2023 Karting All-Star Team
It’s the halfway point of the 2023 season as we enter the month of July with a full six months of racing into the books. We now head into the second half of the year, with championships at the national, regional, and club level all to be decided in the coming months. The annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game takes place today, so I think it’s the perfect time to provide who I feel would make up the roster for a ‘Karting All-Star Team’ here in the United States.
My approach to this concept is to select three drivers for each age group – Senior, Junior, Masters, and Cadet – along with two ‘bench’ drivers or ‘alternates’. The Senior group has been separated to include the top shifterkart drivers and the elite TaG pilots – including both 125cc and 100cc competitors. Each category considers all the events that have been run thus far in 2023, including the winter programs, the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour and United States Pro Kart Series races, and other events that have been contested at the national and regional level. The drivers are listed in alphabetical order.
Rolison Performance Group
Finding a new home at the Rolison Performance Group a year ago, the Costa Rican is back at the top of the sport as he remains one of the top shifterkart drivers in North America. After his tenure with Leading Edge Motorsports, Formal is using his opportunity as Driver Coach at RPG to return behind the wheel of a shifterkart when he’s not car racing. Early season wins at the SKUSA Pro Tour and the United States Pro Kart Series make him one of the top drivers in 2023. Despite missing the third event of the USPKS program, he sits sixth in the standings with two podium results. Two strong performances at the final two events could elevate him into the inaugural championship position in the record books.
The list of top shifterkart drivers here in the USA has grown with the inclusion of Jacob Gulick and his breakout performance at the recent SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals. Gulick opened the year up with three wins at Challenge of the Americas to claim his first series championship. Just off the podium at the SKUSA WinterNats, Gulick claimed his first SKUSA Pro Tour victories in Utah, making him the new championship leader heading into the series finale at New Castle at the end of the month. Gulick backed up his SpringNats success with a podium result in his United States Pro Kart Series debut at New Castle, finishing third behind GFC teammate Kyle Wick to give the team three straight victories heading into the second half of 2023.
Magik Kart USA
The one consistent over the last five seasons in the shifterkart ranks has been AJ Myers. The lead driver of Magik Kart USA has finished as the top driver in the EKN Driver Rankings three of the last five seasons. It may be a fourth if Myers continues on the pace he’s on. Three wins at the SKUSA Winter Series set him up as the driver to beat at the inaugural event for the United States Pro Kart Series. However, a mechanical cost him that win, but he enjoyed redemption in Texas at the second event on the calendar. Myer’s pace in the main event at New Castle was off just a bit, putting him second, but that result still elevated him to the top of the championship standings with two races left. Two top-three results in his only two starts at the SKUSA Pro Tour in Orlando gives him eight podium finishes in his nine main events in 2023.
ALT: Marijn Kremers (PSL Karting), Kyle Wick (GFC Karting)
Speed Concepts Racing
Back in the seat full-time in 2023, Austin Garrison has picked up where he left off. Garrison is among the few to have multiple wins on the season, taking the top step at the SKUSA Winter Series and winning at the recent United States Pro Kart Series event. The Florida driver finished the Winter program third in the standings with three podium results. Despite missing the season opener, Garrison is 12th in the USPKS standings with two more events to go in the best four-of-five championship format. Austin is a threat each and every time he’s on the driver list for an event.
Rolison Performance Group
While it has been a winless season in 2023 for Norberg, the RPG driver remains the guy to beat each weekend out. The five-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion and two-time defending title winner at the United States Pro Kart Series continues to drive with a target on his back as the top Senior driver from the USA. A vice-champion finish at the SKUSA Winter Series started out the year with two podium results. The SKUSA Pro Tour and USPKS campaigns have been a battle, clawing out five podium results in seven main events thus far to sit fourth in each championship fight with a chance to add to his record total.
There has been no one who has outperformed the Senior fields here in the USA like Turney. The leader of the British invasion in 2023, Turney scored two wins in four rounds to steal the SKUSA Winter Series title in his Kart Republic debut, working with Chad Dokken Racing. He has since gone on to win two of the four rounds in the SKUSA Pro Tour and gained victory in his United States Pro Kart Series debut down in Texas. He sits seventh in the standings despite missing the opening event, and leads the SKUSA Pro Tour title chase, confirming he will be in New Castle for the SummerNationals for a chance to claim his first title in the USA.
ALT: Matheus Morgatto (PSL Karting), Diego Ramos (PSL Karting)
Chad Dokken Racing
Likely one of the best KA100 Junior drivers in the country is Steven Miller, and he’s not a bad shoe in X30 either. Miller opened the season with two wins and the championship at the SKUSA Winter Series before sweeping the top step at the SKUSA WinterNationals to remain the championship leader. After starting the year strong in X30 Junior at the SKUSA Winter Series, Miller has gone on a drought for podium results with only one in the last seven main events with SKUSA and United States Pro Kart Series competition. Despite that, Miller is a driver you keep on the stopwatch at every event.
Rolison Performance Group
Rivera is following in the footsteps of his RPG alumni with a dominant 2023 season coming off the victory at the SKUSA SuperNationals 25 in November. The driver from Mexico went three-for-four in X30 competition at the SKUSA Winter Series and has won all three main events in United States Pro Kart Series competition. Two of four wins at the SKUSA Pro Tour has him leading that championship as well. Throw in the KA action, winning the opening two rounds of the USPKS program, and Rivera has established himself as one of the top Junior drivers in North America today.
Completing a trio of drivers doing the double dip, Vidmontiene is another driver with potential of being among the best in the country. The driver from Florida finished top-three in both classes at the SKUSA Winter Series. He’s focused on KA at the SKUSA Pro Tour, sitting second in the championship chase with two podium results. The MottazSport driver – who has run Parolin and Kart Republic this season – has been the most consistent over the first three events in X30 Junior at United States Pro Kart Series to sit second in the standings, while the competitive nature of the KA division has seen him outside the top-10. With a young crop of drivers, Vidmontiene stands out with experience and potential to win on any weekend.
ALT: Anthony Martella (Speed Concepts Racing), Jackson Wolny (Rolison Performance Group)
The new kid in town was a bit late to the party, but is quickly making a name for himself at the Masters level. Crepin opened up the season as an official, working as one of the Assistant Race Directors at the United States Pro Kart Series opener in Orlando. He swapped out the radio set for a helmet, making his class debut at Speedsportz. He was among the quickest drivers all weekend, ending with a runner-up finish. He backed that up as one of the contenders all weekend at New Castle before slipping back to sixth. The soon-to-be 36-year-old has two wins this season at the Route 66 Sprint Series program thus far.
Forward Direction Motorsports
If you are a Masters racer on the west coast, you’ve had to battle with one of the best in Ian Koentges. The FDM / CompKart driver went undefeated in 2022 with five straight wins to earn the Challenge of the Americas title. He made it eight straight with wins in the first three rounds. Three runner-up finishes to close out the year helped him secure a second straight championship. Those results have earned him the title of ‘Best in the West’.
Rolison Performance Group
It has been since 2006 that the name Mike Rolison was featured in the results column as a driver. That was the year the Pacific Northwest star drove to victory at the US Rotax Grand Nationals at Road America to earn a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals. Fast forward 17 years and he’s back as one of the nation’s best – this time in the Masters ranks. Rolison put on the helmet for the finale weekend at the SKUSA Winter Series to claim two victories. He took that momentum into the United States Pro Kart Series opener in Orlando, nearly pulling off a sweep of the weekend en route to the inaugural class victory. Backing it up in Texas, Rolison nearly pulled off three straight wins but came up short at the line. He leads the USPKS championship with two races remaining.
ALT: Christopher Mann (Ruthless Karting), Joe Ruch (Vermont Kart Company)
Ryan Perry Motorsport
This year’s Cadet field is among the more competitive that we have seen over the last few seasons. Among the top tier are those with the experience of racing at this level. Michael McGaughy came off the SuperNationals 25 victory as one of the favorites entering the season and is now showing why that is. McGaughy grabbed that elusive United States Pro Kart Series at New Castle, putting him second in the championship hunt. A lone podium at the SKUSA Pro Tour puts him eighth after some struggles in the first four events after three straight runner-up results at the SKUSA Winter Series. As we enter the second half, expect the Utah driver to stand out from the rest of the field.
Ryan Perry Motorsport
Experience is exactly what Tristan Murphy brings to the table in Cadet racing. The Tennessee driver has raced in Cadet across the country, both nationally and regionally, with success across the board. The Nitro Kart driver is one of three winners on the season at the SKUSA Pro Tour, sitting second in the championship chase. Murphy was in position to battle for his first United States Pro Kart Series victory before the wet weather threw a wrench on those plans. Still, he’s fourth in the standings with two races remaining. Look for Murphy to be among those in contention throughout the second half of the season.
Trinity Karting Group
As one of the youngest drivers in the Mini field at just nine-years-old, Palacio is attempting to etch his name into Cadet karting history here in the USA. The driver from Virginia won three races at the SKUSA Winter Series and has two of the four wins at the SKUSA Pro Tour level. Two wins at the United States Pro Kart Series thus far have his win total at seven in just these two programs at the halfway point of the season. Palacio leads the championship standings in USPKS but trails on the SKUSA Pro Tour, sitting fourth but well in striking distance heading into the SummerNationals this month in July. All eyes are on the Kart Republic driver entering the final stretch of the season, and into the future.
ALT: Marco Romero (Team Benik), Travis Pettit (Trinity Karting Group)