2021 eKartingNews.com Driver Rankings – Shifterkart – April 2
Myers continues momentum to begin new season on top
The 2021 season is well underway, as we have completed the first quarter of a new year. The last three months have been busy with the winter programs kicking off the new season of karting here in North America. Strong numbers from the west coast to the east coast have signalled the desire for racers to get to the track. With that, EKN is happy to provide the first update of the Shifterkart Driver Rankings for the 2021 season.
Leading the way as he ended 2020 is AJ Myers (Magik Kart). The two-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion won the opening two rounds of the 2021 SKUSA Pro Tour at the WinterNationals, while also taking two of three at the Florida Winter Tour for a third series championship. Those performances increased his gap in the Driver Rankings over second place Jake French (PSL / Birel ART). French improved his score with two runner-up results to Myers at the WinterNats, placing third in the Florida Winter Tour standings.
All the changes happened under them with a new driver in the third position – Hunter Pickett (GFC). The 2020 Challenge of the Americas champion competed in the final four of the six rounds this winter, securing victory at his home track in Sonoma to improve his score up to third overall. New teammate Kyle Wick (GFC) followed him up two spots to fourth, securing the 2021 Challenge of the Americas title with one victory in the six rounds. This duo dropped four-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner Daniel Formal (ANSA / Formula K) down to fifth. Formal struggled at the Florida Winter Tour program, but was able to pull off a victory at the series finale.
Back up into the top-10 is fellow four-time SKUSA SuperNationals victor Billy Musgrave (Factory Kart). Musgrave made his 2021 debut at Challenge of the Americas with a victory at CalSpeed, and grabbed two top-four results at the SKUSA WinterNationals to help him get above the seven-race mark after missing it at the end of 2020. Andrew Bujdoso (Magik Kart) dropped three spots to seventh, as the SKUSA #3 plate holder finished ninth at the Florida Winter Tour and did not compete at the WinterNationals.
The driver ‘On the Move’ into the top-10 is Jacob Gulick (GFC). Making the move over from single speed to the shifterkart ranks, Gulick has adapted quickly and was one of the quickest drivers at the Challenge of the Americas finale. His results put him third in the championship chase. SKUSA #2 plate-holder Rory van der Steur (Magik) dropped two spots to ninth, and should drop more as he is focused on an IMSA program for 2021. Completing the top-10 is Aidan O’Neill (RWR / CRG). The Sonoma regular scored victory at the Challenge finale, moving him up eight spots to the 10th spot.
Out of the top-10 are Race Liberante (Race Factory), who made just one start at the Challenge, along with Cole Shade (Trackmagic), who has now recovered a rib injury and drove to a podium result at Challenge finale. Kol Bailey (J3 / CompKart) dropped down to 19th from ninth, having missed the Challenge finale with a rib injury of his own.
Shifterkart #1 – AJ Myers
It is safe to say that AJ Myers is among the top shifterkart drivers of the last decade. It was his podium finish in the KZ division at the 2014 SKUSA SuperNationals as the top USA driver that made everyone stand up and take notice. Since then, he’s gone on to win the SKUSA Pro Tour title twice, including last year’s COVID-19 edition, and this winter adding a third Florida Winter Tour crown. The reigning 2020 EKN Driver of the Year is bound for another successful season with a sweep of the main events at the SKUSA WinterNationals, and possible a record-breaking third SKUSA Pro Tour title.
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2020 #3 – Pro||9.5||1||1012|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2020 #5 – Pro||9.5||1||1003|
|ROK the RIO 2020||9.5||2||1093|
|Florida Winter Tour 2021 #1||9||1||1026|
|Florida Winter Tour 2021 #2||9||1||1020|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #1||9.5||1||1029|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #2||9.5||1||1029|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 1.14
Average Points: 1030.2
Total Points: 7212
Shifterkart #2 – Jake French
The 2017 SKUSA Pro Tour champion Jake French has remained on the verge of retaking the #1 spot over the last two seasons. Coming back to full-time karting in the middle of the 2019 season, French soared back among the top contenders right away, and was fighting for the overall #1 spot in the EKN Driver Rankings. French has not been able to finish either season at the top, but is looking to contend for not only the top position here, but a possible second career SKUSA Pro Tour championship.
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2020 #1 – Pro||9.5||2||1002|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2020 #4 – Pro||9.5||1||1003|
|ROK the RIO 2020||9.5||6||1049|
|Florida Winter Tour 2021 #1||9||3||1005|
|Florida Winter Tour 2021 #2||9||2||1010|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #1||9.5||2||1019|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #2||9.5||2||1019|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 2.57
Average Points: 1015.3
Total Points: 7107
Shifterkart #3 – Hunter Pickett
The advancement of Hunter Pickett to the third spot has three chassis brands in the top-three to begin the 2021 season. Making the final four rounds for Challenge of the Americas, Pickett was able to improve his score with a string of top-four results. Two podiums at CalSpeed to begin 2021 showed why he was the 2020 series champion. Returning to his home track for the finale, Pickett won the opening day handily. The second began with him stalling in the Prefinal. An amazing performance was put in to grab nearly half the field in that race, before driving to the front and provisional victory in the Final. A penalty for passing under yellow cost him the win, but still a top-five result in the end.
|ROK Fest West 2021||8.5||2||956|
|ROK the RIO 2020||9.5||3||1082|
|Florida Winter Tour 2021 #1||9||6||969|
|Challenge of the Americas 2021 #1||9||2||997|
|Challenge of the Americas 2021 #2||9||3||987|
|Challenge of the Americas 2021 #3||9||1||1014|
|Challenge of the Americas 2021 #4||9||4||984|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 3.00
Average Points: 998.4
Total Points: 6989
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 other special races.
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 202, 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, Rotax Grand Nationals, 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.
EKN Shifterkart Driver Rankings – as of April 2, 2021
|9.||7||-2||Rory van der Steur||9||6746|
|53.||-||-||Robert Heck Jr.||4||3382|
|119.||45||-74||Antonio de Lis||1||835|
|139.||136||-3||Arturo Pacifico Griffini||1||784|
|154.||152||-2||Austin Ray Chalman||1||742|