Taking in the SKUSA SummerNationals at New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana, USA, we enjoyed a weekend full of great racing action featuring full grids, photo finishes, questionable contact, champions crowned and as always intense action on track and in the paddock. It was everything we expected in the SKUSA Pro Tour championship finale.
While we will recap our thoughts of the weekend in another report, we have compiled a weekend report for each of the nine Canadian drivers who took part.
Saturday: Q: 26th | PF: 18th | F: 7th
Sunday: Q: 12th | PF: 5th | F: 5th
With 57 drivers entered in X30 Senior, qualifying may have been the most important part of the race day. Kellen Ritter showed great pace through practice but failed to convert it into Saturday’s Qualifying session and was forced to work his way forward, which he did. Avoiding all the melee in the Prefinal, Ritter was able to move up eight spots but it was his drive in the long 25-lap final that caught our attention. Ritter once again avoided the opening lap drama he quickly moved into the top-10 by lap seven. He then put down some of the fastest laps of the race and closed in on the top runners, eventually taking seventh place at the finish and posting his fastest lap of the race on lap 25.
Ritter’s hot pace continued on Sunday where he once again moved up in the Pre-Final into the top-five and the maintained the position in the Final to equal the best finish by a Canadian driver at the SKUSA SummerNationals.
“After what I thought was going to be a terrible weekend following Saturday qualifying, it turned out to be my most successful SKUSA weekend ever.“
– Kellen Ritter
Confirming to CKN that he will take part in the ASN Canadian National Championships at Mosport in two weeks, Ritter could use this momentum to seek out his first Canadian title.
Saturday: Q: 15th | PF: 11th | F: 13th
Sunday: Q: 14th | PF: 18th | F: 14th
Entering the weekend with an outside shot at the prestigious X30 Senior Championship, Cedrik Lupien was riding the momentum from a pair of top-4 finishes in Sonoma, California. But this weekend it seemed that Cedrik was just missing that final tenth that could have put him into the race for the podium. Battling on the outside of the top-ten, Cedrik did avoid trouble and maintained his position and secured a thirteenth and fourteenth place finishes in the two finals.
Awaiting the final calculations of the championship points, Lupien may have fallen out of the top-five, but a top-ten ranking in North Americas most competitive Senior championship is quite impressive.
Now all we can hope is he returns to his home country and competes in the ASN Canadian National Karting Championships.
Saturday: Q: 16th | PF: 9th | F: 6th
Sunday: Q: 11th | PF: 51st | F: 17th
The younger brother of Cedrik really looked like he was one lucky break away from the podium in New Castle. Lining up alongside his brother for the PreFinal on row eight, Samuel moved into the top-ten and was pacing equal to the leaders. A rough start saw Samuel get pushed around in the opening laps, falling as low as thirteenth before settling in and blistering off fast laps. Passing by fellow Canadian Kellen Ritter with only a handful of laps left, Sam kept the charge on and wound up sixth overall.
Sunday was shaping to be much of the same as he once again qualified outside the top-ten but charged forward in the Prefinal. Running as high as fourth, Lupien was in a heated battle for the position that saw him jockey between fourth and eighth until the second to last lap. Fighting hard with Brandon Lemke, the American driver got under Lupien in the back section of the track, sending him wide and eventually catching the ground hard enough to flip him over. Instead of starting the Final inside the top-ten, he was all the way back in 51st.
“It was one of the coolest races I’ve done.“
Not to be discouraged and shaking off some rib pain from his flip, Lupien put on a charge in the Final. He passed an impressive 34 karts in the Final, including ten on the opening lap to rally back and finish a very respectable seventeenth.
“After the flip my back and ribs were pretty bruised and I had to put some ice on before the final. It was the last race of the weekend so I just went out there and had fun passing one kart at a time, wanting to finish top-15. I almost made it finishing seventeenth. It was one of the coolest races I’ve done.”
Like his brother, we hope to see him competing at the Canadian Championships at Mosport, potentially in Briggs Senior where he is the defending Champion.
Saturday: Q: 31st | PF: DNF (50th) | F: 21st
Sunday: Q: 40th | PF: 32nd | F: 22nd
It was a rough start to the week for Marco Signoretti, who was making his debut in the SKUSA Pro Tour. A couple days of practice that just weren’t up to snuff, his Energy Kart North America team decided to swap chassis frames Friday night.
It seemed to help as Signoretti moved up the timesheets and right into the middle of the action. After qualifying thirty-first, Signoretti was victim in a crash on lap two and quickly saw his race come to an early end. Starting on row 25 for the Final, Signoretti progressed well up the order in the Final, advancing up 28 spots by the time the checkered flag flew, ranking twenty-first and notably passing half of the grid. It was an impressive charge.
“I have never driven on a track with that much rubber build up so that took some getting used to.“
On Sunday it wasn’t quite as impressive for Signoretti who seemed to get stuck in the middle of the pack, but he did manage to advance forward in both races and close out his first SKUSA weekend in twenty-second.
“SummerNationals was a great learning experience for me. It was my first time in the X30 category, on the Evinco tire and at New Castle. I’m happy with how I progressed throughout the weekend. I have never driven on a track with that much rubber build up so that took some getting used to. 57 karts on track made the racing very intense especially when you have to come from the back of the grid. Navigating through the first couple laps was an experience in itself! I am thankful for the opportunity given to me and to finally check off my first SKUSA event.”
Saturday: Q: 33rd | PF: 37th | F: 26th
Sunday: Q: 45th | PF: 22nd | F: 25th
For Logan Cusson, the SKUSA SummerNationals were another chance to lead and grow as a young driver. Battling it out among the talents in the X30 Senior field, Cusson found himself right in the thick of all the action, every time he hit the track.
Qualifying deep in the field on both days gave him some extra work, with his best drive coming in the Sunday PreFinal where he moved up 23 spots from fourty-fifth to twenty-second.
Finishing both Finals in the top-half of the results should help give Cusson some momentum as he now returns home to compete for the Canadian title.
Saturday: Q: 12th | PF: 15th | F: DNF (37th)
Sunday: Q: 50th | PF: DNF | F: DNS
Ryan MacDermid entered the weekend with a chance to finish out his first SKUSA Pro Tour inside the top-ten in points, which for a rookie senior driver would be a remarkable achievement. But it appeared that almost everything that could go wrong, went wrong in New Castle.
Saturday MacDermid was right in the thick of things but couldn’t quite crack the top-ten. Running thirteenth in the Final and with only two laps to go, MacDermid’s race came to an early end when his engine expired at the end of the main straight and he was forced to pull off track.
On Sunday it went from bad to worse. Unable to post a solid lap time, he ranked 50th overall. In the PreFinal his race only lasted seven laps before he retired and before the main event event rolled to the grid, MacDermid opted to sit out and go home early.
Hopefully is luck will change at Mosport.
S2 Stock Moto
Saturday: Q: 20th | PF: 20th | F: 10th
Sunday: Q: 8th | PF: 8th | F: 5th
As the lone Canadian racing in the Stock Moto shifter categories last weekend, Antonio Serravalle had plenty of eyes on him. He’s enjoyed a pretty good rookie season of shifter racing, but this was his first time driving the stock Honda and it became a little obvious during the start of the Saturday PreFinal. Starting from twentieth on the grid, Serravalle stalled as the lights went out. Recovering the best he could, Serravalle worked his way back to where he started. With no more start jitters to worry about, Serravalle got off the line nicely in the Final and picked off ten karts in the 25-lap race to take home tenth.
Sunday was a much better day has became more accustomed to his CRG Stock Honda. Qualifying eighth put him right in the mix and while he wasn’t quite able to race for the podium he did deliver a fifth place effort in the Final to equal Kellen Ritter as the best placing Canadian on the weekend.
Saturday: Q: 15th | PF: 12th | F: 13th
Sunday: Q: 31st | PF: 16th | F: 14th
Like X30 Senior, there was an abundance of drivers in Mini Swift on the weekend with 48 taking to the track. Justin Arseneau entered the weekend riding a hot streak at home but looking for a little more competition to work on his race craft before the Canadian Championships. Making his second SKUSA start of the year, he was also looking to build on the tough weekend he had in New Orleans back in March.
Saturday was promising. After posting the 43rd quickest time in warm-up there was some cause for concern but Arseneau delivered in Qualifying posting the fifteenth quickest time. In the PreFinal and the final, the racing was dicey and hectic. Lots of action saw many of Mini drivers bouncing around up and down the order. Moving up three spot in the PreFinal was good as Arseneau was knocking on the doors of the top-ten, but he just couldn’t get there in the Final, setting for thirteenth after having to recover from a bad start.
Qualifying on Sunday didn’t go so well as Arseneau could only muscle up the thirty-first quickest time. But he rebounded nicely in the PreFinal, passing fifteen karts, almost one per lap, and he worked back to the positions he raced for Saturday. Saving his best drive for last, Arseneau once again found himself in a big pack for the Final race and bounced up and down the order. Running as high as eleventh, he would settle for fourteenth at the finish and close out the weekend.
Saturday: Q: 23rd | PF: 25th | F: 14th
Sunday: Q: 13th | PF: 15th | F: DNF
Like Arseneau, Thomas Nepveu has enjoyed a pretty good season in Canada this summer and traveled to New Castle for some added competition. He got it in the 45-driver X30 Junior class.
Nepveu showed on the weekend that he just couldn’t break free from the middle of the pack and elevate to the level he showed in international competitions last year while running in Mini. Nothing to be ashamed of as he works through his rookie year in Junior.
His best charge came in Saturday’s Final where he advanced eleven positions to finish fourteenth. Unfortunately his weekend came to an early end in Sunday’s Final he was pushed off track at the start and fell well down the running order before eventually retiring with engine issues.
Coming back to home for the Canadian Championships, we know Nepveu will be hungry not only for the National title, but also the ticket to represent Team Canada at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.