Opening round for new SKUSA Pro Tour completes day one in Sonoma, California SONOMA, CA (April 16, 2010) - A new era for Superkarts! USA began on Friday with a rebirth of national level racing for the organization. The new SKUSA Pro Tour is...
Opening round for new SKUSA Pro Tour completes day one in Sonoma, California
SONOMA, CA (April 16, 2010) - A new era for Superkarts! USA began on Friday with a rebirth of national level racing for the organization. The new SKUSA Pro Tour is making its debut this weekend with the running of the inaugural SpringNationals, held at the Jim Russell International Karting Center at Infineon Raceway. The Sonoma, California circuit has hosted a number of major events in its history, including a number of national events from in the previous era of the sanctioning body.
The weather was perfect for on-track activities with clear skies and warm temperatures. Drivers grew accustomed to the 3/4-mile course, which is being run in the reverse national configuration, a layout that many have never seen. Judging by the practice laps run on Friday, a number of key corners around the course will provide optimal passing opportunities. Following the on-track action of the day, Superkarts! USA hosted a tri-tip BBQ dinner with beverages being provided of J3 Competition. Media leaders eKartingNews.com were also on-hand, streaming a live audio wrap-up show that also played via PA to the racers as they enjoyed their meal.
On the line for the headline categories will be weekend purse of $1,750 in cash for both S1 (Pro Stock Moto) and TaG Senior. Drivers will be gunning for victories, but also for the season championship that features a point fund of $8,000 with $5,000 going to the champ. For all of the classes competing on the SKUSA Pro Tour, the top-five in the standings heading into the finale - the SKUSA SuperNationals XIV in Las Vegas will have guaranteed starting positions for the main events, which is huge considering the fact that only 40 drivers can start the finals. The champions who will be crowned following the November event will earn the National Number One Plate as well as special sponsorship for the 2011 season.
The headline S1 category was close for fast lap in the final session of the day. Tommy Thompson (Energy), Daniel Bray (GP), Brett Felkins (Intrepid) and Brett Buckwalter (Italkart) were within seven-hundredths of a second for their fast lap in the last run. Certainly the hometown region drivers - aside from New Zealander Bray - have a slight advantage though the rest of the field is sure to catch up once action begins Saturday morning. The Energy chassis is rolling as well in S2 with Matt Alcorn at the top of the order in Friday's sessions along with Neil Joseph (Italkart) and Cameron Pringle (GP). S4 is the largest shifter class of the weekend boasting 19 drivers, led by defending ProKart Challenge champion Jeff Smith (CRG). The rest of the field is a tight bunch with Aluminos teammate Peter Workum (GP) and Energy driver Alex Keith besting in the top-three at the end of the day. Fernando Diaz (GP) has put himself as the favorite heading into Saturday with his fast laps in Friday practice. Sergio Machado was a late entry and is piloting the Vemme chassis near the front along with SKUSA SuperNationals XIII runner-up Kelly Baker (Italkart). Though numbers are small in the S5 Junior Stock Moto category, the competition is tough. Daniel Langon (GP) posted the fast lap in the final session however Alex Tartaglia (Intrepid), Austin Schimmel (GP) and Christian Schureman (GP) are right there.
TaG Senior saw some familiar names at the top in the final two sessions. Phil Giebler (FA Kart), a winner at the last ProKart Challenge North race at this facility, was the only driver to dip below the 50-second mark on the day. SKUSA SuperNationals podium finisher Gustavo Menezes (Tony Kart) was at the top of the charts in the second to last session but was bettered by Giebler in the final run. David Harwin (Tony Kart), JP Cadoux (Energy) and last-minute entry Gregory Liefooghe (CRG) were close on their heels. In TaG Masters, Craig Corwin (MBA) and Ethan Wilson (Tony Kart) are at the top of the time sheets. Luis Tyrrell (Wild Kart) currently has the TaG Junior field covered with some solid fast laps in practice. Emmanuel Mestre (Tony Kart) and Austin Dement (Top Kart) currently are the strongest challengers. The new TaG Cadet division saw all drivers receive their Vortex engines this morning and thus spent the day growing accustom to the new engine package. Parker Thompson was quickest in the final session on his Tony Kart with Colton Herta (BA-1) and Brendan Baker (Nevoso) right there. There is no doubt this class will be your typical drafting exhibition by the young pilots.