|November 08, 2011 News
|EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XV Preview Series - TaG Master
On the week of November 16-20, Superkarts! USA will host the 15th annual SKUSA SuperNationals in the parking lot of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since 1997, the event has produced a bit of history for the sport, with the 2011 edition no different. A record-breaking number of entries, including over 500 drivers from across the world, will all be vying to become one of the 11 winners at this year’s event. eKartingNews.com - in conjunction with it’s exclusive Trackside Live coverage - has slated the remaining days leading up to the event for an in-depth look at the entry list and the major contenders in each of the 11 categories.
Today, TaG Master will take the spotlight of the preview series, followed by the remaining groups: S4 Master Stock Moto/G1, S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, TaG Senior, KF2, KZ2 and S1 Pro Stock Moto.
For previous class previews and complete coverage throughout the event, visit the EKN Event Page.
| Leonardo Nienkotter set to defend his 2010 TaG Master SuperNats title|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
If you thought last year’s TaG Master main event was spectacular, wait until you check out this year’s field. Capped off at 44 drivers - 12 of which are international entries - this year’s line-up has over half of last year’s combatants returning and even more contenders filling out the remaining spots to make it undoubtedly the most competitive field in the class’ nine-year history at the SKUSA SuperNationals.
After enduring a streak of dominance from three-time winner Billy Cleavelin, the remainder of the category stepped up last year to put on a show for the victory. The on-track winner in 2010 was Australian Kip Foster (Kosmic), however, his engine was found to be incompliant and he was therefore removed from the results. The decision handed the win to Brazilian Leonardo Nienkotter (Kosmic), who came out on top of a great fight with American David Harwin (Tony Kart) for second. Both Foster and Nienkotter will return to the J3 Competition stable this year. Foster will be focused on retaking what he lost last year while Nienkotter will look to defend his title.
For Harwin, not only will he be gunning for the victory, but a chance at topping the point standings of the Pro Tour as well. The Nevada driver trails current championship leader Brian McHattie (Kosmic) in the standings, and Larry Fraser (GP) isn’t too far behind in third. McHattie will be pitted under the J3 Competition tent as well and is racing with a purpose, giving up his SKUSA number plate for 2011 to carry the #25 in honor of friend Joe Woronka, who passed away earlier this year as a result of ALS. McHattie finished third in the points last year and has three victories in four features on the Pro Tour. He would like nothing better than to close it out with his first SuperNats title and series championship. Fraser, still mathematically in the title chase, will look to improve on his 10th place finish from one year ago in Vegas.
Aside from Mack McCormick, the entire top-10 returns to do battle once again. Among them is three-time class winner Cleavelin (CRG). The Mike Manning Karting driver overcame two poor finishes in the heat races, starting 22nd in the main event before turning in a superb effort to finish seventh. The other former winner in the field this year is California’s John Crow (Tony Kart). Last year, Crow was the top Rotax driver and has two top-10 finishes in a row – a ninth in ’10 and a sixth in ’09.
| Brian McHattie enters the SuperNats leading the Pro Tour standings, carrying the no.25 plate in honor of Joe Woronka|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
The SKUSA Pro Tour has enjoyed a solid following in the TaG Master category following a weak turn-out in the series’ inaugural season in 2010. The top-10 drivers in the Pro Tour standings will end the season-long battle for bragging rights and a chance to stand on the SuperNationals podium. One of those pilots who missed that chance a year ago in his debut was Chuck Gafrarar (Parolin). After finishing sixth on-track, ‘Chuck G’ missed the podium celebrations when the team left to log some more laps in at a local indoor course, having been unaware of the winner’s disqualification. Gafrarar and his Russell Karting Specialties teammate Jim Russell Jr. (Parolin) - fourth in the Pro Tour standings - return with a goal of both standing on the podium on SuperSunday.
Defending Pro Tour champion Ethan Wilson (Tony Kart) enters Vegas sitting fifth in the standings, having been embroiled in a great battle all season, a stark contrast to his competition in 2010 when the TaG Master class did not enjoy the support it did this year. Scoring a heat win one year ago, contact took him out of contention for the win and redemption is on his mind this time around. Scott Falcone (Arrow), Brian Robson (Arrow), and Jason Bell (Tony Kart) round out the top-10 in the Pro Tour standings, and they still have an outside chance to take a run at a national number plate, which is awarded to the top-three in the final standings. Falcone finished 15th, Robson 14th, and Bell 23rd last year. WKA regular Brian McEvoy (Merlin) is the final top-10 finisher making a return from last year’s event. Finishing second in his season championship, McEvoy will look to join the Pro Tour regulars and battle once again for a top-10 finish.
A few drivers will be making a return to the SuperNationals this year, and one in particular should be intriguing to SKUSA historians. Former SKUSA ProMoto Tour SuperPro winner Trevor McAlister (Intrepid) will be making his return to the event after nearly 10 years. ‘T-Mac’ is an experience and talented pilot, and is returning to his roots with Leading Edge Motorsports and Greg Bell for a TaG Master assault. Paddock favorite and Master driver poster-boy Andy Seesemann (Arrow) returns after a year off behind the wheel in Vegas. In 2009, the Full Throttle Karting owner finished in the ninth position. Robby Mott is familiar face in the SuperNationals paddock and will make his on-track debut this year. The Ribtect owner has a stellar resume behind the wheel and will look to add some SuperNationals glory to his CV aboard his Margay machine.
Provisional 2011 SKUSA SuperNationals XV TaG Master Entry List
|0x||Tim Meyer||Atomic Karting||Jesolo||Leopard||CA||USA|
|1||Ethan Wilson||Corwin Motorsports||Tony Kart||Motori 7||CA||USA|
|3s||Chuck Gafrarar||Russell Karting Specialties||Parolin||Leopard||NC||USA|
|4f||Brent Lyman||Russell Karting Specialties||Parolin||Leopard||FL||USA|
|5||Alessandro Xavier||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||BRA|
|5d||Mike Urban||Team Urban Racing||Arrow||Vortex ROK TT||CO||USA|
|07||Francois Brun-Wibaux||Paragon Motorsports||Tony Kart||Leopard||FL||USA|
|7||Tom Gerstner||Checkered Motorsports||PCR||Vortex ROK TT||NY||USA|
|11||Fernando Guzzi||Italian Motors||Italkart||Leopard||BRA|
|12y||Larry Fraser||Aluminos||GP||Motori 7||CA||USA|
|15||Robby Mott||Ribtect||Margay||Motori 7||TX||USA|
|16d||Brian Robson||Team Urban Racing||Arrow||Rotax||CO||USA|
|17f||Phillip Kirby||Russell Karting Specialties||Parolin||Leopard||FL||USA|
|18y||Jeff Deehan||Corwin Motorsports||MBA||Motori 7||CA||USA|
|19c||Billy Cleavelin||Mike Manning Karting||CRG||Motori 7||CA||USA|
|20b||Paul Bonilla||Full Throttle Karting||Arrow||Motori 7||CA||USA|
|21e||Jim Russell Jr.||Russell Karting Specialties||Parolin||Leopard||MO||USA|
|25j||Brian McHattie||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||OH||USA|
|27q||Don Guilbeault||DRT Racing||DR||Rotax||NH||USA|
|31c||John Crow||Tony Kart||Rotax||CA||USA|
|31y||Paul Hohlbein||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Leopard||NV||USA|
|37||Kip Foster||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||AUS|
|43c||Cory Brown||Paragon Motorsports||FA Kart||Leopard||AZ||USA|
|44||Joe Palmer||Paragon Motorsports||Tony Kart||Vortex ROK TT||FL||USA|
|46x||Trevor McAlister||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Leopard||CA||USA|
|51c||Andy Seesemann||Full Throttle Karting||Arrow||Vortex ROK TT||CA||USA|
|51y||Carl Freese||Cambrian Go-Karts||Birel||Vortex ROK TT||CA||USA|
|54c||Steve Wiener||Phil Giebler Racing||FA Kart||Vortex ROK TT||CA||USA|
|54f||Jason Bell||Tony Kart West / Buddy Rice Karting||Tony Kart||Motori 7||FL||USA|
|57a||Jorge Borelli||Phil Giebler Racing||FA Kart||Vortex ROK TT||BRA|
|61c||Larry Hayashigawa||Frank Baldozier Racing||Tony Kart||Motori 7||CA||USA|
|63y||JP Cadoux||Corwin Motorsports||MBA||Motori 7||CA||USA|
|71a||Bryce Watson||Phil Giebler Racing||FA Kart||Vortex ROK TT||AUS|
|79j||Brian McEvoy||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||Leopard||WI||USA|
|85y||Randy Froom||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid||Leopard||CA||USA|
|88||Luis Terife||AM Engines||Tony Kart||Vortex ROK TT||VEN|
|93g||Chris Koster||Grease Monkey Wipes||Arrow||Leopard||AR||USA|
|98||Enrico Friso||AM Engines||Tony Kart||Rotax||VEN|
|99d||Scott Falcone||KartSport North America||Arrow||Rotax||CO||USA|
|121||Leonardo Nienkotter||J3 Competition||Kosmic||Vortex ROK TT||BRA|
|161y||David Harwin||Flat Out Racing||Tony Kart||Motori 7||NV||USA|
|200||Roberto Pasqualini||PSL Karting||CRG||Leopard||BRA|
|444||Tom Bruce||Koene USA||Tony Kart||Rotax||MI||USA|