EKN Trackside: 2015 Superkarts! USA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour – SpringNationals Preview – Part 2
New crop of contenders in S2 as former champions set to square off in TaG Master and S4
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.
Tuesday, EKN began the preview series by looking at the younger categories – TaG Junior, S5 Junior Stock Moto and TaG Cadet. Today 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.
S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto
The purpose of the Semi-Pro category, is to provide those drivers who are continuing to develop as a driver, gaining the speed and learning the race craft to propel them into the next step of the SKUSA ladder system. Year after year, the process has been a success, with a number of drivers graduating to S1 for 2015 from the S2 Semi-Pro division. That has opened the door for new faces to claim the championship, with a number of them trading in their TaG engine for the sweet feel of six-speed Honda powerplant.
On the east coast, Kyle Kalish was among the top TaG drivers, winning the USPKS title in 2013 and runner-up in 2014. For 2015, his focus is on developing as a driver, and making the transition to shifterkarts. The Franklin Motorsports / Merlin pilot is making his Fikse Wheels Pro Tour debut in the S2 division, which will be his second start in a Stock Moto entry after competing at the WKA Daytona KartWeek. A rising star in the TaG ranks is Pennsylvania driver Brandon Jarsocrak. Earning his first victory at the USPKS program last weekend, confidence is high with the 18-year-old as he makes the transition to the iKart brand. Showing well at the NESKS last season in KZ competition, Jarsocrak will do the double with S2 and TaG Senior.
Also showing well in the northeast has been the Bujdoso brothers Robert and Andrew. Each are representing the Checkered Motorsports / PCR operation. A longtime TaG front runner, Mason Chelootz is another debut in the S2 category. The longtime Top Kart USA driver, the Texan is set to make his mark on S2.
The SpringNationals will welcome some familiar names from the old ProMoto Tour. Texan Cody Jolly has returned back to the sport with 3G Kart Racing / BirelART. An 80cc Junior shifterkart front runner, and 2002 SuperNats winner in the K3 Novice division, Jolly was among the top drivers at the Texas ProKart Challenge opener. Darin Marcus last won a national shifterkart race more than 10 years ago, winning at the SKUSA Jacksonville event. Returning back to the sport a few years ago, Marcus is back to banging the gears and returning with a historic brand name under him. The Fullerton chassis is making a return, named and designed by legendary karter Terry Fullerton.
Young drivers making the transition from S5 Junior to S2 will continue to be in the hunt, following the success of 2013 S5 title winner Jarred Campbell. Former S5 Fikse Wheels Pro Tour champs Jim McKinney (2012) and Austin Schimmel (2011) are in this year’s SpringNationals field. McKinney (Tony Kart) is jumping back to six-speed kart after focusing on TaG competition in 2014 when he graduated to the Senior ranks. Schimmel is joining the PSL Karting squad, and piloting the new BirelART chassis. Carter Williams was among the top S5 competitors in 2013, and after some growing pains in S2 last year, is a prime contender for 2015. Williams (FA Kart) has started out the season with three straight victories at the California ProKart Challenge.
The top returning driver from last year’s championship standings is Miguel Lopez (GP). The Texas driver is entering his third season in the S2 division, finishing seventh in the title chase for 2014. Luke Shanahan (Tony Kart) is another driver to have shown speed in the past, and could be a factor on the weekend in Phoenix. Intrepid is coming off the victory at the SuperNationals, and Champion Racing has to drivers looking to continue that momentum. Harry Gottsacker has been working hard over the winter to prepare for the 2015, with former TaG driver Bryce Cornet returning with the Oklahoma-based team.
Provisional S2 Semi-Pro Entry List
|5t||Graig Alvarez Jr.||Trackside Karting Services||BirelART||SwedeTech||TX||USA|
|86k||Kol Bailey||Pure Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||AZ||USA|
|327j||Andrew Bujdoso||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||BBS Racing Engines||OH||USA|
|32j||Robert Bujdoso||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||BBS Racing Engines||OH||USA|
|4m||Fernando Casillas Jr.||GP Texas USA||GP||SRS Racing Engines||CA||MEX|
|313m||Allan Cesarman||GP Texas USA||GP||SwedeTech||MEX|
|0t||Mason Chelootz||Top Kart USA / Grand Products||Top Kart||SwedeTech||TX||USA|
|65o||Bryce Cornet||Champion Racing||Intrepid||SwedeTech||OK||USA|
|333y||Daniel de la Calle||Cameron Karting||Aluminos||Cameron Karting||CA||USA|
|218z||Marco Eakins||Black Flag Racing Products||Formula K||SwedeTech||OR||USA|
|4t||Sky Finley||DR Kart USA||DR||Fisher Racing Engines||TX||USA|
|187f||Brandon Frank||Leading Edge Motorsports||Praga||BM||USA|
|727y||Jack Freese||Leading Edge Motorsports||Praga||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|69t||Harry Gottsacker||Champion Racing||Intrepid||SwedeTech||TX||USA|
|108n||Brandon Jarsocrak||Team iKart||iKart||Woltjer Racing Engines||PA||USA|
|228t||Cody Jolly||3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King||BirelART||SwedeTech||TX||USA|
|219j||Kyle Kalish||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||SwedeTech||IL||USA|
|13t||Miguel Lopez||GP Texas USA||GP||SRS Racing Engines||TX||USA|
|19k||Jim McKinney||Pure Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||AZ||USA|
|10c||Alan Michel||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||Tony Kart||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||AZ||MEX|
|71y||Joe Morton||Ron White Racing||GP||Cameron Karting||CA||USA|
|85c||Gilberto Munoz||2Wild Karting||Tony Kart||Darcy DeCoste Racing Engines (DDR)||CA||USA|
|36y||Hunter Pickett||Muscle Milk / Pickett Racing||Aluminos||Joe White Racing Engines||CA||USA|
|61d||Austin Schimmel||PSL Karting||BirelART||SwedeTech||CO||USA|
|2t||Luke Shanahan||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||TX||USA|
|66f||Don Whittington||Pure Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||FL||USA|
|55c||Carter Williams||Phil Giebler Racing (PGR)||FA Kart||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CA||USA|
|26t||Andretta Young||Motorsports Development Group (MDG)||Praga||SRS Racing Engines||TX||USA|
The 2014 season marked the second championship performance by Ethan Wilson since his inaugural title in 2010. With his absence from the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour this season, the door has opened for someone to take his place. It could be a second crown for former champions Scott Falcone and Paul Bonilla as they enter the SpringNationals. Falcone (KartSport North America / Arrow) is the most recent, earning the title in 2013, riding off a victory at both the SpringNats and SummerNats that season. 2012 was a monumental season for Bonilla, sweeping the SpringNats at PKRA that year, and earning a runner-up at the SuperNationals to clinch his first Fikse Pro Tour championship. Ironically, Falcone was vice-champion to Bonilla while Bonilla was vice-champion to Falcone. The same result could play out in 2015, with both drivers at the top of their game heading to Phoenix.
The top returning driver from last year’s standings is Oklahoma’s Anthony Honeywell. The FA Kart driver finished third last season with consistent top-five finishes, still looking to return to the podium since his Fikse Wheels Pro Tour debut in 2012.
Some familiar names are making Fikse Wheels Pro Tour debuts this weekend. The Burris family is legendary to the sport of karting here in the United States. Among them, Derek Burris is set to compete in his first SpringNationals with Praga North America. Many will remember the name Chris Giumarra from the late 90s, early 2000s. The New Jersey driver is making his Fikse Wheels Pro Tour debut in Phoenix, working with Checkered Motorsports / PCR after earning a title last hear in the Gearup F-Series.
Provisional TaG Master Entry List
|11t||Ric Baribeault||Joe Bauhs Motorsports||Birel||Leopard||Woltjer Racing Engines||TX||USA|
|011f||Mario Barrios||PDB Racing||Gillard||X30||BBR Race Engine Development||FL||PER|
|20b||Paul Bonilla||Tony Kart||X30||Tru Tech Racing Engines||CA||USA|
|85b||Derek Burris||Praga North America||Praga||X30||Tru Tech Racing Engines||CA||USA|
|99d||Scott Falcone||Kartsport North America||Arrow||X30||Comet Racing Engines||CO||USA|
|06n||Chris Giumarra||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||X30||Woltjer Racing Engines||NJ||USA|
|3||Anthony Honeywell||Honeywell Competition||FA Kart||X30||Woltjer Racing Engines||OK||USA|
|382j||Laurentiu Mardan||Pole Position Racing||Tony Kart||X30||IL||ROM|
|625n||Gary Peterson||Team iKart||iKart||X30||Woltjer Racing Engines||NY||USA|
|59b||Brian Phillipsen||OTK||X30||Tru Tech Racing Engines||CA||USA|
|15t||Jesus Robles – Torrado||Mike Manning Karting (MMK)||MMK||X30||Mike Manning Karting||TX||MEX|
|77x||Vatche Tatikian||Phil Giebler Racing (PGR)||FA Kart||X30||Tru Tech Racing Engines||CA||CAN|
|10s||Nick Tucker||Kart Worx||Tony Kart||X30||Adkins Speed Center||NC||USA|
|328j||Cristian Vomir||M Power Logistics||FA Kart||X30||P1 Racing Engines||IL||ROM|
S4 Master Stock Moto
The level of competition in the S4 Master category continues to increase year after year, and the roster for this year’s SpringNationals is another notch up the order. In total, three of the five former Fikse Wheels Pro Tour series champions will be in Phoenix, including defending champion Gian Cavaciuti. The GP factory driver is on a three-race win streak, after sweeping the SummerNationals in Modesto and clinching the title with victory at the SuperNationals. The Italian will move over to the American brand – Aluminos – which is part of the GP chassis family.
The past three seasons, Jordon Musser has been among the best, earning a SKUSA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour plate each year – winning the title in 2013, finishing runner-up a year ago and placing third in 2012. The 3G Kart Racing / BirelART pilot is looking to reclaim the title, winning in the S2 category at the Texas ProKart Challenge event. Looking back to 2012, it was almost a perfect score for Jimmy McNeil en route to the S4 title thanks to four straight wins. The CRG driver has spent the last three years competing in the S1 category with mild results. Returning to S4 at the SuperNationals last year, McNeil is back at it for the SpringNationals.
Among those without a title, the top contender has to the legendary Darren Elliott. A former star in the SKUSA ProMoto Tour during its early years, Elliott returned to full time karting a year ago and earned his first Fikse Wheels Pro Tour victory at the SpringNats. Finishing seventh in the standings, Elliott is primed to improve on that in 2015. Other familiar names include Robert Marks (CRG), Nick Firestone (DR Kart), John Crow (FA Kart) and Florida driver Richard Heistand (BirelART). The newest edition to the S4 group is former S1 driver Ryan Kinnear. Reaching the age of 30 this year, the Champion Racing / Intrepid pilot will have his hand against the elder statesman of the sport.
Provisional S4 Master Entry List
|11m||Adrian Aguilera||GP Texas USA||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|555m||Sergio Aguilera||GP Texas USA||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|333m||Jesse Carrasquedo||GP Texas USA||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|31c||John Crow||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||FA Kart||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CA||USA|
|16m||Jorge de la Huerta||GP Texas USA||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|71c||Darren Elliott||Nash Motorsportz||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|66c||Nick Firestone||Pure Karting||DR||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||AZ||USA|
|92s||Steve Flatt||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||GA||USA|
|34f||Richard Heistand||PSL Karting||BirelART||SwedeTech||FL||USA|
|74b||Brett King||2Wild Karting / Brett King Design||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||CAN|
|85t||Ryan Kinnear||Champion Racing||Intrepid||SwedeTech||TX||GBR|
|103x||Robert Marks||CRG-USA / Team Visalia||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|101x||Jimmy McNeil||CRG-USA / Team Visalia||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|2||Jordon Musser||3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King||BirelART||SwedeTech||TX||USA|
|72u||Chris Neria||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||UT||USA|
|68t||Venkat Reddy||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CRG||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||TX||IND|
|21x||Ken Schilling||Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting||Vemme||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|102x||Darrell Tunnell||PKS Kart Supplies||CRG||SwedeTech||CA||USA|
|994y||Kevin Woods||Ron White Racing||CRG||Joe White Racing Engines||CA||USA|