|November 13, 2010 News
|EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XIV Preview Series – TaG Senior
When the gates open the week of November 15 to the parking lot of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, the Superkarts! USA organization will be welcoming the largest contingent to compete at the famed SuperNationals. The SKUSA SuperNationals XIV is set to host a record-breaking 485 entries for 11 categories on a temporary circuit outside the famed Las Vegas facility. Drivers from all over North American and around the world will converge to ‘Sin City’ at a chance to claim a piece of SuperNats glory and place their name into the history books. eKartingNews.com has slated the remaining days leading up to the event for an in-depth look at the entry list and the major players in each of the categories. TaG Cadet, TaG Junior and S5 started off the preview program and were followed by TaG Master-G1 preview, S4 Master Stock Moto, S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, and KF2. The first ‘Pro’ class - TaG Senior - is looked at today with KZ2 and the headline S1 division to follow leading up to the overall event preview.
For complete coverage, visit the EKN Event Page.
| Brazilian Andre Nicastro is back after crossing the line first last year, only to have the win taken away due to contact|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
By-far the most competitive category since its inclusion in 2003 at the SKUSA SuperNationals is the TaG Senior. The fields have been loaded with talent year after year and drama has ensued on-track every session the karts hit the track. This year should be no different with another 84 drivers set to tackle the temporary circuit in Vegas. Last year’s winner – Taylor Miinch – elected not to compete this year, however, the remaining podium members along with former winners are set to lead the field to the checkered flag.
Last year’s finish came down to the final few corners with contact resulting in the officials having to make a ruling and helped place Miinch on top of the podium. Gustavo Menezes was leading the way before Brazilian Andre Nicastro made pushed him through the final corners. Nicastro was first to the stripe with Miinch in second. Officials placed Nicastro behind Menezes in the final order, giving Miinch the victory.
With Miinch out, Menezes and Nicastro are among the top contenders for this year’s win. Menezes (Tony Kart/Leopard), spent most of his racing season overseas, competing in the WSK World Series and CIK-FIA World Karting Championships with Tony Kart Racing Team. The Californian was the only driver in the Senior ranks to podium twice at last year’s event (KF2 and TaG Senior), looking to complete that feat once again with Tony Kart West operation. Nicastro (Italkart/Leopard) has been absent from competing state-side but the 29-year old veteran is lethal behind the wheel, always a threat for the victory when teamed with the Italian Motors squad.
| Gustavo Menezes came just corners away from the victory last year|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Among the scrap in last year’s battle was Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon. The British driver finished fourth one year ago and will make his third straight SuperNationals start, this time teamed up with KartSport North America aboard an Arrow/Leopard machine. Wheldon will be a favorite among the many spectators traveling to Vegas for the event.
Aside from the podium finishers from last year, three drivers from the ‘08 event podium will be attempting a return trip. The 2008 winner Emanuele Pagani (Tony Kart/Vortex ROK TT) will travel from Italy to Vegas to earn a second victory. After competing in the European karting ranks along with some open wheel experience, Pagani comes into the event off a 25th place finish at the CIK-FIA World Karting Championships. Second to him that year was the 2007 winner Joel Miller (Kosmic/Vortex ROK TT). The Californian is still progressing up the open-wheel ranks, making a couple starts in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. The 22-year old will be racing with the 2009 EKN Team of the Year - J3 Competition.
The only driver in this year’s field to finish inside the top-10 the last two years in three-time SuperNats winner Michael Valiante (Italkart/Leopard). The ICC winner from 1997-1999 finished seventh last year, and fourth the year before that - currently tied for second in the all-time SuperNats win list, looking to join Connor De Phillippi at four a piece. Valiante will be competing against his Michael Shank Racing Daytona Prototype teammate Oswaldo Negri Jr. The Brazilian is part of the Kart Mini America and will team with the RDD Motorsports operation for his first SuperNats start.
Also making their first start in TaG Senior are a number of Junior drivers making the jump up for Vegas. Shawn Sharkey (Merlin/Leopard) leads the way in the rookie category, having recorded a number of podiums throughout the year. WSK World Series competitor Phillip Orcic (Zanardi/Leopard) will also be making his first TaG Senior start after the Canadian competed in TaG Junior one year ago.
| Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon will make his third start at the SuperNats|
Phil Giebler (FA Kart/Vortex ROK TT) has all but locked up the championship in the SKUSA Pro Tour TaG Senior division. A victory in Vegas, something the Phil Giebler Racing owner/driver has yet to add to his high-quality CV, would help put the cherry on top of the cool $5,000 for the championship prize and the #1 SKUSA plate for 2011. The former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year won three straight main events on the Pro Tour and will look for his fourth of the year come SuperSunday.
While narrowing down the notable drivers is a difficult thing to do, here are just 10 more to watch during the five-days in Vegas that have a shot at the podium and victory. Coming from the loaded WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series are a number of young guns. Double champion Robert Bujdoso (PCR/Leopard) broke out this year in his first full season in the Senior category. The Checkered Motorsports driver scored the TaG and TaG Heavy titles.
Tommy Andersen (Merlin/Leopard) had an impressive 2010 season, picking up two WKA Grand National victories in July. He and Franklin Motorsports driver TJ Koyen (Merlin/Leopard) will look to carry Merlin Nation to victory in Vegas. Michael Politis (EKS/Leopard) is currently third in the EKN Driver Rankings thanks to some big finishes late in the season and could top the standings with another from the SuperNats. Former WKA standout Chris Wehrheim is back behind the wheel of a kart after wrench for Team Top Kart / Grand Products drivers on the season and competing in the VW Jetta TDI Cup. Wehrheim took home some cash last year, winning the EKN Tuner Challenge following day one practice.
| Phil Giebler enters the SuperNats with control in the SKUSA Pro Tour TaG Senior championship|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Leading the international challenge will be multi-time Australian champion David Sera. Making a storm in early 2009 in his first trips to the states and shooting up the EKN Driver Rankings, Sera struggled in his SuperNats debut last year. Back to redeem himself, watch for the KartSport North America/Arrow driver to find his way to the front. Currently on the rise in the EKN Driver Rankings is Bobby Kelley (Maddox/Motori 7). The ProKart Challenge North TaG Senior champion is missing that big finish to add to his point total, and a victory in Vegas is sure to put the Position One Motorsports star up the order.
A 2009 Rotax National Champion, Phillip Arscott (Tony Kart/Rotax) will be making his first SKUSA SuperNationals start. Part of Team USA at the Rotax Grand Finals the past two seasons but a busy college schedule has kept his karting adventures limited. The Oregon driver nearly earned a spot to the Grand Finals once again, coming from 21st to third in 17 laps, Arscott was taken out on the final lap to end his bid at a Team USA spot. Neil Alberico (Wild Kart/Leopard) has been solid in 2010, earning a TaG Senior national championship while also progressing in the open-wheel ranks. He and the Kartel Motorsports crew will be locked and loaded for Vegas. Making a return trip to the SuperNats is Puerto Rican driver Richard Benitez. Ninth in the 2008 edition, Benitez also earned a Rotax Senior championship during the winter months in Florida. Competing back home during the summer, the 18-year old is set to return state-side with Champion Racing aboard an Intrepid/Vortex ROK TT package.
TaG Senior Provisional Entry List - Updated 11.15.10
|0||Michael Politis||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Leopard||New York||NY||USA|
|02d||Dillon Felber||Kuntz Racing||Kosmic||Leopard||Poway||CA||USA|
|3||Luca Forgeois||KartSport North America||Arrow||Leopard||New York||NY||USA|
|4||Johnny Blair||Seattle Karting Specialties||Italkart||Leopard||Puyallup||WA||USA|
|5||Guy Hepner||Adams Motorsports||Avanti||Leopard||Riverside||CA||USA|
|7||Taylor Hacquard||Italian Motors||Italkart||Leopard||Surrey||BC||Canada|
|7a||Cory Cacciavillani||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||Leamington||ON||Canada|
|8||Kris Wall||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Leopard||Cedar Vale||Queensland||Australia|
|8j||Tommy Andersen||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Leopard||Spring Grove||IL||USA|
|9||Aaron Telitz||CarCar Motorsports||Parolin||Leopard||Birchwood||WI||USA|
|9e||Shane Walters||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Leopard||St. Louis||MO||USA|
|11||Gustavo Menezes||Tony Kart West||Tony Kart||Leopard||Trabuco Canyon||CA||USA|
|11r||Phillip Orcic||Keijzer Racing||Zanardi||Leopard||Richmond||BC||Canada|
|12||Chelsi Wagner||MMS Karting||Italkart||Leopard||Sparks||NV||USA|
|13||Bill Kann||Team AZ Karting||Birel||Rotax||Mesa||AZ||USA|
|14||Joel Miller||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||Hesperia||CA||USA|
|15||Dan Wheldon||KartSport North America||Arrow||Leopard||St. Petersburg||FL||England|
|16||Chris Wehrheim||Team Top Kart / Grand Products||Top Kart||Leopard||Norcross||GA||USA|
|18||Bruno Ferreira||Italian Motors||Italkart||Leopard||Sao Paulo||Brazil|
|18c||Mariah McGriff||Southern Arizona Kart Club||Parolin||Leopard||Vail||AZ||USA|
|18j||Drake Ostrom||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Leopard||Moline||IL||USA|
|19x||Shawn Cricca||Phil Giebler Racing||FA Kart||Vortex ROK TT||Simi Valley||CA||USA|
|20c||Steven Barros||Empire Karts||Top Kart||Leopard||Redlands||CA||USA|
|21||Leonardo Nienkotter||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||Florianapolis||Brazil|
|22||David Sera||KartSport North America||Arrow||Leopard||Australia|
|22r||Marcus Brodie||Checkered Flag Racing||CRG||Vortex ROK TT||Kelowna||BC||Canada|
|23||AJ Whisler||PSL Karting||CRG||Vortex ROK TT||Catawba Island||OH||USA|
|24c||Bobby Kelley||Position One Motorsports||Maddox||Motori 7||Baldwin Park||CA||USA|
|26x||Phil Giebler||Phil Giebler Racing||FA Kart||Vortex ROK TT||Huntington Beach||CA||USA|
|28c||Nick Johnston||Position One Motorsports||Maddox||Vortex ROK TT||Baldwin Park||CA||USA|
|28y||Amber Friedberg||Syar Motorsports||Energy||Rotax||Salida||CA||USA|
|30||Jonathan Tetreault||PSL Karting||CRG||Leopard||St. Basile le Grand||QC||Canada|
|32||Adam Isman||Italian Motors||Italkart||Leopard||Vancouver||BC||Canada|
|33||James Bayliss||Champion Racing||Intrepid||Rotax||College Station||TX||USA|
|33c||Lloyd Mack||Phil Giebler Racing||FA Kart||Vortex ROK TT||Beaumont||CA||USA|
|38||Scott Hargrove||Italian Motors||Italkart||Leopard||Surrey||BC||Canada|
|44||Bruno Vermeeren||Champion Racing||Intrepid||Rotax||Zaventem||Belgium|
|46||Emanuele Pagani||Tony Kart America||Tony Kart||Vortex ROK TT||Sanremo||Italy|
|47||Kyle Wright||Kuntz Racing||Kosmic||Leopard||La Jolla||CA||USA|
|48||Richard Benitez||Champion Racing||Intrepid||Vortex ROK TT||Carolina||Puerto Rico|
|49c||Scott Saunders||Mike Manning Karting||CRG||Motori 7||Brisbane||Australia|
|50||Joao Sergio Martins Camara||Tony Kart America||Tony Kart||Vortex ROK TT||Brazil|
|55c||Chad Brassfield||Chad Brassfield Racing||Birel||Vortex ROK TT||Scottsdale||AZ||USA|
|55x||Devin Lindsey||Devin Lindsey Racing||Tony Kart||Vortex ROK TT||Highland||CA||USA|
|57z||Phillip Arscott||CMC||Tony Kart||Rotax||Portland||OR||USA|
|60||Oswaldo Negri||JC Karting||Kart Mini||Leopard||Opa Locka||FL||Brazil|
|63x||Travis Lowe||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||Pasadena||CA||USA|
|64||Hunter Short||Paragon Motorsports||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||Gainesville||FL||USA|
|65||Bryce Cornet||Champion Racing||Intrepid||Leopard||Norman||OK||USA|
|69q||Alex Vorrilas||Apex KartSports||Top Kart||Leopard||North Reading||MA||USA|
|71c||Niki Luna||Cameron Karting / BBRL Racing||CRG||Leopard||Newport Coast||CA||USA|
|72||Daniel Burkett||GBR Kart Racing||Arrow||Leopard||Winnipeg||MB||Canada|
|73||Ty Matta||Karttech Driver Search||CRG||Leopard||Redlands||CA||USA|
|77||Blake Teeter||Champion Racing||Intrepid||Leopard||Wichita||KS||USA|
|88||Ryan Kinnear||Champion Racing||Intrepid||Leopard||Houston||TX||USA|
|92||Andre Nicastro||Italian Motors||Italkart||Leopard||Vancouver||BC||Brazil|
|93||Robert Bujdoso||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||Leopard||Canfield||OH||USA|
|94||Shawn Sharkey||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Leopard||Middletown||NJ||USA|
|95||Michael Valiente||Italian Motors||Italkart||Leopard||Vancouver||BC||Canada|
|95b||Bryan Lemon||Innovative Karting||Kosmic||Leopard||Glendale||AZ||USA|
|96||Remo Ruscitti||Italian Motors||Italkart||Leopard||Burnaby||BC||Canada|
|97j||Mark Vielgut||National Kart Supply||Corsa Kart||Leopard||Hubertus||WI||USA|
|98x||Jason LaVeque||Team AZ Karting||Birel||Leopard||Scottsdale||AZ||USA|
|99||Scott Falcone||Full Throttle Karting||Arrow||Motori 7||Lonetree||CO||USA|
|103||Gerald Caseley||PSL Karting||CRG||Vortex ROK TT||Fredericton||NB||Canada|
|118||Jorge Alcocer||Empire Karts||Top Kart||Leopard||Queretaru||Mexico|
|136y||Zach Woodsford||JMS Racing||CRG||Rotax||Las Vegas||NV||USA|
|161y||David Harwin||Flat Out Racing||Tony Kart||Motori 7||Reno||NV||USA|
|171u||Johnny Lindquist||Kosmic||Rotax||Castle Dale||UT||USA|
|182||Chris Gomez||Syar Motorsports||Energy||Motori 7||West Sacramento||CA||USA|
|209y||Gregory Liefooghe||Corwin Motorsports||CRG||Motori 7||San Francisco||CA||USA|
|253||Andres Mendez||RDD Motorsports||Kart Mini||Leopard||Bogota||Columbia|
|255||Ben Schermerhorn||Doghouse Racing||Birel||Rotax||Highlands Ranch||CO||USA|
|255y||Jess Peterson||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Vortex ROK TT||Sparks||NV||USA|
|317d||Sabre' Cook||PSL Karting||CRG||Leopard||Grand Junction||CO||USA|
|406j||TJ Koyen||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Leopard||Sun Prairie||WI||USA|
|432||David Zippie||Doghouse Racing||Birel||Leopard||Aurora||CO||USA|
|441y||Troy Diede||Diede Racing||Intrepid||Vortex ROK TT||Lodi||CA||USA|
|442y||Neil Alberico||Kartel Motorsports||Wild Kart||Leopard||Monte Sereno||CA||USA|
|472n||Mark Boos||True Racing Development||Top Kart||Leopard||New Hope||PA||USA|
|502x||Adrian Starrantino||Pitts Performance||CRG||Motori 7||Simi Valley||CA||USA|
|777||Grant Raymond||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Rotax||TX||USA|
|787y||Bronson Eggert||Cambrian Go-Karts||Birel||Motori 7||Pleasanton||CA||USA|