2021 eKartingNews.com Driver Rankings – Shifterkart – Final
Myers ends season as top driver for third time in career
What has probably been the longest season of national level karting in the United States is finally concluded with the last few events of 2021 into the record books. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, there was concern about where the sport would be in the future. Thankfully, it has seen a surge of participation across the board from the club and local level to the national scene. And with the end of the season comes the final standings for the EKN Shifterkart Driver Rankings, where the standings welcomed over 200 drivers for the first time in several years. For a third time in the history of the program, AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA) finishes the season as the #1.
The three-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion was able to better his score with a fifth career podium finish at the SKUSA SuperNationals 24 to remain atop of the standings. The final advantage on the 2021 season for Myers is 51 points, with Jake French (PSL / Birel ART) remaining the runner-up where he spent most of the year. French, the 2017 SKUSA Pro Tour champion, was second to Myers at the Pro Tour, third at the Florida Winter Tour and runner-up to #3 on the EKN Driver Rankings Danny Formal at the ROK Vegas event. Formal (LEM / Formula K) was able to score a second victory at the ROK Cup USA year-end finale, and place as the highest finishing EKN Driver Rankings driver at the SuperNationals with a third-place result. Those last two results helped boost the Costa Rican up 14 spots in the final standings.
The advancement of Formal dropped four-time SuperNationals winner Billy Musgrave (Factory Karts) out of the top-three. Musgrave carried the IAME flag at the SuperNationals this year with the new mixture of a multiple engine format. After setting fast time in the practice sessions, a mechanical issue cost Musgrave speed and was put mid-pack. With a tough track to pass on, it was s difficult challenge to climb back into the top-10. No win at SuperNationals 24 ended the win streak at the Vegas event to three in a row for Musgrave. He stays tied for the record most with Michael Valiante (1997-1999) and Leonardo Nienkotter (2010-2012) as the only drivers to have three straight wins at the SuperNationals. It was not the best season put in by Musgrave, yet he still finishes fourth in the final standings. 2020 Challenge of the Americas champion Hunter Pickett (GFC) rounds out the top-five. The Californian rounded out the season with two top-10 finishes at ROK Vegas and SuperNationals 24. Pickett finished sixth in November and wrapped up the season with a 10th place result outside the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, advancing five spots on SuperSunday as the leader of the GFC contingent.
Three GFC drivers are in the top-10, with all three next to each other in the final standings. Kyle Wick (GFC / Trackmagic) and Jacob Gulick (GFC) fall one spot each to finish sixth and seventh. Wick, the 2021 Challenge of the Americas champion, nearly matched the double top-10 run at the end of the year with Pickett. He led the team at ROK Vegas with a fifth-place finish before he ended up 14th at the SuperNationals. Gulick finished out his rookie shifterkart season among the best in the country. A P9 result at ROK Vegas while a possible top-10 finish went away after 13 laps on SuperSunday, which could have improved his score even more to a possible top-five finish in the EKN Driver Rankings.
Jumping up two positions to close out his rookie season in shifterkart is Brent Crews (LEM / Formula K). The 2021 SKUSA Winter Series champion showed that a 13-year-old can compete at the top level of the sport. Working alongside Greg Bell at Leading Edge Motorsports, Crews further developed himself as a karter, finishing vice-champion at the Stars Championship Series program and earning his first SKUSA Pro Tour podiums at the SummerNationals. He nearly stood on the podium at the SuperNationals, crossing the line sixth before a contact penalty dropped him to eighth.
Challenge of the Americas vice-champion Remo Ruscitti (IM / Italkart) is the lone Canadian within the top-10. Ruscitti jumped up six spots to ninth, thanks to his eighth-place finish at ROK Vegas. The SuperNationals did not fair well for Ruscitti, who still was able to finish in the upper half of the 47-driver field to improve his score. Completing the top-10 is 2021 Rock Island Grand Prix King of the Streets winner Andrew Bujdoso (Magik Kart USA). Bujdoso ran a limited schedule, securing the Stars Championship Series title this year. The two major events to close out the year did not end well, recording a DNF at ROK Vegas and struggled throughout the week at the SuperNationals. He did advance 18 spots on SuperSunday to finish 18th to salvage points toward the final EKN Driver Rankings standings.
Florida driver Michael Stevens (PSL / Birel ART) and Devon Smith-Harden (HMG / Race Factory) were the only two drivers to fall out of the top-10 to close out the 2021 season. DNF finishes at the SuperNationals 24 for both did not help their point total to finish the year. The biggest mover to end 2021 within the top-50 was Austin Garrison (RPG / Kosmic), jumping up 28 spots to 18th after recording a ninth-place result at SuperNationals 24.
Shifterkart #1 – AJ Myers
It was a near perfect year for Magik Kart USA driver AJ Myers. Two of the three main events at the Florida Winter Tour were won by Myers. Five of the six SKUSA Pro Tour races were dominated by Myers. Those two programs and championships set Myers above the rest on the year, and it was all in build up for the final two events on the year. AJ was in contention throughout the ROK Vegas event, ending up third in the Final. The SuperNationals is the win missing on the three-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion CV. It began strong with fast time in qualifying but losing his nose cone in the opening heat race gave him a last place finish result. That dropped him down to 13th when the final grid was established. He remained one of the quickest drivers on the track, advancing eight spots to a podium finish fifth. It matched his result in that breakout 2014 KZ SuperSunday performance. There is no question that since that time, Myers is among the best karters in North America.
|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|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #6||9.5||1||1098|
|ROK Vegas 2021||9.5||3||1080|
|SKUSA SuperNats 24||10||5||1096|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 1.86
Average Points: 1054
Total Points: 7378
Shifterkart #2 – Jake French
Did you ever have that season where you were fast enough to battle for victories, however, you just never end up on top of the podium? That was the 2021 season for Jake French, who probably put in as much work into his season as we have ever seen before, finishing as the runner-up in the EKN Shifterkart Driver Rankings. From the Florida Winter Tour to the SKUSA Pro Tour and the major one-off events, French recorded one victory in the 11 events counted toward the standings. Of those 11, the PSL Karting / Birel ART driver stood on the podium eight times. A stellar season by anyone’s standards, including four straight runner-up finishes at the SKUSA Pro Tour before locking in that one triumph at the SummerNationals. French is a calculated talent that has solidify his spot in USA karting history.
|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|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #5||9.5||1||1098|
|ROK Vegas 2021||9.5||2||1091|
|SKUSA SuperNats 24||10||6||1085|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 2.57
Average Points: 1046.7
Total Points: 7327
Shifterkart #3 – Danny Formal
San Jose, Costa Rica
The driver with the two highest scores for the 2021 season battling in the top-10 of the EKN Driver Rankings is Danny Formal. The five-time Rotax Grand Nationals winner and 2016 SKUSA Pro Tour title winner nearly pulled off the ‘Vegas Double’ with wins at ROK Vegas and the SKUSA SuperNationals 24. Formal completed the first half of the task, winning for a second time in the ROK Shifter division. Enter the SuperNationals as the defending KZ champion and three-time winner, Formal never led a session throughout the week, until grabbing the holeshot at the start of SuperSunday from the outside of the front row. The lead lasted only two laps before he lost the spot, slipping to third. Formal finished as the highest driver in the EKN Driver Rankings, scoring the highest point total of 2021. With these three drivers in the top-three, no one can question the talent that comes from North America.
|Florida Winter Tour 2021 #2||9||3||1000|
|Florida Winter Tour 2021 #3||9||1||988|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #1||9.5||12||916|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #2||9.5||3||1009|
|SKUSA Pro Tour 2021 #5||9.5||7||1032|
|ROK Vegas 2021||9.5||1||1102|
|SKUSA SuperNats 24||10||3||1119|
Inside the Stats
Average Finish: 4.29
Average Points: 1023.7
Total Points: 7166
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 2021, 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.
2021 EKN Shifterkart Driver Rankings – Final
|52.||66||14||Robert Heck Jr.||6||4996|
|159.||-||-||Jannik Julius Bernhart||1||879|
|192.||183||-9||Samuel Barrera Garcia||1||781|