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SKUSA Winter Series

EKN Trackside: 2023 Superkarts! USA Winter Series – AMR2 – Saturday Report
Sunday, 12 February 2023 08:51

Austin Garrison ran away from the X30 Senior pack to score a popular win (Photo: OTP)

The third round of the Superkarts! USA Winter Tour was contested on Saturday in comfortable mid-80s weather and the previously forecasted rain held off all day. Throughout the Prefinals and Finals, the intensity of the racing felt like it was kicked up a notch from the opening weekend in January, and the fight for the championship titles was certainly on the mind of many drivers. When the dust has settled from some incredibly competitive main events, Speed Concepts Racing’s Austin Garrison (Redspeed) scored a popular win in X30 Senior while Peyton Phillips (RPM / Tony Kart) earned his first national series win with an impressive run in KA100 Senior. AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA / Magik Kart) was the class of a short field in Pro Shifter and was focused on using the weekend for warm weather seat time ahead of the start of the SKUSA Pro Tour.

We couldn’t have asked for a much more intense Speed Concepts Racing X30 Senior main event. Fast qualifier Austin Garrison (SCR / Redspeed) fell back to sixth in the Prefinal, which was won by Joe Turney (DAP), but he’d be back in the fight before it was all said and done. Turney moved from a tough qualifying performance (ninth) to fifth after the opening circuit of the 12-lap Prefinal, and then steadily powered forward to score the win and the pole for the final. Turney led the opening laps of the main, but Garrison was on the move and he took over the top spot on lap three, holding it to lap 10 when he was dropped to second. Garrison mentioned in a pre-race interview that he knew that he’d have late race speed, and that was certainly the case, retaking the lead from Turney on lap 15. Garrison was able to pull away as the fight behind him got heated and, over the final laps, he pulled out to a 2.980-second advantage at the checkered. Garrison’s win made it three different winners over the first three races.

AJ Myers ran away with the Pro Shifter victory on Saturday to lock in the series title (Photo: OTP)

Behind him, Round #2 winner Donovan Bonilla (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) had advanced to second but he battled with Ayden Ingratta (SCR / Redspeed), who eventually slipped past for second with five to go. Turney was on the way back forward after getting pushed back to fourth with Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic), which made Ingratta’s pass on Bonilla timely, as Turney got past as well later in the lap. Ingratta played the wingman role well for his SCR teammate, holding back Turney enough to guarantee Garrison the win. Turney finally slipped past Ingratta in turn 2 on lap 19, bringing Norberg with him, and that was it. Garrison cruised to the win with Turney and Norberg joining him on the podium. Bonilla finished fourth, while Ingratta ended up sixth after getting passed by Alessandro de Tullio (MottazSport / Parolin) on the final lap.

A significantly lighter field of just four entries took to the track in PSL Karting Pro Shifter, and AJ Myers was unchallenged for the top spot all day, although Giorgio Carrera (International Motorsports / Lenzo Kart) pushed early to keep Myers honest. Myers grabbed the holeshot in main event and powered away to a 5.663-second victory. Carrera finished second, over four seconds clear of Pedro Piquet (PSL Karting / Birel ART). Daniel Dibos (International Motorsports / Lenzo Kart) won in Greyhound Racing Seats Master Shifter over Scott Barnes (Magik Kart USA / Magik Kart). Both Myers and Barnes clinched their respective classes championships with these results.

Ernesto Rivera scored his second X30 Junior win of the season (Photo: OTP)

Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) edged out his teammate Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) for the pole in Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior, but it was Rivera who would step up in the Prefinal to beat Steven Miller (Chad Dokken Racing / Alonso) and secure the pole for the main. The battle came down to Rivera versus Miller, and with both drivers taking turns leading over the second half of the race, Rivera was able to flex over the final two laps to build a slight cushion that he rode to a win by just 0.349 seconds. Ardiles was also in the spotlight after starting 10th, as he drove through the pack to eventually make his way past Leonardo Escorpioni (Zanella Racing / Tony Kart) on the penultimate lap to grab third and the final step on the podium. Cameron Brinkman (Mike Doty Racing / LN Kart) took advantage of Ardiles’ overtake to get by Escorpioni on the final lap as well.

Peyton Phillips earned his first national win in Senior, topping KA100 (Photo: OTP)

After being in the hunt at the first two rounds of the Winter Series in January, Peyton Phillips (RPM / Tony Kart) finally secured top spot in Round 3 of Aspen Sport KA100 Senior and now, with his result, sits P1 in points going into tomorrow’s finale. Phillips qualified on the third row in sixth, while Franklin Motorsports pilot Nicholas Terlecki (Hotz/Exprit) took pole by a tenth. During the races however, it was all Phillips, as the Texan took both wins, putting the Tony Kart driver in an exceptional position to secure the title. Austin Jurs (Franklin / Merlin) has been building speed throughout the season and just came up short of the victory, finishing in second, ahead of Round 2 winner Collin Lloyd (T1D Racers / Magik Kart USA) in third. Aiden Levy (Alonso Kart) led the points going into Saturday, but after finishing fourth, he drops 37 points down going into Sunday. After a less than ideal opening weekend, Vinnie Meskelis (MRT / Tony Kart) grabbed a fifth-place finish, scoring 200 more points than his best result in January. Terlecki had an issue at the start of the Prefinal and had to put on a show, driving from 24th to fifth in the final, only to lose two spots in the final tally due to a pushback bumper penalty.

Steven Miller continued his run of form at AMR Homestead Miami Motorplex on Saturday, winning in KA100 Junior (Photo: OTP)

MottazSport KA100 Junior picked up where it left off in January, producing some of the closest racing on the day, and so did Round 2 winner Steven Miller (CDR / Kart Republic) who took the win and built on his championship lead. Miller started off Saturday by taking the pole position by under half a tenth from Ernesto Rivera (RPG/Kosmic), who sits in fifth in the title hunt. Although the pair would drop back in the Prefinal, allowing Oliver Wheldon (JC Karting / Kosmic) to take the win, they would find each other on track again in the final. Miller and Rivera battled throughout the Final but were eventually reeled in by Hudson Schwartz (RPG / Kosmic) once they started dicing over the final laps. An ill-fated overtake attempt by Rivera in turn four ended with Schwartz making contact with him, spinning him around in turn five. This allowed Miller to pull away to a 2.3-second win over Schwartz. Unfortunately, Schwartz got dinged for squish in tech, which advanced Sarah Bradley (RPM / Tony Kart) to second after she drove her best career national race to finish third on-track. Enzo Vidmontiene (MottazSport / Parolin) advanced to the podium in third, ahead of Cameron Brinkman (Mike Doty Racing / LN Kart) and Emma Kate Scarbrough (CDR / Kart Republic) as both had stand-out drives to take the final two spots in the top five.

RPG team owner Mike Rolison was impressive in his one-off SKUSA Winter Series performance, topping the field in KA100 Master (Photo: OTP)

Rolison Performance Group team owner Mike Rolison (RPG / Kosmic) is performing double-duty this weekend, running his championship-winning operation while also scoring the triumph in the Kart Racing Solutions KA100 Master class. Rolison swept the day and eventually posted a 4.705-second win over point leader Luis Schiavo (SLV / OTK). The fight for the final step on the podium was exciting all race long, as several drivers took turns battling at the front of a five-driver pack. Round 2 winner Michel Garrido (Alessandros Racing / Tony Kart) eventually emerged from the scrap to stretch away to a one-second advantage over Takeharu Nakemori (Supertune / Tony Kart) to secure third. Niki Coello (Franklin Motorsports / Merlin) and Mario Barrios (RPM / Kosmic) finished fifth and sixth, as they were in the fight for third and fourth all race long. Miguel Mier (Orsolon Racing / Tony Kart) was also in the middle of the mix, but he got shuffled back to eighth in the final tally.

Kai Johnson was awarded the Mini Swift win after the on-track victor encountered an issue in tech (Photo: OTP)

The battle in the DNJ Intermodal Services Mini Swift category saw several drivers in the spotlight, beginning with 2022 Winter Series Micro Swift champion Alessandro Truchot (Parolin USA / Parolin) top qualifying over point leader Lucas Palacio (Kart Republic) to earn the Prefinal pole. Devin Walz started third in the Prefinal and led the field to the green for the main, but he quickly fell fifth as Palacio took over the point. Palacio pulled away to score the win, but he got penalized in tech for a squish infraction, which promoted Kai Johnson (Benik) to the win. Michael McGaughy (RPM / Parolin) made a fantastic late-race pass for third, which because second after the Palacio DQ. Max Cristea (Mottazsport / Parolin) completed the podium in third, with Truchot and Ethan Tovo (Tovo Motorsports / Parolin) capping the top-five.

Joao Paulo Bonadiman continued Orsolon Racing’s win streak in Micro Swift (Photo: OTP)

Maxwell Macha (SLA Karting / Parolin) was the quickest driver out of the gate in the RYSA Racing Micro Swift class, topping qualifying to lead the field to the green in the Prefinal. January double-winner and point leader Antonio Pizzonia Neto (Orsolon Racing / Parolin) won the 10-lap race ahead of Macha, but both drivers earned three-second penalties that dropped them behind Valentino Santillan (Parolin). Pizzonia Neto received a blocking penalty while Macha was nabbed for a jump start. In the main event, Pizzonia pulled away to the early lead, but the duo of Macha and Joao Paulo Bonadiman (Orsolon Racing / Parolin) reeled him in. Macha took over the point on lap 15 and held it for four laps before the excitement of the final laps. Bonadiman made his move in turn five with two to go, and then Pizzonia Neto pushed Macha back to third in turn two on the final circuit. In a drag-race to the line, Pizzonia Neto came up just short as Bonadiman posted a 0.066-second win. Macha held on for third with Colton Schniegenberg (GWR / Energy) and Valentino Santillan (Parolin) finishing in fourth and fifth. On the strength of his second-place finish, Pizzonia Neto unofficially secured the Micro Swift championship.

All that’s left for SKUSA’s winter program is Championship Sunday, and the remainder of the series titles will be earned after yet another exciting day of racing in South Florida.