EKN Trackside: 2015 Superkarts! USA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour – SummerNationals Preview – Part 2
Another large S2 field set for battle with strong drivers competing in S4 and TaG Master
The 2015 Superkarts! USA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour resumes this weekend, as the program heads to the New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana. A successful SpringNationals in Arizona back in May set up the beginning of the sixth season of the organization’s championship series, helping to take the sport here in the United States to the next level. Adding in new title sponsor Fikse Wheels, television coverage thanks to the partnership with CBS Sports Network and Torque.TV, in addition to another stellar prize package for the year reach over $150,000. The event’s move east of the Mississippi for the first time since the inaugural SummerNationals in Shawano, Wisconsin have the racers in the four Stock Moto and four TaG divisions coming out, with roughly 230 pre-entries for the weekend.
The New Castle Motorsports Park will host the SKUSA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour for the first time. Indiana was the organization’s home for many years, before moving out to California under the direction of the Kutscher family. Regional SKUSA racing took part at the New Castle, Indiana facility in previous years after its construction in 2004. The 1-mile course was designed and built by IndyCar driver Mark Dismore, a legendary name in the sport of karting. The Dismore family continues to improve the amenities surrounding the course, making it one of the popular destinations for the sport of karting here in North America.
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
At the SpringNationals, the S2 category almost reached the 30-driver mark. For the SummerNationals, the entry list nearly hit the 44-driver cap with 36 pre-registered. Those racing for championship glory have one person they will be watching throughout the weekend – double SpringNationals winner Carter Williams. It was a near perfect weekend for the second-year S2 driver from California, missing out on the second heat win on Saturday along with fast lap honors the same day. Williams (FA Kart) swept the action in Phoenix on Sunday, increasing his championship lead to 170 points.
We have seen before, that bouncing back with a sweep of your own at the SummerNationals can put you right back into the championship hunt heading into Las Vegas. Leading the challengers are Fernando Casillas Jr. and Marco Eakins. Casillas (GP) was the runner-up in Sunday’s feature, as the Mexican driver held off the challenges of a handful of drivers. Eakins (Formula K) was the only driver to beat Williams on track at the SpringNationals, both in the second heat and feature on Saturday. Unfortunately a starting penalty removed Eakins from the top of the podium. Both trail Williams by a large margin, looking to make up the ground in New Castle.
The majority of the field in Phoenix ran one good day, and then suffered a bad day to balance out the weekend. Among the quick included Bermuda driver Brandon Frank (Praga), who drove to his first Fikse Wheels Pro Tour podium finish at Round One. Andrew Bujdoso (PCR) was super quick, only to have a few mistakes limit his results, coming away with a fourth place result in Round Two. Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver Kyle Kalish made his S2 debut in Phoenix and steadily worked his way toward the front, until a mechanical ended his run in the Sunday main event. Alan Michel (Praga), Austin Schimmel (BirelART), and Luke Shanaha (Tony Kart) are also looking to rebound to position themselves for the championship chase.
For those who think there is no shifterkart racing on the east coast, 17 drivers entered did not compete at the SpringNationals but will do so this weekend in New Castle with more making the trek out to Phoenix in May. Local drivers Eric and Evan Batt along with Joe Ruch, each driving for DRT Racing aboard DR Karts. Tim Hollowell and Florida driver Jesus Rios Jr. will pilot the American-made iKart machines, manufactured right in Indianapolis.
Provisional S2 Entry List
|5t||Graig Alvarez Jr.||Trackside Karting Services||CompKart||SwedeTech||TX|
|86k||Kol Bailey||Pure Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||AZ|
|05j||Eric Batt||DRT Racing||DR||Darcy DeCoste Racing Engines (DDR)||IN|
|03j||Evan Batt||DRT Racing||DR||Darcy DeCoste Racing Engines (DDR)||IN|
|327j||Andrew Bujdoso||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||BBS Racing Engines||OH|
|32j||Robert Bujdoso||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||BBS Racing Engines||OH|
|4m||Fernando Casillas Jr.||GP VCI Texas||GP||SRS Racing Engines||CA|
|313m||Allan Cesarman||GP VCI Texas||GP||SwedeTech|
|65o||Bryce Cornet||Champion Racing||Intrepid||SwedeTech||OK|
|42m||Salvador de Alba||GP VCI Texas||GP||SRS Racing Engines|
|105n||Max Di Bella||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||PA|
|218z||Marco Eakins||Black Flag Racing Products||Formula K||SwedeTech||OR|
|21j||Cody Elliott||DRT Racing||DR||Fisher Racing Engines||WI|
|4t||Sky Finley||DRT Racing||DR||Fisher Racing Engines||TX|
|187f||Brandon Frank||Leading Edge Motorsports||Praga||SwedeTech||BM|
|69t||Harry Gottsacker||Champion Racing||Intrepid||SwedeTech||TX|
|51h||Jenna Grillo||Crockett Motorsports||CRG||SwedeTech||MN|
|31j||Tim Hollowell||Team iKart||iKart||Team iKart||IN|
|112h||Kindra Hurlbert||Motorsports Driver Development (MDD)||Ricciardo Kart||Woltjer Racing Engines||MN|
|219j||Kyle Kalish||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||SwedeTech||IL|
|19e||Kyle Kennedy||Crockett Motorsports||CRG||BS Racing Engines||MO|
|7j||Kyle Knecht||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||BBS Racing Engines||OH|
|13t||Miguel Lopez||GP Texas USA||GP||SRS Racing Engines||TX|
|6j||Darin Marcus||Franklin Motorsports||Fullerton||SwedeTech||IL|
|133f||Cole Mathewson||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||FL|
|10c||Alan Michel||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||Praga||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||AZ|
|36y||Hunter Pickett||Muscle Milk / Pickett Racing||Aluminos||Joe White Racing Engines||CA|
|127f||Jesus Rios Jr.||Team iKart||iKart||FL|
|77t||Casey Ross||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||TX|
|53j||Joe Ruch||DRT Racing||DR||Lane Racing Engines||IN|
|61d||Austin Schimmel||PSL Karting||BirelART||SwedeTech||CO|
|2t||Luke Shanahan||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||TX|
|46n||Kyle Smith||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||Fisher Racing Engines||PA|
|91o||Luke Waller||Champion Racing||Intrepid||SwedeTech||OK|
|66f||Don Whittington||Pure Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||FL|
|55c||Carter Williams||Phil Giebler Racing (PGR)||FA Kart||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CA|
S4 Master Stock Moto
The S4 division has seen five different champions in the five years of the SKUSA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour. Following the SpringNationals, former elite shifterkart star Darren Elliott made his bid for his first ever championship title. ‘Mr. Perfect’ was just that, sweeping the entire weekend in Phoenix for a perfect score toward the championship standings. Elliott’s CRG was on rails, never relinquishing the lead after qualifying first both days, leading throughout the four heat races and two main events.
Elliott put a damper on the title defense of Gian Cavaciuti. The 2014 champion was unable to match the pace of the SpringNationals double winner, placing third Saturday and runner-up on Sunday to put himself second in the standings heading to New Castle. The gap however is at 170 points, leaving work to be done for the Italian, moving back to the GP chassis for the weekend. Arizona driver Nick Firestone was a challenger throughout the weekend at his home track in May. The DR Kart driver nearly reached the podium on Sunday, placing a weekend best fourth in the main event.
Two former class champions were in the mix during the SpringNationals, earning one good finish and one bad finish. 2011 champion Jimmy McNeil and 2013 title winner Jordon Musser were the top challengers during the Round One event. McNeil (CRG) drove to the runner-up spot on the day with Musser just missing the podium in fourth. Both were quick again on Sunday, with McNeil out early and Musser dropped down the order following a penalty. Both will need a solid weekend in New Castle to put themselves into the championship chase.
The entry list is boosted in numbers compared to the SpringNationals, with 15 drivers making their Fikse Wheels Pro Tour debut. Among them are some fast drivers, including three-time Texas ProKart Challenge champion and SuperNationals winner Chris Jennings (DR Kart). The Texas driver is making his first visit to the New Castle circuit. Former SKUSA #3 plate holder Lance Lane (DR Kart) is making his return to the series after time off for shoulder surgery. The DRT Racing pilot, who also maintains his own engine, is among the few drivers with a number of laps around the course, including Michigan’s Eric Chappell. The BirelART driver is a regular front-runner at the Rock Island Grand Prix, and has the most laps of any drivers in the S4 field this weekend.
Provisional S4 Entry List
|11m||Adrian Aguilera||GP VCI Texas||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|555m||Sergio Aguilera||GP VCI Texas||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|141q||Jason Alden||BDS Racing||Praga||CPI Karting||MA|
|707y||Justin Bennett||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||Ricciardo Kart||Cambrian Go-Karts||CA|
|118n||Christiaan Bouhuys||DRT Racing||DR||SwedeTech||PA|
|333m||Jesse Carrasquedo||GP VCI Texas||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|1||Gian Cavaciuti||GP VCI Texas||GP||Aluminos||ITA|
|125j||Eric Chappell||Trackside Karting Services||BirelART||SwedeTech||MI|
|8s||Brian Davies||DRT Racing||DR||Lane Racing Engines||NC|
|16m||Jorge de la Huerta||GP VCI Texas||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|055m||Mario Dominguez||GP VCI Texas||GP||SRS Racing Engines||MEX|
|71c||Darren Elliott||Nash Motorsportz||CRG||SwedeTech||CA|
|66c||Nick Firestone||Pure Karting||DR||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||AZ|
|92s||Steve Flatt||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||GA|
|175t||Chris Jennings||DRT Racing||DR||SRS Racing Engines||TX|
|823m||Victor Jimenez||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||FL|
|65j||Lance Lane||DRT Racing||DR||Lane Racing Engines||IL|
|185j||Mike Makus||DRT Racing||DR||SwedeTech||WI|
|103x||Robert Marks||Team Visalia||CRG||SwedeTech||CA|
|101x||Jimmy McNeil||Team Visalia||CRG||SwedeTech||CA|
|2||Jordon Musser||3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King||BirelART||SwedeTech||TX|
|67j||Mark Nagy||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||OH|
|72u||Chris Neria||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||SwedeTech||UT|
|27j||Jeffrey Neubert||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||OH|
|68t||Venkat Reddy||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||CRG||Musgrave Racing Company (MRC)||TX|
|13s||Byron Rothenhoefer III||Brian Fisher Racing||Praga||Fisher Racing Engines||VA|
|102x||Darrell Tunnell||Team Visalia||CRG||SwedeTech||CA|
|994y||Kevin Woods||Ron White Racing||CRG||Joe White Racing Engines||CA|
With his SKUSA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour debut, Nick Tucker put a stamp on his trip to Phoenix for the SpringNationals. The Tony Kart driver won both main events in his return to Superkarts! USA competition, missing out on a sweep by one heat race win both days. Thanks to his success, the championship lead is his by a massive 203 point lead thanks to the absence of Paul Bonilla, who currently is second in the standings.
Anthony Honeywell (FA Kart) is promoted to the top challenger in the championship standings, thanks to his consistency throughout the weekend in Phoenix. The multi-time IKF Duffy champion ran sixth on Saturday and improved to fourth Sunday. He is just ahead in the standings over Sunday runner-up finisher, Mario Barrios. The Gillard driver was fast, moving into the mix in Round Two after a poor result Saturday. The list of challengers is long, despite the smaller field size in the Master category. East coast driver Chris Giumarra (PCR) was fast as well in Phoenix, placing third Sunday only to suffer contact Sunday to take him out of contention, stealing the fast lap honors in the main event. Brian Phillipsen (Tony Kart) drove to third in Sunday, and enters New Castle fifth just 17 points back of Honeywell. Vatche Tatikian (FA Kart) and Scott Falcone (Arrow) ran top-five Saturday and suffered poor finishes on Sunday, both looking to bounce back this weekend.
Among the drivers making their 2015 SKUSA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour debut is defending champion Ethan Wilson (FA Kart). Wilson, who is just one of three drivers to repeat as a champion on the Pro Tour (Fritz Leesmann and Colton Herta), has been running a limited schedule this season, missing out on the SpringNationals. Back for this weekend, Wilson will be among the long list of contenders.
Provisional TaG Master Entry List
|011f||Mario Barrios||PDB Racing||Gillard||X30||BBR Race Engine Development||FL|
|85b||Derek Burris||Praga North America||Praga||X30||Tru Tech Racing Engines||CA|
|5n||Kim Carapellatti||PCR||Leopard||Adkins Speed Center||NY|
|43n||Scot Carapellatti||Formula K||Leopard||Adkins Speed Center||NY|
|67j||Janos Eiler||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||Leopard||BBS Racing Engines||OH|
|99d||Scott Falcone||Kartsport North America||Arrow||X30||Comet Racing Engines||CO|
|06n||Chris Giumarra||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||X30||BBS Racing Engines||NJ|
|3||Anthony Honeywell||Honeywell Competition||FA Kart||X30||Woltjer Racing Engines||OK|
|382j||Laurentiu Mardan||Pole Position Racing||Tony Kart||X30||Pole Position Racing||IL|
|044y||Corey Mitchell||Rolison Performance Group (RPG)||Kosmic||X30||P1 Racing Engines||CA|
|59b||Brian Phillipsen||Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM)||Tony Kart||X30||Tru Tech Racing Engines||CA|
|77x||Vatche Tatikian||Phil Giebler Racing (PGR)||FA Kart||X30||Tru Tech Racing Engines||CA|
|10s||Nick Tucker||SCCY Racing||Tony Kart||X30||Woltjer Racing Engines||NC|
|328j||Cristian Vomir||Motorsports Driver Development (MDD)||FA Kart||X30||P1 Racing Engines||IL|
|1||Ethan Wilson||Phil Giebler Racing (PGR)||FA Kart||X30||Tru Tech Racing Engines||CA|