EKN Trackside: 2016 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals – Saturday Report
Myers dominates in S1 as Norberg earns second X30 Senior win of season
It was a long, hot and humid day for the first round of Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals. The sun was out all day at the New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana, with drivers on track for nearly 12 hours from warm-up to the final checkered flag. It was a pretty clean day throughout as the nearly 250 competitors respected one another on the track with no major issues. Racers got plenty of laps to decide the nine winners on the day, including a second victory on the season for X30 Senior driver Ryan Norberg, and a dominant performance put in by fellow Floridian AJ Myers in his S1 debut for 2016.
The field in the PSL Karting S1 Pro Stock Moto is filled with former champions and former Pro Tour race winners. Saturday’s action added another member to the club as AJ Myers gave TB Kart and himself their first Pro Tour victory. Championship leader Daniel Bray (GP) set the pace early on with the fast time in qualifying (1:02.722) and then won the opening heat race. Myers came on strong when the racing began, working his way to the point of Heat #2 to secure the pole position for the main event. With the holeshot at the start, Myers put his TB Kart out front ahead of an early battle for P2 between 2015 SuperNationals winner Danny Formal (DR Kart) and former Pro Tour champ Joey Wimsett (Ricciardo Kart). Myers was able to establish a solid lead early-on, maintaining this cushion with consistent lap times over the 20 circuits of the main event. At the checkered flag, the gap was 2.6 seconds as Myers earned his first Pro Tour victory. DRT Racing’s Formal settled for second although behind him, the third place driver kept changing late in the race. Jake French (SodiKart) had the position in hand until his engine expired a few laps short of the checkered, handing Oliver Askew (Birel ART) a podium position to cap off his impressive charge from the back. Champion Racing’s Nick Neri (Intrepid) drove to fourth while Joey Wimsett (Phil Giebler Racing / Ricciardo Kart) dropped back to fifth. Championship leader Daniel Bray (GP), Billy Musgrave (Praga) and French all had tough days, opening up the championship chase heading into Sunday’s action.
The Nash Motorsportz / CRG Nordam X30 Senior class honors came down to four drivers. Kyle Kirkwood (PSL Karting / Birel ART), Ryan Norberg (Tony Kart) and Austin Garrison (CompKart) were all at the top of the result sheets throughout the day. There was no clear cut favorite, however, with Brandon Jarsocrak (Praga) joining the trio at the front of the main event. Norberg and Garrison had the race in their hands for much of the race, shuffling the lead while maintaining their positions up front. Garrison led as the duo took the white flag, but Norberg made his move at the I-70 hairpin. At the line, Norberg secured his second victory of the series, winning by four hundredths of a second. KartSport North America’s Jarsocrak crossed the line in third, just behind the top two as he was positioned to capitalize on any error. Kirkwood ended up fourth ahead of Stepanova Nekeel (BBR / Tony Kart), who carded a solid fifth.
A third different winner was crowned in the 3G Kart Racing S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, and throughout the day it appeared that Aluminos driver Hunter Pickett would be that driver, as he secured the fast time in qualifying before winning both heat races. The main event began with Kyle Kalish (Merlin) securing the top spot after the opening lap chaos to pace the 34-driver field. Pickett kept is close through the first half of the 20-lap main event. Pickett took the lead briefly with a move at the end of the long start-finish straightaway, but Kalish dove back under him on the exit to retain the position. The shuffle allowed Round Two winner Hunter Kelly (Praga) to come through for the position, putting Pickett back to third. They ran this way until lap 10 when Pickett got into the back of Kelly and the two karts both went off course, ending their races. This promoted Round One winner Austin Wilkins (SodiKart) to the second position, that is, until a charging Salvador de Alba (GP) took the spot away. In the end, Franklin Motorsports’ Kalish drove away to a 3.7-second advantage by the checkered flag to post his first Pro Tour victory. Alba finished second ahead of Wilkins in the third position. Rory van der Steur (FA Kart) continued to impress as he bounced back after an issue in Heat #2 put him 14th on the grid, driving to an impressive fourth ahead of Sky Finley (DKC / SodiKart).
Looking at the Parolin Racing Kart X30 Master field, there were a number of drivers with previous Pro Tour experience you would have expected to be in the hunt. However, when it came down to the main event, three drivers drove away from the field with Laurentiu Mardan (Tony Kart) leading Erik Jackson (MMK) and veteran Scot Carapellatti (Formula K). None of the three had yet to win a Pro Tour event. Jackson set the pace throughout the day, but settled in behind Mardan after receiving a jump start penalty for Heat #2. The two pulled away from Carapellatti to decide between themselves, as Jackson got the better of Mardan. At the line, it was Jackson securing his first Pro Tour victory for himself and the MMK chassis. Carapellatti was able to close in down to the checkered flag to steal the second spot from Mardan, with all three earning their first Pro Tour podium. The fight all race was for fourth, with a mixture of the former race winners and Pro Tour champions. John Crow (MRC / Praga) put down fast laps to climb his way from the back after a tire failure in Heat #2, working past championship leader Derek Wang (BBR / FA Kart) and Round Two winner Jamie Sieracki (Franklin Motorsports / Merlin).
It was an Intrepid 1-2 in the Phil Giebler Racing / Ricciardo Kart S4 Master Stock Moto as Ryan Kinnear became the third different winner on the year, triumphing over Round One victor Jordon Musser. The two set the pace throughout the day and pulled away from the field in the main event, putting on a show. They worked together for the most part, but were sizing each other up for the end run in the main event. Kinnear was able to get the edge, reaching the checkered flag for the Champion Racing driver’s first Pro Tour victory in the category. 3G Kart Racing’s Musser settled for second, while defending champion Jimmy McNeil (PKS / CRG) battled his way up from 13th after needing to break his engine seal after Heat #2. Point leader Alan Michel (MRC / Praga) was fourth while Chris Jennings was a solid fifth all day. Nick Firestone and Lance Lane made it a 1-2 for DRT Racing and DR Kart in the Mad Old Nut Racing S4 Super Master Stock Moto. The championship leader was able to hold on in the main event over the charging Lane to secure his second win on the season. PP Mastro (Italcorse) completed the podium, ahead of Darrell Tunnell (PKS / CRG) and Venkat Reddy (CRG) in fourth and fifth.
Despite some great racing throughout the day, the final race for the Pure Karting X30 Junior category belonged to Dylan Tavella (IRR / Tony Kart). It was a performance similar to what we have seen Dylan’s early Cadet days, as the sophomore Junior pilot simply drove away to the victory. Zoey Edenholm (Koene USA / Tony Kart) continued her growth as a driver, securing fast time in qualifying and winning the opening heat race, only to be penalized five positions for ignoring the meatball flag in the closing laps. The penatly promoted Merlin driver Alex Bertagnoli (Franklin Motorsports / Merlin) to the race win. It was short-lived at the front as Tavella (Tony Kart) drove his way to the second heat win. From there, Tavella jumped out quickly in front of the field to start the main, leading all 18 laps for his first Pro Tour victory. The battle all race long was for second, with Edenholm locking up the position over Jagger Jones (RPM / Tony Kart). Edward Portz (RPG / Kosmic) ended up fourth with Michael Cruz (FA Kart) an impressive fifth after leading the group for some time.
In the Top Kart USA Mini Swift division, the momentum heading into the event was all on the shoulders of Reece Gold, having won several races leading up to this weekend’s event. After qualifying first in the 34-driver field, Gold lost out on the win in Heat #1, which was won by Kyle Thome (Merlin) and he was then spun around in Heat #2, placing 11th as fellow Benik driver Luca Mars took the win. Mars was comfortably out front during the main with Thome on his bumper, until Benik driver Tyler Maxson closed up with Gold on his rear bumper. Thome was the only non-Benik hope for the rest of the field, until he looped it on lap 10, opening the door for Maxson and Gold to put pressure on Mars. It wasn’t until the last lap that the lead changed hands. Gold took over the position and the rest of the group ended up fighting for the second position. The victory was the first for Gold on the Pro Tour, with Maxson edging out Benik driver Anthony Willis for second over Mars and Elio Giovane. Devin Gomez made it a Benik top-six.
Anything can happen with the young drivers of the Benik Kart Micro Swift division. Kai Sorensen (Praga) was the driver to beat all day and remained that in the main event until Sebastian Ng (Top Kart) and Eli Trull (Fullerton) were able to match his pace. Ng took over the point for the first time with just a few laps remaining, sparking up some shuffling between the top-three. It continued to the final lap with Trull able to go from third to first in a three-wide move on the exit of turn one. It appeared he was able to get away with the other two making contact. Ng kept his head down and was able to close in, making a run to the checkered flag. At the stripe, it was Ng with the edge and the victory, notching his first Pro Tour win. Trull crossed the line in second, but was removed from the results for missing the battery. That promoted Sorensen to second and Alex Powell (Birel ART) to third. Calem Maloney (OK1) and Ben Maier (Top Kart) completed the top-five.