EKN RACE PREVIEW: MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK The Western Division of the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series begins its three race schedule this weekend at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The series will make its...
EKN RACE PREVIEW: MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
The Western Division of the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series begins its three race schedule this weekend at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The series will make its second visit outside the city of Salt Lake City, moving the date from the hot month of July to the calm and comfortable month of April. Fortunately, rain is not forecasted for the area over the weekend with temperatures reaching highs in the upper 60s. The forecast on track sees many of the front runners from the Eastern Division opener three weeks ago in Ocala, Florida scheduled to race this weekend.
The Miller Motorsports Park was opened in 2006, built over the old location of the Black Rock Raceway - home of the Black Rock Summer Shootout. The facility has a 4.5-mile full course with four different configurations. To the north of the paddock sits the karting circuit, one of the finest in the country.
The format for the weekend will be the same as in Ocala. Heat races will be implemented, similar to the European format. Friday will continue to be open practice with Saturday to begin with qualifying. Two heats will run following the timed sessions with the third and final heat to run Sunday morning. The heat results will line up the drivers for both Finals taking place Sunday afternoon.
An added bonus to the weekend will be Friday afternoon following the practice as the Formula BMW Americas will be providing ten Stars drivers a chance to test the Formula BMW FB02 car along with a catered reception for all competitors and crew. Neil Alberico, CJ Cronis, Brody Goble, Michael Hogg, Miles Maroney, Spencer Pigot, Scott Rossi, Stefan Rzadzinski, Joey Wimsett, and David Zippie will receive a classroom and on-track driving experience on the 2.24-mile East circuit.
The Stars competitors will be utilizing the `Startrek' course - at roughly 9/10 of a mile - which provided great action last year for all classes. The biggest issue last year was the hot weather and sand storms blowing through. This caused havoc for the ICA drivers, however, due to no participation numbers, the class will not run this weekend, essentially ending the class for the remainder of the season.
Just over 100 entries in five divisions are scheduled to compete over the course of three days. ICC will see the return of a former two-time champion and former Grand National champion. Alex Speed will begin his campaign for his third Stars of Karting national championship with the debut of the new Trackmagic factory team, led by his father and legendary mechanic Mike Speed. The duo has been hard at work over the past few months, adjusting to the new Trackmagic chassis. Fellow NorCal and longtime rival Ron White returns to karting full-time after two seasons in the Star Mazda Championship, scoring multiple win seasons. White will head up the KLS Racing/GP Kart effort in the ICC class.
Silly season has already begun after just one event in the books with Texan Cody Jolly making the switch from CRG to Intrepid under the Champion Racing/Intrepid USA tent. When speaking with Jolly, he's excited about the new opportunity with the Berryhill family and wanted to thank Trevor Wickens and the Cameron Motorsports squad for the years of hard work. Friday will be the first time Jolly hits the track aboard his new Intrepid.
Of note in the ICC class, major brands Birel, Top Kart, First Kart, and Arrow have not entered a driver in the headline class with Italkart (with the absence of David Jurca and Hayden Duerson for car events this weekend), Tony Kart, and Kosmic have no drivers this weekend in Utah.
2007 Spec Racer national champion Devon Sandeen will return to action this weekend, moving from one speed to a six speed. Sandeen, along with three of his Checkered Flag Racing counterparts will compete in the new TaG ICC class.
New EKN Driver Rankings TaG #1 driver Joey Licata Jr. will make his 2008 Stars debut after recently earning the number one spot. The TNR Kartsports pilot won in his 2007 Stars debut at the Miller facility and will look to repeat that feat this weekend. Also making his Stars debut will be CRG factory driver Eddy Tinini. Scheduled to compete in the ICA division, Tinini will race in the Stars TaG division under the Genesis Racing tent with former World Champion Alessandro Manetti working the wrenches. A handful of West Coast based drivers will also be making their 2008 Stars debut, including the other 2007 Stars Miller race winner, Colin Katzakian, running for Diede Racing and Leading Edge Motorsports. They will battle many of the Ocala front runners, including double winner Chris Wehrheim (Team Top Kart USA).
Trackside Live coverage begins Friday afternoon with the posting of the final two practice sessions - a list of the top ten in the Official Discussion Thread along with complete results at the end of the day. Also in the discussion thread, we'll have pit notes on the day with any major updates posted, preparing for Saturday and Sunday racing action.