EKN Exclusive: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 22 – Preview Series – KA100 Senior
Senior level IAME 100cc category making inaugural start in Vegas
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
There has never been a 100cc category for Senior drivers in the 21-year history of the SKUSA SuperNationals. When the KA100 Senior class hits the track on Wednesday, it will be the first. The Senior category joins the Junior KA100 division in making its SuperNats debut this season, and there is a great deal of excitement surrounding the opportunity and the driver line-ups. Each division has a solid roster of drivers, however, it looks as if the Senior will be a heated battle all week long. Reviewing the entry list, there’s a great mixture of veterans and young guns all looking to add a SuperNationals win to their trophy case. Only 30% of the drivers competed in a X30 class last year – Senior or Junior – helping to build the total entry count overall.
First, let’s look at drivers who were successful in KA100 racing this season. The USPKS program was the first to welcome in the KA100 category last year, and was one of the most competitive divisions over the last two seasons. Florida driver Zachary Hollingshead (OGP / FA Kart) secured the championship in 2018, while pulling double duty on the year racing X30 Senior. He is scheduled to race both KA100 and X30 in Vegas as well, among the seven to do so in Senior. Blake Hunt won three times on the season in WKA Manufacturers Cup Series competition, earning the championship. Hunt (Kart Republic) is under the KartSport North America tent in his first SuperNats start. On the west coast, a number of top drivers from the IKF Grand Nationals in California should be watched. Nick Ramirez (Yesnick / Fullerton), Tomas Mejia (PKS / Tony Kart), and Jason Pettit (MRC / OTK) stood on the podium at the event. Pettit was the provisional winner in the S2 main event on SuperSunday last year, only to have the victory taken away by a jump start. Jason will pull the double duty, making his Pro Shifter debut as well at the SuperNationals. Edward Portz (Nash / FA Kart) pulled off the victory at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, while Jenson Altzman (Ruthless / FA Kart) claimed the win at ROK the Rio.
A number of more experienced drivers are in the field. TJ Koyen (Innovative / Exprit) is among those, as he’s made a number of starts at the SuperNationals, none more memorable then his drive in the LCQ in 2012 at the Rio (if only we had recorded the LCQ audio!). Koyen ran runner-up to Hollingshead in the USPKS season. Alongside Koyen in the Innovative tent will Colton Ramsey (Tony Kart). He is among those making the switch from X30 to KA for this SuperNats. Current ‘Throwdown’ champion Josh Hotz (Franklin / Merlin) is making his way to Vegas, sword in hand and ready to battle.
No driver is more experienced in the field than John Crow (MRC / Aluminos). The 2018 SKUSA Pro Tour S4 Super Master champion is primed for double duty as well, racing the KA100 division against drivers more than half his age. Crow is the one of two former SuperNationals winners in the field, having won the TaG Master class in 2005 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The other winner dates back 18 years to the K3 Novice shifter class when Greg Welch stood on top of the podium. Welch (CompKart) has been putting in the work at the Unser Karting in Centennial, Colorado both with the facility and in the driver’s seat, and he is set for his first SuperNats start since 2008.
Crow is not the oldest driver in the field as 56-year-old Brett Harrelson holds that honor. The youngest is Nick Persing, having just turned 15-years-old, and both are racing under the Nash Motorsportz tent. The new KA100 class is bringing back some names from the past, including former SuperNats racers Austin Osborne (Tony Kart), Cole Nelson (Invader) and Steve Barros (Tony Kart). Nelson’s Invader is not the only American-made chassis in the field, thanks to the fact that Evan Stamer will make his SuperNats debut with Margay.
Coming back to their roots are two Road to Indy / IndyCar drivers. Neil Alberico (Tony Kart) raced in X30 Senior last year, and is moving over to KA100. Alberico is a former CKI champion in TaG competition, and has 36 starts in Indy Lights over the last three years. Former Road to Indy winner Conor Daly has logged five Indy 500 starts from 2013 to 2018, with a best finish of 21st coming in 2018. Daly will be joining Indy-based Top Kart USA in Vegas, making his first start since racing KZ in 2016. Other notables to watch on the week include Rock Island Grand Prix winner Jordan Bernloehr (Comet / FA Kart), Stephen Dial (CompKart), and Pauly Massimino (KSNA / Kart Republic).
Rob Howden – EKN Publisher
When it comes to the SuperNats, experience weighs greatly when I’m make my preview predictions, but I also give significant importance to confidence, momentum and the ability to win. TJ Koyen has all that is needed to break through and put himself in the history books at the first ever KA100 winner at the SuperNationals. Koyen is a USPKS winner and has been through the grinder that is the heats and LCQ in Vegas. This could be one of those ‘youth and enthusiasm succumbing to age and treachery’ scenarios. Edward Portz was truly impressive at the Streets of Lancaster GP, which I think puts him a place to take a run at the SuperSunday win, but toss USPKS champ Hollingshead and WKA champ Hunt firmly into the mix. Ramsey is my darkhorse to mix it all up, if he hits the ground running.
1. TJ Koyen
2. Edward Portz
3. Zach Hollingshead
4. Blake Hunt
5. Colton Ramsey
David Cole – EKN News Desk Manager
I think this podium, and KZ, along with the two Master divisions, will be the only podiums where you can serve champagne and not sparkling water. A full-on adult podium is my prediction. While I don’t want to put the hex on him for making him my pick to win it all, I think TJ Koyen winning at the SuperNationals would be huge. There is not another driver more respected in the paddock. From the elders to the young guns, they know Koyen is talented and knowledgeable enough to grab the SuperNats 22 trophy. Keeping it Midwest, Hotz will ‘throwdown’ on SuperSunday to grab the runner-up behind Koyen. Welch has put in the time and has the experience, as does Cole Nelson to put USA on the podium in the manufacturer side. And my dark horse, Steve Barros!
1. TJ Koyen
2. Josh Hotz
3. Greg Welch
4. Cole Nelson
5. Steve Barros
By the Numbers:
2 – International drivers
2 – Former SuperNationals winners
7 – Drivers racing both X30 and KA100
16 – Drivers who can legally gamble and drink while at SuperNationals
40 – Entered drivers
Provisional Entry List – KA100 Senior
|942||Neil Alberico||Tony Kart||Monte Sereno CA||US|
|913||Jenson Altzman||Ruthless Karting||FA Kart||Phoenix AZ||US|
|903||Steve Barros||Albar Motorsports||Tony Kart||Redlands CA||US|
|970||Jared Bell||Birel ART||Houston TX||US|
|927||Jordan Bernloehr||Comet Kart Sales||FA Kart||Lakeville MN||US|
|957||Bryce Berry||Nevada Kartsport||Birel ART||Reno NV||US|
|972||Aaron Bromberek||DRT Racing||DR Kart||Lemont IL||US|
|939||Cesar Campos, Jr.||Yesnick Racing||Merlin||Canyon Country CA||US|
|911||Alan Cortes||Unser Racing||CompKart||Aurora CO||US|
|931||John Crow||Musgrave Racing Co.||Aluminos||Corona CA||US|
|958||Conor Daly||Top Kart USA||Top Kart||Zionsville IN||US|
|906||Stephen Dial||CompKart||CompKart||Elwood IL||US|
|978||Henry Falls-Hand||MDG Karting||Gold||Riverside CA||US|
|976||Everest Fedler||Ryan Perry Motorsport||Tony Kart||Denver CO||US|
|925||Daniel Ferguson||Cambrian Go-Karts||Sodi Kart||Pleasanton CA||GB|
|904||Scott Foster||KartSport North America||KF KART||AU|
|909||Brett Harrelson||Nash Motorsportz||FA Kart||Riverside CA||US|
|915||Ben Hewitt||CompKart||CompKart||DeForest WI||US|
|986||Zachary Hollingshead||Ocala Gran Prix||Tony Kart||Ocala FL||US|
|922||Josh Hotz||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Mukwonago WI||US|
|917||Blake Hunt||KartSport North America||Kart Republic||Mooresville NC||US|
|968||TJ Koyen||Innovative Performance||Exprit||Sun Prairie WI||US|
|935||Grant LeClaire||Cole Nelson Racing||Invader||San Jose CA||US|
|902||Nathan Martin||Nash Motorsportz||FA Kart||Westminster CO||US|
|908||Pauly Massimino||KartSport North America||Kart Republic||Waxhaw NC||US|
|956||Abby McLaughlin||Top Kart USA||Top Kart||Mooresville IN||US|
|950||Tomas Mejia||PKS Kart Supplies||Tony Kart||Danville CA||US|
|918||Cole Nelson||Cole Nelson Racing||Invader||Reno NV||US|
|924||Austin Osborne||Tony Kart||Houston TX||US|
|975||Nick Persing||Nash Motorsportz||FA Kart||Morgan Hill CA||US|
|946||Jason Pettit||Musgrave Racing Co.||OTK||Walnut Creek CA||US|
|988||Edward Portz||Nash Motorsportz||FA Kart||Corvallis OR||US|
|930||Oscar Priest||Kosmic||BARNSLEY NSW||AU|
|905||Nick Ramirez||Yesnick Racing||Fullerton||Riverside CA||US|
|900||Colton Ramsey||Innovative Performance||Tony Kart||Springfield IL||US|
|969||Travis Reisig||Checkered Motorsports||Kosmic||Marlton NJ||US|
|996||Jake Sawyer||KartSport North America||Deadly||AU|
|953||Evan Stamer||Margay Racing||Margay||Glen Carbon IL||US|
|977||Arie Venberg||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Dallas TX||US|
|945||Greg Welch||CompKart||CompKart||Denver CO||US|