EKN Exclusive: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 22 – Preview Series – X30 Master

Stellar field of expert drivers vying to become category’s 16th winner

eKartingNews.com, the Official Media Partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present our Preview Series for the SKUSA SuperNationals 22. Leading up to the on-track action of the 22nd edition of the marquee SKUSA event, EKN will preview each of the 10 categories that will compete on the temporary circuit located just outside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from November 14-18.

Complete coverage of the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 22 can be found at the EKN EVENT PAGE. EKN Live will provide play-by-play and live timing from qualifying through to the final checkered flag on SuperSunday at ekartingnews.com/live


Aussie Kris Walton comes in as the defending winner (Photo: EKN)

You can forget about odds when looking at the stellar entry list for the X30 Master field. This is the 16th year for the Master category, dating back to the second year that the SuperNationals were held at the Rio in 2003. Each and every year, the category grows larger, more talented, and increasingly more international. This year is no different with half the drivers coming in from outside the United States.

Four specific drivers from outside the USA have combined to win seven of the last eight SuperSunday main events. The last is Kris Walton (CompKart), who won in his second Master start at the SuperNationals in 2017. The race last year was called early after contact with a barrier soaked the race track in turn four. A lengthy clean-up was needed to dry the area, and as a result, Walton was named the victor after just 13 laps were completed. The Aussie is back to defend his crown, and is aiming to be the one taking the checkered flag after a full length run in 2018.

Kip Foster comes in hunting to join the three-win club at the SuperNationals (Photo: EKN)

On his bumper at the time of the red flag was two-time winner Kip Foster (KF Kart). The fellow Aussie claimed the top step of the podium in 2014 and 2015, landing on the podium six times in nine years. Two of those years, Foster was the provisional winner, only to be removed in tech. Those wins went to Brazilian Leonardo Nienkotter (CompKart). His victories in 2010 and 2011 were by default, before earning a third straight win on the racetrack in 2012. Nienkotter, coming off a SKUSA Pro Tour championship season, has six podium finishes in his eight starts at the SuperNationals and he will carry the SKUSA #1 plate.

Renato David and Travis Irving round out the former winners in the field. David (Orsolon / Birel ART) won in 2016 after a penalty was issued to provisional winner Eduardo Dieter that removed him from the top of the podium. Both Brazilians are among the contenders this year. David did not race the Pro Tour in 2018 but won at the recent ROK the RIO, while Dieter is joining the CRG Nordam tent for 2018. You have to go back 12 years to the 2006 event to find Irving’s name on the list of SuperNationals winners. Irving competed in the TaG Master category as a ‘Heavy’ driver, beating the field around the Sam Boyd Stadium parking lot aboard a Top Kart. Now, the CompKart driver is among the top Master drivers in the USA at the young age of 33, and he is gearing up for his third straight SuperNats at the legal age.

SKUSA Pro Tour champion Leonardo Nienkotter can make history by winning his fourth SuperNats (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

A number of quality drivers who are now just above the minimum age will be among those to watch when karts hit the track on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Matt Johnson (Nash / FA Kart) placed fourth in his Master debut at the SuperNats last year. 2018 marks the Master debut for Billy Lewis, Darin Marcus, Wesley Phillips and Scott Saunders. Lewis (Comet / FA Kart) is a former RoboPong 200 winner at New Castle Motorsports Park. Marcus (RPM / Tony Kart) was winning on the SKUSA ProMoto Tour in Pro Shifter competition in the early 2000s, and won at the USPKS program in his Master debut earlier this year. Phillips (RPM / FA Kart) is the 2005 US Rotax Grand Nationals champion. Saunders, an Australian native that calls North Carolina home, is joining DRT Racing aboard a DR Kart for his Master debut.

Top Pro Tour contenders will be in the field, including two-time SKUSA champion Derek Wang (BBR / FA Kart), who will head to Brazil after the SuperNats to compete in the Rotax Grand Finals. His best finish at the SuperNats was third in 2016. Jess Peterson will carry the SKUSA #3 plate for the first time, completing his first full year in the Master class. Peterson (PGR / Birel ART) was eighth in his SuperNats debut last year and was a podium finisher in Senior back in 2013. Last year’s SKUSA #2 plate holder Laurentiu Mardan is hoping for better luck in Vegas. The last three years have resulted in DNFs, as the 2018 USPKS Masters champion makes his SuperNats debut aboard his new Tecno Kart.

Other notables to watch include California ProKart Challenge champion Nick de Graaf (VemmeKart) and his top rival Carlos Calderon (Aluminos). Texas ProKart Challenge champion Miguel Mier (IRM / Birel ART), ROK the RIO 100cc Masters winner Jonathan Silva (FW / CompKart), Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix winner Kevin Manning (MMK / FA Kart), Florida driver Scott Roberts (SCR / Tony Kart) and veteran Luis Schiavo could all be in the fight. 2018 marks the second year of participation for Indy 500 driver Pippa Mann, who joins the Franklin Motorsports operation aboard a Merlin chassis.


Predictions:

Rob Howden – EKN Publisher

From the first time I watched Kip Foster in action at the SuperNats, I knew that I’d never discount him from a race win in Las Vegas. It really doesn’t matter where he starts. If his stuff is good, he’s going to the front. Nienkotter was the powerhouse on the Pro Tour all year, but I think it’s just too hard to bet against Foster for the win. Walton won last year in a shortened race and was sixth in 2016. He’ll be back on the podium, and it feels like Matt Johnson has settled into the Masters mix and he’s on his game.  I’ll add both Johnson and Jess Peterson to the podium. My darkhorse for a podium is Jonathan Silva, who has come on in the second half of the season and scored the 100cc Masters win at the ROK the Rio event last weekend.

1. Kip Foster
2. Leonardo Nienkotter
3. Kris Walton
4. Matt Johnson
5. Jess Peterson

David Cole – EKN News Desk Manager

With international drivers making up half the field, I’m going to guess that my predictions for this class will be off after SuperSunday. I don’t have the full confidence that one of the many drivers we didn’t mention above won’t stand out during the week and show up for SuperSunday. That said, I’m going with what I know, since I would need at least a few weeks to research all the names in the field and I only received the entry list on November 1. History will repeat itself, as it typically does in Master racing at the SuperNats, with Walton winning for a second straight year. I don’t know what he’s done in 2018, but if it’s anything like last year, he’ll be one to beat. Nienkotter was solid in his Pro Tour debut season, and really has an opportunity to join Connor DePhillippi as a four-time winner at the SuperNationals. Veteran Matt Johnson is solid at temp circuits, winning the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix in September to gear up for his second SuperNats in Master. Foster could have won his third SuperNats last year, and driving a kart with his own name on it will be a great story to watch in Vegas. There is no one who has more fun at a kart track than Scott Roberts. If this guy lands on the podium, I want in on that party at the VooDoo Lounge at the top of the Rio on SuperSunday.

1. Kris Walton
2. Leonardo Nienkotter
3. Matt Johnson
4. Kip Foster
5. Scott Roberts


By the Numbers:

5 – Former SuperNationals winners

12 – Years since Travis Irving’s last SuperNationals win

35 – International drivers

70 – Entered drivers

62 – Age of oldest driver at SuperNationals 22 – Jorge Borelli from Brazil


Provisional Entry List – X30 Master

SuperNats 22-Entry List-X30Master

No. Driver Team Chassis Hometown Country
523 Barbara Anagnostiadis Tom Williamson Motorsport Arrow AU
589 Fernando Arredondo CRG Nordam CRG DO
574 Juan Manuel Basco PSL Karting Birel ART AR
572 Jorge Borelli Tony Kart BR
501 Salvador Bortoni Bortoni Motorsports MX
526 Jason Burns Kosmic AU
509 Pedro Cabrera CRG Nordam CRG Wesley Chapel FL DO
511 Carlos Calderon Aluminos Aluminos San Jose CA US
578 Stefano Cambria GFC AR
575 Diego Camodeca Ternengo Kart Ternengo Kart AR
503 Wagner Cardoso Kosmic AU
535 Gustavo Carreira El-jo kart racing Kosmic AR
592 Dale Cheeseman Top Kart Bakersfield CA US
516 Scott Cherry Midland TX US
517 Kay Choi Dream Racer Tony Kart Hillsboro OR US
525 Renato David Orsolon Racing Birel ART Orlando FL BR
512 Nick de Graaf VemmeKart USA Vemme Lancaster CA NL
507 Eduardo Dieter CRG Nordam CRG BR
554 Robert Drenk Phil Giebler Racing Ricciardo Huntington Beach CA US
514 Guido Elustondo Vemme AR
536 Nicolas Estrada Kali Kart AR
580 Javier Fernandez VemmeKart USA Vemme AR
520 Kip Foster KartSport North America KF KART AU
545 Miguel Gaston Perez CRG AR
508 Jalil Hanna Team Montoya Tony Kart Key Biscayne FL CO
570 Keith Harless SpeedSportz Racing Team Birel ART Huffman TX US
585 Travis Irving Formula Works CompKart Norco CA US
527 Matt Johnson Nash Motorsportz FA Kart Ontario CA US
532 Jaime Labastida GP RACING GP Kart MX
586 Billy Lewis Comet Kart Sales FA Kart Noblesville IN US
569 Ivan Lozano Team Montoya Tony Kart Key Biscayne FL CO
563 Pippa Mann Franklin Motorsports Merlin Indianapolis IN GB
544 Kevin Manning Team MMK FA Kart Castaic CA US
576 Darin Marcus Ryan Perry Motorsport Tony Kart Chicago IL US
582 Laurentiu Mardan Tecno Kart USA Tecno Kart Arlington Heights IL RO
519 Carlos Martich CRG AR
547 Bruno Martins NF Piquet Sports CRG BR
504 Gerardo Isaac Maya Wolf Kart Republic MX
534 Carlos Medina Bortoni Motorsports Maranello MX
577 Miguel Mier Iron Rock Motorsports Birel ART Frisco TX MX
546 Eric Molinatti CKR USA CKR Napa CA US
515 Sung Hoon Moon Dream Racer CRG KR
531 Christian Morano CRG AR
1 Leonardo Nienkotter CompKart CompKart BR
593 Roman Padans Franklin Motorsports Merlin Cottage Grove WI US
555 Kyung-Ho Park CRG KR
529 Michael Patrizi PSL Karting Ricciardo AU
549 Justin Peck Msquared Karting Tony Kart Sandy UT US
3 Jess Peterson Phil Giebler Racing Birel ART Sparks NV US
561 Wesley Phillips RPM Motorsport FA Kart American Canion CA US
591 Junior Pinto Orsolon Racing Tony Kart BR
579 Fabian Provenzano Tony Kart AR
518 Danillo Ramalho Kosmic BR
543 Scott Roberts Speed Concepts Racing Tony Kart Winter Park FL US
557 John Robicheaux Rolison Performance Group Kosmic Gulfport MS US
510 Diego Rodriguez International Motorsport Tony Kart Miami FL MX
599 Frank Runco Tony Kart Carmel NY US
502 Scott Saunders DRT Racing DR Kart Concord NC AU
564 Luis Schiavo SVK Miami FL VE
597 Sandrei Silva NF Piquet Sports Kosmic BR
500 Jonathan Silva Formula Works CompKart Corona CA US
537 Asael Solis Leading Edge Motorsports Praga MX
581 Vatche Tatikian Phil Giebler Racing Ricciardo Altadena CA US
533 Andriy Tsyupka Tecno Kart USA Tecno Kart Hinsdale IL US
506 Neto Valdemiro Orsolon Racing Tony Kart BR
583 Cristian Vomir Tecno Kart USA Tecno Kart Hoffman Estates IL RO
568 Kris Walton CompKart CompKart AU
588 Derek Wang BBR Karting FA Kart Seattle WA US
567 Armando Watson JHDD Tony Kart PE
505 Alessandro Xavier NF Piquet Sports Kosmic BR

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