EKN Trackside: 2023 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals – Sunday Report
Turney celebrates X30 championship with victory as Myers completes sweep ahead of wild Pro Shifter title chase
The 2023 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals went into the books on Sunday, completing Round Six of this year’s championship program during the final day of action at the SummerNationals. A clean day of weather at the New Castle Motorsports Park following the crazy first three days in New Castle, Indiana. A couple red flags delayed the action on the day, however, all drivers were cleared of any injuries. ‘Championship Sunday’ will go down as one of the most memorable days in the 14-year history of the program, watching the first international title winner in the X30 Senior division thanks to Brit Joe Turney giving Kart Republic its first as well. And for a second straight time, Pro Shifter has a two-time champion in PSL Karting’s Marijn Kremers after a wild last lap behind race winner AJ Myers.
The final class in the order on the weekend was the Speed Concepts Racing X30 Senior category, providing the final bit of drama for the 2023 season. Five-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) laid down a monster lap of 1:04.180 in qualifying to clear the field by two tenths. It was three-time winner and championship leader Joe Turney (CDR / Kart Republic) that took the win in the Prefinal as he along with Alessandro de Tullio (IM / Kart Republic), 2022 FIA Karting World Champion Matheus Morgatto (PSL / Birel ART) and Nate Cicero (RPG / Kosmic) pushing Norberg back to fifth in the order. That gave Turney the ability to finish 10th or better in order to claim the SKUSA title ahead of Norberg. The first four laps featured four different leaders with Morgatto jumping ahead in the opening circuit before ADT took a turn. It was Turney next to the lead before Norberg assumed the spot. That is when Norberg and Turney put in the pace, getting away from the field. Turney took the lead back on lap 10 before the shuffled for the spot once again on lap 15 and 16. Turney held the position with the white flag waving and Norberg went on the attack. He was able to pull the over under out of the ‘Scoreboard’ corner getting the advantage by the time they reached ‘Cell Tower’ turn. Norberg went defensive into the double left handers, but allowed just enough space for Turney to dive inside at the second left for the over under. That was all he needed as Norberg’s pace slowed with the move, allowing Turney to drive to the checkered flag for his fourth win of the season, second on the weekend to celebrate his first SKUSA Pro Tour championship. De Tullio drove alone in third with Morgatto climbing back to fourth after falling down to 10th early on. British driver Brandon Carr (RPM / Tony Kart) was hard charger of the race, gaining 18 spots over the 18 laps to finish fifth.
Truly, the title chase drama that unfolded in the PSL Karting Pro Shifter division IS the closest championship battle in the 14-year history of the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour. Four drivers were involved, including two-time winner Jacob Gulick (GFC Karting), WinterNationals winner Billy Musgrave (Factory Kart), former Pro Tour champion Kyle Wick (GFC Karting) and defending title winner Marijn Kremers (PSL / Birel ART). The P1 spot on track belonged to AJ Myers (Checkered / Magik Kart). After securing fast time in qualifying, the Saturday winner was pressured early in the Prefinal only to prevail with the win. It was another holeshot victory in the Final, as Myers led all 18 laps for his second victory of the season. Behind him, the championship was unfolding as Kremers ran second ahead of Wick with international driver David Trefilov (SRP / Maranello) in fourth. The gap stayed consistent between them all, which put Kremers on top of the championship podium ahead of Musgrave with Wick third. However, Wick and Trefilov were closing late, and if Kremers fell to fourth, that put Musgrave at the top of the championship by one point for his first career SKUSA title. The focus kept on Kremers all the way to the final lap, when both Wick and Trefilov moved past Kremers for the lead. What everyone missed was that Tahlon Yockel (Checkered / Magik Kart) had passed Musgrave for fifth on lap 13, and they closed up on Kremers in the final few corners. As they crossed the line, Wick was second, Trefilov in third, Kremers fourth and Yockel was fifth to put Musgrave sixth. That changed the final tally in the points, giving Kremers the championship by one point over Wick, Gulick now into the third spot behind Kremers by six points and dropped Musgrave from a possible championship down to fourth and off the podium by one single point. In all, all four drivers finished within seven points of each other in their best five finishes of the six rounds to make it the closest championship battle in SKUSA Pro Tour history.
British driver Harley Keeble (Piquet / Sodi Kart) was able to complete the sweep in Round Six to gain his third straight victory in the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Senior division. Keeble set fast time in qualifying, won the Prefinal and inched away in the main event, leading all 18 laps for the victory. Henry Wheeler (BJR / LN Racing Kart) was on his bumper for much of the race, but lost the draft late in the going to record the runner-up finish and solidify his spot on the championship podium in third. Behind them was a battle for third that ended up in the hands of championship contender Collin Lloyd (SCR / Redspeed). The Utah race winner moved up late in the race to claim the podium spot, however, it was not enough in the end to contend for the top step of the championship podium. That went to Aiden Levy (CDR / Kart Republic), who only needed to finish 18th or better to claim his first SKUSA Pro Tour championship. Levy was in the fight for P3, falling down the order late to finish ninth to earn the 2023 title. Kane Martin (Nash / EOS) and Mick Gabriel (AEM / Kosmic) rounded out the top-five on-track.
Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) added his name to the long list of SKUSA Pro Tour champions in the X30 Junior class presented by Rolison Performance Group thanks to his third victory of the season. Rivera and Max Taylor (RPG / Kosmic) came into the day close in battle for the top spot in the standings. The first 10 bonus points went to Nixx Eggleston (Ruthless / Exprit) to claim his first SKUSA Pro Tour top qualifier honors as Rivera was third and Taylor sixth. Taylor did what he had to do, which was win the Prefinal to gain valuable points going in the main event with Rivera placing third. Taylor however was shuffled back to sixth at the early portion of the Final as Rivera and Keelan Harvick (RPG / Kosmic) broke away from the field. They were trailed by Steven Miller (CDR / Kart Republic) and Saturday winner Turner Brown (SCR / Redspeed), with Taylor trailing them alongside Oliver Wheldon (JC / LN Racing Kart). Those gaps closed up as Rivera and Harvick began trading the lead. This allowed the second group of Miller and Brown to close in and be there on the final lap, along with Taylor and Wheldon so after. Rivera was able to fend off the group in the final few corners to come away with his third victory of the season to clinch his first SKUSA Pro Tour championship. Miller was able to jump ahead to second, bringing Brown, Taylor and Wheldon as Harvick crossed the line in the grass to finish sixth. Rivera claimed the title by 49 points over Taylor with Jackson Wolny (RPG / Kosmic) completing the championship podium.
The main event for the Greyhound Racing Seats KA100 Junior class was stopped after two circuits for an incident involving Nixx Eggleston (Ruthless / Exprit). He was transported to medical facility for back pain, however, was cleared and back at the track at day’s end. The race resumed with top qualifier Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) jumping out to the lead before Utha winner Enzo Vidmontiene (MottazSport / Kart Republic) took the spot for one circuit. Ardiles took back the position and was then pushed away from the rest of the with the help of Oliver Wheldon (JC / LN Racing Kart). Wheldon stayed on his bumper for a few laps before taking over the lead. As the white flag waved, Wheldon made his kart wide with the defensive line, which brought a host of karts in for the final battle. In the end, Wheldon was able to fend off the challenge to cross the line as the provisional winner. A penalty for contact along with penalty for scrubbing tires after the commitment cone added eight seconds to his total finish time, taking away the victory and dropping him to 13th in the final order. The win was then given to Ardiles, taking his first career victory in the category. Max Taylor (RPG / Kosmic) – who fell down to 21st at one point, drove his way up into the second position. Steven Miller (CDR / DAP) started the Final in the 47th position for an engine change, and ended up crossing the line behind Taylor for what would have been a third spot on the podium. A five-second penalty for contact however dropped Miller to 12th, still giving him the hard charger award for advancing 35 positions. It was a highlight ending to his championship performance, having clinched the title at the end of Saturday’s action. Christian Meyer (CDR / Kart Republic) put in a career performance to earn his first SKUSA podium result in third ahead of Keagan Kaminski (FW / GFC) and Vidmontiene after additional penalties were handed out. Taylor finished the standing in second with Prefinal winner Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) earning the third spot.
It was the ‘Crow Show’ once again in the International Motorsport Master Shifter class. Saturday winner John Crow (Factory Kart) made it look easy on Sunday, sweeping the action on the day. Crow jumped out to a solid lead early in the main event and was never challenged. This victory brought his SKUSA Pro Tour total at New Castle to six wins since 2018. The battle was for second with Larry Pegram (TKG / Kart Republic) holding the spot early until Justin Kelly (VKC / Maranello) was able to slip by bringing Joe Ruch (VKC / Maranello) with him. Ruch ended up beating Kelly for the second spot after having mechanical issues all weekend long. AJ Noud (Fury / GP Kart) finished fourth with Pegram back in fifth. Luis Quinones (Factory Kart) was crown champion with 2022 title winner Robert Fiege (VTM / TB Kart) in second and Michael Guasch (SRP / Maranello) in third.
Clay Settles (Top Kart) was able to celebrate victory all the way to the podium on Sunday in the Aspen Fuel KA100 Master class. After having the win taken away due to penalty on Saturday, Settles put in a strong performance on Sunday – driving away to a 2.5-second margin at the checkered flag. Adam Roberts (VKC / Maranello) ended up second with Saturday winner Pete Vetter (RPG / Kosmic) in third. Alfonso Santiago (Orsolon / Tony Kart) was able to beat out EKN’s Rob Howden (RPG / Kosmic) on the final circuit for the fourth spot.
After a wild Saturday fill of action in the Evinco Tires Mini Swift class, Sunday’s action came down to just two drivers. An action packed Prefinal ended with Travis Pettit (TKG / Kart Republic) coming away with the win ahead of Lucas Palacio (TKG / Kart Republic). The two teammates were able to hook up at the front in the Final, and pushed away from the rest of the field. Palacio led the majority of the 16-lap race with Pettit on his bumper until the final lap. Pettit made a clean move for the lead, and Palacio put in his nose at a few spots, but didn’t force anything that could have taken them both out. In the end, Pettit held on to record his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory while Palacio was able to collect his first SKUSA Pro Tour title with the runner-up result. The fight for third went down to the wire with Ashton Woon (Supertune / Parolin) able to work by Michael McGaughy (RPM / Parolin) for the third step on the podium. Jackson Tovo (RPM / Nitro Kart) won the battle for fifth. Saturday winner Marco Romero (Benik) came into the day as the championship leader, but a rough result of 22nd in the Final put him second in the standings. The win for Pettit jumped him into the third spot on the championship podium.
The final victory on the season in the Sodi Racing USA Micro Swift division went down to the wire. A handful of drivers all took a turn at the point, including Saturday winner Maxwell Macha (SLA / Sodi Kart), Colton Schniegenberg (GWR / Energy), Utah winner Josh Bergman (Piquet / Sodi Kart) and leading at the white flag – Liam Nachawati (Parolin USA). On the final circuit, Juan Diego Garciarce (Orsolon / Parolin) was able to slip up to the front, and lead only the final circuit to claim his second victory of the season. Grayson Walcott (Parolin USA) put himself into second with Macha ending up third to cap off his championship season after clinching the title on Saturday. Bergman finished fourth with Nachawati crossing the line in fifth to still be the hard charger after starting the race in 15th. JDG secured the second spot in the standings with the win while Bergman rounded out the championship podium.
The 2023 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour has come to close, and the champions for the 14th season have been decided. The organization now turns its focus on the biggest event of the year, the SKUSA SuperNationals 26 set for November 8-12 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway – with Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino as the host hotel. Entries have already surpassed last year’s total at this time, with anticipation for one of the largest SuperNationals in history ahead.