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SKUSA Pro Tour

SuperKarts! USA Inaugural SpringNats A Huge Success
Tuesday, 20 April 2010 09:56
The Superkarts! USA brass couldn’t have asked for a better launch to their new Pro Tour in Sonoma, CA this past weekend, as their inaugural SpringNationals drew over 100 racers to the Jim Russell International Karting Center at Infineon Raceway.  The racing was insanely good, running the popular circuit in the reverse national layout, and this elevated competition helped develop a great buzz throughout the paddock. Veterans were all talking about how this new series is bringing back the excitement of the famed ProMoto Tour of the late 90s and early 00s. In the headline classes, Fritz Leesmann and Clinton Schoombee split the S1 wins in thrilling fashion, while veteran karter and former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Phil Giebler followed suit in his sweep of the TaG Senior events.

The action in the headline Pro classes was nothing less than incredible, featuring hardcore racing and some impressive come-from-the-back drives by the best in the sport.  Aluminos’ Fritz Leesmann (CRG) dropped the gauntlet on his charge for the S1 national title right out of the box, sweeping Saturday’s action with the pole, two heat race wins and the main event victory.  Select Shifter’s Clinton Schoombee (CRG) and STA Racing’s Jason Toft (GP) would fight it out for second, and both drivers would be ready to step up on Sunday.  In the second main of the weekend, Leesmann would set the early pace, but Schoombee matched his speed this time out, eventually taking the lead midway through the 20-lapper.  After Leesmann took back the point, Toft completed his drive from dead-last – following a heat race DNF – by passing Schoombee for second on the final lap.  Schoombee would not be denied, however, passing both Toft and Leesmann under braking into the left-hand turn three, much to the crowd’s delight.  The CRG driver would hold back his challengers for the remainder of the lap to score a very popular triumph.  In the overall weekend points, Leesmann would earn the victory and the $1000 first place prize.
EKN Trackside: SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals - Sunday Report
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Monday, 19 April 2010 01:00
The final day of the Superkarts! USA North American Pro Tour SpringNationals will go down in history has one of the most epic opening events for a season. The racing at the Jim Russell International Karting Center was phenomenal like the weather was in the Sonoma, California area. All eight racing groups saw action packed races throughout the day with thrilling finishes and amazing maneuvers demonstrated by the over 100 drivers in attendance. With temperatures in the 80s, the track showed grip early on in the day went away toward the end to keep the drivers and teams chasing for optimal speed. The final lap of the day saw an amazing move by Clinton Schoombee, going from third to first in one corner to secure the S1 victory while Phil Giebler took the win Sunday to earn himself a $1,000 check for his efforts.

Things were turn around from Saturday’s action as the order in qualifying saw Brett Buckwalter (Italkart) posting the fast lap of the session. Jason Toft (GP) was quickest out of the box until Buckwalter huddled his time with a 47.740. Comfortable with his time, Buckwalter pulled off to limit his time on his MG Tires. Day one winner Fritz Leesmann (CRG) took his time entering the track and made a late run at the pole, coming up short by eight-hundredths of a second. Nic LeDuc (GP) slide in ahead of Toft for third on the order while New Zealander Daniel Bray made it three GPs inside the fast-five.

The field got away clean as the lights went out on the SKUSA starting tree for the first heat race with Buckwalter earning the holeshot. The front five ran nose to tail until the second lap when contact was made entering turn three. Buckwalter and LeDuc both went wide, with the pole sitter continuing on however LeDuc stalled in the spin. Leesmann assumed the point with Toft challenging for the lead. Toft attacked quickly to take over the point on lap four. Leesmann worked Toft’s bumper until the final lap when the two criss-crossed each other through turn three. Toft went to hold on to take the win over Leesmann with Buckwalter able to recover for third ahead of Tommy Thompson (Energy) and Lorenzo Mandarino (Vemme).
EKN Trackside: SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals - Saturday Report
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Sunday, 18 April 2010 01:00
If you want to start out a season, the opening day of the SKUSA SpringNationals is the way to do it. Thrilling excitement throughout the day around the Jim Russell International Karting Center circuit crowned the inaugural nine winners in the series’ debut in Sonoma, California. The weather was near perfect despite a strong wind coming over the mountains surrounding the Infineon Raceway. Phil Giebler and Fritz Leesmann were the stars of the opening day as each drove to victory on day one in two different situations.

TaG Senior
The TaG Senior division took the shotgun spot on the schedule for Saturday’s action as the headline division for the day. With the open pit lane for the 12-minute qualifying session, business was expected to be busy during the run. Early on, NorCal driver Gregory Liefooghe (CRG) was the provisional pole sitter with young star Adrian Starrantino (CRG) high on the order. Drivers began ducking down onto pit lane to make some changes in effort to improve their lap times. Liefooghe came in and sat, waiting to see if anyone would better his lap time of 49.969. With no one able to dip below the 50-second mark, Liefooghe earned the top qualifying spot with Starrantino set to start outside row one. Phil Giebler (FA Kart) was third quickest in the session with veteran Larry Fraser (GP) edging out Tory Diede (Intrepid) for fourth.

Liefooghe held strong in the opening heat race as he was ale to fend off a charger Giebler. The former ICA national champion posted the fastest lap of the eight-lap heat race but came up 0.096-seconds short of the win behind the consistent Liefooghe. Starrantino was in the battle until lap five when he experienced brake failure on his CRG machine, putting him on the sidelines. Fraser ran alone in third as Bobby Kelly (Maddox) advanced up fourth with Diede able to hold off Jess Peterson (Intrepid) for fifth.

The second heat race drama began before the green flag waved as Giebler was unable to get his Vortex engine started, with what was later determined to be a bad stator. This put him at the tail of the grid for the main event while the rest of the field took the green flag for the second eight-lap battle. Liefooghe continue his run at the front after moving to row following a few false starts to take the green flag. After the first few circuits, Liefooghe returned to the point and led Fraser and Kelley to the checkered flag. Diede moved up one spot to fourth with Travis Lowe (FA Kart) jumping into the top-five.
SKUSA SpringNationals Underway at Infineon Raceway
Saturday, 17 April 2010 09:06
A new era for Superkarts! USA began on Friday with a rebirth of national level racing for the organization. The new SKUSA Pro Tour is making its debut this weekend with the running of the inaugural SpringNationals, held at the Jim Russell International Karting Center at Infineon Raceway. The Sonoma, California circuit has hosted a number of major events in its history, including a number of national events from in the previous era of the sanctioning body.

The weather was perfect for on-track activities with clear skies and warm temperatures. Drivers grew accustomed to the 3/4-mile course, which is being run in the reverse national configuration, a layout that many have never seen. Judging by the practice laps run on Friday, a number of key corners around the course will provide optimal passing opportunities. Following the on-track action of the day, Superkarts! USA hosted a tri-tip BBQ dinner with beverages being provided of J3 Competition. Media leaders were also on-hand, streaming a live audio wrap-up show that also played via PA to the racers as they enjoyed their meal.

On the line for the headline categories will be weekend purse of $1,750 in cash for both S1 (Pro Stock Moto) and TaG Senior. Drivers will be gunning for victories, but also for the season championship that features a point fund of $8,000 with $5,000 going to the champ. For all of the classes competing on the SKUSA Pro Tour, the top-five in the standings heading into the finale - the SKUSA SuperNationals XIV in Las Vegas will have guaranteed starting positions for the main events, which is huge considering the fact that only 40 drivers can start the finals. The champions who will be crowned following the November event will earn the National Number One Plate as well as special sponsorship for the 2011 season.
SpringNationals Live Coverage
Friday, 16 April 2010 12:13
Make sure to tune into for live audio and scoring coverage of the Pro Tour SpringNationals.  You will also find the official discussion thread on the EKN forums there as well where you can find up to the minute race results.

EKN will start broadcasting audio near the start of Practice 5 at aproximately 1:30pm PST.

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