EKN Trackside: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 26 – Heat Race Report
Hodgson and Myers leading headline fields to green flag on SuperSunday
The path to SuperSunday is complete at the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 26. The run of qualifying and three rounds of heat races outside the Las Vegas Motor Speedway were completed over Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Thankfully, the wind has died down when the racing began after chilly winds Thursday during qualifying. The racing around the fast temporary circuit provided great racing, and a lot of drama with the nine categories setting up the grids for the nine main events to be contested on Sunday.
KA100 Senior presented by RLV featured five different drivers to win in the six heat races. Jesus Vasquez Jr. (Nash / EOS) and Rock Island Grand Prix Scholarship winner Chase Jones (MPG / Kart Republic) took the first round as Harley Keeble (Sodi Racing USA) and Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) grabbed wins in the second round. Saturday continued the streak of different winners with Race Liberante (MPG / Kart Republic) taking the first heat. Rivera became the only driver to win twice, taking the top spot in the final heat. Matching those with a runner-up finish in the opening heat race lands Rivera on the pole position for SuperSunday. Jones will start alongside on the front row. Donovan Bonilla (RPG / Kosmic) and Chase Hand (GFC Karting) were among the consistent drivers – as Bonilla finished with a best result of second (AvsC) and Hand fifth in AvsD to fill out row two. Oliver Calvo (SCR / Redspeed) and 2019 SuperNationals winner Pauly Massimino (BJR / LN Racing Kart) will start from row three. All the other winners had issues with their other heat races as Vasquez is back in 10th, Liberante 15th, and Keeble 26th.
Two drivers were able to double up in the win column through the three rounds of heat races in KA100 Junior presented by Evinco Tires. Top qualifier Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity / Kart Republic) won both his races on Friday but was shuffled down to seventh in his Saturday heat. That race was won by Turner Brown (SCR / Redspeed) who claimed the win in BvsD heat on Friday, matching the win total of Vidmontiene. Brown’s runner-up in his first heat race put him in the pole position for the main event. Other winners include Isaac Malcuit (AKT / Gillard) and Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon / Tony Kart). Garzon put together a third, second and the win to sit second in the heat points and join Brown on the front row. Vidmontiene will start from third alongside Charlie Smith (Nash / EOS) – who placed third in all three of his heat races. Keagan Kaminski (GFC Karting) and Oliver Wheldon (JC / LN Racing Kart) make up row three. Kaminski had a string of fourth place results while Wheldon went 8-2-3. Malcuit will go from seventh.
One of the favorites in the KA100 Master category presented by International Motorsports – Ben Cooper (RPG / Kosmic) – was able to establish himself as the one to beat. Two heat wins on Friday, both by sizable margins, put him on the provisional pole heading into Heat #3. A race long battle in a four-driver pack ended with Cooper not forcing anything, staying out of trouble and placing fourth. The race was provisionally won by Franco Crivelli (IM / Kart Republic) until a pushback bumper penalty dropped him to fourth, moving four-time SuperNationals winner Kip Foster (PSL / Birel ART) to the top of the result ahead of fellow Aussie Matthew Waters (RPG / Kosmic) and Cooper. It was enough for Cooper to land the pole position for the main event while top qualifier Laurentiu Mardan (Tecno Kart USA) survived the heats with 4-3-6 results to move to the outside of the front row. Crivelli improved from seventh in qualifying to now start third with a seventh, fifth and fifth result record. KC Cook (RPM / Tony Kart) will start fourth, holding a 5-10-4 record in the heats. Bobby Kelley (MMK / Redspeed) and Waters make up row three.
The Micro Swift presented by Sodi Racing USA was the only morning class that featured a sweep in the heat races. Parker Ives (RPM / Nitro Kart) was able to take the wins from P2 on the grid, challenged only in the second heat on Friday. Isaac Payn (Parolin USA) improved all three heat races after qualifying eighth to end up second, fourth and fourth and will join Ives on the front row for SuperSunday. SKUSA Pro Tour champion Maxwell Macha (Sodi Racing USA) also improved his position after placing 13th in the qualifying session. He drove to sixth, third and third to land third on the starting grid for the main event while top qualifier Pasha Ali (Sodi Racing USA) slips to fourth with a best result of third. Josh Bergman (Sodi Racing USA) and Liam Nachawati (Parolin USA) make up row three for SuperSunday.
Five different drivers have taken the checkered flag over the six heat races for X30 Senior presented by Rolison Performance Group. Oliver Hodgson (J3 / CompKart) was the first to strike in AvsD while Donovan Bonilla (RPG / Kosmic) put himself to the front in BvsC. 2021 winner Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) and Elie Goldstein (Racelab / TB Kart) shined under the lights on Friday night to claim wins in AvsC and BvsD. Austin Garrison (SCR / Redspeed) was able to break away early to dominate the AvsB heat race from the pole position with Norberg becoming the only driver to win twice after Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) was bounced in the CvsD heat for too wide on the rear width. Norberg suffered a DQ in Heat #1 however for a weight not having two nuts on the bolt. That has him starting back in the 18th grid position. Hodgson has been the most consistent at the front with two runner-up results combined with his win to lead the field to the green flag on SuperSunday. Alessandro de Tullio (IM / Kart Republic) was 2-2-3 in his heat races to line up on the outside of row one. Top qualifier Garrison was fourth and sixth in his other heat races to start third with Canadian Thomas Nepveu (Trinity / Kart Republic) improving from 13th in qualifying to now starting fourth. Nepveu was third, third, and fifth in his three heats. Bonilla was fourth and eighth in his other two runs to earn the P5 grid position while Hayden Jones (RPG / Kosmic) will fill the outside of row three. Jones qualified 23rd and was able to finish fifth, seventh and second in his heats. Goldstein was nineth in his first heat but a 28th in Heat #3 after contact with the barriers early will put him 22nd on the grid.
Everything is wide open in the Pro Shifter by PSL Karting class with five different drivers to win over the six heat races. AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA) was able to claim two (AvsC and AvsB) to elevate him to the pole position for SuperSunday. After qualifying ninth in the revised qualifying session, Myers opened up the racing with a P4 in AvsD before winning the other two. Top qualifier Jacob Gulick (GFC Karting) was able to win his first heat but slipped back to second and third in the others behind Myers to move to the outside of the front row. Two-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion Marijn Kremers (PSL / Birel ART) and Emilen Denner (Sodi Racing USA) matched the point total for Gulick, however, the qualifying result breaks the tie for the three drivers. Kremers will start from P3 after qualifying sixth. He won BvsC and placed third and second. Denner won the final heat race of Saturday (CvsD) after recording results of third and second. Three-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner Danny Formal (RPG / Kosmic) and Canadian Remo Ruscitti (IM USA / Italkart) will go from row three. Formal was 17th in qualifying, placing second, fourth and fifth in his heats. Ruscitti was fifth twice before moving up to third in the final heat of the day. Kyle Wick (GFC Karting) was the fifth different heat race winner. He was in the lead for Heat BvsC until a broken chain on the final lap put him on the sideline. A win in BvsD helped but was shuffled back to eighth in AvsB. The former SKUSA Pro Tour champion will go from 20th.
It has been a dramatic three days in the Master Shifter class presented by Peterson Wealth Management. Top qualifier Davide Fore (IM / Italkart) ran into issues over the opening two heats. First, he was penalized four positions at the start of Heat #1 for not having numbers on his ballast. He was able to manage a third-place result. To end Friday, he was never able to leave the grid for Heat #2 with a mechanical issue, recording a last place finish. He was able to lead the way on Saturday in Heat #3, but will now go from the 12th position for his bid at a first SuperNationals win. Also vying for a first checkered flag on SuperSunday is five-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion Jordon Musser (PSL / Birel ART). Two heat wins and a third put him in the P1 grid position for the main event. Class rookie Robert Bujdoso (Magik Kart USA) was runner-up twice, finishing fifth in Heat #2 to end up on the outside of the front row. Brian Keck (GFC Karting) was able to improve from ninth in qualifying with three top-four results and will go from inside row two while last year’s winner Antonio Pizzonia Jr. (Orsolon / Birel ART) will be alongside. Pizzonia improved from qualifying seventh to results of 6-2-5. Vincent Cossard (RWR / CRG) has been a consistent figure up front after qualifying fourth. He placed 5-4-7 to go from P5 while Larry Pegram (Magik Kart USA) holds the sixth position.
Aussie Brodie Yendle (RPG / Kosmic) has been the driver to beat in X30 Junior presented by SpeedLab Racing Engines. After qualifying second, Yendle won Heat #1 and Heat #3. Combined with a his fifth in the second heat will put him on the pole position for SuperSunday in his first SuperNationals. Diego Ardiles will make it an all RPG front row as the native Costa Rican put together three top-three results after qualifying fifth. Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity / Kart Republic) won the second heat race, finishing sixth and fourth in the others to claim the third starting spot alongside SKUSA Pro Tour race winner Turner Brown (SCR / Redspeed). Brown also improved on his qualifying spot of eight, placing 2-3-9 over the heats to go from outside row two. Charlie Smith (Nash / EOS) and Steven Miller (Nash / EOS) will go from row three while top qualifier Alex Mercado (SCR / Redspeed) slipped backwards all three heats with a best finish of eighth. He will take the green flag from the ninth grid position.
Troy Ferguson (Benik), top qualifier in Mini Swift presented by Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic, was able to win the opening heat race on Friday and the final heat Saturday. An eighth place result due to a pushback bumper in Heat #2 cost him the pole position for SuperSunday. Team Benik teammate Royce Vega put together a string of top-three results with two runner-up finishes to lead the field to the green flag for the main event. Max Cristea (Trinity / Kart Republic) won the second heat, placing second and sixth in the other two to end up third in the starting order alongside last year’s winner Michael McGaughy (RPM / Parolin). After qualifying 10th, the Utah driver advanced to fifth, third and third over the three heat races to put him in contention as he attempts to become the first repeat winner in the category. Travis Pettit (Trinity / Kart Republic) placed fourth in all three heats to start fifth while Canadian Ilie Tristan Crisan (RPG / Kosmic) falls to sixth in the order after scoring only one top-five finish. SKUSA Pro Tour champion Lucas Palacio (Trinity / Kart Republic) starts 14th, improving from his 24th result in qualifying on Thursday.
The grids are now set and the 26th edition of SuperSunday at the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals are all that remain. History will be made with nine main events contested with nine names added to the history books.