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SuperNationals 27


Supernationals 27 November 13-17, 2024
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
7000 Las Vegas Blvd N
Las Vegas, NV 89115
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SuperNationals XII - 2008
It was the biggest race in the history of the sport. The prestige, the venue, a new level of star power and an unrivaled entry list elevated the 2008 Superkarts! USA SuperNationals to a new plateau, and SuperSunday delivered everything anyone could have asked for. A majority of the main events were thrilling, a few were dominated by great drivers, and the headline SuperPro show put everyone on the fence. If you attended the event, count yourself lucky. If you missed it, this look back will provide you the highlights of an amazing weekend.


To wrap up an amazing event as the race’s headline category, the SuperPro machines were brought out onto the front straightaway by their tuners as EKN’s own Rob Howden introduced each driver one by one as they were greeted by the SKUSA staff.   Once Anthony Abbasse (Sodi Kart) and Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart) were announced on the front row, the drivers suited up, the karts were placed on the circuit and pushed away for the formation laps. Straight up, the atmosphere was electric. The North Americans were showing extremely well and, to be honest, on this particularly outing, they had what it took to win. The karts were set, the lights went on, the engines revved, and the lights went off for the start of the 30-lap main event. It was time to get down to business.

Ardigo was able to beat Abbasse off the line to lead through the opening corners. The rest of the field followed through with no major contact. When the field powered past the stripe for the first time, Ardigo led with Abbasse with Thonon close behind. The trio put on a passing display, primarily as they entered the infield hairpin, much to the delight of the crowd. Behind them, Jeremy Iglesias (Intrepid) battled with the North American contingent that included Jordy Vorrath (Intrepid), David Jurca (Italkart) and Gary Carlton (CRG).

The lead trio continued to exchange the lead position until lap 13 when Thonon came to the inside of Ardigo for the top spot. Abbasse attempted to follow Thonon through to put Ardigo back to third, but the two drivers collided and ended up in the barriers. The result ended Ardigo’s attempt to defend his SuperNats crown and ended the polesitter’s chances at the win. This put Thonon ahead by a good margin in front of Iglesias, Vorrath, Carlton, Jurca and newly-minted ICC National Champion Michael Vincec (CRG). With Thonon putting the advantage to over two seconds, Vorrath’s machine seemed to be coming in as he posted his best laps of the race. With his Intrepid hitting its sweet spot, he was eventually able to get around Iglesias in the infield hairpin. Vorrath then set his sights on the two-time world champion.

The distance between Thonon and Vorrath would vary as they swapped the fast lap, but Vorrath could never pull his Brett Berryhill-tuned Intrepid closer than 1.3 seconds. Eventually, Thonon added that extra bit to post the fast lap of the race near the end. With no challenges, Thonon would earn the checkered flag to claim the victory that he was robbed of last year thanks to broken shift lever. Vorrath crossed the line in second while Carlton was able to work by Iglesias for third. Vincec would cap off the podium as he got by Jurca and fended off his return challenges in the closing stages of the race. Norman Nato (Intrepid) earned the unofficial Hard Charger award by just one spot as he came from 23rd on the grid to seventh ahead of Alex Speed, who started 22nd. Simo Puhakka (PCR) was ninth across the line, while Fritz Leesmann (CRG) completed the top-10.


From the pole position, Emanuele Pagani (Tony Kart) pulled away from the field to begin the 30-lap TaG Senior main event, as Brett Buckwalter (Italkart) was shuffled back outside the top-10 from his outside front row starting position. Cory Pollock (Birel) was the driver on the move, starting ninth and quickly finding his way to second ahead of Jason Toft (GP), Michael Valiante (Italkart), Joey Wimsett (Intrepid) and Chris Wehrheim (Top Kart). Out to over a two-second advantage, Pagani's margin was getting cut into by Pollock bit by bit. It looked as if a battle for the win would develop.  Defending race winner Joel Miller (Tony Kart) started 17th and found himself into the top-five by lap 10, battling Valiante, Wimsett and Wehrheim as Toft fell back to tenth behind the Top Karts of Dan Wheldon (who started 16th), Kyle Wiegand and 18th place starter Chris Scribner. After 15 laps, Miller was up to third as he and Valiante looked to work together as Wimsett and Wehrheim battled for the final podium spot. With 10 laps to go, the lead pack lost Wheldon to a mechanical while the rest of the drivers saw space between one another build.

With five laps to go, Miller was able to get on Pollock's bumper and made a pass for the second spot through the infield hairpin. The two then exchanged moves with Miller eventually inching out to a small gap. Up front, Pagani was untouchable and would take the flag-to-flag victory. Miller held on for second with Pollock in a strong third, Valiante alone in fourth and Wimsett rounding out the podium. Buckwalter would fight back to sixth with Wiegand, Wehrheim, Richard Benitez (Kosmic) - from 25th to ninth - and Scribner completing the top-10.


Opening lap contact shuffled the S1 field as they made the first circuit around the course. Up front, Jose Zanella (Tony Kart) continued on his path to SuperNats win as he took the point from the pole position. Behind him, Daniel Bray (GP), Cody Hodgson (Tony Kart), Derek Crockett (Wild Kart) and Zach Beard (Birel) made up the early top-five. However, Beard would retire on lap seven with a flat tire. Zanella would pull out to a sizable lead as it was a three-way battle for second with Bray, Hodgson, and now Jacob Neal (CRG) fighting for the position. Neal was certainly on the move. As the race unfolded, Bray held second with Neal running third. The duo made lots of contact lap after lap, and this finally allowed Hodgson to slide in to the second spot with about five laps to go. Hodgson's run would come two laps short as a seized engine put him on the sidelines, ending his chance at the podium. Zanella would cruise to a 10-second victory with Bray winning the battle for second over Neal. Andrew Zimmer (Intrepid) came up to battle Crockett for fifth until their fight became the fight for fourth with the Hodgson retirement, with Zimmer coming out on top of the dice.

In the end, it was a huge win for Zanella, who continues to develop his talent as a top-level shifter kart racer.


As expected, the S3 race was incredible. The category is the flagship of the Superkarts! USA program and the drivers certainly stepped up to prove the validity of the equation. The SuperNats final was one of the best gearbox races that we've seen in years.

Bonnier Moulton (PTK) and Jamie McMurray (CRG) filled the front row, but Moulton did not get off the line well, allowing McMurray to control the point. Two-time heat winner Mike Beeny (PTK) started seventh and was behind Tyler Bennett (PTK), Steve Reasoner (GP), Moulton, Tommy Thompson (Energy) and heat three winner Brendan Phinny (Top Kart). The lead group would settle in for a race-long fight that kept the fans standing, as Bennett put McMurray back to fourth with a pass for the lead. Moulton was on a charge, however, and he moved to the point soon after. Bennett then slid to second with Reasoner running third as they worked to build a gap over the fight for fourth. On lap eight and nine, Moulton would fall to fourth as Bennett retook the lead, with Reasoner coming through for second as McMurray caught up to slide in for third.

Six drivers now made up the lead battle, which would continue to see lead changes as Reasoner took his turn at the point. Moulton, however, would depart the group as he retired on lap 17 with an unknown issue, making it a five-driver fight for the win. When the chips were on the table, it came down to just three as McMurray, Phinny and Beeny were on tilt. Phinny would take over the lead with two to go, his hands full with McMurray, who was focused on the victory. A slight bobble by the NASCAR star allowed Phinny to pull out to a small gap. McMurray closed once again, but he was unable to make a move as Phinny crossed the line as the S3 winner, scoring the big win in his Senior debut. It was a very impressive run for McMurray in second, who was very eloquent on the podium with EKN's Rob Howden, thanking everyone for the most enjoyable racing weekend he's had in a long time. The bottom line is that this guy can drive, and he is a fantastic kart racer. McMurray's enthusiasm for the sport and the event was very evident. The podium celebrations were infectious, as Beeny took the third rung on the rostrum as Bennett and Tommy Thompson (Energy) completed the top-five.


As he did all event long, Collin Lynn (Birel) put in a dominating performance to earn the flag-to-flag victory and the $3,000 winner's check. Lynn dedicated the victory to Pat Delahanty, a MRP/Birel driver who lost his life last year in a motorcycle accident. The race to watch was for second as Kelly Baker (Italkart) and Emilo Padron Ianez (Tony Kart) put on a good scrap during the first half of the 30-lapper. Baker looked to have a chance to pull away but Ianez would not let it go that easy. Ianez overtook the runner-up spot and would end the race there as Baker crossed the line in third. Howie Idelson (Sodi Kart) came up from eighth to fourth while Stacey Cook (CRG) rounded out the podium.

Good drives were put in behind the top-five by Jason Lee (CRG) - who started 14th and finished sixth. Jimmy McNeil (CRG) powered up to seventh after starting 29th, while eighth went to former SuperNats winner Eduardo Martins (Tony Kart), who began in 25th on the grid. Guilherme Jacob (Tony Kart) finished ninth from 17th, while Ron Eubanks (Intrepid) capped the top-10 from 23rd. tenth. A lot of quick guys came from deep in the field, as Andre Martins was 11th in the final tally, coming from 26th while Jeff Littrell (Tony Kart) started 20th and finished 12th.


Two-time heat race winner Chris Jennings (Birel) would lead the way in the S4 main event as he was able to grab the holeshot from the pole position. Craig Sender (Intrepid) ran second with Mike Jones (CRG), Phil Conte (Trackmagic) and Cole Powelson (Arrow) making up the top-five before the halfway mark. Jones was eventually able to work by Sender for second with Conte putting on the pressure next. Up front, Jennings was stretching out his lead lap by lap and he would not be challenged in taking his first SuperNats win by 3.568 seconds. Jones was second while Conte was able to get by Sender late in the race for third. A great story centered on the fifth place driver as Steve Perdue (Intrepid) ended his weekend of catch-up on the podium. After qualifying 40th following a DQ, Perdue scored three top-20s in the heat races and started 16th in the main. Despite a gearbox issue, Perdue powered forwarded and grabbed the fifth position during the final laps, completing a spectacular weekend that certainly added to the excitement of the race.

TaG Masters

Though the TaG Masters guys were able to get the green with a great pace lap to the flag, they were unable to get through turn three as carnage ensued. With a blocked track, the officials threw the red flag and lost outside front row driver Chris Knapp (FA Kart) in the process. Once restarted, Billy Cleavelin (CRG) led the way with David Harwin (CRG) and John Crow (Birel) in hot pursuit. Top qualifier Larry Fraser (GP) would retire on lap three after a spin and possible stuck engine in turn one. By lap five, Cleavelin had a sizable gap as Crow, Harwin, and a host of others began a battle for second. Brian McHattie (Kosmic), Scott Hamble (Margay) and Jim Busby (Birel) joined the fight, making it a five-driver fight for second. As the laps clicked off, Cleavelin continued to stretch it out and eventually won by nearly 12 seconds. McHattie put in a great performance to get to second with Hamble, Busby, and Wayne Enright (Italkart) completing the podium.

TaG Junior

The two most consistent TaG Junior drivers on the week were Kiel Spaulding (Top Kart) and Kevin Monteith (First Kart) and they led the field to the green flag. Monteith led the way in the opening circuit until contact from Spaulding put them both out of contention. This gave Felipe Fraga (Tony Kart) the point with Tyler Thomas (Top Kart) in second with Louie Pagano (Birel) and Gustavo Menezes (Tony Kart) third and fourth. A red flag on lap nine involving Blake Berryhill (lower leg injury) put the race on hold. Once restarted, the shortened final saw Thomas get around Fraga for the lead with five laps to go. The top two went back and forth with a slew of drivers looking to track them down. Fraga would have the lead with two to go, pulling a small advantage as Thomas took over second from Pagano as they got the white flag. The distance was too much as Fraga would take the win, Thomas was second and Pagano third. Tatiana Calderon (Tony Kart) moved up to fourth from her 12th starting spot while Menezes completed the top-five. Although there was much attrition, impressive runs were put in by Alec Udell (Top Kart) and Shawn Sharkey (Merlin). Udell came up from 20th to seventh while Sharkey started 40th on a back-up machine after wrecking in the last heat race yesterday, driving all the way up to ninth in just 15 laps.


As the old saying goes, ‘you never know who’s going to win until the checkered flag falls.’ For Jake French (Intrepid), that phrase will live with him until next year’s event. After dominating the S5 category all week, French lopped his ride in the bus stop and stalled the engine, ending his chance at the win. This gave Devin Mauk (Top Kart), who ran second to French all week, the opportunity to win and he would accomplish exactly that after the 25 laps. Juan Carlos Blum (Italkart) would finish second, nine seconds back, with Austin Schimmel (GP), Alec Gumpfer (Tony Kart) and Zachary Silver (CRG) rounding out the podium.

HPV-2 Junior

It was a three-kart breakaway to start the HPV-2 Junior final with Louie Pagano (Birel), Tristan DeGrand (Kosmic) and Tommy Andersen (Merlin) kicking off the fight. The trio shuffled during the first half of the race and then settled in for the final lap. Pagano made a move for the lead over DeGrand at the infield hairpin and appeared to have enough distance heading into the final corner until DeGrand made a deep brake to the inside. They touched slightly and DeGrand used the inside line to pull him to the finish line. The contact dropped Pagano to fourth behind Andersen and Trent Hindman (Merlin). Cody Kay (Top Kart) completed the initial podium. DeGrand, however, would be found not-compliant in post-tech, thus removing him from the results. This gave Andersen the victory and moved everyone up one spot, bringing Shawn Sharkey (Merlin) onto the podium to receive the fifth place trophy.