SuperNats XXIV

234DAYS

2021 Winter Series

TBA

2020 Pro Tour

33DAYS

PKC California

75DAYS

Texas Sprint Racing

19DAYS

PKC East

62DAYS

Banner

SKUSA Pro Tour

SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals Saturday Report
Written by eKartingNews.com   
Saturday, 30 April 2011 23:00
The Honda Racing/HPD SpringNationals kicked off the start of the 2011 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour season, putting in the first round of results into the books Saturday at the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizona. After battling hash weather conditions during Friday’s practice, including high temperatures and strong wind gusts that damaged tents throughout the paddock, Saturday was a warm welcome to comfortable racing conditions. With roughly 170 drivers in attendance and the fields stacked with talent, the racing on track was phenomenal as the nearly 8/10-mile circuit provided the perfect backdrop for exciting wheel-to-wheel action. At the end of the day, the first 2011 Pro Tour winners were established with a number of drivers earning their first ever series victory.

S1

With the pro drivers of the S1 category, track time was limited to what they needed to post the fast lap. For Brad Dunford (CRG), he did it on his out lap early on. The SoCal driver set the bar with a 48.453 and returned to pit lane after a few more laps to see where he stood. Happy with the result, he watched as the veterans took to the track. Kiwi driver Daniel Bray (GP) posted the second best lap of the session and was unable to better Dunford’s time. Defending champion Fritz Leesmann (CRG) ended the session in third with Clinton Schoombee (DR Kart) in fourth while S1 rookie Ryon Beachner (Tony Kart) capped off the fast-five. Two-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner Tom Dyer (GP) made his first lap without a transponder, and once equipped with one he was only able to post the sixth fastest lap.

Bray was able to grab the holeshot to begin heat one as he darted just in front of Dunford as they entered the opening corner. Schoombee worked by Dunford through the opening lap, exchanging positions once again as they began lap two. Bray got away on the cold tires and the shuffling going on behind him helped his cause. Schoombee continued to fall back, losing third to Leesmann and eventually dropping to sixth at the end. The top two ran unchallenged for the remainder of the race with Bray taking the win by over a second. Leesmann fell to fourth as Dyer was able to take the spot in the closing laps, with Ryan Phinny (Wild Kart) charging to fifth.

Dunford took the holeshot for the second heat race but Bray was able to take the lead back before the end of the first lap. From there, Bray never looked back as he drove to over a one-second win. Dyer was the driver on the move, coming up to finish second in the run but unable to track down Bray. Dunford finished third but was penalized one position for jumping the start. The fight on the track was between Leesmann and Johnson. The rookie took it to the defending champ as they went back and forth until Johnson was able to secure the position. With Dunford’s penalty, he was moved into the third spot with Leesmann still in the fifth spot.

Dyer grabbed the holeshot to begin the main event as he slid in front of Bray as they filed into turn one. Leesmann jumped to third with Dunford and Johnson the early top five. Johnson moved to P4 at the start of lap two and began pressuring Leesmann for the third spot. Johnson pulled the same move, diving inside of turn one to take the position from Leesmann as Dyer and Bray pulled about half as second ahead of them. Schoombee was able to move up to fifth ahead of Dunford as he trailed the fight for third. The rookie continued to shine as Johnson was dropping the fast laps of the race and closing in on the top two. Completing lap eight, Bray dived inside of Dyer for the lead. He didn’t give it up easy, and that allowed Johnson to close right in on both of them. Dyer held off Johnson’s first attempt at a pass into turn one. Bray began to power away lap after lap as Johnson held ground on the rear bumper of the veteran Dyer. In the end, Bray was too consistent and went on to score the victory by over two-seconds ahead of Dyer and Johnson. Leesmann was able to edge out Schoombee and Dunford for the fourth spot.

TaG Senior

An Indy-like 33 kart field sat on the grid as the track opened up for qualifying to the TaG Senior category. ProKart Challenge South point leader Travis Lowe (Kosmic) held the provisional pole but was quickly shuffled down the order as late arrivals on track posted quicker laps. In the end, Mason Marotta (Tony Kart) took the spot with a 49.884-lap. Young driver Louie Pagano (Birel) clocked in the second fastest lap of the session with SKUSA SuperNationals winner - Brazilian Andre Nicastro (Italkart) - in third. Brett Felkins (Intrepid) was fourth with Dakota Dickerson (Arrow) - making his first Senior start ever - rounding out the fast five.

The start for heat one was clean as the field settled in for an epic 10-lap battle. Marotta held the point with Pagano, Dickerson, Nicastro and Felkins slotting in behind. Things got exciting right away as Felkins was the driver on the move. Lap five, he took third from Dickerson and then second from Pagano. This allowed a charging Plowman to join the mix as their shuffling gave him an opportunity to close in. Marotta was able to pull away as they mix it up behind him until it all disappeared on lap six when his throttle cable broke. The field flew around him as they jockeyed for position through the esses after turn one. Nicastro and Felkins made contact while in the lead, handing Pagano and Dickerson the front of the field with Plowman trailing. Pagano kept a defensive line in the closing laps, holding off Dickerson for the win. Matt Johnson (Tony Kart) stole third spot Plowman on the final turn as Giebler advanced to finish fifth.

Pagano found himself out front with Johnson sliding through for second to begin heat two. Dickerson got shuffled on the outside as Giebler and Plowman both worked by. Lap two saw a host of drivers spinning and making contact. Included in that mix and out of the race was Giebler as he was stranded in turn one. Out front, Pagano and Johnson ran out front with Plowman showing Dickerson the way in third and Felkins in fifth. With Dickerson pushing Plowman, the two caught the leaders with Johnson now showing the way. Plowman and Pagano exchanged positions and both drove off at turn four. This gave Johnson a large lead heading to the checkered flag while Dickerson and Felkins crossed the line second and third. Pagano got back on track to finish fourth with Devin Lindsey (Tony Kart) placing fifth ahead of Plowman to cap off another wild heat race.

After completing the first lap of the main, Lindsey found himself with the lead over Kiel Spaulding (Tony Kart), Johnson and Pagano. After the second lap, Pagano was back into third with Dickerson back in the fight up to fourth. Completing lap three, Pagano gained another spot as he worked by Johnson for the second position. Felkins remained in the battle as the front group was six karts. Pagano put himself into the lead as they completed the fifth lap but Lindsey came back in turn four to retain the lead as they completed lap six. Marotta, recovering from a heat one disappointment, was creeping his way into the lead group with Travis Lowe (Kosmic) trailing. Before the halfway point, Johnson was given the meatball flag for a loose bumper, ending his shot at the victory. This allowed Pagano to run alone up front as the drivers behind him were shuffling for position. Breaking away from them was Felkins as he was on the mission to catch Pagano. Trouble hit Marotta once again as another mechanical issue put him on the sidelines after lap 11. At the same time, Felkins caught and passed Pagano for the lead. Felkins put some distance on Pagano while Lindsey was getting some help from Dickerson in an effort to catch the front two. Lap 15, Dickerson had enough as the wingman and took over the third spot into the turn two-three esses and ran down Pagano. Lowe was coming on at the end of the race as well, working by Lindsey as they completed lap 16. With Dickerson pressuring Pagano, Felkins ran solo out front and powered away to the big victory. Pagano held on to take second over Dickerson at the checkered flag with Lowe placing fourth over Spaulding, Lindsey, and Plowman.
 

S2

A solid field of 31-drivers took to the track for qualifying in the S2 category. 2010 S5 Junior champion Daniel Langon (GP) held the provisional pole early on as the karts hit the track. Langon’s time held through until Nicky Freytag (Intrepid) posted his fast lap on his second circuit. Freytag’s local knowledge certainly helped the Arizona driver as he put down a 48.730-lap. Making a return to the seat on the weekend was Utah’s Patrick Cushenberry (CRG). ‘Cush’ moved to second in the order to fill out the front row for heat one. Another S5 graduate posted a strong result in qualifying as Christian Schureman (GP) ended the session third with Cory Milne (GP) sandwiched between he and Langon.

A very young and excited front group of drivers stalled at the start of the opening heat. Polesitter Freytag stalled at the line and Schureman had no where to go, making contact with him. Langon stalled behind them as well, able to get going after the field left. Cush took the holeshot with Matt Alcorn (Energy) coming from 10th on the grid to second. Owen, Milne and Arie LuyendykArie Luyendyk Jr. (Zanardi) made up the top-five. Cush led they way until Alcorn took the top spot from him on lap seven with a great move into turn one. Behind them, Luyendyk was on the charge as he put both Owen and Milne behind him and looked to chase down the leaders. After 10 laps, Alcorn took the win over Cush with Luyendyk, Owen and Evan Walters (Intrepid) completing the top-five.

A better and clean start for the S2 group as they all got off the line and around the opening corners. Cush grabbed the holeshot but Alcorn led the opening lap. Cush’s race came to end quickly as a broken rear bumper put him on the sidelines. Luyendyk, Hathcox and Owen made up the top five until contact dropped Arie and Owen to the tail of the field after the fourth lap. Walters, Jake French (Birel) - who started 19th in heat one and 10th this heat, made his way forward to fourth with Lane in fifth. Hathcox pulled some distance on Alcorn as Walters reeled in Alcorn slightly. Freytag, who finish 18th in heat one, worked his way up to sixth and was pressuring Lane. Hathcox took the win comfortably as Alcorn held off Walters. Lane made a last lap pass to steal the outside of row two for the main event with Freytag crossing in sixth behind French.

At the start of the main when the lights went out, Hathcox grabbed the holeshot with Freytag moving up to second when they completed their first lap with Alcorn falling to fourth behind Lane. The trio fighting for third allowed Hathcox and Freytag to pull away and allowed Ryan Kinnear (Intrepid) to close in on the fight for the top-five. Lap seven, Freytag took over the top spot with a pass through turn four and held the spot for two laps before Hathcox came back in turn 10. Walters was able to pull away in the third spot as Kinnear, Lane and French fought for fourth. Lap 13, Lane went off at turn four while racing for position, losing his shot at a top-five. With three to go, the top two began their dual for the victory. They exchanged the position into turn one and then back out of the corner. Freytag took the white flag as the leader and held off Hathcox’s charge into turn one. Hathcox regained the lost real-estate and made a moved in close by turn ten but it wasn’t enough. Freytag held on for the victory at the line to overcome his mishap from the first heat race in a strong performance in his home state. Walters ran to an impressive third spot on the podium with French fourth and Kinnear holding on to the fifth spot over Milne and Alcorn. Luyendyk drove from 28th on the grid to end up eighth and another driver of note was Cushenberry’s charge from 20th to 13th.

S4

Robert Marks (CRG) held the provisional pole as the 32-kart S4 field took to the track for their qualifying session. Marks time held up until his son-in-law Jimmy McNeil (CRG) put down a monster lap in his out lap (49.026) and pulled it into pit lane. Marks time stood for the second best with Jason Campbell (Zanardi), Nick Firestone (Zanardi) and Christiaan Bouhuys (Tony Kart)

A nice clean start for the S4 field began their first heat race without any trouble. McNeil grabbed the holeshot with Marks slotting into second. Firestone jumped ahead of Campbell with Roy Montgomery (CRG) up to fifth. McNeil checked out early as Marks was fighting off Firestone and Campbell. Halfway through, both Campbell and Firestone put Marks behind them and set their sites on McNeil. The gap between McNeil and Campbell stayed consistent with McNeil taking the win. Firestone held off Marks for fourth with Montgomery holding strong in fifth.

McNeil grabbed the holeshot once again but this time Campbell gave pressure early on. Lance Lane (DR Kart) got a great run on the outside and slid into fourth behind Marks as Firestone dropped back a few positions off the grid. Campbell kept the pressure on, keeping within striking distance of McNeil through the first half of the race. Marks and Lane settled in a couple seconds back with Montgomery running fifth ahead of Fernando Diaz (GP) and Firestone. Campbell kept the pressure on until the last lap when they two went side by side through turn one. McNeil kept the inside line heading into the esses as Campbell had to give him the line. A dropped wheel on the exit of turn four ended Campbell’s chance at the win. McNeil took the win over Campbell, Marks was third with Firestone advancing to fourth ahead of Lane.
 
A few drivers mid-pack got sideways as the field went through turn one to begin the main event and dropped a number of drivers back while others took advantage. McNeil earned the holeshot with Campbell pressuring him. Lane slotted into third with Marks and three-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner Jeff Littrell (Tony Kart), who had been quiet all day until now. Beginning lap three, Campbell was able to work by for the lead, putting McNeil in the challenger position for the first time on the day. The top two continued to show the way over Lane, who ran alone, with a host of others battling for fourth. Lap eight, the top-10 lost two drivers with Mike McDonough (GP) and Marks both going off in turn one, ending their race. At the halfway mark, McNeil went back to the lead and put a couple kart lengths on Campbell. They went static until two laps to go. Campbell looked but McNeil shut the door. On the final lap, the two made contact as the made their way through turn nine. Campbell kept his ride running while McNeil stalled. Campbell went on to cross the line as the provisional winner with McNeil able to get refired on his own and take the checkered in second. Officials however ruled Campbell to be placed behind McNeil in the order, giving the win to McNeil. Lane completed the podium as the accomplished road racer finished third. G1-convert PP Mastro (CRG) drove a great final to end up fourth with Bouhuys completing the top-five over Littrell.

TaG Master

The first group on track was the 19-kart field of TaG Master. Tire management was a key to qualifying with two heat races and the final to think about. Nevada’s David Harwin (Tony Kart) held the provisional pole position with his out lap and bettered that time to claim the top spot in the session. His 51.269-lap was best with veteran Billy Cleavelin (CRG) in the second spot. Colorado’s Scott Falcone (Arrow) was third in the order over road racing veteran Jim Russell Jr. (Parolin). Defending class champion Ethan Wilson (Tony Kart) rounded out the fast five. Engines for the top five were Motori, Motori, Rotax, Leopard and Motori.

Harwin held on to the lead with Cleavelin holding off a hungry Falcone in the early corners of the 10-lap opening heat race. Completing the first lap, Russell held fourth with Wilson losing a number of spots, handing fifth to Larry Fraser (GP). Cleavelin led the way after two laps as the top three broke away from Russell and Fraser. Falcone and Harwin battled for the second spot beginning on lap four, allowing Cleavelin to pull away more and bringing Russell and Fraser into the mix. The second half was static with Cleavelin taking the win by over a second with Falcone holding the second spot over Harwin. Fraser placed fourth with Russell back to fifth.

Cleavelin and Harwin broke away early to start heat two with Falcone dropping down the order as a number of drivers battled for the third spot. Fraser and Russell led that group with a host of others behind them. Falcone was the driver to watch as he fell outside the top five and charged forward. A lot of dicing on lap seven gave the position to Chuck Gafrarar (Parolin), until he lost it to Falcone the following lap. After 10 laps, Cleavelin took the win by a comfortable margin over Harwin. Fraser and Russell ended up third and fourth with Falcone ending up fifth.

Once again, Cleavelin led the way to the green flag with Fraser unable to slide Harwin back to the third spot to begin the main event. Falcone moved to fourth with Brian McHattie (FA Kart) in fifth and in the hunt. Fraser was able to work by for second on the second circuit, with Falcone going by the next lap to put Harwin in fourth. The fight for second heated up on lap seven as Falcone was able to work by for the spot. When Fraser fought back, the two went side-by-side, allowing Harwin to close in. When they mixed it up again, Harwin worked by both to sit second while Cleavelin continued to stretch his lead. The second place trio continued to dice it up lap after lap, giving McHattie in fifth some hope as he inched forward. Lap 13, Cleavelin began messing around with his engine as it was losing power and he was losing ground to the field. Meanwhile, with five to go, Falcone dropped a wheel in turn four and lost any chance of a top-five. This put McHattie into second until Fraser took the spot back and continued chasing Cleaevlin. Two to go, both McHattie and Fraser went around Cleavelin on the front straight with McHattie selecting the quickest way around, moving into the lead. Fraser chased on after him but at the checkered, McHattie held on for an exciting victory. Russell worked by Harwin for the third step of the podium with Gafrarar in fifth and Cleavelin hanging on for sixth in a wild main event.

TaG Junior

Jake Craig (CRG) stole the pole position in TaG Junior qualifying with a best lap of 51.338. Austin Dement (DR Kart) held the provisional position but lost it to Craig with five minutes to go in the session. Bailey Murphy (CRG), Carter Williams (Tony Kart) and Parker Thompson (Tony Kart). The top four were all within a tenth of a second for their best laps.

Craig led the way to begin heat one with Murphy able to move into second with Thompson behind them in third. Dement fell to fourth and found himself trailing early but closing in bit by bit while Jack Freese (Intrepid) advanced from his 15th starting position to fifth by the halfway point with a host of karts behind him. With two laps to go, Thompson advance to the lead with a deep move into turn one. Dement had closed enough and found himself into the second spot, pressuring the Junior rookie Thompson for the lead. Dement made the move in the final corners, getting the position and the win. Thompson crossed second with Craig third, Murphy fourth, and Blain Rocha (Wild Kart) moving up from 12th to fifth in the eight lap run.

Dement and Craig broke away on the opening lap of heat two as Thompson dropped to fourth behind Rocha. Defending class champion Luis Tyrrell (Wild Kart) joined the mix after placing eighth in the opening heat race, putting Thompson back another position before they crossed the line for the first time. Thompson muscled his way back to third by the end of the third lap and pulled away from a shuffling battle for fourth. With two to go, Craig took over the top spot and held on for the heat win over Dement while contact in the final corners drop Thompson out of the top-10. Murphy took the third spot over Tyrrell and Maxx Marian (Zanardi).

Craig continued his run at the front, pulling out to a solid lead early on over Dement with Murphy and Marian trailing to begin the main event. Dement and Murphy worked together as they ran down Craig by lap four. The front three ran static until six laps to go when Dement pushed to the lead until the beginning of lap 12 when Murphy helped push Craig back into the lead. As the laps clicked off, you could put a blanket over the top three as they ran nose to tail, measuring up each other for the final push. Coming to the white flag, Craig went too deep into turn 10, giving up the lead to Dement and losing about two kart lengths. Dement got through the middle section of the track strong to keep some distance between them. With a great final lap, Dement scored the victory with Craig edging Murphy for second. Marian ran to fourth with Thompson and Williams pushing from the back of the grid to fifth and sixth over Tyrrell.

TaG Cadet

The top two drivers in the TaG Cadet qualifying session were the Wild Karts of Davey Manthei Jr. and Sting Ray Robb. Manthei was the top of the charts first before Robb took over and held it through the session. Defending Pro Tour champ Colton Herta was third with Flinn Lazier and Tate Holleran (FA Kart) capping off the fast-five. Herta was able to get a great start for heat one and walked away with the win over Manthei and Robb. Holleran won a great battle for fourth with Christian Brooks (DR Kart) up to fifth. Herta was able to get away from the field to take the win in heat two. Robb kept within distance but was unable to gain any ground on the defending champ. Manthei was third while Noah Grey (FA Kart) edged out Lazier for fourth. The main event was all Herta as he took his pole position and led flag-to-flag for the victory. The story of the race was Robb as he was shuffled outside the top-five, but with grit and determination he regained the second position back before the checkered flag while cutting into Herta’s lead. Manthei edged out Justice Lepe (DR Kart) for with Trenton Estep rounding out the top-five.

S5

Austin Schimmel (GP) was the only driver to dip below the 50-second mark in qualifying with a 49.786-lap. Alex Tartaglia (Intrepid) was second with Luis Tyrrell (Wild Kart) Grant Prejean (Birel) and Ryan Rudolph (GP) rounding out the fast five. The top two broke away from the field and kept in the same order with Schimmel taking the heat one win over Tartaglia. A great battle took place over the eight laps with Micah Hendricks (Intrepid) advancing from seventh to third over Rudolph and Tyrrell. Tartaglia took the victory in heat two as he outran Schimmel. Rudolph was third over Hendricks and Lopez as both Prejean and Tyrrell were unable to start. Tartaglia continued his role at the front of the field, going on to take the victory by 2.840 for his first Pro Tour win. Schimmel finished second with Tyrrell completing the podium. Migel Lopez (GP) crossed the line fourth with Hendricks retiring on the last corner of the last lap in fifth.