SuperNats XXII

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SuperNats XXII

Supernationals

SuperNationals XIV - 2010
There are three words to describe SuperSunday at the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals XIV – cold, windy, and amazing. As they kept forecasting since Tuesday, the strong winds and cold temperatures came through the Las Vegas desert, challenging the entire paddock and the SKUSA staff for the main events at this year’s event outside the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Thankfully, no rain came down and all the action was contested on a dry track. Despite the horrid conditions, the racing on track was still remarkable in all 11 categories to crown this year’s event champions and also the SKUSA Pro Tour titlists.

S1
Alex Speed (GP) and Indy Dontje (Energy) filled the first row with Fritz Leesmann (CRG) – the SKUSA point leader – and last year’s S3 winner Tom Dyer (GP) in row two, waiting for the lights to start their 25-lap main event. Speed grabbed the holeshot with Leesmann into the second spot while Dontje and Dyer both had issues exiting turn two. Brad Dunford (CRG) moved up to third thanks to a great start while Dontje only fell to fourth as Dyer dropped to 12th. Leesmann would then give up two postions as Dunford drove by with deep move into one starting lap three and Dontje took advantage of it as well. Dunford came after Speed the next time by with another great deep brake move into turn two, taking the lead from the former SuperNats winner. Speed came right back the next time by, and Dontje took advantage to move into second. Leesmann was now fourth with Jason Toft (GP) now into the top five. Lap seven, Speed held a 0.6-second lead over Dontje as Dunford fought off Leesmann for third. Leesmann finally took the spot as they began the ninth circuit around the course. On lap 10, Speed dropped the quickest lap of the race to that point to extend his lead to 0.9-seconds. Dontje appeared to have some shifting issues, allowing Fritz to close the gap just a bit. Behind him, the field shook up with some contact in turn two as Beeny was now into P5.

Speed continued to run alone out front with Leesmann slotting into the second spot on lap 16, 1.9-seconds back. The two were near identical, leaving Speed to score his first SuperNats win since 2000. Leesmann settled for second but took home $5,000 for the SKUSA PT championship. Dontje held on to third and used his race check to donate to Racing for Cancer foundation, a solid act by the Dutch driver. Toft came through to end a good season in fourth while Beeny completed the podium.

KZ2
Following the driver introductions, the karts were warmed-up, placed on the ground and pushed away to line up on the main straight for their main event. $10,000 were up for grabs to the winner with another 10k to the rest of the podium. Starting on the front row was the top qualifier Simo Puhakka (PCR) and Frenchman Anthony Abbase (SodiKart) with Vegas native and former SuperNats winner Matt Jaskol (Intrepid) and Thomas Mich (Birel) in the second row. Abbase was quick on the hammer to take the lead as the lights went out. Puhakka fell to fourth with 2007 winner Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart) and Mich moving ahead with great starts as well. American Gary Carlton (CRG) was turned around in the second corner, falling to 17th after jumping into the top five after the opening corner. Rick Dreezen (Tony Kart) completed the top five as Jaskol fell to eighth over the course of the opening corners. The front duo matched the 2008 look when they were at the front of the field in that main event, only to make contact with each other and drop out of the race. Mich held third comfortably with Dreezen able to gain a spot from Puhakka on lap six.

Ardigo pulled the trigger on lap nine, diving in turn two and taking over the lead – and at the same time Dreezen did the same to take over third as the Tony Kart teammates advanced forward. With 10 laps complete, Carlton was the hard charger as he posted the fast laps of the race to move into the 11th spot and picking up another the next time by moving past friend Alex Speed (GP). Lap 15, Carlton worked his way up to eighth in the middle of the second pack as the front five remained unchanged out front. With five to go, Ardigo continued to hold on to the lead with now Dreezen ahead of Abasse. Puhakka was now fourth ahead of Mich. Carlton was one more spot closer to the podium, running seventh behind Jaskol along with Tony Lavanant (Energy) in the mix. Unchallenged in the closing laps, the former world champion Ardigo scored his second SuperNationals victory along with 10k into his bankroll. Dreezen made it a 1-2 Tony Kart finish with Abasse across the line in third. Puhakka ended what could have been a big win in the fourth spot while Mich completed the podium for an all-international podium for the second straight year. Carlton was the top American finisher in the sixth spot over Lavanant and Jaskol. Ken Alleman (Birel) and Speed completed the top-10.

TaG Senior
Italkarts filled up the first three spots on the grid, led by Andre Nicastro, three-time SuperNats winner Michael Valiante and Remo Ruscitti. Nicastro led the way with Ruscitti up to second to drop Valiante back to third. Travis Lowe (Kosmic) was fourth with Bruno Ferreira (Italkart) making up the early top-five. The top four karts broke away as Ferreira was left along in fifth. Behind him was a large group of karts battling for position led by Bobby Kelley (Maddox) in the sixth spot. With the help of a bump draft, Valiante moved to the point to drop Nicastro back to second. Ferreira was able to close back in on the lead pack, running the fast lap to that point. Ferreira continued to charge forward as he was up to second by lap nine with Nicastro now in the lead. Also charging was Aussie national champion David Sera – who started deep in the field and was up to eighth by lap nine.

Ten laps in the books and the top five continued to show the way with a second pack of Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon (Arrow) and Chris Wehrheim (Top Kart) getting chased down by Sera. With ten laps remaining, the front five drove clean but continued to exchange positions while Sera charged forward to seventh behind Wehrheim as they gained some real-estate on them. Five to go, the lead pack was seven as both Sera and Wehrheim were now in position to challenge. Quickly dispensing of Lowe and Ruscitti, Sera made an amazing move into turn one to get by both Valiante and Ferreira to now sit second and trying to close in on Nicastro, who held a sevent-tenth advantage with three laps to go.

Just as he did with the others, Sera was there for the final lap to challenge Nicastro for the win. As they exited the final corner, Sera made his move to drag-race the Brazilian. After a couple defensive moves, the two made contact just as they were reaching the line. The two crossed the line separated by just 0.01-seconds – the closets finish in SuperNationals history with Nicastro earning the elusive victory and a new B.R.M watch, worth nearly $5,000. Sera’s driver from 29th to 2nd will surely go down in history as one of the best drives at the event. Valiante watched from third ahead Ferreira with Wehrheim able to knife his way to the podium in fifth. Ruscitti finished sixth ahead of 2008 winner Emanuele Pagani (Tony Kart) – started 23rd, Phillip Orcic (Zanardi) – started 28th, Lowe and new SKUSA Pro Tour champion Phil Giebler (FA Kart) – who took home a nice $5,000 paycheck.

KF2
On the front row, Sami Luka (Energy) and Gustavo Menezes (Tony Kart) took the field to the green flag with the field not holding ground and was a mess as they entered turn one. More contact ensued in turn two with most everyone continuing on. Luka showed the way by the line for the first lap with Joel Johansson (Energy) ahead of Menezes with last year’s winner Nicolaj Moller-Madsen (Energy) and Jake Lloyd (Energy) the early top-five. Heat one winner Phillip Orcic (Zanardi) was the early hard charger, working into fifth with Mason Marotta (Intrepid) coming with him. Orcic continued to charge as Menezes fell to fourth with Madsen now up into second. Lap six of the 25-lap battle, Orcic drafted by Madsen for the second spot as Luka held a 1.5-second lead. Ten laps into the race, Luka’s lead was shrinking as the Canadian Orcic continued to cut into his lead. Madsen held third comfortably with Menezes and Joel Johansson (Energy) running fourth and fifth.

Lap 13, Orcic had found the bumper of Luka and was quick to pull the trigger, dropping inside at turn two – taking over the top spot. Now into second, Luka picked up his pace to hold on to Orcic and keep in the hunt. Luka came back to take the lead and their shuffling allowed Madsen to close up more on the top two. Now challenged, Luka looked to have stepped up and kept Orcic at bay while Madsen continued to inch his way closer to the top two. Johansson was no different, matching the pace of the leaders and hoping for something disastrous in front of him to gain some ground. Three laps to go, the distance between the top three was similar, about three tenths each though Luka and Orcic seemed more consistent. Orcic had the advantage in the breaking zone while Luka looked to have just a bit more power. Coming to the white flag, Luka put down his fast lap of the race to extend his lead just a bit more, giving him just enough to score the victory. Orcic settled for second with Madsen, Johansson and Lloyd completing the podium – putting four Energy drivers on the podium.

S2
With three heat wins, Derek Crockett (GP) positioned himself on the pole and in good position battle for the championship title. Nicky Freytag (Intrepid) was the only challenger on the event and lined up outside on the front row. Crockett grabbed a great holeshot to lead the way with Freytag able to slot in behind. Championship leader Matt Alcorn (Energy) slotted into third with Travis Duhn (GSR) and Cody Diede (Intrepid) making up the early top five. The top five were comfortably out front but the lead exchanged for the first time beginning lap three with Freytag getting around Crocket in turn one. Lap five, the top-five were joined by a charging Cameron Egger (Vemme) who at the time posted the fast lap of the race. Egger and Duhn however made contact, dropping Egger down the order and Duhn off course. That put Kyle Hathcox (GP) into P5 with the lead pack now four.

Halfway, Diede looked like he was ready to battle, working by Alcorn for third and looking to move up another position. Lap 12, Alcorn and Diede got together as they fought for third. Both continued on but that allowed Freytag and Crockett to make it a two driver show at the point. With six to go, Crockett returned back to the lead with a pass into turn one. At the same time, Alcorn and Diede now fell into the hands of Egger, who muscled his way back up into the top-five. Crockett and Freytag stayed glued to each other as the closing laps ticked off. The white flag waved to signal the final lap. Freytag continued to pressure but Crockett made his GP as wide as possible. Getting off the final corner cleanly, Crockett drove to the checkered flag for his first SuperNationals victory and the SKUSA Pro Tour championship. Freytag settled for second. On the final lap, Alcorn spun off the drive gear and was unable to finish. This gave Diede third and Egger fourth in great drives for both pilots. Rounding out the podium was Josh Lane (Energy).

S4
The S4 Master Stock Moto group lined up on the straight with Eddie Olpin (Kosmic) and Jeff Littrell (Tony Kart) on the front row. Olpin took the holeshot with Carlos Fernandez (Intrepid) up to second over Littrell. Rob Logan (CRG) slotted into fourth with Jimmy McNeil (CRG) completing the early top-five. Littrell quickly returned to the second spot as he wanted to keep Olpin close. He did even more, able to work by for the lead on lap four. Fernandez’s run at the front was short lived as he retired by lap six, leaving McNeil, Logan, Mike Jones (CRG) and McNeil in the top five. Lap eight the race was interrupted with a strong wind storm as the barriers blew into the racing area and brought out a red flag before any damage was done.

After the track was repaired, the field was reset as McNeil led the field to a single-file restart with 13 laps to go. Olpin started second with Logan Jones and Littrell suppose to start fifth but retired before the green with a mechanical issue. After the first lap back in action, Jones and Logan made contact to put Jereme Abshire into third. Abshire however gave it back the next time by, losing a number of spots as Logan and Jones went back to third and fourth with Jeff Smith (CRG) into the top five. Lap 12, another red flag was brought out, this time for a incident with RJ Edgington (Arrow) and Ryan Pool (Tony Kart).

Back on track, McNeil, Olpin, Jones and Logan led the way with just two laps to go in a now 15-lap event. McNeil was able to break away and take his first SuperNationals victory, looking good with the new B.R.M watch, worth nearly $5,000. Olpin finished second with Logan able to get by Jones for third with Eduardo Pena (GP) in fifth.

G1
Fabrizio Nannini (Energy) and Emilio Padron (CRG) filled up the front row with Kelly Baker (Italkart) and Nick Firestone (Tony Kart) slotted in the second row to begin the G1 main event. The order was the exact match with Eduardo Martins (Tony Kart) – the 1999 winner – up to fourth before they crossed the start/finish line for the first time. The front seven were spaced out by a few kart lengths with point leader Fernando Diaz (GP) and Jim Kidd (Italkart) joining in as possible contenders depending on what happened in front of them. The driver to watch however was defending race winner Antonio Dettori (Energy) who started 21st after a DNF in heat two. By lap six, he was up to the seventh spot, dropping Kidd down the order. Lap eight, it was the sixth spot he took from Diaz, putting him one away from the podium before the halfway mark.

Out front, the order remained unchanged with Nannini ahead of Padron, Baker and Martins with Firestone now getting pressured by Dettori. Lap 12, Dettori took the position away from Firestone and set his sights on Martins. It took him four laps before he was able to muscle his way by Martins, with Baker next on his hit list. Two to go, Nannini had a good lead with Padron holding off Baker with Dettori looking for a way by. Coming to the white, Dettori was able to slide by Baker for third and looked at Padron. Dettori tried on the final lap going into one but went too wide and lost ground. Cruising to the victory, Nannini took the victory for Energy’s second straight win in the category. Padron held on for second with Dettori finishing an impressive third and fast lap. Baker and Martins completed the podium. Diaz finished seventh behind Firestone and was able to clinch the SKUSA championship.

TaG Master
David Harwin (Tony Kart) looked to keep up front as he has throughout the event, taking the 40 deep TaG Master field to the green flag with Kip Foster (Kosmic) lined up on his outside. The start was a mess with drivers spinning all over the place. Out front, Foster was able to break into the lead with Jim Russell Jr. (Parolin) with Harwin back to third. John Crow (Arrow) was up to fourth with Leonardo Nienkotter (Kosmic) completing the top-five. The opening lap, point leader Ethan Wilson (Tony Kart) lost his nose piece but continued to battle on until they displayed the meatball flag on lap three. Foster continued to lead after five laps with Harwin able to work by Russell for second. Wilson was up to fifth when the scoring officially disqualified him for not pulling off. This moved Neinkotter to fourth and Fernando Guzzi (Italkart) to fifth as Crow fell back behind Mack McCormick (Arrow) Brian McHattie (Kosmic) and two-time defending race winner Billy Cleavelin (CRG).

At the halfway mark Foster’s lead was nearly two seconds as Harwin held second comfortably at the time. Neinkotter was able to work by Russell for third along with Cleavelin, Guzzi, and McHattie getting around for position as he looked to have some sort of mechanical trouble. As the laps continued, Harwin’s second spot came under attack with Nienkotter closing in lap after lap. With five to go, it appeard Cleavelin had an issues as well, losing a number of spots which put McHattie up to fourth and Guzzi holding the final podium spot of Chuck Gafrarar (Parolin). In the end, Foster would hold on to score his first SuperNationals win with Nienkotter able to work by Harwin for second. McHattie drove to another podium in fourth and Guzzi crossed the line in fifth. Following tech, Foster was removed from the results for an engine related issue. This put Nienkotter to the top of the podium, moving Harwin to second, McHattie to third, Guzzi to fourth and Chuck G to fifth.

S5
Daniel Langon (GP) and Austin Schimmel (GP) set the front row for the opening main event of the day as the S5 Junior Stock Moto field prepared for the lights to go out to begin their race. Langon grabbed the holeshot as the rest of the field shuffled around as drivers made contact getting off the line. His lead was 1.442-seconds after the first lap with Christian Schureman (GP) moving to second ahead of Schimmel, Luis Tyrrell (Wildkart) and Kiel Spaulding (Top Kart). Migel Lopez (GP) joined the fight for second with a host of others looking to move their way forward. After five laps, Langon’s lead was 3.3-seconds as Spaulding advanced to second ahead of Tyrrell, Schimmel, and Lopez. Spaulding was able to break away from the pack and posted his fast lap, looking to cut into Langon’s lead.

At the halfway point, Langon’s lead remained the same as Spaulding continued to match his pace, still three-seconds back. The fight for third was no longer as Schimmel was able to break free from Schureman and Chelootz. Lap 16, Schureman climbed up the back of Chelootz kart after they swapped positions, resulting in Chelootz dropping out of the race and Lopez and Bristol Gunderson (CRG) moving up into the top five. At the checkered, Langon held on for his first SuperNats victory by six-seconds. The win also locked up the SKUSA Pro Tour championship. Spaulding and Schimmel finished second and third while Schureman recovered to end up fourth with Lopez beating out Gunderson for the final step of the podium.

TaG Junior
The TaG Junior field was unable to get through the opening corner without issue as polesitter Dennis Olsen (Energy) led the way with Yurik Carvalho (Italkart) in second while Joao Ricardo Queiroz Vieira (Tony Kart) sat third. Carvalho moved to the point for the lead after two laps as Olsen fell down the order with Vieira, Austin Self (Arrow), Joseph Mawson (Arrow) up into the top five. Vieira pressured Carvalho on lap five going through turn six and the result was Carvalho into the barrier on the exit of the corner and into the wall – ending his shot at SuperNats vicory. Vieira took over the lead with Mawson and Self joining him out front. The driver on the move early on was Tristan DeGrand as the Kosmic driver advanced up into fifth and pressuring Olsen for position. Just before the halfway mark, both Mawson and Self dipped past Vieira for position and their shuffling brought DeGrand and Olsen closer, making it a five kart lead group.

As they continued to fight, last year’s runner-up Kiel Spaulding (Top Kart) was able to close in and join them to make it a seven kart fight for the lead. With six to go, Olsen was able to muscle his way to the point with Vieira trailing Self trailing, leaving the rest behind. With three to go, Vieira went back to the lead as Olsen dropped back to second while Self was waiting in the wings. The white flag waved it was just the three out front in the same order. Olsen was not close enough as Vieira took the victory with Self behind in third. DeGrand ended up in fourth as Mawson completed the podium.

TaG Cadet
Anthony Gangi Jr. (CRG) held the pole position and led the field to the green flag with Parker Thompson (Tony Kart) on the outside, looking to lock up the SKUSA Pro Tour championship with a solid result on Colton Herta’s finishing position. Herta (Nevoso BA-1) started the race in 21st after a DQ in qualifying but drove to solid results in the heat races. Thompson was hung out to dry through the opening corners, dropping back to fourth behind Gangi, Devlin DeFrancesco (FA Kart) and Patricio O’Ward (Kosmic). Gangi and O’Ward were able to put some distance over Thompson and DeFrancesco after two laps with a gaggle of karts lined up behind them. After three laps, Herta was all the way up to ninth and moving well. Thompson was able to break away, joining the fight at the front completing the fourth lap. With some shuffling by the leaders, the second pack joined the mix to make it nine in the lead pack.

In typical Cadet racing, the drivers did not remain in line as they continued to shuffle positions with Herta continuing to be the hard charger. At the halfway mark, O’Ward held the lead with Gangi, Thompson, Davey Manthei Jr. (Wild Kart) and Herta making up the top-five. Lap 11, Thompson looked to get by Gangi, but contact was made and Gangi fell down the order. O’Ward pulled out to a bigger lead as Thompson retained second with DeFrencesco and Herta now into third and fourth. On the final lap, DeFrancesco climbed up the back of Manthei as they were shuffling for position through turn two. They were unable to continue, handing third to Herta. Out front, O’Ward took the inaugural TaG Cadet victory by 1.894-seconds over Thompson. Noah Grey (FA Kart) moved up to fourth with Christian Brooks (Nevoso BA-1) completing the podium.

Wrap-up
With the record breaking event now complete, the attendees will spend the evening hours enjoy the fruits of victory and the finish of the week-long event. Certainly everyone will be looking for the SKUSA SuperNationals XV in 364 days and of course the 2011 edition of the SKUSA Pro Tour, set to start April in Tucson, AZ. For more information, visit the EKN Event Page.