EKN Trackside: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 20 – Friday Report

French sweeps S1 heats as top contenders begin emerging in all categories

(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

SKUSA SuperNats 20 logoThere is probably not a more crucial day at then Friday at the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals. Two rounds of heat races were contested for the 10 divisions competing at the 20th edition of the event outside the Las Vegas Convention Center. Thursday qualifying set the stage for Heat #1 and Heat #2 for the morning groups and afternoon categories. It was a time to improve, maintain or possible lose prime positions as the event moves forward. Friday provided the first wheel-to-wheel competition around this new layout, and it has proven to be very excited with drivers finding all the different passing opportunities 12-turn course. The weather cooperated with bright sunny skies however, the cooler temperatures kept things cold into the night sessions. For complete coverage visit the EKN Event Page.

Morning Heat 1

Morning Heat 2

Arthur Leist (Kosmic) opened up the racing at the SuperNationals 20 with a heat win. The AvsD grouping was the first to take the green flag, getting through the opening corner with a clean start. Leist jumped out to a big lead early, driving away to a 2.6-second victory. It was a battle for second as Alex Bertagnoli (Merlin) emerged as the driver to hold the position over championship contender Zoey Edenholm (Tony Kart). Broc Feeney (OTK) held fourth while Ryan MacDermid won an aggressive battle ahead of Jett Noland (Tony Kart) and title contender Dante Yu (CompKart).

The second Junior heat race was stopped early due to a wreck on lap six of the BvsC race. The great battle at the front was cut short, with Jagger Jones (Tony Kart) able to work past Tyler Gonzalez (Tony Kart) before the full course caution was brought out. Oliver Clarke (Tony Kart) was third over Dylan Tavella (Tony Kart) and Diego Ramos (Italkart) – who recorded the fast lap of the race.

Leist appeared to have the advantage in his second heat – AvsC – but Ramos had other ideas. Locked on his bumper early, Ramos took the lead on lap eight, and drove to the race win ahead of Leist. Bertagnoli was a close third with Joseph Daniele (Tony Kart) trailing in fourth. Vlad Lomko (FA Kart) advanced seven spots to place fifth, however, was removed from the results for not reporting to tech. That promoted Trey Brown (Tony Kart) to fifth, bouncing back from the hard cartwheel wreck in his first heat that required a new frame.

Jones went from hero to zero during the BvsD heat race. Racing in the lead group, a broken rear bumper forced him to be pulled off the course. This allowed Tavella to take over the point and score the race win over Clarke and an advancing Nicholas d’Orlando (CompKart). Gonzalez gained three spots to finish fourth ahead of Colapinto.

S1 Pro Stock Honda opened up their heat racing with a clean start as polesitter AJ Myers (TB Kart) grabbed the holeshot. Jake French (Sodi Kart) dropped in behind him, as they pulled away from the field. Lap six, French took over the lead and that was it. French drove away to a one-second gap over Myers. The battle for third went to defending winner Danny Formal (DR Kart), who worked past Matt Hamilton (Aluminos). Kyle Kirkwood (Birel ART) moved up two spots to finish fifth ahead of championship contender Daniel Bray (Aluminos).

The lead group grew in heat #2 as the top seven were nose to tail. Myers grabbed another holeshot with French taking the second spot until Formal was able to take the position quickly. Hamilton, Billy Musgrave (Aluminos), Kirkwood and Bray all right there. French came back on lap seven, taking over the second spot and then again at turn two, dove inside Myers to take the lead. Shuffling behind them gave the trio enough gap with Kirkwood fighting up to fourth. That same lap, Hamilton got spun around and high-sided on the curb, ending his race and costing him points for the main event grid. Formal was able to work past Myers for second as they took the white flag, allowing Kirkwood to pressure for the third spot. French took the win by 1.2-seconds with Formal in second. Kirkwood was able to steal the third spot at the final corner as Myers was inches away from hitting the outside barriers at the finish line, getting shuffled into the marbles. Bray was able to move up to fifth with Musgrave in sixth.

A three-driver fight formed at the front of the Mini Swift AvsD heat race. Top qualifier Santiago Trisini was joined by his Benik teammate Reece Gold and Jak Crawford (Energy). Crawford moved up to the lead early in the nine-lap race as the trio pulled away from Diego LaRoque (Benik). Gold and Crawford fought for the lead, up until the final corner with Reece diving inside. Crawford gave him room, but was unable to hold on, making contact with the outside barriers. It spun him around, but he kept the gas down and crossed the line in sixth. Gold took the win over Trisini in second. Anthony Willis (Benik) drove up from 15th to grab third ahead of Alfio Spina (CRG) and Gabriel Crepaldi (Benik). Spina was removed from the results due to a tech infraction, thus moving everyone up one position.

Four drivers battled for the top spot in the Mini Swift BvsC heat race. Polesitter Guilherme Figueiredo (Kosmic) fell down the order, allowing Benik drivers Rafael Camara, Carson Morgan and Tyler Maxson to battle for the lead with Energy driver Luca Mars coming up from 12th into the lead group. Maxson held the lead as they received the white flag and drove away to the win. Morgan worked around Mars for the second spot with Camara in fourth. Canadian Thomas Nepveu (Birel ART) capped off the top-five.

Benik drivers Trisini and Gold were able to get away from the field to begin heat AvsD. At the halfway point, slight contact with a barrier destroyed Trisini’s wheel to put him on the sideline, allowing Gold to retain the lead all alone up front. Behind him was a hard battle for the second position. Gold scored the win by two seconds with Spina earning the second spot. Another great drive by Willis put him third, working past Maloney on the final lap with Mars up seven spots to fifth.

Unlike the previous heat race, the fight for the lead lasted the entire nine lap distance. Crawford and Camara established themselves as the top drivers after early shuffling with Figueiredo and LaRoque. Crawford ran the defensive line in the final few laps, with Camara able to pull off the outside-inside move at the final corner to beat Crawford to the checkered flag first. Elio Giovane (Benik) advanced his way up to third, trailing the two leaders at the line. Figueiredo fell down to fourth with Max Dodds (Benik) working past LaRoque for fifth.

The story early in the X30 Master AvsD race was Phil Giebler. The former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year is making his Master debut. From the drop of the green, the Ricciardo driver was driving one-handed with a broken throttle. Giebler ran for a few laps, passing drivers with one hand on the wheel and one on the carb, until officials black flagged him off the course. Up front, Renato David (Tony Kart) pulled away early with Diego Pelosi (Tony Kart) and Jim Russell Jr. (Parolin) slotting in behind. Adam Kasick (OTK) moved to fourth with Eduardo Dieter (Italkart) slipping to fifth.

Pro Tour championship leader Derek Wang (FA Kart) led early in the Heat BvsC race after polesitter Kip Foster (Arrow) pulled off with a mechanical issue on the warm-up lap. Wang was pressured hard by Kris Walton (CompKart). Walton took over the lead and drove away. The fight was for P3 with three-time winner Leonardo Nienkotter (CompKart) under heavy pressure in the second half of the race. Walton drove to a three-second win over Wang with Nienkotter able to get away to hold third. Juan Basco (Birel ART) and Armando Watson (Tony Kart) completed the top-five.

Another throttle issue shaped the front five in the AvsC heat race. Russell was holding onto fourth when his broke about the halfway point, forced to pull off the track. Up front, David remained the driver to beat with Walton putting on the pressure. Pelosi and Nienkotter were right there until lap eight when David was shuffled back to fourth as Walton and Pelosi moved past with Nienkotter following through. They would finish that way, as John Crow (CompKart) completed the top-five.

Foster looked to rebound from the DNS in the opening heat race to help secured a transfer spot into SuperSunday and avoid the LCQ. Dieter led the opening circuit of the BvsD race. Foster and Dieter went back and forth in the closing laps with Giebler waiting in the wings, also looking for a strong finish after his DNF. In the end, Foster secured the win over Dieter and Giebler. Wang ran alone in fourth with Basco holding onto the fifth spot.

Top two qualifiers Freddie Slater (Benik) and Vinicius Tessaro (Benik) were the only two leaders in the inaugural Micro Swift heat race. The two swapped positions throughout the nine-lap event with Tessaro able to secure the position. Pro Tour point leader Kai Sorensen (Praga) was able to work past Slater for second in the last lap, missing out on the win by just 42 thousandths of a second. Frankie Mossman (Benik) drove up to fourth with Brandon Carr (Benik) holding onto fifth.

It was another photo finish to close out the day for the morning classes and the Micro Swift. Heat #2 was decided by just 64 thousandths as Sorensen edged out Slater. On the final circuit, Slater ran a defensive line into the final corner, and Sorensen was able to criss-cross to the inside and reach the finish line first. Tessaro ended up third over Carr with Frankie Iadevaia putting the new Nitro Kart into the top-five.

Afternoon Heat 1

Afternoon Heat 2

The S4 Master Stock Honda category opened up the afternoon session heat races. 2014 winner Gian Cavaciuti (GP) and Renat David (Birel ART) lead the way. The two began fighting for the lead with four laps remaining when the two made contact, taking each out of the race. That gave three-time SuperNationals winner Bonnier Moulton (Tony Kart) the lead, and a healthy one over Ryan Kinnear (Intrepid). In the closing laps, Kinnear closed up with fast laps of the race, placing himself on the bumper of Moulton as they took the white flag. With a solid draft, Kinnear dove inside Moulton at the final turn, able to hold on at the line for the win. Michael Patrizi (Ricciardo) came back from contact in the original start, which was waved off after a water barrier broke. Thankfully, with no serious damage, the Aussie went on to place third ahead of Rob Logan (CRG) and Mirko Mizzoni (Italcorse).

Cavaciuti was able to retain the top position in the second heat. GP teammate Antonio Perez put the pressure on with a long line of drivers waiting in the wings. Moulton was one of them, and worked past Perez in the second half of the race. Cavaciuti led the final five laps to claim the win over Moulton with Perez in third. Mike Beeny replaced his Tony Kart chassis from the opening heat race to place fourth ahead of Logan.

The intensity of the X30 Senior division was felt throughout the evening in their four heat races. The opening run of AvsD saw British driver Danny Keirle (Fullerton) hold on to score the race win. The driver on the move was Austin Garrison as the CompKart driver started fifth, and was pressuring for the lead in the final few laps. Keirle scored the win with Garrison in second, until officials penalized the Florida driver for passing after the checkered flag. That promoted top qualifier Marco Maestranzi (Top Kart) to second and a charging Braden Eves (Kosmic) to third. Stepanova Nekeel (Tony Kart) was classified fifth.

The SuperNats have not been kind to Brandon Jarsocrak, however the former EKN Driver Rankings #1 driver show the potential to compete for the victory this weekend in the BvsC heat race. Jarsocrak was able to establish himself as the leader in the 12-lap race, taking the checkered flag nearly one-second ahead of Ricciardo driver Marijn Kremers. Canadian Zach Claman De Melo (Intrepid) finished third as polesitter Joshua Car (CompKart) slipped back to fourth while Pro Tour point leader Ryan Norberg (Tony Kart) worked his way to fifth.

DeMelo was able to come away with the win in the AvsC heat race. The front row starters of Maestranzi and Jarsocrak were shuffled back early with Garrison up into the lead. DeMelo emerged as the quickest driver at the front, taking the lead with two laps remaining and holding on for the win over Jarsocrak. Former Pro Tour champion Jake Craig (Exprit) charged up to third from ninth with Zach Holden (Tony Kart) gaining 12 positions to finish fourth ahead of Garrison.

Kremers and former SuperNationals winner Phillip Orcic (Mach 1) were able to get away from the field in the BvsD heat race. Front row starters Raffa and Car were shuffled back at the start, with Nekeel sliding through as well to trail the top two. Kremers led wire-to-wire with heavy pressure from Orcic, while Nekeel closed up late. Franco Crivelli (FA Kart) climbed his way up to fourth with Jorge Pescador (Praga) up to fifth from the 12th position.

A monster jump by Hunter Kelly (Praga) put him into first from P11 as the lights went out to begin the opening S2 Semi-Pro Stock Honda. By lap four, Austin Wilkins (Sodi Kart) was able to get around Kelly, and he continued to fall down the order. Hunter Pickett (Aluminos) became the lead challenger with a long line of drivers behind them. Wilkins was able to establish a gap over Pickett, with the driver to watch late in the race moving to Mathias Ramirez (Birel ART). Making his first S2 debut, Ramirez was up to fourth with four laps remaining. Wilkins took the win with Pickett in second. Ramirez moved to third at the white flag, and was on the bumper of Pickett at the checkered. Top qualifier Rory van der Steur (FA Kart) dropped to fourth with DRT Racing’s Collin Daley up to fifth.

Rory van der Steur was able to retain the lead as the lights went out to begin Heat #2 with Wilkins, KC Cook (Praga), Ramirez and Pickett making up the top-five. Lap four, Ramirez was able to help push Wilkins into the lead and followed through to drop Rory down to third. The following lap, the S2 rookie dove to the lead at the last corner. van der Steur continued to fall, with Daley up into fourth after the halfway mark with a deep move into turn two. Daley continued charging, working past Cook for third and closed in on the top two late, but ran out of time. Ramirez took the win over Wilkins and Daley. Cook held on to fourth with Pickett able to grab fifth from Rory.

Top qualifier Kevin Woods (CRG) was joined by S4 Super Master Stock Honda Pro Tour championship contenders at the front of both heat races on the day. The first moto saw point leader Robert Marks (CRG) move into the lead in the second half of the race, going on to score the win. Woods dropped to second with Rod Clinard (CRG) holding off fellow title contender Nick Firestone (DR Kart) with John Crow (Praga) trailing in fifth.

The second race was Firestone’s turn to show the way, and he climbed from his P3 grid position to take the checkered flag. Marks stayed in second, pushing Woods back to the third spot. Clinard was in the battle until a right rear tire took him out of the race. That allowed his Ron White Racing teammate Patrick O’Neill (CRG) to advance up to fourth thanks to a one position penalty to Crow, who was classified fifth.

Everyone at the SuperNationals comes to the grandstands and the fence for the KZ division. It was well worth in the opening heat race, watching current world champion Paolo de Conto (CRG) climb nine positions in 11 laps to score the win. Parolin driver Lorenzo Camplese grabbed the holshot from Danny Formal (DR Kart), with the polesitter eventually falling down to fifth by the end of the race. Paolo and defending race winner Gary Carlton (Formula K) were on the charge throughout the race. de Conto took over the lead with four laps remaining with two-time winner Anthony Abbasse (Sodi Kart) up to second. Carlton advance three spots to third with Camplese down to fourth, just ahead of Formal.

The second heat race saw a full course caution for much of the race thanks to a hard wreck at the start/finish line by Willy Axton. Thankfully he walked away however SKUSA officials had to work quick with some techpro repair. The class was given a five-lap dash with Formal holding off a hungry field for the wire-to-wire win. The fight for second gave Formal an early gap with Abbasse working past Camplese and closing late on the eventual winner. Bas Lammers (Sodi Kart) was able to retain his fourth position with Carlton up one to fifth and de Conto advancing four spots to sixth.

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