SuperNats XXII

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SuperNats XXII

Supernationals

SuperNationals VII - 2003
Coming off what had been the biggest event in the history of American shifterkart racing in 2002, Superkarts! USA headed back to the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas in November of ’03 looking to step up to yet another level with the running of the seventh annual SuperNationals. The global importance of this event within the industry was growing alongside its prestige in the karting community, as winning on SuperSunday at the Rio would surely mean selling on Monday throughout the country. The American factory squads were now joined by significant technical teams from Europe, making this the single most important race of the year. The ’03 edition of the SuperNats would go to Birel, as their young upstart Wesley Boswell scored the SuperPro win, a massive feat considering the fact that he was capping his rookie season in the big boy ranks.

Also big news was the arrival of the ICC powerplant to the main stage at the SuperNationals. SKUSA had offered both the moto-powered SuperPro class and the ICC-spec ProIC category to the ProMoto Tour in 2003 and the teams placed their vote with their entry forms. The 125cc motos faded away throughout the year as the mass exodus to the purpose-built European ICC engine was all but completed by the time the tents went up in Las Vegas. ICC would lead the way as the event’s headliner, taking over the SuperPro name.



The SuperPro class turned out in force for SuperNats VII with 69 drivers posting qualifying times. The huge field would require both B and C Mains, making it incredibly tough to find a way onto the main event grid. Italian Motors was once again a force in Vegas with Jordy Vorrath (Italkart) leading the way over Boswell with the fastest lap of the qualifying session to take the pole. Ron White (CRG), the PMT SuperPro champion and reigning SuperNats winner, was third on the time sheets while Kyle Wiegand (GP) sat fourth in front of rookie Pro Eddie Caballero (Kosmic), who laid down an extremely impressive performance. Benny Moon (PTK), Alan Sciuto (CRG), ProIC champ Alex Speed (GP), JJ McTernan (CRG) and Gianpiero Cavacuiti (GP) rounded out the top ten.

The field was once again split into two Prefinals with just ten transfer spots available. The next 14 would head to the B Main and the remaining 10+ to the C Main. In the opening group, Vorrath and White pulled away to finish 1-2 ahead of Alan Rudolph (First Kart) and David Jurca (Italkart). A.J. Allmendinger (PTK) was tenth in the order after qualifying 35th, fast-tracking straight into the SuperSunday final. Drivers on the outside looking in include Darren Elliott (PTK), Kyle Martin (Trackmagic) and Sciuto.

In the second Prefinal, Boswell showed his pace as he stretched out to a lead and win, teamed with Speed. Moon was third in the 15-lap spring, right ahead of First Kart’s Bobby Wilson and CRG driver Joe White. The final qualifying spot was secured by Canadian Tyler Givogue (CRG), as he beat out frontrunners like Wade Van Hooser (Topkart) and former SuperNats Formula S2 winner A.J Noud (GP).



In the C Main, a great story developed as Canadian Pier-Luc Ouellette (Arrow) topped Elliott to transfer into the C Main, where he charged from 25th to eighth to extend his SuperNationals experience into Sunday afternoon. Jeff Petriello (Maranello) won the B Main over Noud and Nick Halen (Birel) to take up a position on the inside of the 11th row. A total of 14 transfer spots were initially offered in the B Main, but the list was extended to 20, bringing Cavacuiti, A.J., Whisler (First Kart), Wiegand and Elliott into the mix.

In the race, Vorrath assumed the lead but Boswell took the point on lap three, holding back any advances from White through the remainder of the race. The gap at the line would be just over a second, with White taking second ahead of Vorrath, Speed and Jurca. Ouellette capped an amazing run from the C Main by advancing to 11th in the final tally. Elliott was not so lucky, completing just three laps to finish 40th.

In Formula S1, Tyler Givogue (CRG) was the man to beat, running double duty with his SuperPro entry as well. Givogue held back the late-race charges of two-time SuperNats FS2 winner Brandon Scarberry (Birel) with some impressive traffic management to take the win. Zdeno Mikulasko (MS Kart) was third ahead of the Italian Motors duo of Jason Conn and Tyler Dueck.



Despite battling through seriously injured ribs, VanKart pilot Burt Gasaway out-paced Tom Kutscher (CRG) in the early going to score a 6+ second Formula G1 win over Howie Idelson (First Kart), who slipped by Kutscher before the midway point. Kutscher (now the owner of SKUSA) held on for a solid third over last year’s G1 winner Bill Fleming (Trackmagic) and his ’02 challenger Chris Farrell (PTK).

The Formula K1 class (80cc Sr.) was exciting to the end as Todd DeGrand (Intrepid) took advantage of a last lap bobble by leader Eric Schutte (Maranello) to steal the win. Polesitter Matt Davis (Invader) was third over AJ Pifferini (Birel) and Jake Snider (CRG). In Formula MX, SKUSA Great Lakes stalwart Tom Birchard (SKM) scored the biggest win of his career over Garrick Stone (CTS) and Jonathan Wright (Tony Kart).



In the 80cc Junior class, Cole Whitt (Topkart) exploded onto the scene to begin his time at the head of the American junior shifter wars. Whitt held off a determined Adrian Carrio (Invader) for the win, as they were nose-to-tail at the stripe. Interestingly, with Carrio winning the 2006 Star Mazda Championship, the last two Formula BMW champions finished up third and fourth in ’03 with Robert Wickens (’06 champ) and Richard Phillippe (’05 champ) putting in strong SuperNationals performances. This field was chalk full of eventual formula car superstars. Garrett Napier (Birel) completed the top five.

In the Novice classes, Gustavo Menezes (Topkart) was awarded the victory when on-track winner Taylor Miinch (Topkart) was dealt a one-position penalty for jumping the start in 80cc Novice. In the 60cc category, Zach Zimmerly (Topkart) was victorious over Cameron Jocelyn (CRG) and Connor DePhillippi.

With the 2003 edition of the race now part of the history books, little did we know that it would be the last trip to the Rio. The economics of hosting the event as such a venue were simply too much for the organization and a move was necessary. Next stop: Sam Boyd Stadium.