EKN Trackside: 2020 SKUSA Winter Series – AMR 2 Preview
Third season of winter championship program concludes in Homestead
The third second of the Superkarts! USA Winter Series is set to conclude this weekend at the AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex presented by MG Tires. The Homestead, Miami facility will welcome competitors once again, returning after the opening event in January. The difference between the two events, the track direction and possibly weather. For Rounds Three and Four, the 7/10-mile course will go in the clockwise direction. While a short rain shower hit the area last month, more precipitation is forecasted for the February weekend which may have a big impact on those reaching the podium and earning top spots in the championship chases.
Wednesday and Thursday were unofficial practice with Friday hosting five official sessions for testing. Round 3 is set for Saturday, including qualifying, Prefinal and Final. Round 4 is a repeat format on Sunday. The championship chase will conclude on Sunday, with drivers taking the best three of the four rounds to count toward the final point standings.
eKartingNews.com is set for the opening event of its 2020 Trackside Live program. The voice of Superkarts! USA, EKN’s own Rob Howden, will be calling the action all weekend. Those unable to attend can listen in to the live broadcast – presented this weekend by Franklin Motorsports, Margay Racing, and Rolison Performance Group. Bookmark www.ekartingnews.com/live and follow the EKN social media channels for more throughout the weekend in Florida.
The category everyone will be watching each session will be the X30 Senior division. Patrick Woods-Toth (Prime / Birel ART) and Hannah Greenemeier (RPG / Kosmic) came out of the event with their first series wins, yet neither left as the championship leader. Defending title winner and four-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) has a one point advantage over Woods-Toth thanks to his two runner-up performances. Greenemeier finds herself out of the top spot by 125 points. But with the best three of four counting at the end of Sunday, she is still in the hunt along with Thomas Nepveu (PSL / Birel ART), British driver Louie Westover (Solo Kart USA) and Jacob Gulick (RPG / Kosmic). They sit third, fourth and fifth in the standings along with the 38 pre-entries that will be able to fight for victories on the weekend.
One driver who stood out throughout the weekend was Andrea Kimi Antonelli (KSNA / Kart Republic). The Italian drove to four wins on the weekend, including two in X30 Junior and two in KA100 Junior. Kimi has a 70 point lead in the X30 Junior standings over Alessandro de Tullio (AM / Exprit) with Maguet Sacha (PSL / Birel ART) in third. KA100 Junior was a weekend sweep for Antonelli, going into the weekend with a 115 point advantage over fellow KartSport North America / Kart Republic drivers Brent Crews and Christian Miles. The question is, who can stop Kimi?
Defending SKUSA Pro Tour Pro Shifter champion Kyle Wick (RPG / Tony Kart) won both main events to kick off his 2020 season, out-running four-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner Billy Musgrave (MRC). The two will battle once again on the weekend with the fight continuing in Pro Shifter 2 with January winners Vicente Salas (MRC / Croc Promotion) and Alan Isambard. Justin Peck (RPG / Tony Kart) swept the action in G1, but this weekend will have to battle with SKUSA Pro Tour G2 champion Brett Harrelson (Nash / CRG).
Renato Jader David is another driver competitors are looking to stop this weekend, as the Brazilian swept the X30 Master action in January. The 2017 SuperNationals winner is on a roll to carry his momentum from the end of 2019, leading the championship by 130 points over Miguel Mier (Crosslink / Exprit). Adam Pettit (Solo Kart USA) sits third, hoping to fight for additional podium finishes on the weekend.
The January event saw the return of Santino Ferrucci coming back to his roots, competing in three categories on the weekend. The IndyCar driver came away with a victory in the KA100 Senior division, and left as the point leader. His day job duties have him missing this weekend, and thus moves Sunday winner Nate Cicero (RPG / Kosmic) into the point lead. When you drop Ferrucci from the points, it makes the top-four in the standings separated by only 30 points. That includes 2019 SKUSA Pro Tour KA100 Senior champ Austin Osborne (IRM / Tony Kart), Colton Ramsey (Franklin / Exprit) and last year’s series champ Julia Boos (Kaos / Kosmic).
Ferrucci showed well in the Ignite Senior category that made its debut at the SKUSA Winter Series last month. The New York native was a provisional winner but did not earn a victory, but left as the championship leader ahead of Sunday winner – IMSA driver Gabby Chaves. Neither will be in Homestead due to scheduling conflicts, and thus moves Saturday winner James Perkins into the championship lead. This leaves the top five separated by only 17 points. Zach Skolnick, Alexander Searle, Evan Stamer and Jed Perkins will battle on. Joining the fight this weekend is IMSA driver James French and Battle at the Brickyard winner Charlotte Lalonde.
Dan Breitenstein and Franco Cipullo split the wins in January for the Ignite Master class. Breitenstein has the advantage in the championship chase with a better overall weekend, leading by 100 points over Tim Hannen with Cipullo in third. Veteran Pete Vetter is fourth with a number of new names joining the fight for podium spots on the weekend, including Brandin Moore, Chris Rock, and Phil Pignataro among them.
Max Garcia (KSNA / Kart Republic) is hoping to defend his home track in the Mini Swift division. Garcia swept the opening round action and came up short on Sunday to Sebastian Wheldon (JC / Kosmic). Garcia leads the standings over Austin Jurs (Franklin / Merlin) – who recorded two podium finishes – by just 20 points with Wheldon back by 35 points in third.
Also defending home turf in Micro Swift is Kai Johnson (AKT / Energy). The Round Two winner leads by only five points ahead of Saturday winner Oliver Wheldon (AKT / Energy). 2019 SKUSA Pro Tour champion Jack Iliffe (IRM / Tony Kart) and James Moss (IRM / Tony Kart) are third and fourth in the standings heading into the weekend.