EKN Exclusive: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 23 – Preview Series – Mini Swift
Full field of Cadet drivers vying to be 10th different winner in Las Vegas
eKartingNews.com, the Official Media Partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present our Preview Series for the SKUSA SuperNationals 23. Leading up to the on-track action of the 23rd edition of the marquee SKUSA event, EKN will preview each of the 12 categories in the 10 race groups that will compete on the temporary circuit located just outside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from November 20-24.
Complete coverage of the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 23 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
For more preview coverage, be sure to check the EKN Radio Network for the airing of two shows that will be broadcast leading up to the SKUSA SuperNationals 23. These two shows will provide EKN’s Rob Howden and David Cole with the opportunity for a more in-depth look at each of the entry lists and top-five predictions for all 12 classes.
It was nine years ago that a young Patricio O’Ward crossed the finish line to claim the first-ever TaG Cadet victory at the SKUSA SuperNationals, held that year outside the Rio as it is again in 2019. Fast forward to today, and the two-time SuperNats winner has become the face of the Arrow McLaren SP team on the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series. In 2011, Florida native Logan Sargeant drove to his first of two SuperNationals victories, and then later became the first USA driver to win the Junior world karting championship in 2015. All the previous nine winners have propelled their careers in karting into the many levels of motorsports, spring-boarding off victory at the SuperNationals. This year’s Mini Swift field is no different, with a herd of young drivers hungry and eager to climb the ranks in racing.
Leading the way with unparalleled experience and a resume that makes him the top contender is 2019 SKUSA Pro Tour champion Kai Sorensen (Supertune / Tony Kart). The Californian is completing his third season in the Mini category, and is eyeing the SuperNats title. Sorensen was the inaugural Micro Swift Pro Tour champion in 2016, and has since been battling in the Mini ranks. 2019 has been a tremendous season for Kai, winning the Florida Winter Tour title, SKUSA Pro Tour crown, and most recently, the ROK the RIO main event last weekend.
Among his top rivals all year is United States Pro Kart Series champion Christian Miles (KSNA / Kart Republic). The USPKS title is the one crown that Sorensen missed out on in 2019, as Miles outlasted him over the six-round program. Miles ran second to Sorensen in the SKUSA Pro Tour standings, giving the Illinois driver the SKUSA #2 plate for the weekend. Miles represented the USPKS and Team USA well at the IAME International Final, placing fourth in his overseas debut.
Racing alongside Sorensen with Supertune / Tony Kart, Florida driver Anderson Leonard emerged as a rising star in 2019. Leonard recorded four podium results on the SKUSA Pro Tour, including victory at the finale, to finish third in the championship standings. Last year, the top three from the SKUSA Pro Tour standings all finished inside the top-10 in Las Vegas, including Sorensen with a P5 on the podium as the top returning driver. Miles was 28th last year, while Leonard will be making his SuperNats debut.
Many of the same drivers these competitors lined up against during the SKUSA Pro Tour will be on the grid in Vegas. Two-time SKUSA Pro Tour winner Sebastian Ng will be part of the Nitro Kart contingent, looking to defend Brent Crews’ victory from one year ago. Completing the five drivers who won on 2019 SKUSA Pro Tour is Enzo Deligny (Supertune / Tony Kart). The Challenge of the Americas champion won in Utah, and finished fifth in the Pro Tour standings.
All three of the former Micro Swift champions are in the field this year. Including Sorensen (2016), 2017 title winner Elliot Cox (CRG Nordam) and 2018 champ Max Garcia (KSNA / Kart Republic) will be doing battle. Cox has not yet had the success he did in the Micro category, and is now completing his second season in Mini. Elliot placed 26th in last year’s main event. Garcia is coming off an up-and-down trip to the IAME International Final, having won his ticket at the Sunshine State Karting Championship. The Florida driver was top qualifier, however, he did not come away with a strong finish in tricky weather conditions.
Garcia was on the podium in Micro last year, with three of his fellow podium finishers moving up to Mini this year. Ben Maier (Nitro Kart), Cameron Brinkman (Franklin / Merlin) and Caleb Gafrarar (PSL / Birel ART) finished 1st, 2nd, and 5th in 2018 while Garcia placed third. Gafrarar finished the highest of the rookies on the SKUSA Pro Tour, placing ninth in the standings and he is coming off a runner-up to Sorensen at the ROK the RIO event. Maier was vice-champion at the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series while Brinkman scored the title at the Route 66 Sprint Series. Another regional champion to watch is Jesus Vasquez Jr., who is the 2019 California ProKart Challenge and LAKC champion, winning a total of 10 races between the two programs.
The number of countries represented in the field this year is at double digits with 10 nations. A total of four drivers from outside the USA have won in the category – Italians Leonardo Marseglia (2013) and Giuseppe Fusco (2014), Brit Jonny Edgar (2015) and Canadian Thomas Nepveu (2016). British driver Vinnie Phillips (Fusion / Benik) knows what it’s like to win at the SuperNationals, scoring the victory in Micro in 2017. Fellow Brit Brandon Carr (Benik) is the top returning international driver, placing ninth a year ago. Kristian Janev (Benik) is helping to carry the flag for Australia, making his Mini debut after a P7 in Micro last year. Colombian Santiago Garzon (AM / Exprit) drove to fourth last week at the ROK the RIO, and is set for his first SuperNationals.
By the Numbers:
2 – Former SuperNationals winners in the field (both in Micro)
3 – SKUSA Pro Tour championship podium drivers in the field
3 – Former SKUSA Pro Tour champions in the field (all in Micro)
10 – Countries represented in the field
13 – Drivers who raced last year in Micro Swift
28 – Drivers who raced at SuperNationals 22
Provisional Mini Swift Entry List
|178||Ethan Ayars||KartSport North America||Kart Republic||Weatherby Lake MO||US|
|180||Donovan Bonilla||Orsolon Racing||Benik||MX|
|199||Cameron Brinkman||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Springfield IL||US|
|188||Cristian Cantu||Manolo Karting||Parolin||MX|
|108||Brandon Carr||Team Benik||Benik||GB|
|123||Michael Costello||Team Benik||Benik||Dallas PA||US|
|151||Elliot Cox||CRG Nordam||CRG||Indianapolis IN||US|
|122||Santiago Cruz||AM Racing Team||Exprit||MX|
|125||Davis Cunningham||Speedsportz Racing Park||Birel ART||Richmond TX||US|
|116||Julian DaCosta||JDMotorsports||Haase||Myakka City FL||US|
|174||Enzo Deligny||2 Wild Karting / Supertune||Tony Kart||Los Angeles CA||FR|
|186||Ava Dobson||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Franklin WI||US|
|144||Caleb Gafrarar||PSL Karting||Birel ART||Midland NC||US|
|140||Max Garcia||KartSport North America||Kart Republic||Coconut Grove FL||US|
|155||Santiago Garzon||AM Racing Team||Exprit||CO|
|158||Salim Hanna||Team Montoya||Tony Kart||CO|
|107||Miles Hewitt||CRG Nordam||CRG||Houston TX|
|106||Leo Iannella||KartSport North America||Parolin||AU|
|120||Dane Idelson||PSL Karting||Ricciardo||Pacific Palisades CA||US|
|117||Oscar Iliffe||Iron Rock Motorsports||Tony Kart||Austin TX||US|
|149||Kristian Janev||Team Benik||Benik||AU|
|131||Austin Jurs||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Union IL||US|
|134||Keagan Kaminski||Benik||San Dimas CA||US|
|127||Gabriel Koenigkan||NF Piquet Sports||CRG||BR|
|N3||Anderson Leonard||Supertune USA||Tony Kart||St. Petersburg FL||US|
|171||Noah Lisle||Fusion Motorsport||Kart Republic||AU|
|172||Cooper Lisle||Fusion Motorsport||Kart Republic||AU|
|167||Ben Maier||Team Nitro Kart||Nitro Kart||Stevensville MD||US|
|192||Kane Martin||Doran Motorsports Group||Tony Kart||Rancho Santa Margarita CA||CA|
|110||Isaac McNeill||KartSport North America||Kart Republic||AU|
|N2||Christian Miles||KartSport North America||Kart Republic||Paloma IL||US|
|190||Sebastian Ng||Team Nitro Kart||Nitro Kart||PA|
|126||Matias Orjuela||Praga||Praga||Miami FL||US|
|109||Ryan Persing||Nash Motorsportz||Benik||Morgan Hill CA||US|
|187||Vinnie Phillips||Fusion Motorsport||Benik||GB|
|112||Christian Quijano||Zanella Racing||Tony Kart||Saint Cloud FL||US|
|133||Xander Reed||Supertune USA||Tony Kart||Granbury TX||US|
|137||Leo Robinson||Fusion Motorsport||Kart Republic||GB|
|102||Santiago Said||Team Montoya||Tony Kart||Culver City CA||MX|
|103||Jack Schrady||Nevada Kartsport||Ricciardo||Truckee CA||US|
|N1||Kai Sorensen||Supertune USA||Tony Kart||Lodi CA||US|
|191||Matyas Taylor||Supertune USA||Tony Kart||Ridgewood NY||US|
|177||Jesus Vasquez, Jr.||PKS Kart Supplies||Ricciardo||Rancho Cucamonga CA||US|
|159||Wyatt Vidovich||Vidovich Racing||Tony Kart||Lakeside CA||US|
|168||Max Walton||KartSport North America||Kart Republic||AU|
|119||Cameron Weinberg||Tony Kart||Carrollton GA||US|