eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month: January 2019 – AJ Myers
2018 EKN Driver of the Year begins new season on top in SKUSA and Rok Cup USA competition
Myers swept the opening weekend of the SKUSA Winter Series program at AMR Motorplex in January (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
The 2019 season is well underway in the United States with major events on both coasts and regional programs underway in the warmer states of the country. The focus at the national level was in Florida for the month of January with the Superkarts! USA Winter Series and the Rok Cup USA Florida Winter Tour going back-to-back in the Miami area. Each event welcomed strong international drivers from around the world, and the best of the best from right here in North America. Among them was the 2018 EKN Driver Rankings #1 AJ Myers.
The 2019 season will be one of change with Superkarts! USA and the introduction of the IAME SSE powerplant. The 175cc shifterkart engine made its racing debut at the SKUSA Winter Series opener at the AMR Motorplex presented by MG Tires on January 11-13 in Homestead. Myers and two-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner Billy Musgrave went head-to-head on the weekend. Myers began with the advantage in qualifying for Round One, setting fast time in his Mad Old Nut Racing / Croc Promotion entry by 76 thousandths over Musgrave. Myers went wire-to-wire in the Prefinal and Final, scoring the inaugural victory. The following day, Myers gapped Musgrave in qualifying by nearly two-tenths. Myers continued the torrid pace on the day, winning both the Prefinal and Final from green-to-checkered, capped off by a near five second advantage in the main event.
Myers packed up and headed north to the opening event of the Rok Cup USA Florida Winter Tour, held outside the Hard Rock Stadium – home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. His team would swap out the IAME for the Vortex Rok Shifter powerplant, taking to the South Garda Karting temporary circuit very quickly. Qualifying was held Friday with Myers missing out on the top time, losing to former EKN #1 Danny Formal. Myers ran fast lap of the opening heat race, unable to work past Formal for the win. Heat #2 was a different story, as Myers secured the top spot before finishing second to Formal in Heat #3. A strong rainstorm passed through the area Sunday morning, forcing the cancelation of the Prefinal rounds and setting the Final grid based on the heat race results. Myers would go from outside row one for the 18-lap battle. Myers would get shuffled back to fourth at the start before reaching the second spot, running behind Mad Old Nut Racing / Croc Promotion teammate Andrew Bujdoso. Myers made his move on lap 10, taking over the lead and going on to secure the victory.
Not only was January a solid start to the 2019 season for Myers, February continued the winning success. It was not without a stop to the streak, as a broken coil wire put Myers on the sidelines in the Prefinal of the SKUSA Winter Series Round Three. He nearly came back until another mechanical issue took him out of the Final. Myers responded with a third round sweep on Sunday to secure the SKUSA Winter Series championship with a perfect score in the best 3 of 4. The following weekend, Myers returned to the Rok Cup USA Florida Winter Tour, battling all weekend to come away with a second series victory to lead the title chase heading into the series finale in March at Ocala Gran Prix. But first, the title defense of the SKUSA Pro Tour championship begins in Fontana, California with the SKUSA Pro Tour WinterNationals at CalSpeed Karting on March 1-3.
January 2019 EKN Driver of the Month – AJ Myers
Hometown: Palm Harbor, Florida
Marital Status: Single
Height/Weight: 5’11 / 160 lb
Education: Mechanical Engineering student at UCF
Chassis: Croc Promotion
Engine/Engine Builder: Legree/Fisher
Sponsors: Mad Old Nut Racing, Croc Promotion USA, Greyhound Seats USA
Series You Compete In: Primarily Skusa and Rok Cup USA
Years Karting: 14
How did you get started in karting? My dad had a racing school when I was very young and he used to take me out on his lap in his shifter kart. That’s how it all started
What has been the high point in your racing career? It’s tough to say what my high point has been over the years, but my podium in KZ from 18th on the grid at SuperNats 18 will always be one of the best moments of my career.
What are your goals in racing? Obviously, I want to make it as far as possible up the racing ladder, but I like where I’m at now and my goal for the immediate future is simply to win and help grow Croc Promotion to become a dominant brand here in America.
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? Smooth and Aggressive
Funniest moment at the race track? Watching a driver attempt to beat up another driver after crashing in the first turn in the X30 Sr LCQ at SuperNats
Favorite Track: Circuito Internazionale Napoli (Sarno, Italy)
Favorite form of professional motorsports: Formula 1
Favorite karting driver: Ben Hanley
Favorite professional driver: Fernando Alonso
Favorite website: eKartingNews
Favorite movie: Rush
Favorite actor/actress: Leonardo DiCaprio
Favorite music/group: Alternative/hip hop
Favorite vacation/activity spot: The race track
Favorite food: Soft Pretzel
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? Go to school, workout, and work on karts
What are your goals outside of karting? Eventually the plan is to get an engineering job somewhat involved in motorsports. That is if the whole driving thing doesn’t work out.
What type of street car do you drive? Dodge Caliber
What type of street car would you like to drive? Subaru STI
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Being unprepared
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? Television and exposure is what I think karting needs most. Anything from auto racing to horse racing are all on national television, so why not karting? With television exposure comes sponsors, and I think that would benefit the entire karting community the most.
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? Hands down the best part about karting is the team atmosphere. Going to the racetrack is like going to your second family. Everyone works together towards the same goal of winning while also having a good time together.
January 2019 Driver of the Month – Honorable Mention:
– Christian Brooks: Florida Winter Tour – Senior Rok winner (Swept weekend)
– Renato Jader-David: Florida Winter Tour – Masters Rok winner (Swept weekend)
– Jordon Musser: SKUSA Winter Series – 2 wins (Master Shifter)
– Ryan Norberg: SKUSA Winter Series – X30 Senior winner
– Mateo Rubio-Luengo: SKUSA Winter Series – 2 Wins (KA100 Junior)
– Kai Sorensen: Florida Winter Tour – Mini Rok winner (Swept weekend) / SKUSA Winter Series – Mini Swift winner