EKN Trackside: 2018 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals – Sunday Report
Myers sweeps final round for S1 title as MacDermid scores first Pro Tour victory in X30 Senior
The final day of the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour for the 2018 season went into the books on Sunday. The sixth and final round of the championship chase took place at the New Castle Motorsports Park to close out the ninth edition of the SummerNationals. Weather remained warm and humid, with no issues of rain sliding into the area to disrupt what was the closing laps of the 2018 SKUSA Pro Tour and deciding all nine champions for the 2018 season.
Coming into the weekend, the S1 Pro Stock Honda division was up for grabs. TB Kart USA driver AJ Myers entered the weekend third in the standings, riding on his victory at the WinterNationals. Myers, a double winner at the 2016 event, was runner-up on Saturday to help to close the gap on championship leader Billy Musgrave (MRC / Aluminos). Myers made sure to put things in his hands by dominating the day to score maximum points and earn his first SKUSA Pro Tour championship. Myers went untouched on the day, leading all laps in the Prefinal and Final along with fast laps of the race in both. 2017 champ Jake French (DKC / Sodikart) bounced back from a DNF in the Prefinal to advance seven spots to second, with Kyle Wick (RPG / CRG) completing the podium. Saturday winner Hunter Pickett (Sodikart) drove to fourth with Nic LeDuc (Sodikart) in fifth.
Ryan Norberg entered the Final, leading the championship standings in the X30 Senior class and had to finish 11th or better to clinch his third straight crown. The PSL / Birel ART driver started on the sixth row, and kept himself above the 11th spot all race long. He would work his way into the seventh spot for the majority of the race, crossing the line after 25 laps as the three-time champion of the X30 Senior category. Out front, British driver Jonny Edgar (Tony Kart) jumped to the lead with Ryan MacDermid (Prime / Birel ART) and Alex Bertagnoli (FMS / Kart Republic) trailing. Eventually, front row starter Samuel Lupien (RPG / Kosmic) would recover from getting shuffled back to eighth and rejoin the leaders late in the race. Lupien’s arrival triggered movement with MacDermid slipping past Edgar prior to the white flag. Lupien went with him, which gave MacDermid enough of a gap through the final circuit to keep any attempt at the lead unobtainable. MacDermid ran a flawless final lap to reach the checkered flag and earn his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory. Lupien recorded fast lap of the race in his runner-up performance while Bertagnoli slipped past Edgar for the final step on the podium. Luke Selliken (RPG / Kosmic) ended up fifth while CRG Nordam’s Brendan Baker was the hard charger of the race, moving up 24 spots to 19th.
Max Hewitt (CRG Nordam) broke up the perfect weekend for Blair Hosie (MRC / Aluminos) with a hard charging victory in S2 Semi-Pro Stock Honda. Hewitt, who was fast time in qualifying, suffered a mechanical issue in the Prefinal, putting him 16th on the grid for the main event. Hosie took the Prefinal win easily, and started on the pole position for the Final. Getting away from the field, he was in cruise mode for much of the race. Hewitt was on the charge from the time the lights went out, working his way to second in the matter of a few laps. Once there, he ran fast laps of the race to chase down Hosie, pass him, and drive away to a near four-second advantage for his first career SKUSA Pro Tour victory. Championship leader Pedro Lopes (RPG / Kosmic) wrapped up the title with his sixth straight podium of the season in third. Carlee Taylor (2Wild / Tony Kart) won the battle for fourth with Cameron Egger (RPG / Kosmic) in fifth.
The X30 Master group started the day off with a odd qualifying session where the top players from Saturday were playing games instead of laying down laps. That cost them many positions and allowed Tecno Kart USA driver and two-time SummerNationals winner Laurentiu Mardan to score the pole position. Scott Roberts (SCR / Tony Kart) took over in the Prefinal, with Irishman Martin Pierce (CompKart) behind him. Leonardo Nienkotter (CompKart) was one of the drivers playing games in qualifying, and worked his way up to third in the Prefinal. He and Paulo Lopes (RPG / Kosmic) entered the Final separated by just three points in the standings, meaning who ever finished ahead of the other would be crowned the new champion. Nienkotter took matters into his own hands, taking the lead and never looking back. The Brazilian and three-time SuperNationals winner led all 18 laps to earn his third victory of season and score the SKUSA #1 plate for 2019. Paulo Lopes (RPG / Kosmic) did the best he could, placing second on track but an avoidable contact penalty dropped him down to fifth, thus promoted Jess Peterson (PGR / Ricciardo) to second and Pierce in third. Jonathan Silva (CompKart) added another top-five finish on the weekend in fourth.
Ryan Kinnear went down fighting in the S4 Master Stock Honda category, sweeping the day for his second victory of the season only to come up just short in the championship bid. Kinnear (PGR / Ricciardo) put in a perfect day, scoring maximum points with fast time in qualifying, the Prefinal and Final win along with fast lap of the main event. He fought with point leader Jordon Musser (3G / Birel ART) all day long. Musser tried a move on the final lap of the Prefinal where he dropped a wheel and spun out coming to the checkered. That allowed Kinnear to cruise to the win. Musser jumped from fifth to first quickly with Kinnear on his bumper the entire main event. In the closing laps, Kinnear took over the lead with Musser waiting for the final turn. They went side-by-side into the final corner, with Kinnear parking his machine at the apex, not allowing Musser to complete the criss-cross move on the exit. Kinnear drove to the checkered flag first with Musser in second, earning his third career SKUSA Pro Tour title in the category. Rob Logan (Nash / CRG) drove to third with Ben Schermerhorn (Birel ART) beating Nathan Stewart (Sodikart) for fifth.
John Crow was able to end his S4 Super Master Stock Honda championship season with another victory. The MRC / Aluminos driver was able to run away in the main event with his fifth victory and first career SKUSA Pro Tour title. Mike Jones (Sodikart) was able to steal the Prefinal win from Crow at the line, but a mechanical issue on the opening lap stopped him from challenging for the win. Top qualifier Rod Clinard (CRG Nordam) drove to second with Mike Rivera (CKR) earning a second podium finish on the weekend. Steve Jenks (Aluminos) and Brett Harrelson (Nash / CRG) rounded out the top-five.
It was a slow start to the X30 Junior main event, thanks to a few full course yellow laps at the beginning. After a relativly clean start, one driver was spun sideways in the middle of the long straight toward I-70. Another driver ignored all the yellow flags waving, and drilled the stranded driver. Both drivers were able to walk away however the field had to make a few extra laps under yellow as they would not reduce their speed and stay in line. Once the race restarted, front row starters Jeremy Fairbairn (JHDD / Kosmic) and Connor Zilisch (Tony Kart) led the field. A solid lead group formed that included Fairbairn, championship leader Arias Deukmedjian (LEM / Tony Kart) and Justin Arseneau (SCR / Tony Kart). Fairbairn would eventually secure the position and get away in the closing laps with Luca Mars (SCR / Tony Kart) running him down. At the line, Fairbairn scored the victory by 43 thousandths of a second ahead of Mars. Matheus Morgatto (Parolin) joined them on the podium in third. Deukmedjian finished fourth, securing him his first SKUSA Pro Tour championship, while Reece Gold (FA Kart) was fifth. Maximilian Opalski (FA Kart) was the hard charger of the race, climbing 27 spots to 11th.
For a second straight season, Carson Morgan is the Mini Swift SKUSA Pro Tour champion. The California driver cemented the title with a victory in Sunday’s main event. Starting third, Morgan (Kart Republic) was among the many drivers in the lead group. After multiple lead changes, Morgan took control on lap 11 and remained there until the checkered flag. He held off Saturday winner Jace Park (Parolin) at the line by 84 thousandths of a second. Kai Sorensen (Tony Kart) rounded out the podium in third, edging out Paul Bocuse (Kart Republic) and Christian Miles (Kart Republic).
The scenario for the Micro Swift title was a close one, coming down to where Max Garcia would finish. The Kart Republic driver needed to finish second with fast time or win the race to jump ahead of Caleb Gafrarar in the standings. Gafrarar (Parolin) could not improve his points, unless he won, thus taking away Garcia’s chance at the title. Gafrarar started ninth with Garcia in third after scoring the 10 bonus points for fast time in qualifying. A wild start sent the field scrambling in turn two, allowing Garcia and Ben Maier (Nitro Kart) to get away with the lead and Gafrarar the ability to slip into fourth behind Matias Orjuela (Parolin). Those two ran down the top two and quickly the four-some began battling for the lead. On lap 10, contact at the I-70 corner sent Gafrarar off track, with Orjuela taking the lead. The following lap, an issue between he and Maier shuffled up the order again, giving Garcia the lead and a healthy advantage. Garcia did not put a wheel wrong, driving to his first career SKUSA Pro Tour victory and locking up the championship. Maier crossed the line in second, but received a two position penalty for impeding. Orjuela finished third, however, received a big penalty for avoidable contact, thus promoting Cameron Myers (Margay) to second and Graham Trammell (Energy) to third. Maier ended up fourth with Adam Brickley (Nitro Kart) in fifth.