|October 08, 2008 News
|EKN Trackside: Stars of Karting National Finals - TaG & TaG ICC Preview
The Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series will complete the 2008 championship season at the National Finals inside the Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the October 10-12 weekend. The event will crown the 10 divisional champions Friday evening before crowning the five national champions Sunday afternoon.
Over the next few days leading up to the event, eKartingNews.com will look at the championship races in each of the five classes along with highlighting those drivers who will be in the fight for the National Finals victory. Tuesday, we looked at the Junior divisions, including the Junior Intercontinental A (JICA) and Cadet. Today is the Touch and Go (TaG) divisions with Stars TaG and the TaG ICC (Intercontinental C)
| Victor Cabrera is in the driver's seat toward the TaG championship|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
The last two seasons have seen the driver leading the championship in the Spec Racer - now Stars TaG - get on a hot streak at the end of the year to go to earn the crown. Victor Cabrera Jr. is hoping that continues after this weekend as the J3 Competition/Kosmic driver enters the finale with a 40 point advantage. Cabrera is riding a streak of three wins, which helped him earn the Eastern Division title in Wisconsin. The Puerto Rican has been the driver to beat at each of the three events he competed in. At the opener in Ocala, Cabrera was fast in practice however a carburetion issue put him toward the back however he muscled up to the top-ten. A fourth and a first at the Race of the Americas set him on the right path and continued his win streak at the Eastern finale in Wisconsin.
Sitting second heading into Vegas is the Eastern Division runner-up Joey Wimsett. The Champion Racing/Intrepid USA driver is a unique situation as he has four victories on-track in the West, however a post-race technical disqualification following the Utah event took away those results. Rather than heading into the finale with a 20-point advantage, he now trails in the championship chase. A string of top-five runs in the East, including two runner-up finishes in Wisconsin put him in the lead chase position. Winning the championship is still not out of the question as Wimsett earned his first Stars victory at the same location.
With Wimsett’s situation, Chris Scribner was there to pick up the Western Division title and sits third overall heading into the National Finals. With an amazing three-wide, last lap pass in the rain at the Seattle Grand Prix by Michael Self and Pat Iannucci, the Team Top Kart USA pilot garnered enough points to edge both for the title. G-Phactory/Sodi Racing USA drivers Self and Iannucci are fourth and fifth with their Western Division point totals. The duo were 1-2 in Utah following the Wimsett DQs and top-five in Seattle. A difficult Race of the Americas for both of them cost each valuable points toward the championship and will need help if they hope to contend.
Still mathematically in the chase are Chris Wehrheim, Jason Toft, Kyle Wiegand, and Scott Saunders. Wehrheim (Team Top Kart USA) was a double winner at the Ocala event however a tough Race of the Americas cost him a likely chance at the title. Toft (KLS Racing) battled engine issues early on in the year but has been in the top-ten all year. A podium last year at the National Finals could be repeated this year as Toft is more than capable of running up front.
A limited schedule for Wiegand (Team Top Kart USA) kept him from putting in a full effort toward the title however three podium finishes in four races as him eighth overall and will be a factor this weekend. While many struggled at the Race of the Americas, it was a break-out event for Saunders (Cameron Motorsports). The Aussie earned his first Stars victory and ran second in the other final. Though he will not battle for the overall title, a top-ten in the final standings will be a great accomplishment in his first season racing in North America.
A wild card mixed into the event will be the return of defending Spec Racer champion Devon Sandeen. The Canadian will carry the number one plate during the weekend in hopes of earning his third straight National Finals victory, winning in ’06 at Woodbine, Ontario and the second final last year in Vegas.
TaG UNOFFICIAL Point Standings
|1.||525||460||422||Victor Cabrera ||4||80||7||65||4||80||1||100||1||100||1||100|
TaG Provisional Entry List
|1||Devon Sandeen||Checkered Flag Racing||Intrepid||Rok TT|
|3||Joey Licata Jr.||TNR Kartsports||Biesse||Parilla|
|4||Jason Toft||KLS Racing||GP||Parilla|
|404||Adam Zeen||G-Phactory/Sodi Kart USA||Sodi Kart||Rok TT|
|406||Chris Wehrheim||Team Top Kart USA||Top Kart||Parilla|
|413||Cody Diede||Diede Racing||Intrepid||Parilla|
|417||Chris Scribner||Team Top Kart USA||Top Kart||Parilla|
|418||Neil Alberico||Team Top Kart USA||Top Kart||Rok TT|
|420||Michael Self||G-Phactory/Sodi Kart USA||Sodi Kart||Parilla|
|422||Victor Cabrera||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Rok TT|
|441||Troy Diede||Diede Racing||Intrepid||Rok TT|
|456||Andrick Zeen||G-Phactory/Sodi Kart USA||Sodi Kart||Rok TT|
|466||Nate Norenberg||Champion Racing/Intrepid USA||Intrepid||Parilla|
|472||Joey Wimsett||Champion Racing/Intrepid USA||Intrepid||Parilla|
|477||Blake Teeter||Champion Racing/Intrepid USA||Intrepid||Parilla|
|482||Pat Iannucci||G-Phactory/Sodi Kart USA||Sodi Kart||Parilla|
|486||Kyle Wiegand||Team Top Kart USA||Top Kart||Parilla|
|490||Scott Saunders||Cameron Motorsports||CRG||Parilla|
|495||Hayden Ritter||Italian Motors||Italkart||Parilla|
|496||Michael Hogg||Italian Motors||Italkart||Parilla|
|498||Neil McCoy||Team Top Kart USA||Top Kart||Parilla|
| Zanella, Eady, and Hogg will battle in Vegas for the TaG ICC title|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
The newly introduced TaG ICC class offers the closet fight of the five championships up for grabs. Three drivers enter Vegas separated by 10-points with the top two matching result for result on the year. Eastern Division champion Michael Hogg (Italian Motors/Italkart) and Western Division titlist Bryan Eady (Leading Edge Motorsports/Intrepid) each collected 465 points and will decide the championship in the Vegas. Both drivers recorded three victories, a third and a fourth to their results sheet. The two have run head to head all year as both contested the East and West schedules.
If the drivers were to split results at the National Finals to still hold the same amount of points following the event, the tie-breaker rule (matching the drivers’ results one by one) would come into play for only the second time in Stars history. The first being the Easykart championship in 2005 between Cory Pollock and Guillermo Freile.
Just ten points back and happy to rule out the tie breaker will be Jose Zanella. The 2007 Junior Rotax Grand National champion made the move from the Junior ranks to the Senior division with the new class and has adapted well to the six-speed TaG engine. Two victories at the Eastern finale in Wisconsin put Zanella (Tony Kart USA) in the overall chase for the championship and will look for two more additional wins.
His teammate Matthew Mair sits fourth, just 35 points back and still in the hunt. Like Zanella, Mair also moved to the Senior ranks and has challenged for victories all year, still searching for his first. Don McGregor completes the top-five and is the last driver to have a mathematical chance at the title. The Italian Motors/Italkart driver has run in the top-five all season but will be in the hunt to close out the year on the podium in Vegas.
A driver to watch on the weekend will be Las Vegas’ own Curtis Cooksey. A veteran in shifter and Rotax competition will be making his first Stars of Karting start in the TaG ICC division. However due to the Stars of Karting participation rule, Cooksey will be penalized five positions following the Qualifying session, thus giving the Acceleration Karting owner an extra challenge to stay up front.
TaG ICC UNOFFICIAL Point Standings
TaG ICC Provisional Entry List
|500||Nicholas Boulle||Screaming Talent||Gillard|
|510||Scott Campbell||Italian Motors||Italkart|
|520||Jayson Clunie||Italian Motors||Italkart|
|530||Bryan Eady||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid|
|541||Curtis Cooksey||Acceleration Karting||CRG|
|545||Chris Perrault||Checkered Flag Racing||Intrepid|
|571||Don McGregor||Italian Motors||Italkart|
|587||Jose Zanella||Tony Kart USA||Tony Kart|
|590||Daryle Redin||Checkered Flag Racing||Intrepid|
|595||Michael Hogg||Italian Motors||Italkart|
eKartingNews.com will be providing ‘Trackside Live’ coverage throughout the week. Friday will begin the on-track portion with full rundown of the quick drivers during the day along with photos. Saturday and Sunday will continue with daily reports, forum updates, and full results. To watch updates, visit the Official Discussion Thread in the forums.