WKA: SoK: Series news 2009-02-04

Stars of Karting Moves to Renew CIK Focus Increasing support of KF concept prompts early offering of planned 2010 line-up MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA - (February 4, 2009) - As it should, the development and planning of any upcoming...

Stars of Karting Moves to Renew CIK Focus
Increasing support of KF concept prompts early offering of planned 2010 line-up

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA - (February 4, 2009) - As it should, the development and planning of any upcoming racing season begins to take shape in the middle of the current schedule, and this is no different for the Snap-on Stars of Karting organization, which promotes and manages the sport's only coast-to-coast national series. Along with this early focus on preparation, continued evolution of the package is a key component to the end product. A constant view of the overall racing landscape is crucial in presenting a program that truly offers what is needed by the sport and desired by the customer base, a series' teams and drivers.

It is with the above-mentioned understanding of consistent progress that the Snap-on Stars of Karting organization announces that, effective immediately; the program will run a total of seven classes in the chase for the 2009 National Championship. Joining the already announced KZ2, TAG Intercontinental C (TaG ICC), Stars Senior National, Stars Junior National and Cadet classes will be the much-anticipated introduction of the KF2 and KF3 categories.

As a leader in the North American karting community, the Snap-on Stars of Karting Series and its officials have been keeping a watchful eye on the sport's evolution over the past twelve months and they believe that it is now crucial to bring the KF2 and KF3 classes into series competition, one year ahead of their planned 2010 rollout. By not adding the KF categories during the first round of homologation for the new engine program, the Snap-on Stars of Karting Series intently bypassed the production and supply problems that occurred in the European market. Now, with KF growing in popularity and with the Stars of Karting Series as a leader in the industry, keeping up with the class demands around the world is important to future success for 2009 and beyond. The Stars of Karting's original mandate and on-going belief was and has always been based on providing a true CIK program for our karter's here, and this move will continue this connection for the upcoming racing season. Many in the sport's industry share a desire to develop with global focus.

"The Stars of Karting Series decision to move forward with the KF engine formula will once again enable the proper foundation for competition to flourish while allowing North American karting to take a significant step forward," explained J3 Competition's Justin Stefani. "With measurable reductions in yearly operational costs, along with clear technical regulations and improved racing experiences, the competitor is a big winner with the KF program."

"I think as the industry leader, and the highest level of karting in North America, Stars has to make decisions that best insure the future of our sport," added Alan Rudolph, a veteran driver and a member of the Stars of Karting Advisory Board. "Adding the KF2 & KF3 classes at this time does just that. They keep Stars aligned with CIK and the rest of the world and will also give Stars much-needed support from the manufacturers & importers."

With the addition of KF3 to the roster, the Junior Intercontinental A (JICA) division will be removed from the Stars of Karting line-up this year. The JICA class has provided some of the best racing for the Stars of Karting Series, but with a significant decrease in class size anticipated for 2009 based on a complete lack of pre-entries for the season opener, officials decided that it was more efficient to remove the class from series competition and implement the KF3 division as they moved towards the future and what is best for the sport of karting.

"This is the perfect route for the Stars of Karting Series to go," stated SSC East's Dave Davies. "Everyone here at SSC East is a big fan of the CIK-style classes and format and we are looking forward to getting the season started. We are going to heavily promote this class and already have several drivers looking to participate. It's going to be a good year."

Understanding that previous class announcements have been made, the Snap-on Stars of Karting Series has begun to refocus their target due to the consistent stream of feedback from importers, drivers, teams and sponsors. The KF classes are heavily participated in the European market and are slowly making their way to North America. With the addition of these classes and the declining demand for the JICA divisions with respect to entries and membership forms, the Snap-on Stars of Karting Series prompted the removal JICA, effective immediately.

"This is great news and definitely the best thing for karting in America," stated Screaming Talent's Jay Howard. "Everyone in Europe always criticizes America for being steps behind the rest of the karting world and now is not the case as we have stepped up to their level. I am looking forward to these classes and the participation of our team in the Stars of Karting Series. I was brought up in the European karting scene and this is the way karting should be."

"The future starts now," offers Paul Zalud, Stars of Karting CEO. "Although we are making this move one year earlier than we had announced all the way back in 2006, it is questionably one that needed to be made on behalf of our competitors, teams, importers and the manufacturers. And, with the lack of support for JICA that mirrored our ICA category at the start of 2008, we needed to make this decision for ourselves."

"I'm very optimistic for the future of karting here in spite of what may be a tough year for all of us," Zalud continues. "I think that there has been some confusion created in the marketplace that has left people in a state of flux. This decision removes any doubt about how we will proceed for years to come, which is good for all of us. I also want to thank all of the people who took the time to share their opinions with us over these last few days and the support and loyalty that they have pledged to our program."

With the re-focusing of the program's classes, the Snap-on Stars of Karting Series is beginning the process of evolving back to the CIK series that it once was and was known for. Implementing these CIK classes is a positive sign for anyone in the karting community here that may be looking to compete overseas in these competitive racing divisions. With the KF classes now being offered in the Snap-on Stars of Karting Series, the hopes of European driver, team and manufacturer participation are plentiful as the series moves through the 2009 National Championship.

The Snap-on Stars of Karting Series will also announce a lucrative prize package to participating drivers in the 2009 National Championship. With awards and prizes being finalized, an announcement in regards to the prize package will be announced by the middle of next week. Already confirmed are cash payouts to KZ2 and KF2 at each and every Snap-on Stars of Karting Series event.

Also changing slightly from a previously-announced release is the overall event weekend format. An optional Thursday practice day will continue to be offered by the hosting facility in an effort to cut down on pre-event testing, while Friday will now be scheduled as the official series practice day. These sessions will take place throughout the day, capped by one qualifying session at the end of the day to set the grids for Saturday morning's heat races. Drivers and teams not able to attend the optional Thursday practice will still receive a full day's slate of on-track opportunities, just as they did in 2008 with the addition of a single qualifying session. A minimum of four practice sessions will take place on Friday with the final session of the day being increased in length and being reserved for qualifying. The wheel-to-wheel racing action will commence after Saturday morning's single practice rotations with three heat races per class, setting up grid positions for Sunday morning's Prefinal events.

Prefinal results will score one-third of the weekend's total points toward the National Championship, as well as the grid positions for the main event. Sunday afternoon's Finals will award drivers two-thirds of the weekend's total points and determine the overall winners for each and every class on any given Snap-on Stars of Karting weekend.

Lastly, the Snap-on Stars of Karting Series membership and race entry forms are available via the Snap-on Stars of Karting website. Drivers who competed in the '08 National Championship and wish to retain their competition number must register with the Snap-on Stars of Karting Series by February 15, 2009. Drivers and teams looking to receive a discount on event registration can do so by registering for the complete series. In addition, any Snap-on Stars of Karting Series driver participating in two classes will receive a rather substantial discount on the cost of registration for the second competition class.

The Snap-on Stars of Karting Series will continue to make announcements in regards to their 2009 National Championship and they are extremely excited about moving forward with the 2009 class structure. An updated rules package will also be announced in the coming days. Announcements for the Stars of Karting Eastern Division opener at the Ocala Gran Prix facility in Ocala, Florida will be forthcoming. Stay tuned to www.StarsofKarting.com for up-to-date news and information regarding the 2009 competition season.

Snap-on Stars of Karting Presented by the IndyCar Series is based out of Seattle, Washington, sanctioned by the World Karting Association (WKA) and owned and operated by 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion and IRL IndyCar Series team owner Bobby Rahal, IndyCar Series driver Bryan Herta and veteran karting promoter Paul Zalud. www.starsofkarting.com, www.worldkarting.com.

-credit: irl sok

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Series Kart
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Bryan Herta , Alan Rudolph , Jay Howard