2019 eKartingNews.com Driver Rankings Powered by Bell Racing USA – Shifterkart – Final
Ramirez steals top spot to close out season ahead of Myers and Musgrave
The 2019 karting season has come to a close as we look forward to turning the page over to 2020. Events counting toward the 2019 eKartingNews.com Shifterkart Driver Rankings Powered by Bell Racing USA have been completed and now a full 12-month run of events from the season have been tabulated to decide the top drivers of the year. The 2019 season marked a shift for the EKN Driver Rankings, opening up to all shifterkart events in North America. In a shocking final chapter to the season and the EKN Driver Rankings, Mathias Ramirez has ended 2019 in the top position of the standings.
The EKN Driver Rankings is not about one major victory, or one major championship, but the work across 12-months of racing. Since January, one of the top contenders in shifterkart racing has been Mathias Ramirez. Returning back with PSL Karting / Birel ART at the start of 2019, Ramirez competed at the SKUSA Winter Series, Florida Winter Tour and SKUSA Pro Tour. In 13 main events, the Florida driver finished on the podium seven times. Two victories helped boost his score but the run in November returning with Team GFC is what propelled him to the number one spot. Ramirez was runner-up to Danny Formal at the ROK the RIO event and overcame issues at the SuperNationals to finish third.
Ramirez nearly scored the victory at the ROK Cup USA event with a slight error taking the chance at victory away. Mathias was able to avoid the SuperNationals Pro Shifter main event opening corner wreck, coming from 10th on the grid after issues in qualifying. If Ramirez would have been collected in the wreck, he would have finished P11, which would have put him second in EKN Driver Rankings standings. Instead, Ramirez finished on the podium in third and ends 2019 as the #1 for the 2019 eKartingNews.com Shifterkart Driver Rankings Powered by Bell Racing USA.
Throughout the 2019 season, AJ Myers held the top spot after finishing the 2018 season as the #1. Myers ended that year with Croc Promotion USA and begin 2019 with the Florida Winter Tour championship and SKUSA Winter Series vice-champion with the team. Following a victory at the SKUSA WinterNationals, Myers and Mad Old Nut Racing parted ways, and CRG Nordam scooped him up right away. He went on a run of four top-six finishes, but was unable to stand on top of the podium and came up just short of defending his 2018 SKUSA Pro Tour championship. Myers was in position to contend for the SKUSA SuperNationals victory, qualifying third and holding that position in two of the three heat races. A slight error had him come in too wide at the rear end of the kart in Heat #2 after placing runner-up, thus dropping him to the tail of the results. Starting 9th on SuperSunday, Myers was involved in the opening corner wreck and ended his race without completing a lap. That was the end of his run in the #1 spot for the EKN Driver Rankings, finishing the season in second. Of course, if Myers would have survived the opening corner wreck and not recorded a DNF, the fight for the #1 spot in the EKN Driver Rankings would have went down to the checkered flag between he and Ramirez on the track.
You can not take away the historic performance at SKUSA SuperNationals 23 by Billy Musgrave. The MRC / Croc Promotion driver dominated the Pro Shifter division throughout the week in Las Vegas, going on to earn his third straight and record-matching fourth career victory at the SuperNationals. That total matches him with previous record holder Connor De Phillippi since 2007 and Aussie Kip Foster, who also recorded his fourth victory at the SuperNats this past SuperSunday. The 2019 SKUSA Winter Series champion went winless on the SKUSA Pro Tour, scoring only two podium finishes in six main events and thus hurting his chances at the #1 spot.
Looking at the top-three in the EKN Driver Rankings, all the Florida Winter Tour and SKUSA Winter Series wins came from those three drivers. Yet only two of the six SKUSA Pro Tour victories came from them. The end to the EKN Shifterkart Driver Rankings Powered by Bell Racing USA was close throughout the top-10. The top-eight drivers finished within 250 points, with 2nd thru 5th only having a 51 point difference.
Only 17 points away from third is 2019 SKUSA Pro Tour champion Kyle Wick. The Pacific Northwest driver scored the title based on a run of podium finishes with zero wins under the CRG Nordam tent. Moving over to Rolison Performance Group / Tony Kart for November and 2020, Wick finished top-10 at ROK the RIO and was among those in the wreck at the SuperNationals after starting P4. Wick now has the winter to prepare for the 2020 season where he will carry the SKUSA #1 plate. Coming on during the second half of 2019 was 2017 SKUSA Pro Tour champion Jake French. Joining Croc Promotion USA in April, French went from no ride to in the seat nearly every day. It paid off with a double win performance at the SKUSA SummerNationals. After clinching the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix victory in September, French left Croc Promotion on top with three straight major wins and took his talents to PSL Karting / Birel ART. The Texan finished off with a runner-up to Musgrave at the SuperNationals to move himself into the top-five of the EKN Driver Rankings. His score could have been even better except an opening lap wreck at ROK the RIO after running top-five all week took him out of the race just after it began.
Aside from French, Andrew Bujdoso was the only driver to win twice on the SKUSA Pro Tour in 2019. Bujdoso mastered the rain at CalSpeed and triumphed in Utah to earn his first two Pro Tour victories of his career. It was a great run with Croc Promotion until their partnership came to a close just after the SpringNationals as he traveled back east from Cali to Ohio with his family-owned Checkered Motorsports. Bujdoso struggled at the SummerNationals, unable to reach the podium to end up finishing third in SKUSA Pro Tour standings after leading heading into New Castle. Bujdoso did not compete in the Pro Shifter division at the SuperNationals, ending the season fifth in the EKN Driver Rankings.
Moving into the top-10 for the first time on the year is 2019 SKUSA Pro Tour Pro Shifter 2 champion Race Liberante (J3 / CompKart). It was a season to remember for Liberante, returning to the seat after multiple years away. The SoCal native won four of the six main events on the SKUSA Pro Tour for the title. What was more impressive was his tri-fecta of victories – including the USAC Karting Battle at the Brickyard, Rock Island Grand Prix King of the Streets, and the SKUSA SuperNationals. Now sitting seventh in the EKN Driver Rankings, he has the ability to move up even further advancing to Pro Shifter for 2020.
Dropping down the order inside the top-10 are Hunter Pickett and Rory van der Steur. Pickett (GFC) was unable to break the top-10 in the results at ROK the RIO or the SuperNationals, dropping to eighth. Rory had a wild end to 2019, involved in the SuperNationals wreck that included a flip and a twist aboard his new Magik chassis. The DNF dropped him to ninth in the EKN Driver Rankings. Rounding out the top-10 is veteran Ron White (RWR / CRG). The Challenge of the Americas champion was among the contenders at ROK the RIO, but contact on the opening lap took him out of contention and unable to improve his score. Falling out of the top-10 to end 2019 is Prescott Campbell (MRC / Aluminos), ending the year in 12th.
By The Numbers:
1 – Driver inside the top-50 with only six races (Danny Formal – #40)
7 – States represented in the top-10
7 – Chassis brands inside the top-10
78 – Point difference between first and second
105 – More drivers at end of 2019 compared to 2018 (Stock Honda only)
381 – Point difference between first and 10th
Shifterkart #1 – Mathias Ramirez
It was the 2017 SuperNationals, and Mathias Ramirez drove like a seasoned veteran in the third heat of S1 to record fast lap and runner-up to eventual winner Billy Musgrave. Walking back to the Westgate, the 2016 S2 SuperNationals winner had that confidence and swagger about him, that showed no fear and the drive to be the best. Since then, Ramirez has been among the top shifterkart drivers in the country. This year, nothing exciting or came with any titles, aside from the ROK Fest Biloxi crown. Ramirez earned four podium finishes at SKUSA Winter Series to begin his return back with PSL / Birel ART. A DQ at the SKUSA WinterNationals in Round 1 for cutting the track multiple times in the rain hurt his title chances early on, but had a boost with victory and runner-up at the SpringNationals. He eventually finished seventh after issues at the SummerNationals limited his progression. November marked a departure from PSL and return to Team GFC, a similar path to where he ended 2018. Ramirez nearly defended his ROK the RIO victory and his recovering at the SuperNationals to the podium propelled him to #1 to close out 2019.
|Florida Winter Tour 2019 #3||9||1||1005|
|SKUSA SpringNationals ‘19 #1 – Pro||9.5||1||997|
|SKUSA SpringNationals ’19 #2 – Pro||9.5||2||987|
|SKUSA SummerNationals ’19 #1 – Pro||9.5||7||974|
|SKUSA SummerNationals ’19 #2 – Pro||9.5||8||963|
|ROK the RIO 2019||9.5||2||1085|
|SKUSA SuperNationals 2019 – Pro||10||3||1047|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 3.43
Average Points: 1008.3
Total Points: 7058
Shifterkart #2 – AJ Myers
Throughout the 2019 season, Myers set the bar for the EKN Driver Rankings. The Florida driver helped his cause, starting out the season runner-up in the SKUSA Winter Series and winning the Florida Winter Tour championship under the Croc Promotion USA banner. After victory at the WinterNationals, Myers moved to CRG Nordam and remained in contention for the SKUSA Pro Tour championship, coming up one spot short in his title defense. Riding with a runner-up at the SuperNationals all year, Myers needed a similar result to stay at the top of the Driver Rankings. Myers was top-three all week, except for an error coming in too wide in Heat #2 which dropped him to P9 on the grid for SuperSunday. That put him in the blender, and contact took out half the field, including Myers. The loss of the runner-up from last year and replacing it with a DNF cost him the #1 spot in the EKN Driver Rankings. Of the top three, Myers does have a better average finish of their top-seven results from 2019.
|Florida Winter Tour 2019 #1||9||1||1005|
|Florida Winter Tour 2019 #2||9||1||999|
|SKUSA WinterNationals ’19 #1 – Pro||9.5||2||995|
|SKUSA WinterNationals ’19 #2 – Pro||9.5||1||1005|
|SKUSA SpringNationals ’19 #1 – Pro||9.5||2||987|
|SKUSA SummerNationals ’19 #1 – Pro||9.5||6||984|
|SKUSA SummerNationals ’19 #2 – Pro||9.5||4||1005|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 2.43
Average Points: 997.1
Total Points: 6980
Shifterkart #3 – Billy Musgrave
The 2019 season began and ended at the top for Billy Musgrave. The SKUSA Winter Series champ won three of the four races to solidify himself as the top IAME SSE driver heading into the summer season. The SKUSA Pro Tour did not pan out as hoped, recording a DNF at the WinterNationals at his home track. With no podiums through the first four rounds of the SKUSA Pro Tour, Musgrave moved from the Aluminos to Croc Promotion chassis. Things went unchanged at the California ProKart Challenge, earning his sixth title in seven years but was unable to defend his Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix victory. Musgrave ran runner-up to then teammate Jake French at the SummerNationals for his two best results of the season. That momentum carried into the SuperNationals where Musgrave made history, becoming the third different driver to win four times at the event. Sweeping the Pro Shifter division was his third straight, dating back to the S1 victory in 2017. While the win was significant, this year’s score was 80 points less than his 2018 triumph due to the lower size of the field. Still, Musgrave remains one of the top shifterkart pilots of this era, and still has the SKUSA Pro Tour title in his sights for 2020.
|SKUSA Winter Series 2019 #3||9||1||953|
|SKUSA WinterNationals ’19 #1 – Pro||9.5||4||975|
|SKUSA SpringNationals ’19 #1 – Pro||9.5||6||947|
|SKUSA SummerNationals ’19 #1 – Pro||9.5||2||1026|
|SKUSA SummerNationals ’19 #2 – Pro||9.5||2||1026|
|RIGP King of the Streets 2019||9||2||968|
|SKUSA SuperNationals 2019 – Pro||10||1||1068|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 2.57
Average Points: 994.7
Total Points: 6963
EKN Driver Rankings Calculation Process
The EKN Driver Rankings are calculated using a driver’s best finishes in major North American races. Assembled using events from the previous 12 months from the current date, we use a driver’s best seven finishes in the TaG and Shifterkart categories to determine their overall current point total. With each new release, results posted from more than one year ago are discarded. To deliver our ranking list, we tabulate the results of all the national programs and selected regional programs. We have also included the results for the major one-off events such as the SKUSA SuperNationals, the Rock Island Grand Prix, and the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix.
Each race is initially weighted based on the prestige and history of the event or series with a score of ten (10) being the highest attainable base ranking. For 2019, the SKUSA SuperNationals will receive a score of 10 in its initial weighting in the TaG and Shifterkart categories. A base ranking of 9.5 is set for the SKUSA Pro Tour, while a base ranking of 9 goes to the SKUSA Winter Series, United States Pro Kart Series, Florida Winter Tour, Challenge of the Americas, ROK the RIO, All Star Finals, Stars and Stripes Trophy and Open, Rock Island Grand Prix, and California ProKart Challenge. Other national and regional program races were given a base ranking of either 8.5 or 8.0.
The EKN staff reserves the right to adjust the rankings of each event throughout the year. A minimum entry total for any event to be considered for the Driver Rankings program is five (5). If an event does not have at least five (5) drivers starting the race, those results will not be tabulated toward the Driver Rankings.
Added to these initial rankings are two variables that help confirm the true importance of an event to the ranking process – field size and field strength. A percentage of one weighting point is added for the size of the field, while the number of existing top-50 drivers entered offers another full point or fraction of a point. The sum of these numbers becomes the overall ranking for any race.
Following a race, drivers receive points based on their finishing positions with 100 points earned for a win. Each subsequent position drops by one point with 99 points given to the second-place driver and so on throughout the field. These points are then multiplied by the overall ranking to produce a driver’s final point total from each event. Using a driver’s best seven races, we calculate each driver’s overall score and subsequent ranking.
2019 eKartingNews.com Shifterkart Driver Rankings Powered by Bell Racing USA – Final
|9.||7||-2||Rory van der Steur||16||6739|
|78.||64||-14||Robert Heck Jr.||4||3448|
|101.||81||-20||David Kalb Jr.||3||2613|
|118.||129||11||Antonio Pizzonia Jr.||2||1853|
|124.||132||8||Ryan P. Lewis||2||1758|
|142.||120||-22||Antonio de Lis||2||1635|
|194.||-||-||Arturo Pacifico Griffini||1||825|
|201.||204||3||Austin Ray Chalman||1||815|
|235.||240||5||Patrick Otto Madsen||1||782|
|241.||246||5||Juan Pablo Ramirez||1||774|