EKN Trackside: 2018 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour – WinterNationals Preview – Part 2

Stacked fields in IAME divisions to provide amazing racing in NOLA

The ninth season of the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour is set to begin this weekend with the second running of the WinterNationals. What began with just under 100 drivers in northern California back in April 2010, SKUSA now welcomes over 200 from around the world to compete in North America’s top karting series. The three-event, six-round championship begins in Avondale, Louisiana at the NOLA Motorsports Park.

The gem of the bayou opened in 2011 and quickly gained world attention in 2013 when hosting its first world event. The Alan Wilson-designed facility provides multiple configurations, with a 17-turn, 1.1-mile layout used in last year’s SKUSA WinterNationals returning. Lap times will be above the 1-minute mark, with the quickest category of S1/S2 inching to break into the 59-second barrier.

eKartingNews.com is ready to be at NOLA Motorsports Park, providing the industry-leading coverage trackside. Karting enthusiasts not in attendance can listen from home or on the road to the EKN Live broadcast at www.ekartingnews.com/live with Rob Howden providing the play-by-play call. Daily reports and updates on the EKN Social Media network will fill up your timeline throughout the weekend. First, EKN begins with a look at all nine categories competing this weekend. A preview of the Stock Honda divisions was published on Wednesday, while a look at the IAME classes is below.

Two-time SKUSA champ Ryan Norberg is the bulls-eye once again to begin 2018 (Photo: EKN)

The 2017 championship chase in X30 Senior went down to the wire, and was the closets finish in SKUSA Pro Tour history for the category. Looking at the returning drivers and contenders for 2018, it could be just as competitive for the SKUSA crown. The king on the throne for the past two seasons as been Florida driver Ryan Norberg. A privateer in 2016 that won three main events used consistent finishes last year to remain as the champion in 2017, helping him to also earn the EKN Driver of the Year honor. The SKUSA #1 still remains on the side of his Birel ART machine into the new season, still holding the bulls-eye as the driver to beat.

SKUSA #2 and #3 Jake Craig and Brandon Jarsocrak are returning. Craig (Tony Kart), the 2014 champion, came four points short of a second title, losing out to Norberg. The California driver returns having shown well as the eKartingNews.com representative at the Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout. Jarsocrak is entering a new era. Still with KartSport North America, the ‘Shillington Slingshot’ has moved over to the Kart Republic brand. Jarsocrak won in his debut on the chassis at the SKUSA Winter Series, and the brand won the championship with Italian Lorenzo Travisanutto.

Samuel Lupien (Kosmic), Alex Bertagnoli (Merlin) and David Ilavia (CompKart) finished inside the top-10 of the SKUSA Pro Tour standings a year ago, returning as top contenders in 2018. Nicky Hays (Birel ART) is now a two-time California ProKart Challenge champion, hoping to transition that success on the SKUSA Pro Tour. Dante Yu (CompKart), Billy Musgrave (Mad-Croc) and Sonny Cervelli (Aluminos) also hail from California, with a large number of west coast drivers making the trek.

Christian Brooks left the WinterNationals last year as championship leader thanks to two runner-up finishes. His move to CRG Nordam could trigger a better result, teamed with SKUSA Winter Series vice-champion Callum Bradshaw from Great Britian. Bradshaw has been successful in his last three trips to the USA, standing on the podium at the SuperNationals in November along with three of the four in Florida. Jorge Pescador (Praga) is the only other driver outside of North America in the field, adding another strong veteran to the roster. Among the top rookies set to make their SKUSA Pro Tour debut in Senior are Trey Brown (FA Kart), Joseph Daniele (OTK) and Hannah Greenemeier (Kosmic).

X30 Senior Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Hometown Country
313 Jenson Altzman Ruthless Karting Exprit Phoenix AZ USA
333 Kyle Apuzzo J3 Competition CompKart North Scituate RI USA
309 Brenden Baker CRG Nordam CRG Celina TX USA
381 Finnegan Bayliff Team TKG / Trinity Karting Group Tony Kart Batavia OH USA
324 John Berry Iron Rock Motorsports Tony Kart Katy TX USA
304 Alex Bertagnoli Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Merlin Lakewood IL USA
302 Callum Bradshaw CRG Nordam CRG GB
343 Christian Brooks CRG Nordam CRG Santa Clarita CA USA
328 Trey Brown Nash Motorsportz FA Kart Lemon Grove CA USA
391 Elliott Budzinski Jay Howard's MDD Kosmic Ann Arbor MI USA
366 Axel Cabrera AKT/KDM Kosmic Windermere FL USA
373 Sonny Cervelli Pickett Racing / Aluminos Aluminos Benicia CA USA
336 Xander Clements KartSport North America Kart Republic Woodstock GA USA
N2 Jake Craig JC Racing / Ryan Perry Motorpsort (RPM) Tony Kart Mission Viejo CA USA
325 Joseph Daniele Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) OTK Long Beach CA USA
312 Pablo Perez De Lara RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
316 Emma Delattre Rolison Performance Group (RPG) Kosmic Wilton CT USA
351 Colby DuBato PKS Kart Supplies Vemme Madera CA USA
340 Conner Grant Jay Howard's MDD Vemme Germantown TN USA
308 Hannah Greenemeier Rolison Performance Group (RPG) Kosmic Parker CO USA
315 Jacob Gulick Rolison Performance Group (RPG) Kosmic Vancouver WA USA
301 Nicky Hays Phil Giebler Racing (PGR) Birel ART Huntington Beach CA USA
332 David Ilavia J3 Competition Compkart Houston TX USA
318 Alejandro Jaramillo Koene USA Tony Kart Dallas TX USA
N3 Brandon Jarsocrak KartSport North America Kart Republic Reading PA USA
348 David Kalb, Jr. Checkered Motorsports TB Kart Aurora OH USA
320 Maks Kowalski Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Merlin Barrington IL USA
394 Samuel Lupien Rolison Performance Group (RPG) Kosmic Mascouche QC CA
303 Christopher Martin The Karting Collective Sodikart Daly City CA USA
357 Nathan Martin Nash Motorsportz FA Kart Westminster CO USA
322 Billy Musgrave Mad Old Nut / Mad-Croc USA / MRC Mad-Croc Norco CA USA
370 Colin Neal Jay Howard's MDD Kosmic Peebles OH USA
N1 Ryan Norberg PSL Karting Birel ART Orlando FL USA
399 Nick Persing Nash Motorsportz FA Kart San Jose CA USA
321 Jorge Pescador KartSport North America Praga AR
300 Edward Portz Nash Motorsportz Exprit Corvallis OR USA
371 Dustin Stross Team Felon Tony Kart North Fort Myers FL USA
355 Lane Vacala J3 Competition CompKart Antioch IL USA
377 Arie Venberg Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Merlin Lakeville MN USA
388 Jake Venberg Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Merlin Dallas TX USA
317 Clayton Williams Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Tony Kart Oakley CA USA
344 Aidan Yoder Formula Works CompKart San Gabriel CA USA
334 Dante Yu J3 Competition CompKart Temple City CA USA

Derek Wang remains the driver to beat in X30 Master (Photo: EKN)

To win at the WinterNationals in the X30 Master division would be to win against some of the in the world. Of course, two-time defending SKUSA Pro Tour champion Derek Wang is on that list. His performances here in the states and around the globe have proven that. Wang (FA Kart) however suffered his first defeat in the last three years, losing the SKUSA Winter Series title to Brazilian Renato David (Birel ART). The 2016 SKUSA SuperNationals winner was able to secure the title with victory in Ocala. David may not be the more recognized driver from his country in NOLA, with three-time SuperNationals winner Leonardo Nienkotter (CompKart) in attendance. The fellow Brazilian making his first SKUSA Pro Tour start outside the Vegas spectacular.

Laurentiu Mardan, who hails from Romania, shocked the paddock with his stellar performance at the SKUSA SummerNats. Two wins at New Castle helped to propel Mardan (Kosmic) up to second in the standings, giving him the SKUSA #2 plate for 2018. One driver who may have had a shot at the title a year ago was Jess Peterson. The first-year Master driver swept the SpringNationals, however, did not race any other event. Despite this being the first WinterNationals for Peterson (Birel ART), he is among the contenders out of the box. Add in Jonathan Silva (CompKart), Vatche Tatikian (Ricciardo), SKUSA Winter Series winner Scott Roberts (Tony Kart), and not to mention 2015 SKUSA Pro Tour champion Nick Tucker (Fullerton) making a return behind the wheel.

X30 Master Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Hometown Country
511 Kim Carapellatti Carapellatti Racing CompKart Cuba NY USA
512 Scot Carapellatti Carapellatti Racing Formula K Olean NY USA
525 Renato David Orsolon Racing Birel ART Orlando FL BR
554 Neil Faulkner Trackside Karting Services CompKart New Orleans LA GB
528 Rod Lake Dallas Karting Complex (DKC) / SodiKart USA Sodikart Dallas TX USA
518 Paulo Lopes Kosmic BR
N2 Laurentiu Mardan KartCraft / Pole Position Inc Kosmic Arlington Heights IL RO
597 Paul Meise Team TKG / Trinity Karting Group Tony Kart Cincinnati OH USA
504 Gustavo Michelsen BBR Karting Tony Kart PE
507 Miguel Mier PSL Karting Birel ART Frisco TX MX
521 Leonardo Nienkotter J3 Competition CompKart BR
550 Jess Peterson Phil Giebler Racing (PGR) Birel ART Sparks NV USA
543 Scott Roberts Speed Concepts Racing Tony Kart Winter Park FL USA
509 Danny Robertson Speed Concepts Racing Tony Kart Ocala FL USA
557 John Robicheaux J3 Competition CompKart Gulfport MS USA
500 Jonathan Silva Formula Works CompKart Corona CA USA
577 Vatche Tatikian Phil Giebler Racing (PGR) Ricciardo Altadena CA USA
533 Andriy Tsyupka Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Kosmic Hinsdale IL USA
510 Nick Tucker Team Nitro Kart Fullerton Mooresville NC USA
581 Cristian Vomir KartCraft Kosmic Hoffman Estates IL RO
N1 Derek Wang BBR Karting FA Kart Kirkland WA USA

Tyler Gonzalez is among the top contenders in the X30 Junior category (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

The X30 Junior category has gotten a younger average age with the graduation of a handful of drivers up and the many Cadet drivers moving up. Tyler Gonzalez is among the most decorated drivers in the field, as a SuperNationals winner in 2016. Gonzalez (Tony Kart) finished second at the SKUSA Winter Series after missing out on the championship podium at the Pro Tour in 2017. Arias Deukmedjian (Tony Kart) and Jeremy Fairbairn (Kosmic) are the only two returning drivers from the top-10 in last year’s Pro Tour standings. Both were among those in contention at the ‘Spring Training’ program this winter. As was second year Junior drivers Tyler Maxson (CRG) and Thomas Nepveu (Birel ART), along with Junior rookies Reece Gold (FA Kart) and Luca Mars (Energy).

A number of drivers are making Junior debuts at the SKUSA Pro Tour. SKUSA SuperNationals Mini Swift winner Connor Zilish (Tony Kart) is among them along with Branyon Tiner (Tony Kart), Cole Morgan (Tony Kart), and Santiago Trisini (Kart Republic). Others to watch include Pauly Massimino, making a debut with Kart Republic along with Alan Tang (Top Kart), a winner at the California ProKart Challenge opener. Missing from the field is SKUSA Winter Series champion Sebastian Montoya racing in Europe, along with Jak Crawford, Colin Queen, and Joseph Brienza.

X30 Junior Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Hometown Country
794 Ethan Arndt Trackside Karting Services CompKart Leander TX USA
756 Bryce Aron Jay Howard's MDD Kosmic Winnetka IL USA
773 Justin Arseneau Speed Concept Racing Tony Kart Morin-Heights QC CAN
718 Caleb Bacon CB Motorsports / Allison Racing Engines Tony Kart Mooresville NC USA
764 Gavin Bayliff Team TKG / Trinity Karting Group Tony Kart Batavia OH USA
725 Aaron Benoit J3 Competition CompKart Jupiter FL USA
714 Hayden Bowlsbey Jay Howard's MDD FA Kart Folsom LA USA
704 John Burke Iron Rock Motorsports Tony Kart Carrollton TX USA
726 Mackenzie Clark Prime Power Team Birel ART Campbellville ON CAN
750 Adrian Cruz PSL Karting Birel ART Fort Worth TX USA
702 Andres Perez De Lara RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
785 Jace Denmark-Gessel Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Tony Kart Glendale AZ USA
797 Arias Deukmedjian Speed Concept Racing Tony Kart Merritt Island FL USA
787 Jeremy Fairbairn Racing Edge Motorsports Kosmic Wellington FL USA
779 Aidan Fox J3 Competition CompKart Redding CT USA
799 Jose Garfias RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
795 Elio Giovane CRG Nordam CRG Miami FL IT
755 Reece Gold FA Kart Fort Lauderdale FL USA
744 Devin Gomez FA Kart Dallas TX USA
768 Ethan Ho APM Racing Tony Kart City of Industry CA USA
716 Hayden Jones Team Felon Tony Kart Matthews NC USA
719 Hayden Lane Iron Rock Motorsports Tony Kart Katy TX USA
761 Luke Lange Luke Lange Racing Kosmic Caddo Mills TX USA
703 Jalen Mack Mack Motorsports OTK Chino CA USA
747 Luca Mars Energy Corse North America Energy Sewickley PA USA
708 Pauly Massimino KartSport North America Kart Republic Waxhaw NC USA
774 Tyler Maxson CRG Nordam CRG Lawrenceville GA USA
777 Cade McKee Iron Rock Motorsports Tony Kart Hockley TX USA
765 Ignacio Montenegro CRG Nordam CRG AR
763 Cole Morgan Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Benik Anahaim CA USA
723 Jett Morton Iron Rock Motorsports Tony Kart Katy TX USA
711 Frankie Mossman Formula Works CompKart La Verne CA USA
724 Thomas Nepveu PSL Karting Birel ART Oka QC CAN
782 Maximilian Opalski FA Kart Conifer CO USA
741 Josh Pierson Rolison Performance Group (RPG) Tony Kart Wilsonville OR USA
720 Emiliano Richards RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
715 Santiago Robles Orsolon Racing Tony Kart San Antonio TX MX
786 Ryan Shehan Trackside Karting Services CompKart Cedar Park TX USA
721 Kyffin Simpson Speed Concept Racing Tony Kart Middletown NY BB
712 Alan Tang DMG Top Kart San Marino CA USA
788 Nicholas Terlecki Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Merlin Elgin IL USA
769 Branyon Tiner Brash Racing Tony Kart Angleton TX USA
775 Santiago Trisini KartSport North America Kart Republic Miami FL VE
722 Travis Wiley Iron Rock Motorsports Tony Kart Austin TX USA
733 Alexander Yankowski Mike Doty Racing Tony Kart Covington Township PA USA
710 Jacob Yesnick Yesnick Racing Merlin Rancho Palos Verdes CA USA
772 Connor Zilisch Team Felon/Late Apex Kartworks Tony Kart Matthews NC USA
753 Erick Zuniga Team Benik OTK MX

Carson Morgan has opportunity to earn back-to-back titles in Mini Swift (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

The Mini Swift title also went down to the wire in 2017 with California driver Carson Morgan securing the championship. Morgan (Benik) secured the crown with two podium finishes at the SummerNationals, and has a shot to match the back-to-back title record set by Colton Herta in 2010 and 2011. Brent Crews (Nitro Kart) is among those returning to contend for the 2018 championship. Crews was the 2017 IAME International Final winner, and started out the year with the SKUSA Winter Series championship. SKUSA Winter Series race winner Jeremy Fletcher (Tony Kart) and James Egozi (Tony Kart), who finished third in the ‘Spring Training’ standings, are other contenders returning this season.

Chase Gardner (Vemme) and Kai Sorensen (Benik) have been strong this winter at the Challenge, searching for more success to begin the Pro Tour. Logan Adams (Benik), Jace Park (Parolin) and Alex Powell (Energy) are looking to improve from 2017. A number of drivers are moving up to the Mini level. Last year’s SKUSA Pro Tour Micro champion Elliot Cox (Energy) leads the graduating class. Fellow Benik drivers Mateo Rubio-Luengo, and Miguel Costa have shown strong pace already at the SKUSA Winter Series. SKUSA Pro Tour winner Sebastian Ng (Nitro Kart) is moving up along with Christian Miles (Formula K) and Logan Toke (Top Kart), coming off a double win weekend in CalSpeed.

Mini Swift Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Hometown Country
102 Logan Adams Comet Kart Sales Benik Greenfield IN USA
149 Noah Baker Speed Concept Racing Energy Pinehurst TX USA
171 Paul Bocuse Speed Concept Racing Energy Orlando FL USA
105 Miguel Costa MR Racing Benik Miami Beach FL USA
151 Elliot Cox Energy Corse North America Energy Indianapolis IN USA
111 Brent Crews Team Nitro Kart Nitro Kart Denver NC USA
174 Enzo Deligny 2 Wild Karting Benik Los Angeles CA FR
148 James Egozi Koene USA Tony Kart Miami Beach FL USA
154 Jake Faulkner Trackside Karting Services CompKart New Orleans LA USA
122 Jeremy Fletcher Mike Doty Racing Tony Kart Saint Cloud FL USA
123 Artie Flores AM Engines Parolin Spring TX MX
133 Chase Gardner Gardner Motorsports Vemme Prosper TX USA
153 Tanner Garvin Positive Motorsports/Yoney Benik Sugar Land TX USA
101 Jack Jeffers Orsolon Racing Benik San Antonio TX USA
181 Anderson Leonard Team Benik Benik St. Petersburg FL USA
127 Kailey Meris PKS Kart Supplies Birel ART Elk Grove CA USA
177 Christian Miles KartSport North America Formula K Paloma IL USA
N1 Carson Morgan Ryan Perry Motorsports Benik Anaheim CA USA
190 Sebastian Ng Team Nitro Kart Nitro Kart Kannapolis NC PA
156 Jace Park Jim Russell Jr. Karting Parolin Overland Park KS USA
109 Ryan Persing Nash Motorsportz Benik San Jose CA USA
180 Alex Powell Speed Concept Racing Energy Doral FL USA
119 Camryn Reed Positive Motorsports/Energy Corse Energy Youngsville LA USA
196 Mateo Rubio-Luengo Team Benik Benik Atlanta GA USA
199 Aden Rudolph PSL Karting/Speedsportz Birel ART New Caney TX USA
187 Evan Slater Ocala Gran Prix Tony Kart Portsmouth NH USA
115 Kai Sorensen Team Benik Benik Lodi CA USA
146 Alex Stanfield Team Felon Energy Argyle TX USA
114 Enzo Swan Team Benik Benik Centennial CO USA
157 Logan Toke PKS Kart Supplies Top Kart San Luis Obispo CA USA
124 Hunter Yeany Team Benik Benik Virginia Beach VA USA

Ben Maier enters the Pro Tour as the driver to beat in Micro Swift (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

The numbers have not grown in the Micro Swift class with a number of driver moving up to Mini, however, the competition level remains strong. Ben Maier (Nitro Kart) holds the momentum in the category, having won the SKUSA Winter Series title. Parker DeLong (Benik) and newcomer Max Garcia (Benik) each won a race at the ‘Spring Training’ to put them in as top contenders. Returning drivers to the class include SummerNats winner Caleb Gafrarar (Parolin), Danny Dyszelski (Energy), and Ethan Ayars (Parolin).

Micro Swift Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Hometown Country
78 Ethan Ayars Jim Russell Jr. Karting Parolin Weatherby Lake MO USA
99 Cameron Brinkman Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Merlin Chatham IL USA
13 Logan Chambers PKS Benik Bakersfield CA USA
19 Parker DeLong Parker DeLong Racing Benik Glendale AZ USA
86 Ava Dobson Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Merlin Franklin WI USA
17 Santiago Duran Benik League City TX USA
88 Danny Dyszelski Kaos Kart Shop Energy York SC USA
44 Caleb Gafrarar Jim Russell Jr. Karting Parolin Midland NC USA
40 Max Garcia KartSport North America Benik Homestead FL USA
85 Logan Julien Franklin Motorsports / Team FMS Merlin Oconomowoc WI USA
67 Ben Maier Team Nitro Kart Nitro Kart Stevensville MD USA
26 Matias Orjuela VMotorsports Benik Miami FL USA
14 Cooper Shipman Iron Rock Motorsports Benik Austin TX USA
96 Graham Trammell Rolison Performance Group (RPG) Energy Springfield OR USA

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