|November 17, 2008 News
|EKN Trackside: SKUSA SuperNationals XII Preview - Junior Classes
History is in the making this week at the 12th annual National Guard Superkarts! USA SuperNationals. Along with the return to the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the total entry counts are over 400, the most ever for the event. Along with just the location and sheer numbers making history, the driver line-ups are making this one of the most anticipated events in karting history.
Over the next three days, eKartingNews.com will preview all ten classes, split up accordingly. The first day, the three Junior divisions will be under the microscope to point out the early favorites heading into Vegas. The second day will be the Senior support classes, from S1 to TaG Masters. The headline SuperPro division and the TaG Senior class, boasting 100 entries, will be examined thoroughly to point out the big names returning to their karting roots and those making the long journey across the pond from Europe.
To discuss the event, visit the SKUSA SuperNationals XII Official Discussion Thread.
| Gustavo Menezes is among the favorites in the new TaG Junior division|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
A new class to the SuperNationals this year is the TaG Junior category. Not much is known about the class on the national level, but many club and smaller regional programs have found success with the division, and thus it has moved to the biggest event of the year with 48 youngsters looking to add their name to the SuperNationals history book.
With a new class, you have to look at who has the experience as the favorites heading into the event. Thus, the leading favorite has to be two-time Junior national vice-champion Gustavo Menezes. With two straight victories at the SuperNationals in Cadet competition (2003-2004), the Tony Kart pilot has all the right pieces to claim the first TaG Junior victory and move up in the all-time winner list with the names of Scott Speed and Michael Valiante. Originally scheduled to run TaG Senior, the thought of a very heavy kart became a safety factor and transferred his entry to the Junior category.
Many that Menezes have battled on-track throughout the year will be in attendance as well. Canadian Remo Ruscitti had a solid season and is very familiar with the TaG Junior package, working out of the Italian Motors tent. Top Kart’s Tyler Thomas had a great rookie Junior year, nearly racing every weekend and gaining experience each outing.
Menezes Tony Kart teammate Tatiana Calderon is returning after helping to claim the victory for Team Canada at the IAME International Challenge in Spain. The first female to earn a divisional championship will be one to watch. Shawn Sharkey has shown he can run up front in WKA competition as the Merlin driver is building toward his breakout event.
West coast Junior drivers will be well represented with IKF champion Dylan Nobile (CRG) and Louie Pagano, a former Cadet front runner who showed promise at the Rotax Grand Nationals.
A number of national Cadet drivers will move up to the Junior ranks at the SuperNationals, none more threatening as national champion Trent Hindman. The Merlin driver will be making his first start as a Junior during the SuperNats weekend, who has done some late season testing to adjust to the division jump.
The drivers from the Southwest area moving up however have some experience running the TaG Junior in their regional programs. Mason Chelootz (Top Kart) and Broc Yocom (Intrepid) have many laps aboard TaG Junior machines. Austin Self (Birel) is another accomplished Cadet driver making the transition and may be a factor throughout the weekend.
Some unknowns will be the impact of a number of international drivers. Ten in total from outside the United States, including Canada, will compete. Kevin Monteith will be crossing the border with the First Kart squad, who he ran with nationally during the second half of the season, earning a WKA Grand National Eagle.
TaG Junior Provisional Entry List
|00||Mason Chelootz||Top Kart||Spring||TX||USA|
|2||Cody Kay||Top Kart||Reno||NV||USA|
|3||Kevin Monteith||First Kart||Stouffville||ON||Canada|
|4||Gustavo Menezes||Tony Kart||Trabuco Canyon||CA||USA|
|5||Parker McKean||Italkart||Gig Harbor||WA||USA|
|6||Tyler Thomas||Top Kart||Tulsa||OK||USA|
|9||Collin Haun||Top Kart||Sugar Land||TX||USA|
|14||Guilherme Silva||Tony Kart||Belo Horizonte|| ||Brazil|
|30||Marco Souza||Tony Kart||Jupiter||FL||USA|
|59||Kyle Shriver||CRG||Apple Valley||CA||USA|
|61||Alec Udell||Top Kart||The Woodlands||TX||USA|
|80||Felipe Fraga||Tony Kart||Jupiter||FL||USA|
|88||Colby Yardley||Birel||West Jordan||UT||USA|
|101||Kelsey Nilsson||Tony Kart||Manteca||CA||USA|
|350||Tatiana Calderon||Tony Kart||Jupiter||FL||Brazil|
|355||Louie Pagano||Birel||Santa Rosa Valley||CA||USA|
|13x||Bailey Murphy||Tony Kart||Phoenix||AZ||USA|
|13z||Frankie Officer||Italkart||Des Moines||WA||USA|
|22c||Chance Stephens||Alonso Kart||Tucson||AZ||USA|
|22r||Marcus Brodie||First Kart||Kelowna||BC||Canada|
|25x||Nicholas Silva||Kart Mini||Van Nuys||CA||USA|
|2r||Jacob Bulger||First Kart||Sooke||BC||Canada|
|317d||Sabre' Cook||CRG||Grand Junction||CO||USA|
|64z||Darren Ward||Swiss Hutless||Damascus||OR||USA|
|88x||Kolton Griffin||Alonso Kart||Glendale||AZ||USA|
|8y||Kiel Spaulding||Top Kart||Elk Grove||CA||USA|
| By way of Hawaii, Alec Gumpfer will battle for the S5 Junior win|
The S5 Junior class made its SuperNationals debut at last year’s event with Brendan Phinny earning the inaugural victory. With him moving on to S3 and only one driver from the 2007 field, the race is wide open heading to Vegas. The lone returnee is Californian Nicholas Silva who competed part-time in the ProKart Challenge South program for 2008.
Texas will be well represented with five drivers making the journey to the SuperNats. Jake French, the 2007 Rotax Max Challenge Mini Max Grand National champion, will lead the North Texas Karters squad with Alex Tartaglia, Markus Payne and Devin Mauk while Thomas Waddington will represent Western Texas. Colorado Sprint Championship title winner Cole MacEwen is no stranger to the big stage in Vegas, running the K3 Cadet class in 2005. Representing the Midwest will be the SKUSA Central States Challenge champion Kaylee Granberg and Great Lakes Pro Series Junior Shifter titlist Zachary Silver, both expected to be factors on SuperSunday.
The lone Hawaiian to compete at the SuperNats will be S5 driver Alec Gumpfer. The driver from Kula on the Maui Island, was the only S5 driver in the Maui Kart Challenge, however spent most of the summer racing against the island’s S3 field. He would like nothing more than to bring back a SuperNats victory to the Hawaiian Islands.
S5 Provisional Entry List
|11||Ivan Ladron||Italkart||Zapopan Jalisco||Mexico|
|13||Juan Carlos Blum||Italkart||Guadalajara||Mexico|
|16||Devin Mauk||Top Kart||Flower Mound||TX||USA|
|58||Cole MacEwen||GP||Fort Collins||CO||USA|
|96||Alejandro Munoz||Intrepid||Naucalpan de Juarez||Mexico|
|15b||Alec Gumpfer||Tony Kart||Kula||HI||USA|
|24d||Austin Schimmel||GP||Colorado Springs||CO||USA|
|25x||Nicholas Silva||Kart Mini||Van Nuys||CA||USA|
|3e||Kaylee Granberg||WildKart||Kansas City||MO||USA|
| Tommy Andersen has been on fire in HPV competition out East, now travels West for SuperNats gold|
(Photo: Go Racing Magazine)
HPV 2 Junior
The HPV 2 Junior category can be found from the club level up to the divisional, regional and coastal programs across the country. What was expected to have a slue of entries has only a count of 19, possible due to TaG Junior being added to the event schedule. Looking at the entry list, it looks to be a battle of East vs. West with the field nearly split in half by their location.
In the East, Tommy Andersen was the driver to watch in HPV competition, earning two WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series titles and winning six of ten main events on the year. His Merlin teammate Shawn Sharkey was third and fifth on the year in the same categories along with Top Kart’s Tyler Thomas running at the front of the HPV field throughout the year.
In the West, Dylan Nobile was the class champion in IKF Region 7 competition. The CRG driver stood on the podium at the Daytona KartWeek event in both HPV classes to start out the 2008 season. He, along with Louie Pagano and Kelsey Nilsson have big event experience that could come into play during SuperSunday.
Drivers to watch will include reigning Cadet national champion Trent Hindman. Tristan DeGrand, son of 2003 K1 SuperNats winner Todd DeGrand, will make is first start at the event and loves racing in Vegas. Austin Self, a Cadet HPV winner in WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series, will also make the jump and should adjust to the faster speeds quickly.
HPV 2 Junior Provisional Entry List
|2||Cody Kay||Top Kart||HPV (IKF)||Reno||NV||USA|
|6||Tyler Thomas||Top Kart||HPV (WKA)||Tulsa||OK||USA|
|07||Austin Self||Birel||HPV (WKA)||Austin||TX||USA|
|8||Trevor Zindars||Top Kart||HPV (IKF)||Phoenix||AZ||USA|
|9||Joseph Keaton||Intrepid||HPV (IKF)||Oakley||CA||USA|
|28||Tristan DeGrand||Kosmic||HPV (WKA)||Eureka||MO||USA|
|32||Robert Bujdoso||Tony Kart||HPV (WKA)||Canfield||OH||USA|
|55||Devin Lindsey||TrackMagic||HPV (IKF)||Highland||CA||USA|
|59||Kyle Shriver||CRG||HPV (IKF)||Apple Valley||CA||USA|
|63||Kathryn Cornell||Intrepid||HPV (IKF)||Stockton||CA||USA|
|64||Trent Hindman||Merlin||HPV (WKA)||Wayside||NJ||USA|
|94||Shawn Sharkey||Merlin||HPV (WKA)||Middletown||NJ||USA|
|95||Bryan Lemon||Tony Kart||HPV (IKF)||Phoenix||AZ||USA|
|96||Alessandra Madrigal||Kosmic||HPV (IKF)||Chicago||IL||USA|
|101||Kelsey Nilsson||Tony Kart||HPV (IKF)||Manteca||CA||USA|
|355||Louie Pagano||Birel||HPV (IKF)||Santa Rosa Valley||CA||USA|
|15r||Noel Dowler||Tony Kart||HPV (IKF)||Edmonton||AB||Canada|
|77c||Dylan Nobile||CRG||HPV (IKF)||Clovis||CA||USA|
|8a||Tommy Andersen||Merlin||HPV (WKA)||Spring Grove||IL||USA|