EKN Trackside: 2016 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals Preview – Part 3

New faces set to battle in S2, McNeil hopes for a third ring in S4 and S4 Super Master makes its national debut

(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

SKUSA Pro Tour 2016-logoThe seventh season of the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour is set to get underway this weekend at the Phoenix Kart Racing Association in Glendale, Arizona. The 2016 season is projected to be another exciting and record-breaking year. Full television coverage is returning thanks to the partnership with CBS Sports Network and MotorTrendOnDemand, and another large prize package is available, worth over $150,000. A total of nine categories in eight race groups are set to compete over the three-race Pro Tour journey, traveling to Phoenix before a return to Indiana for the SummerNationals and the celebration of the 20th SuperNationals in November in Las Vegas.

It all kicks off this weekend. The PKRA ‘Formula K Raceway’ circuit is among the most challenging layouts in North America with Superkarts! USA history with the facility dating back to the first ever national event held in 1999. Its fast, tight, and for the first time in SKUSA Pro Tour history, the track will be contested in the counter-clockwise direction. The ‘full course’ measures out to 7/10 of a mile at 12 turns with the popular banked ‘Daytona’ corner.

eKartingNews.com, the official media partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the seventh straight year of Trackside Live coverage of the SKUSA 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.

Stock Moto competition continues to grow throughout the country, and a number of new faces are set to do battle in S2 this weekend, while the elder division becomes two classes in the same race group with S4 Super Master making its Pro Tour debut within the S4 Master category.


3G Kart Racing S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto

Kyle Kalish is among the few returning to fight for the S2 title against many rookies moving up (Photo: EKN)

Kyle Kalish is among the few returning to fight for the S2 title against many rookies moving up (Photo: EKN)

The 30 drivers in the S2 division will once again be racing for a $1,000 purse and a $500 check for the overall weekend winner. None of the three different race winners from 2015 are returning, including the top two finishers in the Pro Tour standings. 2015 champ Carter Williams has graduated to S1 while Miguel Lopez has moved on as well, in addition to a number of other top contenders from a year ago. This has opened the door for a number of new names to be among those to challenge in the S2 division in 2016.

One championship podium finisher is back to carry the SKUSA plate in 2016, with Bermuda driver Brandon Frank set to display the #3 all season. Frank finished third twice last year and opened up the SuperNationals with fast time in qualifying. Back with Leading Edge Motorsports aboard the Praga, Frank is among the eldest drivers in category at 29-years-of-age.

Like Frank, Hunter Pickett and Kyle Kalish earned their first podium finishes on the Pro Tour in the S2 category last year. Both drivers are back, looking to better their championship chase efforts. Pickett bounced back from a scary crash at the 2014 SuperNationals, and finished third on Sunday at the SummerNationals last year. He finished seventh in the standings. The Muscle Mile / Pickett Racing driver has three podium finishes, including his first-ever victory at Round Three of the California ProKart Challenge, as the Aluminos driver leads the series championship. Kalish entered S2 last year following a successful career in single-speed competition, earning two runner-up finishes at the SummerNationals. The Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver has been busy with school in North Carolina and has limited time in the seat. The extra Thursday practice in Phoenix will help, as he was among the quickest drivers late Sunday last year until mechanical issues sidelined him in the main.

This year features a number of rookies making the jump to the S2 category from the S5 Junior Stock Moto division. Callum Smith and Hunter Kelly finished 1-2 in last year’s Pro Tour standings, and have quickly become frontrunners in the S2 division at the regional level. Smith, the 2015 S5 champion, triumphed in his opening weekend in the S2 division at the California ProKart Challenge opener. The Musgrave Racing Company / Praga driver dominated the S5 weekend in PKRA, and is among the favorites entering this weekend. Kelly (Leading Edge Motorsports / Praga) won at the SuperNationals, and earned his first podium finish in S2 at the California PKC event in Monterey earlier this month.

Kyle Wick is another race winner in 2016 at the California ProKart Challenge. The Washington driver trekked south to beat the field in Willow Springs, and the Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic pilot is set for his first SpringNationals in S2. Another graduate is Aluminos’ Jason Pettit. The driver from NorCal earned his first podium finish in S2 at Monterey and stood P3 in Phoenix last year in S5. Sting Ray Robb has been a karting star in Cadet and Junior ranks in single-speed competition. Now driving for CRG, the Oregon driver is set to make his S2 debut at the SpringNationals with Nash Motorsportz. Robb has been busy with Skip Barber racing and made his shifterkart debut at the CIK-FIA European KZ2 Championship event in France.

Provisional S2 Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine State Country
86k Kol Bailey Pure Karting Tony Kart SwedeTech AZ USA
100t Garrett Boone 3G Kart Racing Intrepid SwedeTech TX USA
327j Andrew Bujdoso Checkered Motorsports PCR BBS Racing Engines OH USA
23c KC Cook Extreme Karting Praga Musgrave Racing Company CA USA
18t Vincent Cossard 3G Kart Racing Intrepid SwedeTech TX FRA
412a Collin Daley DRT Racing DR JAM
142j Derek Dignan Kartsport North America Praga Musgrave Racing Company MI USA
97t Sky Finley Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA SodiKart Fisher Racing Engines TX USA
3 Brandon Frank Leading Edge Motorsports Praga BM BMU
69t Harry Gottsacker Champion Racing Intrepid SwedeTech TX USA
725q Tyler Guilbeault DRT Racing DR SRS Racing Engines NH USA
12x Robert Heck Jr. Nash Motorsportz CRG SwedeTech CA USA
012m Arturo Hernandez GP VCI Mexico GP Fisher Racing Engines MEX
081y AJ Juergens Campbell Racing Intrepid Musgrave Racing Company CA USA
219j Kyle Kalish Franklin Motorsports Merlin SwedeTech IL USA
435y Hunter Kelly Leading Edge Motorsports Praga Pinzini Racing Engines CA USA
55x Morghan Loganathan Aluminos Aluminos Aluminos AZ SGP
6j Darin Marcus Franklin Motorsports Merlin IL USA
19k Jim McKinney Pure Karting Tony Kart SwedeTech AZ USA
96t Lawson Nagel Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA SodiKart SwedeTech TX USA
146y Jason Pettit Aluminos Aluminos Aluminos CA USA
36y Hunter Pickett Muscle Milk / Pickett Racing Aluminos SwedeTech CA USA
316z Sting Ray Robb Nash Motorsportz CRG SwedeTech OR USA
94c Aaron Schmitt Phil Giebler Racing Ricciardo SwedeTech CA DEU
1 Callum Smith Musgrave Racing Company Praga Musgrave Racing Company CA AUS
46n Kyle Smith Checkered Motorsports PCR Fisher Racing Engines PA USA
29n Rory van der Steur Musgrave Racing Company FA Kart Musgrave Racing Company MD USA
7f Don Whittington Pure Karting Tony Kart SwedeTech FL USA
109z Kyle Wick Rolison Performance Group FA Kart Collins Racing Engines WA USA
22t Austin Wilkins Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA SodiKart SwedeTech TX USA

Rolison Performance Group S4 Master Stock Moto /

Ruthless Karting S4 Super Master Stock Moto

Defending S4 champ Jimmy McNeil begins his quest for a record third SKUSA Pro Tour championship (Photo: DromoPhotos.com)

Defending S4 champ Jimmy McNeil begins his quest for a record third SKUSA Pro Tour championship (Photo: DromoPhotos.com)

A new era begins in Phoenix for the SKUSA Pro Tour for the S4 Master division. For the first time, the S4 Super Master class will be recognized throughout the national series, welcoming the top drivers 45-years of age and older from around the country and around the world. It will be like a road racing event with two categories racing on the track together. Lapped traffic and the mixing of slower S4 guys with fastest S4 Super Master drivers should create some exciting moments.

For the last few seasons, the ‘young guns’ of the Master group dominated the podium and championships, dating back to 2012 with Eddie Olpin, Jordon Musser the following year, and Italian Gian Cavaciuti in 2014. Jimmy McNeil silenced that trend last year, becoming the first-ever two-time champion of the category at the young age of 42. The long-time CRG driver, racing under the PKS / Team Visalia banner, is set to make a run at becoming the first three-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion in its seven-year history.

Giving chase will be two former champions in Musser and Cavaciuti. Musser has been a consistent challenger since earning the title in 2013. The 2014 season brought the #2 plate, and the Texan finished fifth last year in the standings. Returning with the 3G Kart Racing operation out of Katy, TX, Musser is making the switch to the Intrepid brand for the first time since 2009, with additional technical support from Champion Racing. The Italian Cavaciuti won the final three rounds of the 2014 season to claim his first SKUSA Pro Tour title. The defence last year was not without a fight, finishing top-five in the first four rounds, ending up third overall. Gian will carry the SKUSA #3 plate this year on his GP VCI Mexico entry.

Don’t count out former SuperNationals winner Chris Jennings (DRT Racing / DR Kart), US Open and Challenge of the Americas champion Ryan Kinnear (Champion Racing / Intrepid), veteran Terry Lawrence (eShifterKart / CKR) and California PKC frontrunner Rob Logan (Nash Motorsportz / CRG). Alan Michel is another new ‘young gun’, making the transition from S2 to S4 in 2016. The Musgrave Racing Company / Praga driver is the championship leader at the California PKC program.

On the S4 Super Master side, it is a strong roster of drivers vying to become the first-ever race winner and eventual champion this November. Robert Marks (PKS Team Visalia / CRG) has always proven to be fast, even against the younger drivers in the regular S4 division. Nick Firestone (DRT Racing / DR Kart) calls PKRA home, and finished top-three in the S4 points just a few years ago. Ken Schilling (Extreme Karting / Vemme) is the defending California PKC S4 Super Master champion, and has two wins already this season. PP Mastro (Mach 1 USA) is the latest race winner in California with Darrell Tunnell (PKS Team Vialia / CRG) right there every weekend. The SpringNationals also marks the return of inaugural SKUSA Pro Tour S4 champion Phil Conte, joining the Nash Motorsportz / CRG tent.

Provisional S4 Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine State Country
11m Adrian Aguilera GP VCI Mexico GP Fisher Racing Engines MEX
48c Gianfranco Casadei Mad Old Nut Racing Mad Croc Darcy DeCoste Racing Engines CA BRA
3 Gian Cavaciuti GP VCI Mexico GP Fisher Racing Engines ITA
710t Rod Clinard CRG Nordam CRG SRS Racing Engines TX USA
16m Jorge de la Huerta GP VCI Mexico GP Fisher Racing Engines MEX
055m Mario Dominguez GP VCI Mexico GP Fisher Racing Engines MEX
78m Juan Garcia Nash Motorsportz CRG SwedeTech CA MEX
175t Chris Jennings DRT Racing DR SRS Racing Engines TX USA
85t Ryan Kinnear Champion Racing Intrepid SwedeTech TX GBR
13z Terry Lawrence Team eShifterKart CKR SwedeTech ID USA
33x Rob Logan Nash Motorsportz CRG SwedeTech CA USA
1 Jimmy McNeil PKS Kart Supplies / Team Visalia CRG SwedeTech CA USA
110c Alan Michel Musgrave Racing Company Praga Musgrave Racing Company AZ MEX
127y Mirko Mizzoni Italcorse America Italcorse Pinzini Racing Engines NV ITA
16t Jordon Musser 3G Kart Racing Intrepid SwedeTech TX USA
72u Chris Neria MSquared Karting Tony Kart SwedeTech UT USA
27j Jeffrey Neubert Checkered Motorsports PCR BBS Racing Engines OH USA

Provisional S4 Super Master Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine State Country
104x Levi Bennett PKS Kart Supplies / Team Visalia CRG SwedeTech CA USA
107c Sean Bond Musgrave Racing Company Praga Musgrave Racing Company CA USA
10c Phil Conte Nash Motorsportz CRG SwedeTech CA USA
66c Nick Firestone DRT Racing DR SwedeTech AZ USA
36c Warren Kindberg Musgrave Racing Company Praga Musgrave Racing Company CA USA
103x Robert Marks PKS Kart Supplies / Team Visalia CRG SwedeTech CA USA
27c PP Mastro Mach 1 USA Mach 1 Darcy DeCoste Racing Engines CA USA
68t Venkat Reddy Musgrave Racing Company CRG Musgrave Racing Company TX IND
21x Ken Schilling Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme SwedeTech CA USA
102x Darrell Tunnell PKS Kart Supplies / Team Visalia CRG SwedeTech CA USA
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