With the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in New Orleans, Louisana complete, the focus of the karting world now switches to the other side of the United States as Las Vegas, Nevada hosts the 2013 SKUSA SuperNationals. The annual event in it’s seventeenth year continues to build it’s presence as North America’s largest and most important event of the year and once again this year a full tap of national and international drivers and teams will be competing at the RIO All Suites Hotel and Casino in Sin City. Many drivers have taken the opportunity to compete in both the Rotax Grand Finals and SKUSA SuperNationals, with it being rare to be able to compete in both blockbuster events in the same year.
Eleven classes are set on the schedule with nearly 600 entries across the board. To maximize track time the event will continue to use it’s AM and PM schedule to separate the action into two groups.
Today we look at the Canadian contingent competing in the Senior classes (TaG Senior, Rotax DD2, S1 Stock Moto and S4 Stock Moto). Thursday we will highlight the headline KZ2 SuperPro class.
For single-speed racing in North America TaG Senior at the SKUSA SuperNationals is the SuperBowl, World Series and Stanley Cup. Every year the class draws over 80 drivers from all different karting and racing disciplines to compete in a winner take all shootout in the back lot of the RIO. Once again this years class is stacked and it will for sure display some intense action from Qualifying all the way to SuperSunday Final.
Eight Canadian drivers will hit the track in TaG Senior this year in the class that is usually the first to sell out when SKUSA opens their pre-registration gates.
Every year Italian Motors shows that they have one of the best TaG programs at the SuperNationals as they usually have not only one but two or three drivers running up front in TaG Senior. The Vancouver based operation will bring a handful of drivers including Canadians Remo Ruscitti and Michael Valiante. The two are both sportscar aces now, but stick to their karting roots and compete in the SuperNats every year they can. BC’s Jamie McAllister is another shoe from Italian Motors that could mix things up.
Also from the west are Alberta’s Adam Dowler and Parker Thompson. Thompson enjoyed an excellent season in Europe racing with the factory Energy Corse team and now makes the jump to Senior, having stood on the podium in TaG Senior debut earlier this year on the Streets of Lancaster.
Zachary Claman DeMelo is looking to close out a great debut Senior season that saw him win the Canadian and ECKC crowns. DeMelo will be with IPK North America aboard his usual Praga kart. From the Innisfil Indy/GP stable Chad Campbell is also entered.
For the most part, the Leopard is the engine of choice for TaG Senior, but there are a few Rotax and Vortex TT’s out there. The class is so stacked with talent we don’t even know where to start, but some notable names include: Chris Wehrheim, AJ Allmendinger, Dalton Sargeant, Scott Speed and Louie Pagano.
From the moment the Rotax DD2 class was announced it will be a part of the SKUSA SuperNationals, there has been an incredible amount of hype. Having the Grand Finals last week was also a huge benefit in making this class sell out so fast, but nonetheless there is some stellar competition set to due battle in the two-speed class at an event dominated by 6-speed shifters.
There will be eight Canadians in the class of 40. Although run as one class at equal weight, the class is split into two as there will be a DD2 Masters race within the race with the two victors earning tickets to the 2014 Rotax Grand Finals.
Three time Grand Finals Champion Ben Cooper will be looking for some redemption after a disappointed early retirement last week at the Grand Finals and his Birel/KMS North America team is housing a massive international lineup. Another Canadian Grand Finals Champion is in the mix as Scott Campbell will be piloting a CRG with CRG-USA in the Masters portion.
Marenello North America will be the home for four competitors in DD2 as Mercedes DTM pilot Robert Wickens returns to the seat of a go-kart at an event that he was successful in his karting career, while Fred Woodley, Brendon Bain and Stuart Clark will be looking to close out impressive seasons. Clark will be in the Masters division.
Also competing will be Max Prestion (IPK/Praga), John Kwong (True North/Zanardi) and Dominic LeGrand (PSL Karting/CRG).
The class is full of motorsports studs as Indycar driver Sebastien Bourdais and Nascar driver Nelson Piquet Jr. join Wickens from the professional racing world, while International karting aces Xen de Ruwe, Kevin Ludi, Andreas Backman, Anthony Abbasse and Paulo de Conto all have professional karting experience under their belts.
This could just be the best show on display this week in Las Vegas.
S1 Pro Stock Moto
Two Canadians will take to the track in the co-headline S1 Pro Stock Moto. The class has built steam over the past two years in America and usually provides great racing. Current Indy Lights driver Matthew Di Leo heads back to Las Vegas and will pilot a Praga with IPK North America while another Mazda Road to Indy driver, Scott Hargrove, will drive an Italian Motors/Italkart entry.
The two have been busy in single-seater cars this year, so it is nice to see them back in a kart. The S1 class is full of talent including Americans Fritz Leesman and Joey Wimsett, who is fresh off a second-place finish at the Rotax Grand Finals in DD2. Other notables in the class include Nick Neri, Cody Hodgson, Matt Jaskol and Daniel Bray.
S4 Stock Moto Masters
This year, four Canadians will do battle in the S4 Stock Moto class. In the full field of 80 competitors, this is surely going to be a dogfight of Masters power.
After a successful season in Rotax DD2, Elvis Stojko will add four more gears to his Praga machine in Las Vegas. It is noteworthy that Stojko races shifter karts at his home in Mexico and this will be his first major karting start in S4.
From the west coast, Don McGregor will power his usual Italian Motors/Italkart in Las Vegas as he bids for another strong SuperNationals result, while Steve Attard and Michel LeGrand will make their SuperNationals debuts, and both will be aboard CRG karts.
Thursday we will highlight the headline KZ2 SuperPro class.