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summernationals - rounds 5&6 July 26-28, 2024
New Castle Motorsports Park
5816 South County 125 West
New Castle, IN 47362
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SKUSA Pro Tour

EKN Trackside: 2023 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals – Saturday Report
Sunday, 30 July 2023 00:00

Joe Turney grabbed his third SKUSA win on the season in X30 Senior (Photo: EKN)

The fifth round of the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals went into the record books as one that many will not forget. It began with a strong storm blowing through the New Castle Motorsports Park paddock in the early morning hours, damaging a number of tents and equipment. SKUSA delayed the start of the on-track action for two hours, and the karting community came together to assist those in need of help, tents or any other items needed to get back to racing. Once the action began, the warm New Castle, Indiana weather tested the staff, racers and machines to complete the qualifying, Prefinal and Final action for the day.

The Speed Concepts Racing X30 Senior class featured a handful of drivers fighting to be the one to stand on the podium at the end of the day. Championship leader Joe Turney (CDR / Kart Republic) gained 10 points at the start, setting fast time in qualifying. However, five-time SKUSA champion Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) put in his bid for the top spot with a strong run in the Prefinal ahead of Turney and Blake Nash (Nash / EOS). The three broke away from the rest of the field, joined by WinterNationals winner Matheus Morgatto (PSL / Birel ART). All but the 2022 FIA Karting World Champion had a turn at the point until Turney assumed the lead on lap 11. Fighting for second place allowed the British driver to establish a two-second advantage by the time Norberg fought up to the runner-up spot with six laps remaining. Turney was able to hold that gap through the final laps to record his third victory of the season. Norberg put in all the effort, posting the fast lap of the race on the final circuit to steal those 10 bonus points while finishing second. Morgatto finally came away with the third spot in the closing laps to third podium on the season while IAME USA Grand National Championship winner Dalton Hanes (CDR / Alonso Kart) ended up fourth. Nash completed the top-five for what was best result of the season.

AJ Myers earned his ninth career victory at NCMP in SKUSA competition with a dominate performance in Pro Shifter (Photo: EKN)

It was a near sweep in the return of AJ Myers to the Pro Shifter class presented by PSL Karting. Myers (Checkered / Magik Kart) missed the SpringNationals in June, and came up just short in qualifying for the fast time as Billy Musgrave put the American-made Factory Kart at the top of the time charts with a 1:01.252-lap. Myers was second in the session but managed to get away for the win in the Prefinal. The holeshot was the winning move of the Final for Myers, as he blasted away from the field and held a sizeable lead in the early portion of the race. It extended to a full straightaway by the end of the 18-lap main event, taking his ninth career win at New Castle in SKUSA competition. Just over five seconds back at the checkered flag was German driver David Trefilov (SRP / Maranello), climbing up seven spots over the 18 laps for a podium in his SKUSA Pro Tour debut. Musgrave fought off fellow championship contender Kyle Wick (GFC Karting) for the third step on the podium as Tahlon Yockel (Checkered / Magik Kart).

Two wins in three KA100 Senior starts for Harley Keeble in 2023 (Photo: EKN)

The Nash Motorsportz KA100 Senior category welcomed a second two-time winner on the season. British driver Harley Keeble (Piquet / Sodi Kart) gained 10 spots in the Final to claim his second in three races. Qualifying was key with Mick Gabriel (AEM / Kosmic) putting in the fast lap of the session to clear the field by over a tenth with a 1:07.476-lap time. The Prefinal battle ended with Henry Wheeler (BJR / LN Racing Kart) taking the win over Gabriel with a host of drivers on their bumpers. Wheeler, championship contender Aiden Levy (CDR / Kart Republic) and eventually Keeble made up the lead group as Gabriel, championship leader Collin Lloyd (SCR / Redspeed) and others were involved in contact during the opening lap to take them out of contention. Keeble put himself to the lead for the majority of the race. It was Levy that put on the pressure to Keeble, taking the lead with two laps to go. Keeble made a late move at the ‘Scoreboard’ corner, retaking the top spot and held on through the end to claim the victory. Levy was challenged on the final circuit but held on for second with Wheeler crossing in third. Wheeler was penalized for contact, dropping him down to seventh in the order. That promoted last year’s double winner Oliver Calvo (SCR / Redspeed) to the third step of the podium. Gavin Bayliff (TKG / Kart Republic) was behind him at the checkered, however, he was penalized for scrubbing tires after the commitment cone. That moved Eli Warren (Redspeed) to fourth and John Burke (Tesoro / CRG) into the fifth spot ahead of Bayliff in the final results.

Isaac Malcuit with a first SKUSA victory in KA100 Junior (Photo: EKN)

Both Junior categories on the day welcomed first time winners in their respective divisions. The first on the order was in the KA100 Junior class presented by Greyhound Racing Seats. Top Junior driver thus far of 2023 – Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) – set fast time in qualifying, edging out Isaac Malcuit (MMR / Gillard) by 18 thousandths. Malcuit assumed control in the Prefinal and won the nine-lap race to lead the field to the green flag for the 18-lap main event. A large group battled at the front fighting for the lead, featuring seven lead changes in the first 10 laps. Malcuit and Oliver Wheldon (JC / LN Racing Kart) were able to get away in the closing laps. Wheldon held the lead at the white flag, and Malcuit made his move at the ‘Green’ corner. That pass stuck and Malcuit held on to secure his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory in KA100 Junior. Wheldon settled for second with Max Taylor (RPG / Kosmic) improving four spots to the third step of the podium. Rivera – who finished eighth in the Prefinal – also gained four spots to finish fourth ahead of championship leader Steven Miller (CDR / DAP).

Turner Brown with a debut victory in X30 Junior (Photo: EKN)

The second came in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior division. Making his first start in the category, Turner Brown (SCR / Redspeed) was turning heads with fast times in practice and backed it up with fast lap in qualifying, edging out Oliver Wheldon (JC / LN Racing Kart) and Sarah Bradley (SCR / Redspeed) by 19 thousandths. Brown and Wheldon were able to break away from the field to make it a two-driver fight. Brown was in the lead for most of the race with Wheldon taking the lead with three laps remaining. Brown took it back and was able to fight off Wheldon to the distance, recording his first SKUSA Pro Tour X30 Junior victory. Jackson Wolny (RPG / Kosmic) trailed the two for much of the race to end up on the third step of the podium. Max Taylor (RPG / Kosmic) won the battle for fourth ahead of Bradley, Steven Miller (CDR / Kart Republic) and championship contender Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic).

John Crow adding another win at NCMP in Master Shifter (Photo: EKN)

One of the best races of the day came in Master Shifter presented by International Motorsport. Multi-time SKUSA Pro Tour winner and champion John Crow (Factory Kart) set the tone with fast time in qualifying before Joe Ruch (VKC / Maranello) came through with the win in the Prefinal. They were joined at the front of the field in the Final by AJ Noud (Fury / GP Kart) and last year’s race winner Justin Kelly (VKC / Maranello). Noud pressured Crow, eventually finding a way past in the last corner with three laps remaining. Crow fell to third as Kelly slipped past as well, and then took over the lead with two laps to go. The trio fought for the spot through the middle portion of the track with Crow jumping from third to first, taking the white flag. Crow kept his kart as wide as possible, holding back the challenges to claim the victory. Kelly finished second with Noud in third, posting fast lap of the race. Ruch was right there until the closing laps when his sprocket broke free. That allowed Michael Guasch (SRP / Maranello) to move up to fourth and former SuperNationals winner Chris Jennings in fifth.

Pete Vetter was named winner in KA100 Master following penalties (Photo:

The KA100 Master class, presented by Aspen Fuel, made its return to the SKUSA Pro Tour this weekend with eight drivers. Clay Settles (Top Kart) was the quickest driver in qualifying and won the Prefinal. He slipped to second early in the Final behind Pete Vetter (RPG / Kosmic) before taking the lead. A slight bobble cost him the lead and fell back to third with three laps remaining. Settles worked by Adam Pettit (TKG / Kart Republic) and then on the final circuit, was able to pass Vetter for the lead. Settles crossed the line as the provisional winner, but was penalized for scrubbing tires, dropping him to third. Vetter was awarded the win and Adam Roberts (VKC / Maranello) was promoted to second as Pettit also was penalized for scrubbing, dropping him to fourth and putting Settles on the podium in third. EKN’s own Rob Howden (RPG / Kosmic) was a solid fifth in his SKUSA Pro Tour debut.

Victory for championship leader Marco Romero in MIni Swift (Photo: EKN)

It was a battle to the very end in the Evinco Tires Mini Swift class with a host of drivers in the mix throughout the day. Rocco Simone (Parolin USA) led the way in qualifying, edging out Alessandro Truchot (Parolin USA) and Michael McGaughy (RPM / Parolin) by 57 thousandths. After a wild Prefinal, Travis Pettit (TKG / Kart Republic) came away with the top spot to lead the field to the green flag. Pettit led early, then two-time winner Lucas Palacio (TKG / Kart Republic) took his turn at the point. On lap 10, championship leader Marco Romero (Benik) came out with the lead. The group was able to run him down with two laps to go, but fighting for position once again left him with a clean run to the checkered flag for his first career SKUSA Mini Swift victory. McGaughy crossed the line second but was penalized five seconds for contact. That put Truchot into the second spot and put hard charger Gabriel Balog (Magik Kart) onto the podium in third. The Canadian improved 16 spots over the 16 laps. Royce Vega (Benik) gained 12 spots to finish fourth with McGaughy slotted into the fifth position with fast lap of the race.

Maxwell Macha came away in the end with the top step of the podium in Micro Swift (Photo: EKN)

Championship leader Maxwell Macha was able to extend his championship lead with a second victory on the season in the Sodi Racing USA Micro Swift division. Macha (SLA / Sodi Kart) was up front early in the Final and was fighting with Colton Schniegenberg (GWR / Energy) for the top spot. After they swapped the position a few times, Macha was able to secure the lead on the final lap, driving away to the victory. Josh Bergman (Piquet / Sodi Kart) was able to slot himself into the second with Grayson Walcott (Parolin) getting by Schniegenberg for the final step of the podium. Zayne Burgess (Piquet / Sodi Kart) was part of the fight early but slipped back to fifth.