Hunter Kelly (Praga) and Josh Early (Top Kart). Each have a podium result as well at the California PKC this season. From the Texas ProKart Challenge is Andrew Engberson (Intrepid). A newcomer to the S5 ranks, Engberson picked up his first win in Katy and will make his Fikse Pro Tour debut.

Provisional S5 Junior Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine Builder State Nat.
77x Josh Early Empire Karts Top Kart SwedeTech CA USA
48t Andrew Engberson Champion Racing Intrepid SwedeTech TX USA
551y Anthony Freese 51 Motorsports Praga SwedeTech CA USA
103y Hunter Kelly Leading Edge Motorsports Praga SwedeTech CA USA
65t Ryan P. Lewis Ryman Racing GP SRS Racing Engines TX USA
79j David Malukas Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart SwedeTech IL USA
46y Jason Pettit Aluminos Aluminos Aluminos CA USA
442y Callum Smith Musgrave Racing Company (MRC) Praga SwedeTech CA AUS
238r Evan White Overdrive Motorsports Kosmic Ruthless Karting AB CAN


TaG Cadet

Texan Jak Crawford is among the many drivers with championship aspirations in TaG Cadet (Photo: dromophotos.com)

Texan Jak Crawford is among the many drivers with championship aspirations in TaG Cadet (Photo: dromophotos.com)

It is a new era for the TaG Cadet division at the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour, with the category moving to the IAME Mini Swift engine for the year and the future. The change has been welcomed by the karting community and the class is one driver away from the 44-driver cap. Among them are drivers from all regions of the country, including last year’s Texas ProKart Challenge champion Jak Crawford (Energy). His first event running a IAME engine this year was the recent California PKC event in Buttonwillow, where he emerged as the winner. His results over the past 16 months have put him among the drivers to beat. In California, Crawford topped a number of solid drivers, as the top five in the series are all coming to Phoenix. Anthony Willis calls PKRA his home, and currently leads the Cali PKC standings with one victory under his belt. Oliver Calvo (Tony Kart) is the third different driver to win at the regional program, with Cadet front runners Ryan Schartau (Tony Kart), Tomas Mejia (Benik) and Colin Queen (Tony Kart) all looking to become Fikse Wheels Pro Tour winners.

Among returning drivers from the top of last year’s standings include Lachlan DeFrancesco (Benik) and Jace Jones (Tony Kart). DeFrancesco is at the kart track nearly every weekend, and Jones calls PKRA home. The Glendale facility is producing some solid talent in the younger categories, and Diego LaRoque (Benik) is among them. One of the shortest drivers in the paddock, LaRoque carries a punch when behind the wheel. The Arizona pilot won all six feature races this winter at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas program in Micro Max, matching a similar feat performed by Jak Crawford in 2014. From the Pacific Northwest, Josh Pierson (Tony Kart) is among the top drivers in the region and is making his SpringNationals debut. From the east, Sam Mayer will carry the Merlin Nation flag into Phoenix, coming off a successful weekend at the USPKS in Mooresville, NC. Among the rising talents in Cadet racing over the past six months is Ugo Ugochukwu (Tony Kart). The eight-year-old completed a spin-to-win at the Pan American event last year, and has increased his talent during the winter programs.

Provisional TaG Cadet Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine Builder State Nat.
7m Ian Aguilera GP Texas USA CRG MEX
81g Caleb Bacon CB Motorsports FA Kart Iron Rock Motorsports TN USA
136x Logan Calderwood Ruthless Karting Kosmic Woltjer Racing Engines AZ USA
63x Tuesday Calderwood Ruthless Karting Kosmic Woltjer Racing Engines AZ USA
12y Oliver Calvo PKS Kart Supplies Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines CA USA
3m Jesse Carrasquedo Jr. GP Texas USA CRG MEX
555c Cole Cotham Baldozier Racing Tony Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CA USA
1t Jak Crawford Nash Motorsportz Energy P1 Racing Engines TX USA
30f Lachlan Defrancesco Team Benik Kart Benik FL USA
108c Jace Denmark-Gessel Pure Karting Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines AZ USA
48f James Egozi Team Benik Kart Benik Supertune Racing Engines FL USA
18j Riley Erickson Top Kart USA / CRP Racing Top Kart Comet Racing Engines OH USA
72x AJ Hernandez Ruthless Karting Tony Kart AZ USA
168c Ethan Ho Kyle Gash Racing (KGR) Formula K CA USA
153z Jacob Hudson Black Flag Racing Products Energy Tru Tech Racing Engines OR USA
198x Jace Jones Pure Karting Tony Kart High-Rev Engineering AZ USA
027y Jared Korth PKS Kart Supplies Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines CA USA
56x Diego LaRoque Nash Motorsportz Benik AZ USA
100c Carson Mallett Tony Kart CA USA
888n Luca Mars Kartwerks USA Praga Comet Racing Engines PA USA
23a Wesley Mason Team Benik Kart Benik Supertune Racing Engines GBR
74s Tyler Maxson Team Benik Kart Benik Supertune Racing Engines GA USA
022j Sam Mayer Franklin Motorsports Merlin WI USA
50y Tomas Mejia PKS Kart Supplies Benik P1 Racing Engines CA USA
88x Carson Morgan Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Tony Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CA USA
03n Robert Noaker III Franklin Motorsports Merlin Woltjer Racing Engines PA USA
41z Josh Pierson Pure Karting Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines OR USA
111c Colin Queen Pure Karting Tony Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CA USA
111j Gage Rodgers Trackside Services BirelART Fleming Racing Engines MI USA
99x Aden Rudolph PSL Karting BirelART AZ USA
152x Tyler Ruth Ruthless Karting KGB P1 Racing Engines AZ USA
22n Philip Savopoulos Praga North America Praga DC USA
17c Ryan Schartau Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Tony Kart High-Rev Engineering CA USA
29t Enzo Scionti Motorsports Development Group (MDG) Praga Motorsports Development Group (MDG) TX USA
14c Dakota Tate Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Tony Kart Fleming Racing Engines CA USA
102z Ashton Torgerson BBR Racing KGB P1 Racing Engines OR USA
01n Ugo Ugochukwu Koene USA Tony Kart Koene USA NY USA
13x Noah Warren Pure Karting Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines AZ USA
15j Jason Welage Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Woltjer Racing Engines OH USA
37o Henry Williams Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Woltjer Racing Engines KS USA
73c Anthony Willis Nash Motorsportz Benik Phil Carlson Racing Engines AZ USA
125z Max Wright Black Flag Racing Products Formula K Tru Tech Racing Engines OR USA
8a Matias Zagazeta PDB Racing Gillard BBR Race Engine Development

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