|November 15, 2009 News
|EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XIII - S3/KF2 Preview
From the day that the final checkered flag waved and the competitors packed up under their gear in the paddock one year ago, the 13th annual Superkarts! USA SuperNationals has been in everyone’s mind. Set for November 18-22, over 400 drivers will head into battle at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino for what is expected to be the biggest and brightest karting event in the sport’s history. Drivers from all over North America and around the world will compete in an effort to score one of the nine class victories, all focused on placing their name into the SKUSA history books. eKartingNews.com has slated the days leading up to the event for an in-depth look at the entry list and the major players in each of the categories. We have seen the TaG Junior, S5, G1, TaG Masters, and S4 categories. Today we highlight the S3 and KF2 divisions. Coming up will be TaG Senior and the headline SuperPro category.
To discuss the SKUSA SuperNationals XIII, visit the Official Discussion Thread in the EKN Forums.
For the EKN Event Page with all the previews, click here
| Jacob Neal has been one of the top S3 contenders throughout the year|
(Photo: Tony Leone - sixspeedphotos.com)
For 30 laps one year ago, the S3 category kept everyone along the fences outside the Rio on their toes as they witnessed what most consider being the best shifter kart race ever seen. Numerous lead changes, great passing, and a thrilling end made the ’08 feature race for the Stock Moto division one to remember. Half the field for this year’s event competed in last year’s class, and the names that are new step up the quality factor immensely.
The only down side to the entry list is the void left by the top two finishers last year - Brendan Phinny and NASCAR’s Jamie McMurray. Phinny will be competing in the KF2 division while McMurray will be wrapping up his tenure with Roush Fenway Racing in Homestead. With the field stacked the way it is, EKN is lucky to have the Driver Rankings to fall back on to preview the contenders for Vegas.
On top of the rankings for most of the season has been SoCal’s Jacob Neal (CRG). The PCH Motorsports driver - a podium finisher last year in S1 - went on a string of victories in the ProKart Challenge South and North programs, however, he seemed to fizzle out some near the end of the season. Unable to record any victories in the late season run, Utah’s Tyler Bennett (PTK) overtook the top position in the rankings heading into Vegas. Bennett’s solid results from the Utah State Championship program along with the fourth place at last year’s historic main event helped his cause.
| Last year podium finisher Tyler Bennett enters the event as the top driver in the EKN Stock Moto Driver Rankings|
(Photo: Go Racing Magazine)
The driver who beat Bennett for the third spot on the podium is his Msquared teammate Mike Beeny (PTK). After securing the top spot in qualifying in ’08, a DNF in the final heat race hampered his chances at starting the main event from P1. Rounding out last year’s podium was Tommy Thompson (Energy). Currently fourth in the EKN Driver Rankings, Thompson ran second to Neal in the PKC North program and is slated to be a contender in Vegas once again in his Syar Motorsports entry.
Certainly eyes will be on the reigning Rock Island King of the Streets Jordon Musser (Intrepid). The four-time Rotax Grand National champion could only sit and watch last year as he competed in the TaG Senior category. Now third in the EKN Driver Rankings, Musser hopes to secure one title he doesn’t have on his CV, a SuperNationals victory. Other drivers in the top-10 of the rankings that will be on hand include Patrick Cushenberry (Arrow), Chris Jennings (Birel) who sat out the S3 feature last year to focus on scoring the S4 title - which he did from the pole position, Eddie Olpin (Kosmic) and Derek Crockett aboard his new GP machine.
To round out the star-studded line-up come a number of experienced drivers looking to tussle it up with the new rising stars in shifter kart racing. Tom Dyer (GP) won the division in 2007 and returns to the SuperNationals after sitting out last year. He and his Aluminos crew are prepped for battle. Disappointed at his lack-luster performance in ’08, Memo Gidley (Trackmagic) has been gearing up all season long for Vegas. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of his 1999 S1 victory back at the ‘X-Plex’ just south of the Stripe.
| King of the Streets winner Jordon Musser will look to add a SuperNationals victory to his CV|
(Photo: Go Racing Magazine - Joe Brittin)
Carrying the familiar #49x plate, 2004 G1 winner Bonnier Moulton (Tony Kart) will once again battle the young guns in the S3 category. Battling for the win last year, a mechanical DNF cost ‘the fastest journalist in karting’ a shot at the win. A SuperNationals wins is one of only a few things not yet achieved by Kyle Wiegand (Top Kart). A multi-time KoS champion, national race winner and champion, the Team Top Kart / Grand Products driver would like nothing more than to steal away the S3 victory.
Aside from those mentioned, there will be a number of drivers that will be in contention throughout the event with one final possible dark-horse to mention is Christopher Barkley (Tony Kart). The Washington driver recorded the fastest lap of the main event to finish sixth from 14th. Not much is known about Barkley however to record the fast lap in a race of that nature last year certainly deserves some attention.
Provisional S3 Entry List - as of November 12
|00t||Jared Beyer||New Braunfels, TX||USA||Kart Nation||CRG|
|1y||Jason Toft||Petaluma, CA||USA||S.T.A.||GP|
|2||Eduardo Pena||San Mateo||Mexico||PTK|
|3j||Cole Mathewson||Carmel, IN||USA||Tony Kart East||Tony Kart|
|5||Eric Batt||Noblesville, IN||USA||Sharing Success Racing||Zanardi|
|5d||Cory Milne||Broomfield, CO||USA||Rocky Mountain Kartworks||GP|
|9b||Scott Barnes||Pembroke||Bermuda||Corrida Karting||GP|
|9j||Carly Mandarino||Elgin, IL||USA||Crockett Motorsports||PCR|
|9z||Christopher Barkley||Marysville, WA||USA||Tony Kart|
|10||Justin Davis||Boerne, TX||USA||The Kart Shop||Monza|
|14||Eddie Olpin||North Salt Lake, UT||USA||Reaction Karting||Kosmic|
|15b||Alec Gumpfer||Kula, HI||USA||Tony Kart Florida||Tony Kart|
|16j||Ryan O'Connell||Orland Park, IL||USA||Italkart|
|16t||Jordon Musser||Coppell, TX||USA||Intrepid|
|16y||Matt Alcorn||Portola Valley, CA||USA||Syar Motorsport||Energy|
|17c||Vivek Tandon||Porter Ranch, CA||USA||Kimball Williams Racing||CRG|
|19||Jake Thompson||Calgary, AB||Canada||Overdrive Motorsports||PCR|
|20y||Tommy Thompson||Napa, CA||USA||Syar Motorsports||Energy|
|22e||Chris Thomasson||Belton, MO||USA||Central States Challenge||WildKart|
|22y||Brian Keck||Sacramento, CA||USA||CRG|
|24x||Harley Owen||Phoenix, AZ||USA||Select Shifter Services||CRG|
|27t||Nick Lucido||Plano, TX||USA||The Kart Shop||CRG|
|27u||Patrick Cushenberry||Provo, UT||USA||Select Shifter Services||Arrow|
|31k||Nicky Freytag||Glendale, AZ||USA||Innovative Karting||Intrepid|
|32u||Keenan Schmitke||Bluffdale, UT||USA||Miller Motorsports Park||CRG|
|32y||Travis Duhn||Minden, NV||USA||Italkart|
|33f||Frank Young||Fontana, CA||USA||Tony Kart|
|33k||Jacob Neal||Riverside, CA||USA||PCH Motorsports||CRG|
|33y||Tom Dyer||Corte Madera, CA||USA||Aluminos||GP|
|34c||Race Liberante||Quartz Hill, CA||USA||ProRacing Specialties||CRG|
|34x||Bryce Miller||Laguna Niguel, CA||USA||G-Phactory||SodiKart|
|35y||Brett Felkins||Lodi, CA||USA||Diede Racing||Intrepid|
|37y||Neil Joseph||Sunnyvale, CA||USA||Cameron Karting||Italkart|
|38d||Jack Bradley||Littleton, CO||USA||Doghouse Racing||Birel|
|49x||Bonnier Moulton||Irvine, CA||USA||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart|
|51e||Derek Crockett||Cahokia, IL||USA||Crockett Motorsports||GP|
|65||Logan Jones||Gilbert, AZ||USA||Rocky Mountain Kartworks||GP|
|73b||Brad Dunford||Cypress, CA||USA||Aluminos||GP|
|77||Eduardo Quincoces||Miami, FL||USA||Sharing Success Racing||Zanardi|
|77y||Steve Reasoner||Ripon, CA||USA||Aluminos||GP|
|86j||Kyle Wiegand||Bargersville, IN||USA||Kartel Motorsports||Top Kart|
|88||Colby Yardley||West Jordan, UT||USA||Miller Motorsports Park||Birel|
|89y||Cory Gwin||Rio Linda, CA||USA||Emmick Cobra Racing||Emmick|
|97y||Memo Gidley||Novato, CA||Mexico||TrackMagic||TrackMagic|
|100||Adolfo Anguiano||Guadalajara||Mexico||AGA Racing||Italkart|
|111c||Clinton Schoombee||Laguna Beach, CA||USA||Select Shifter Services||CRG|
|124u||Tyler Bennett||Farmington, UT||USA||MSquared Karting||PTK|
|138u||Mike Beeny||Sandy, UT||USA||MSquared Karting||PTK|
|146u||Zac Clark||Salt Lake City, UT||USA||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart|
|149y||Marc Elliott||Kentfield, CA||USA||Arrow|
|166x||Jimmy McNeil||Visalia, CA||USA||Team Visalia||CRG|
|175||Chris Jennings||Coppell, TX||USA||Birel|
| Alex Speed looks for his third SuperNats victory in as many classes|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Introduced in 2007 as the new engine model for competition through CIK-FIA, the KF engine is slowing beginning to build momentum in the United States. The first competition for the ‘long-life’ engines was in 2008 and reached national status this past season. 2009 also marks the debut of the KF engine into the SKUSA SuperNationals. The division contested in Vegas will be the KF2 division, the ‘semi-pro’ engine level in Europe however the top level in the United States thus far. The field however is anything but mediocre with half the field international stars and the other with some of the best North America has to offer.
Looking first at the North American contingent, there are a number of drivers capable of running up front. The driver however with the best odds at winning go to Alex Speed (Tony Kart). A winner in back in 2001 in the S1 (Semi Pro) category, Speed has yet taste victory in Vegas despite being regarded as one of the top karters in North America. Scoring the KF2 title at the Florida Winter Tour and two wins on the national circuit, the Tony Kart Florida/WunderBar Racing driver certainly has the odds in his favor. A slue of other drivers will be on Tony Kart as well, including 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice. A principle in Tony Kart West, Rice has been committed to karting for the last few seasons, competing in the TaG Senior division one year ago.
| Loic Reguillon is one of the many international drivers competing in the KF2 division in Vegas|
Speed’s Tony Kart Florida/WunderBar Racing teammate Will Martindale has been in consistent this past season but when he’s on his game, he can run up front. Recent Rotax Grand National DD2 champion Cody Hodgson running out of the Tony Kart West tent has some skills behind the wheel, putting a stomping on the KF2 field earlier in the year at a Stars of Karting event in Ocala. Don’t forget about 2007 TaG Senior winner Joel Miller. The Star Mazda Championship driver makes another return to the SuperNats with TKWest and has been testing for the upcoming trip to Vegas.
The young guns making the move up to the Senior ranks to keep an eye on are Gustavo Menezes (Tony Kart) and Taylor Miinch (Top Kart). Menezes spent his second year competing in Europe on the KF3 engine and now makes the jump to the KF2 package. Miinch, driving for Team Top Kart / Grand Products, challenged for the KF3 title here in the states and recently made the transition to the Senior ranks at the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series going three for three in podiums including a win.
| Taylor Miinch is one of the young guns to watch in KF2|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
A few wildcards to watch include Miller’s Star Mazda teammate Conor Daly (FA Kart) who will be running for the new E Karting Company operation. Federico Montoya (Birel) returns to karting after a few years, running with the Canadian PSerra Racing squad out of Ontario. Also watch for G-Phactory’s Andrick Zeen who has been running with the SodiKart factory team in France all season long and Leading Edge Motorsports’ Gregory Liefooghe (Intrepid) who was quick in his KF2 debut back in October.
The European contingent is a host of up and coming drivers looking to score big in the States. CRG is bringing Eddy Tinini and Brandon Maisano. Tinini has been to the states before and enjoys competing here. Maisano was sixth at the KF2 World Cup. Tony Kart will have KF3 star Guilherme Silva from Brazil and Japan’s Yu Kanamaru. J3 Competition will welcome factor Kosmic driver Felice Tiene, who was fifth in the KF2 World Cup. Energy Corse is sending three drivers - Nicolaj Moller-Madsen from Denmark, Joel Johansson of Sweden - third in the WSK International Series KF2 division, and England’s Jake Lloyd. SodiKart is matching that with Alex Baron, Maxime Bornet, and Loic Reguillon - who finished sixth at the European Championships.
Provisional KF2 Entry List - as of November 12
|1||Eddy Tinini||Desenzano||Italy||CRG Racing Team||CRG||Maxter|
|2||Conor Daly||Noblesville, IN||USA||E Karting Company||FA Kart||Vortex|
|4||Brandon Maisano||Desenzano||France||CRG Racing Team||CRG||Maxter|
|11||Alex Baron||Coueron||France||Team SodiKart / G-Phactory||SodiKart||IAME|
|11b||Buddy Rice||Phoenix, AZ||USA||Tony Kart West||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|11k||Gustavo Menezes||Trabuco Canyon, CA||USA||Tony Kart West||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|12||Felice Tiene||Prevalle||Italy||Kosmic Racing Team / J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex|
|14||Guilherme Silva||Prevalle||Brazil||Tony Kart Racing Team||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|14x||Joel Miller||Hesperia, CA||USA||Tony Kart West||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|17c||Ryon Beachner||Lake Forest, CA||USA||2Wild Karting||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|20c||Taylor Miinch||Alpine, CA||USA||Team Top Kart / Grand Products||Top Kart||Vortex|
|21||Nicolaj Moller-Madsen||Miami, FL||Denmark||Energy Corse America||Energy||TM|
|22||Joel Johansson||Miami, FL||Sweden||Energy Corse America||Energy||TM|
|23||Jake Lloyd||Miami, FL||England||Energy Corse America||Energy||TM|
|27||Phillip Kopp||San Diego, CA||USA||E Karting Company||FA Kart||Vortex|
|44||Loïc Reguillon||Coueron||France||Team SodiKart / G-Phactory||SodiKart||IAME|
|49||Yu Kanamaru||Prevalle||Japan||Tony Kart Racing Team||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|53||Nicola Melotto||Verona||Italy||Cambrian Go-Karts||EKS||IAME|
|55y||Cody Hodgson||Escalon, CA||USA||Tony Kart West / PanaVise||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|58||Federico Montoya||Davie, FL||USA||PSerra Racing||Birel||IAME|
|66y||Brendan Phinny||Carmel Valley, CA||USA||Kartel Motorsports||Top Kart||Maxter|
|67x||Andrick Zeen||Huntington Beach, CA||USA||G-Phactory||SodiKart||Vortex|
|109y||Gregory Liefooghe||San Francisco, CA||USA||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Maxter|
|208||Will Martindale||Vacaville, CA||USA||Tony Kart Florida / WunderBar Racing||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|241y||Alex Speed||Manteca, CA||USA||Tony Kart Florida / WunderBar Racing||Tony Kart||Vortex|
|255y||Jess Peterson||Sparks, NV||USA||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Vortex|
|418y||Neil Alberico||Monte Sereno, CA||USA||Kartel Motorsports||Top Kart||IAME|
|437r||Tyler Wheeler||Calgary, AB||Canada||Overdrive Motorsports||PCR||Windfire|