Race Report: 2022 Showdown at Stockholm Karting Center

4th Annual Showdown Brings in Most Entries in Event History

Scatena's weekend helps him close the gap to title rivals
(Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

The Stockholm Karting Center Racing Series Presented by MG Tires held its annual Showdown at Stockholm sponsored by Nate Dean Motorsport Photography. The two-day event at the American facility in Cokato, Minnesota, includes six races for each of the nine classes. The Showdown at Stockholm and its unique format compared to an average race weekend began back in 2019 and has become a popular weekend on the calendar for competitors in the area. The 0.65-mile course provides 14 corners with many passing opportunities and constant action. Round 15 of the championship saw 98 drivers descend on the central Minnesota track, and with only two weekends left, the championship hunt was on.

The Showdown differs its format from a regular SKCRS weekend. Races increases by two laps for each heat, starting with six laps for Heat 1 and ending with 16 laps in Heat 6. Points go up each race, making a win later in the weekend much more valuable. The grid for Heat 1 is based on qualifying order, and then a progressive format for Heat 2 thru 5, with the previous race finish setting the line up for the following heat, all while an inversion of the front 50% of the field is applied. The grid order in Heat 6 is then based on points up to that race. The driver in each category who accumulates the most points over the weekend is classified as the Showdown winner.

Bachmeyer went fastest in every competitive session on the weekend (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

Briggs 206 Senior has been the class to watch in 2022, featuring 19 drivers. With big fields and close racing, the Senior class is always an action-packed event. Jordan Bachmeyer set fast time in qualifying, edging out title challenger Kiara Stai and Sean Dale. Bachmeyer lead the first five laps of the Heat 1 sprint, until Stai passed him in turn 3 on the final lap to secure the win. Heat 2 saw Bachmeyer take victory and back it up with the win in Heat 3. Further back, a standout performance from Betsy Gallagher saw her start 17th due to a previous DNF and made her way up to ninth to start alongside Katie Stai on the front row for Heat 4. Gallagher got the jump off the line, and Stai was holding close until an incident took Katie out of contention on lap two. Gallagher would lead from lights to flag, coming across the line to take her maiden heat victory by 1.5 seconds over Bachmeyer. She dedicated the win to her late friend, Joe Scatena, who took his last win in the same heat at last year’s Showdown.

On day two, Bachmeyer would retain his lead and dominate the final two races. Vince Scatena worked well with his CompKart teammate to place second in both races, and championship leader Landon Nelson would do the same, finishing third in Heat 5 and 6. Kiara Stai’s chances of slashing Nelson’s gap at the top of the point standings were high going into Sunday but an incident on the first lap of Heat 6 meant she would only finish 12th, ending the day eighth overall for the event. The three wins over the event for Bachmeyer gave him his first Showdown victory and CompKart’s third win in a row in the Senior class. Scatena took second, further helping his championship charge while Nelson ended up third. Cody Geiser took fourth after a consistent weekend for the Tony Kart pilot and Evan Dale ended his weekend in fifth.

Saucier extended her championship lead with her Showdown win (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

Like Senior, Briggs 206 Junior has been one of the classes to watch this season. The class has shown incredibly close racing, with the front runners never separated by a few kart lengths. Sophia Saucier went into the weekend with a firm grip on the championship lead and intended on extending that gap to title rivals Oliver Gaffer and Eli Carter. Saucier would start her weekend by earning fast time in qualifying over the 11-kart field, beating out Gaffer by less than two hundredths of a second. In Heat 1, the pair of Gaffer and Carter made their way past Saucier, with Gaffer taking the opening round win with Carter in second. Heat 2 saw Connor Kelsey take the checkered flag first but was later given a three-position penalty for a jump start, handing the win to Blake Sarcia. In the third heat, Saucier made a last lap pass on Carter to take her first win of the day. Heat 4, and the final race on Saturday was straightforward with Oliver Gaffer taking the win and leading the points going into Sunday’s races.

The start of Sunday with Heat 5 was the final invert race for the 206 Junior class putting Colin Flander on the pole position alongside Kelsey. The two led up front for the start of the race until Saucier – who started fourth – made her move for the lead. Later in the race, an accordion effect caused Carter to half spin and would drop down to eighth. Saucier took the win with her EOS teammate Sarcia behind. Heading into the final heat, Saucier led the points closely followed by Gaffer. Saucier showed the way during the opening stages of the race up until Gaffer would make his pass for the lead, bringing Carter with him. Going into the final three corners, Gaffer defended but couldn’t hold on as Carter would take the final win. Saucier’s third place finish in the last heat was enough to hold onto the top spot in the overall points, securing her first Showdown victory. Gaffer finished second – just 20 points back – as Carter ended in third. Fourth was Sarcia and rounding out the podium was Flander.

Slinden made it three day wins in a row with his Showdown victory (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

Briggs 206 Heavy has been the fastest-growing class this year for the SKCRS, with 15 drivers competing in the tightly contested category. The Showdown also saw the absence of reigning class champion and 2021 Showdown winner Finch Guenther, who is on the verge of winning his fourth title in SKCRS competition. Gabe Villalpando served the first blow by taking pole position in qualifying over seven-time SKCRS champion Chris Slinden. Villalpando would have trouble matching the pace of Slinden in the races, as he would fall back to fifth at the end of the first heat. Slinden went on to take the first heat win with the help of Todd Tracy behind. Slinden went on to win the rest of the heat races on Saturday, with Villalpando finishing runner-up in Heat 2 and 3, and Tracy coming second in Heat 4.

Slinden’s momentum did not stop the following day, winning both Heat 5 and 6. The top three would be the same for both races on Sunday, with Villalpando second and Evan Cheney third. Slinden became one of only a few drivers to win every heat race during the Showdown and to win the Showdown for the first time. Villalpando ended the event second overall, helping to lengthen the gap between himself and Jacob Green in the battle for second. 2019 class champion Tracy finished his weekend in third while Green finished a respectable fourth. Cheney ended his weekend in fifth, a great effort for his first outing in the series for 2022.

Kardashian was unmatched for pace through the entire weekend (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

The 100cc engine platform continues gaining popularity across the USA, including at Stockholm in the SKC 100cc 2-Cycle class where the numbers have grown throughout this year. With rain looming during qualifying, Alexander Kardashian earned fast time over series title contenders Lukas Klimek and Nathan Trapp. Heat 1 had drivers face tricky conditions on a drying track, where all drivers apart from Nicolas Defillo opted for dry tires. Kardashian would take the win on the dry’s, which had far superior pace to the wet compound. In Heat 2, championship leader Klimek and Trapp made contact going into turn 6 and took each other out of the running along with Connor Fasching. Kardashian took the win for that race and the following heat to go three in a row. Heat 4 was shortened for all classes due to a rain delay, meaning drivers had four fewer laps. While Kardashian made his way through the field after the invert, he and Randy Klimek had a moment that slowed the two down. Fasching and Trapp had built a big enough gap to hold on, while Kardashian settled for third.

Kardashian made his way back to the front in Heat 5 to open up Sunday’s action in 100cc 2-Cycle class, winning over Fasching after the two battled it out in the final moments of the race. Fasching was looking good for a top-three finish on the day until a mechanical failure forced him out of Heat 6. Kardashian went on to earn his fifth win in Heat 6 to secure the Showdown victory by 530 points to second place Lukas Klimek. Nathan Trapp came third with last year’s class champion Randy Klimek in fourth. After looking at a promising finish that was needed in his championship points battle, Fasching would have to settle for the final spot on the podium in fifth.

Klimek’s dominance has closed the gap to the championship leaders (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

Briggs 206 Rookie 2 – which had nine entries for the Showdown weekend – has been a battle for supremacy between 2020 class champion Seth Qamar and Noah Heidecker for the entirety of the 2022 calendar. However, in recent races, last year’s 206 Rookie 1 champion Colbie Klimek has broken into the front of the field and has been a serious contender for wins. Klimek continued his run of form after dominating the Night races by taking pole position to open the Showdown event. Klimek would go on to win the six-lap sprint for Heat 1. In the second heat, he would drop back to ninth on the race start and be unable to recover from there. Colin Eddy and Giana Lunski would run at the front that race, with Eddy taking the win. The final two races of the day saw Klimek take the wins and assume the points lead going into Sunday. Qamar and Eddy both got a second place and third-place finish, meaning they would be close on points going into the final two races of the weekend.

Klimek’s show of dominance continued into Sunday and the final two heat races, taking the checkered flag in both. In total, Klimek won five of the six races, handing him his first Showdown victory. The battle for second continued between season points lead Qamar and Eddy, but in the end, Eddy would beat out Qamar by just 10 points overall on the event. Fourth would go to Theo Gaffer after a rough season, finally showing the pace he had last year. The last step of the podium was a tie for fifth with CompKart pilot Noah Heidecker and Giana Lunski each earning the same amount of points over the six rounds of heat races.

Lunski’s consistency has helped him stay in the title hunt with Palladino (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

Following the same regulations as Rookie 2, Briggs 206 Rookie 1 is for new racers to give them the opportunity to race with drivers more comparable to their level, before moving up to the Rookie 2 class. Colin Qamar set the pace in a tricky qualifying session for the 10 Rookie 1 drivers, setting fast time by almost half a second over Jude Lunski. After coming together at the start of the race, Lunski would build a three-second advantage in six laps to take the win over Qamar. The pair of Qamar and Lunski would battle it out in the second heat, following each other closely. This time, the win would go to Qamar. Like in Heat 1, more drama in Heat 3 would allow Lunski to earn the race win. Heat 4 had Qamar strike again, taking the win and closing the gap to Lunski in the overall points battle for the Showdown going into Sunday.

Chris Fleury retakes the championship lead after his Showdown victory (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

In Heat 5, a chaotic opening few laps saw the field eventually settle down with Lunski leading most of the race, coming across the line to take a key victory going into the last heat. Lunski and  Bruno Palladino would come together at turn seven early in Heat 6. Lunski would get going again but Palladino would retire. Qamar was close behind the pair and managed to squeak through, driving away to a 13-second advantage in front of the chasing pack. Lunski had a recovery drive from near last to second and Axel Peterson had one of his best races of the year coming in third. Lunski’s consistency throughout the weekend, only finishing in the top three, meant he took the win for the Showdown by 80 points over Qamar. Peterson had his best day finish of the year in third, and points leader Palladino came fourth. Maverick Gerwing came home in fifth after showing serious improvement in the past few rounds.

World Formula Masters saw a battle between father and son, as George and Chris Fleury would duel it out with the others for the top step. Chris took pole position on Saturday morning, with his dad George behind. In the first heat, however, the pair of them wouldn’t be able to challenge Nick Mordal, who won in a mixed conditioned race after being the only driver to compete on the dry tires. Tom Boehland drove to Heat 2, as Fleury’s took second and third in both races. For the final two heat races of the day, Chris Fleury took both wins and 1,400 points to add to his total with two races left in the Showdown.

Franke was in a league of his own during the weekend (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

George Fleury would score his first win of the weekend on Sunday morning, making it four different drivers winning over the first five races. It would not be a fifth different driver winning in Heat 6 as Chris Fleury would earn his third on the weekend to give him his maiden Showdown victory, and at the same time make him the series championship leader. Chris’s father George took second overall with Boehland in third. Mordal ended his weekend in fourth and 2021 class champion Chuck Emick ended up in fifth.

SKC Outlaw, an open formula class that allows any combination of kart and endine, only saw three drivers compete, in a class where Ryan Franke went into the weekend already being crowned the series champion. Franke would join Chris Slinden as the only two drivers to win every race on the weekend. Franke earned his second Showdown victory, gaining over 1,000 points over Derek Wagner and third-place driver Cody Geiser.

In his first season of racing, Jorgenson wasted no time getting up to pace (Photo: Nate Dean Motorsport Photography)

The Speedster class had one of its best turnouts of the year with 14 drivers challenged with some of the longest races they have faced in their short careers. The Kid Kart category is for drivers 5-7 years old and runs the Honda GXH 50 engine. Although the class is not scored, it didn’t stop drivers from battling on track. Brody Bowers and Lawrence Jorgenson lead the pack all weekend, and the two showcased some great wheel-to-wheel action, with the two of them trading off wins during the weekend. Other drivers like Llewyn Mock and Elliot Heidecker challenged for the win throughout the weekend and showed signs of strong finishes in the future.

The Stockholm Karting Center Racing Series presented by MG Tires will have its next event on September 10-11, for the penultimate weekend of the season, running the clockwise layout. For more information, visit their website at stockholmkartingcenter.com and follow them on Instagram and Facebook for more details.

EKN Global Members Discussion: