|November 13, 2012 News
|EKN Exclusive: MG Tires SKUSA SuperNationals XVI - Preview Program - S1 Pro Stock Moto
eKartingNews.com, the official online media partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the SKUSA SuperNationals XVI Preview Program. Over the coming days leading up to the November 14-18 event, EKN will preview each of the nine categories that will compete for a share of the prize package worth roughly $100,000, and the completion of the 2012 SKUSA Pro Tour.
For complete coverage of the SKUSA SuperNationals XVI presented by MG Tires, visit the Official EKN Event Page
When Superkarts! USA rejuvenated the Pro Tour program, it made sure driver development was a key component. The SKUSA Stock Moto ladder system, in just three years, is already showing great results from a number of drivers who have worked their way to the top rung - the S1 Pro Stock Moto division. The best shifterkart drivers in the country come together in this category, and they have provided some incredible racing over the past three years. This year, another $5,000 will be doled out to those who can find their way onto one of the five steps of the podium, and another $6,000 in Pro Tour points fund money will be awarded to the top-three in the championship. The title winner will not only receive a $3,000 check and the #1 SKUSA plate, but included in the SKUSA Circle of Champions for 2013, which is worth close another $3000 as a SKUSA sponsored driver for the Pro Tour. The top three in the title hunt include two former champions and a driver looking for his first major SKUSA crown.
Fritz Leesmann’s season has all but mapped itself out as a copy of his 2010 championship run. One victory at the SpringNationals and one at the SummerNationals that year set up him nicely, and Leesmann then ran to the runner-up position at the SuperNationals to clinch the title. This year, the Diede Racing/PSL Karting driver matched this with victories in Arizona and Utah, but he has a tougher fight on his heads this time, heading into the Pro Tour finale. Experience wise, Leesmann has the edge the majority of the field, including two straight trips to the podium in the S1 class.
| Fritz Leesmann|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Pro Tour Results:
SKUSA SpringNationals #1 - 2nd
SKUSA SpringNationals #2 - 1st
SKUSA SummerNationals #1 - 2nd
SKUSA SummerNationals #2 - 1st
Previous SuperNationals Finish: 4th (2011), 2nd (2010)
Joey Wimsett (-40 points)
Oregon driver Joey Wimsett (CRG) has been the story of the 2012 season thus far in S1. After making his debut last year at the SuperNationals with a podium finish, it should have been no surprise to find him racing for more this year on the Pro Tour. Wimsett put himself in the title fight after securing victory at his Pro Tour debut at the SpringNationals. He and Leesmann swapped positions over the next two races, with Wimsett taking the opening round at the SummerNationals. A fight the next day ended in heat two, as Wimsett broke his chain in the final heat, but was able to recover back up to third for a fifth straight podium finish in his first five races. The battle this weekend will include each and every session, as the bonus points available in qualifying and the points counting from all three heat races could make things even more exciting come SuperSunday.
Pro Tour Results:
SKUSA SpringNationals #1 - 1st
SKUSA SpringNationals #2 - 2nd
SKUSA SummerNationals #1 - 1st
SKUSA SummerNationals #2 - 3rd
Previous SuperNationals Finish: 5th (2011)
Daniel Bray (-180 points)
Defending Pro Tour champion Daniel Bray (GP) has not had the season in the USA that he had hoped coming into 2012. With the SKUSA #1 plate, Bray was in the hunt at the SpringNationals, but he could not find the pace to challenge for the victories at the SummerNationals. Bray competed at the CIK-FIA World Cup in the KZ2 category as well, and he impressed the paddock by starting the main event on the front-row. Contact took him out of contention, but the statement was made nonetheless. With momentum now back on his side, and knowing he was among the quickest at last year’s event, he could finally score that SuperNationals victory that he’s been after for years.
| Daniel Bray|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Pro Tour Results:
SKUSA SpringNationals #1 - 3rd
SKUSA SpringNationals #2 - 3rd
SKUSA SummerNationals #1 - 5th
SKUSA SummerNationals #2 - 8th
Previous SuperNationals Finish: 3rd (2011), 10th (2010)
The last two winners at the SuperNationals in the S1 category - Mirko Torsellini and Alex Speed - will not compete this year, as Torsellini is focusing on KZ2 and Speed will be working with Nick Neri in his first KZ2 start. The early version of the Stock Moto class at the SuperNationals - S3 - saw veteran Tom Dyer win twice in three years. Dyer will return as the only former Stock Moto winner in the field, with the most SuperNationals experience as well. The flu bug took Dyer out of contention at the SpringNationals in April, and after skipping the SummerNationals, he returns for a chance at his third win, which would put him among an elite group of SuperNationals champions.
A number of drivers from the Pro Tour are looking to end the season on a high note. Among them are S2 graduates making their first S1 start at the SuperNationals - Josh Lane, Kyle Hathcox, and Daniel Langon. ‘Wild Thing’ Josh Lane (DR Kart) finished on the S2 podium the past two years and enters Vegas determined to end a string of bad luck. The DRT Racing driver has the ‘never-quit’ attitude, and the SuperNats always brings out the best in the Illinois native. Last year’s S2 Pro Tour champion Kyle Hathcox (CRG) is the same type of driver, always striving to be the best. His rookie season in S1 has been tough, and the CRG-USA driver will look to finish 2012 strong. 2010 S5 Junior Stock Moto Pro Tour champion and SuperNats winner Langon has moved quickly up the SKUSA ladder system to the top level. It’s been a rough season thus far, however, although the privateer is hoping a move to the CRG chassis under the Team Muscle Milk banner will turn things around. Also in the mix making his first S1 start under the Stock Moto category is Jimmy McNeil. The 2011 S4 Pro Tour champion has returned to the pro class this year, where he had success during the open ICC/Moto era. Recently crowned as the California ProKart Challenge champion, and challenging Leesmann for the victory at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, McNeil could be a factor come SuperSunday. Young Texan Jake French (Birel) is making his second start in S1 after beginning 2011 in the S2 category before moving to S1 for the Vegas finale. His three year string of podium finishes at the Rock Island Grand Prix put him among the list of contenders, as the 3G Kart Racing/Team Burger King driver is looking to improve on his 10th place performance from a year ago.
The SuperNationals always brings in drivers who we have not seen much on the season, and this year is no different. The S1 category will welcome some familiar names to karting fans and motorsports in general. Former SKUSA ProMoto Tour front-runner AJ Allmendinger will make a return to the SuperNationals as a driver for the first time in nearly a decade. The NASCAR driver competed at the 2010 SummerNationals in Wisconsin during on off-weekend. This year, he committed to the SuperNats, teamed up with long-time wrench Tim Pappas – and will pilot their own chassis creation known as Rex Tek (more on that later during the event coverage). A former teammate of Dinger back in the Paul Tracy Karting days was Vegas native Matt Jaskol. The 28 year-old will return for his annual karting comeback, in which he has shown well in most outings. After competing in the KZ2 for a number of years, he will move over to the S1 category - racing under the CRG-USA banner.
Those familiar with the sport know the name Alessandro Manetti, and the 1994 World Karting Champion will make his first start in the S1 category. Opting out of the KZ2 division, the 50-year old will take on the best America has to offer piloting a Praga kart. His last start at the SuperNationals came in 2007 at the Sam Boyd Stadium location. Also coming over from overseas to compete in S1 is current CIK-FIA European Champion Simas Juodvirsis. The Lithuanian became the first from his country to secure a title of that nature, and will make his first SuperNationals start with the Energy Corse/Buddy Rice Karting outfit.
| Joey Wimsett|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
From the very first time I saw a CR125 powered shifterkart, I was hooked. There’s just something about the sound and smell of the class. I love it. And this is way I love the S1 class. It’s been the headline category of Superkarts! USA racing since the very beginning, and the racing is always so intense. When you roll them out for the SuperNationals, that intensity is multiplied many times over. The championship battle is going to be intense in each session, as Wimsett will be gunning for every possible point to close the gap heading into SuperSunday. I believe that the Wimsett-Leesemann fight will also be for the race win, as they are no doubt the class of the S1 field right now. I think that Bray will be a serious challenger, and you can’t rule out Juodvirsis. I also like McNeil to work his way into the top-five. He’s always quick at the Rio and I think he’ll challenge.
1. Joey Wimsett
2. Fritz Leesemann
3. Daniel Bray
4. Simas Juodvirsis
5. Jimmy McNeil
While this is the final prediction for the event, they have not gotten any easier as the previews came and went. There is no doubting that the SKUSA SuperNationals brings together the best in the sport from across the country and around the world. The S1 division is no different. This year it’s been the Leesmann-Wimsett show, and this week in Vegas should follow the same trend. While I think both have the talent to win, I’m going with experience, as Leesmann will finally get that SuperNationals victory and clinch the Pro Tour title. You can’t deny the talent of a CIK-FIA Euro champion, and Juodvirsis will bring a Euro driver to the podium for a third straight year. Bray will show strong speed once again, and the ‘Rascal’ Jaskol will earn his first podium since 2006 in SuperPro.
1. Fritz Leesmann
2. Joey Wimsett
3. Simas Juodvirsis
4. Daniel Bray
5. Matt Jaskol
S1 Pro Stock Moto Entry List
|54c||Peter Abba||Team Vemme / Extreme Karting||Vemme||Anaheim||CA||ARG|
|29s||AJ Allmendinger||KartSport North America||Rex Tek||Cornelius||NC||USA|
|124u||Tyler Bennett||MSquared Karting||Tony Kart||Farmington||UT||USA|
|19y||Brett Buckwalter||Cameron Karting||Italkart||Petaluma||CA||USA|
|4m||Fernando Casillas Jr.||SKUSA Mexico / Casillas Racing||Birel||Corona||CA||MEX|
|2||Tom Dyer||Aluminos||GP||Corte Madera||CA||USA|
|12||Arthur Fernandez||SKUSA Mexico / Casillas Racing||CRG||Corona||CA||MEX|
|21||Rodrigo Fonseca||SKUSA Mexico / Casillas Racing||CRG||Guanajuato||Leon||MEX|
|6t||Jake French||3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King||Birel||Sachse||TX||USA|
|5||Matt Jaskol||CRG-USA||CRG||Las Vegas||NV||USA|
|14||Simas Juodvirsis||Energy Corse SRL / Buddy Rice Karting||Energy||Seriate||BG||LTU|
|44j||Josh Lane||DRT Racing||DR||Algonquin||IL||USA|
|51y||Daniel Langon||Team Muscle Milk||CRG||Alamo||CA||USA|
|161y||Fritz Leesmann||Diede Racing / PSL CRG||CRG||Elk Grove||CA||USA|
|141c||Lloyd Mack||Full Throttle Karting||Arrow||Beaumont||CA||JAM|
|119||Alessandro Manetti||IPK North America||Praga||Uxbridge||ON||ITA|
|77||Antonio Renna||Pitts Performance||DR||Toluca||Mexico||MEX|
|132u||Keenan Schmitke||Unser Racing / G-Phactory||SodiKart||Riverton||UT||USA|
|10y||Jason Toft||STA Racing||GP||Petaluma||CA||USA|