EKN Trackside: 2017 United States Pro Kart Series – Chicagoland Super Grand Prix Preview Part 2
SuperNationals 21 entries up for grabs in the IAME divisions at series finale
The United States Pro Kart Series – presented by FIKSE Wheels and MG Tires – is heading into the fifth season finale weekend. The 2017 championship chase is closing on September 22-24 at the Chicagoland Super Grand Prix with the program visiting the Autobahn Country Club facility in Joliet, Illinois for the first time in series history. A combination of purpose-built course and temporary circuit is the layout for the weekend, providing a short, fast, and challenging location for the final two rounds of the championship.
At the Hoosier State Grand Prix in July, three drivers earned tickets to the IAME International Final in Le Mans, France next month. Brandon Jarsocrak, Maks Kowalski and Santiago Trisini each scored a ticket to compete against the best IAME drivers around the world by leading the championship chases after the weekend in IAME Pro, IAME Junior and Mini Swift. Brent Crews scored a entry-only prize by earning the most points at the Liberty Grand Prix back in May, with the four drivers scheduled to compete in their respective categories. On the line this weekend for all five IAME categories are free entries AND guarantee starting positions at the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 21 in Las Vegas. IAME Pro, IAME Junior, Mini Swift and Micro Swift champions – should they not be the same drivers as those racing at the IAME International Final – will earn the tickets to the November 15-19 event, with the KA100 title winner earning a ticket to X30 Senior.
eKartingNews.com is trackside for the weekend, providing the industry-leading coverage throughout the Chicagoland Super Grand Prix. Listen in all weekend to the EKN Live broadcast, featuring the play-by-play call from series announcer Tim Koyen. Watch the EKN Social Media outlets – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for photos and videos – and watch for daily reports and updates in the Official Discussion Thread.
Not only are the prizes on the line, but the prestigious of becoming a United States Pro Kart Series champion is on the horizon for the seven categories competing. Yesterday was a look at the 100cc categories. Below is a look at the four IAME TaG divisions competing at Autobahn this weekend with the championships to still be decided.
Brandon Jarsocrak is one of a few drivers to compete in all five seasons of the USPKS program, including the Franklin Motorsports IAME Pro division. Jarsocrak has yet to reach the top step of the championship podium in the category, winning the Yamaha Pro title in 2014. The KartSport North America / Praga driver has four victories in six rounds on the season, holding a 133-point advantage heading into the series finale. On his heels is Senior rookie Alex Bertagnoli. The two are no strangers, racing each other in both IAME Pro and KA100. The Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver has the slim advantage in the latter, needing to return back to the top of the podium in IAME Pro as he did at the opening round for a chance to steal the championship. The point gap is a lot closer thanks to a disqualification in Pittsburgh for a tech issue that was overturned. The fight for third is in the hands of Senior rookie Stephen Dial (Franklin / Merlin). Round three winner Jacob Donald (KSNA / FA Kart) is not attending the finale event, thus opening up the advantage for Dial. Dario Cangialosi (Kosmic) sits fifth, with the opportunity to gain on Dial for the third position. Sixth is Armin Cavkusic (Franklin / FA Kart), with enough advantage to take over the fifth spot by the end of the weekend.
The championship chase in the Woltjer Racing Engines IAME Junior division is down to just two drivers. Maks Kowalski is the current championship leader, earning the ticket to the IAME International Final. The Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver took part in last year’s event in France, and has certainly improved his race craft this season, earning his first USPKS victory in Pittsburgh. The lead is 95 points over two-time winner Austin Schaff (Franklin / Merlin). Schaff doubled up at the season opener and has been unable to reach the top-three in the last four main events. Both took part in the Route 66 Sprint Series event in August at Autobahn, with Schaff earning victory in one of the main events, while Kowalski was runner-up the following day. Colin Neal (MDD / Vemme) has yet to win this season in the IAME division, and sits third in the championship chase ahead of Gray Leadbetter (VSR / Tony Kart) and Matthew Northrup (Innovative / Exprit). The other winner in the Route 66 race was Kyle Thome (Franklin / Merlin), who will be at the finale for just his second race of the series.
The championship is still up in the air for the Allison Racing Engines Mini Swift category. Santiago Trisini (Benik) finished Round Six as the championship leader, earning the ticket to the IAME International Final in Le Mans, France. Now, he has unfinished business of claiming his first USPKS title. Trisini holds a 110-point advantage with all six rounds in the total. If you factor in the drop, Brent Crews (Nitro Kart) is the driver to beat with a 23-point gap over Trisini. Crews, who won the IAME entry by winning both main events at Pittsburgh, has two runner-up finishes to his credit while Trisini has only been on the podium three times, including his two wins at GoPro. Not far behind is Round 5 victor Nicholas Terlecki. The Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver had his best two finishes of the year at New Castle. All three were not at the Route 66 event, and will begin the weekend with a blank sheet for setups. Annie Rhule (Energy) has a hold on the fourth position in the standings, looking for her first USPKS victory along with Jace Park (Parolin) and Keegan Bosch (Merlin).
Mateo Rubio-Luengo has the opportunity to earn two championships this season. Leading the Yamaha Cadet standings, Mateo is the top driver in the Innovative Performance Micro Swift championship. Mateo has four podium finishes this season, including a victory at New Castle. That has given the Benik driver a 78-point advantage heading into the finale weekend. Five different drivers have won on the season, with Frankie Iadevaia (Nitro Kart) the only pilot to win twice this season. His two wins have him second in the championship chase, needing to beat Mateo on the track all weekend for a chance at the title. Fellow Nitro Kart driver Sebastian Ng suffered a disqualification this season, however, with the USPKS rule of allowing to drop the DQ, the driver from Panama has to opportunity to fight for the championship. Ng trails Mateo by 56 points when factoring in the drop, also needing to finish ahead of the point leader all weekend. Christian Miles (KSNA / Formula K) and Danny Dyszelski (Benik) will battle for the final two spots on the championship podium.