SKUSA: Gustavo Menezes SuperNationals summary

TOP-FIVE FINISH FOR MENEZES AT SKUSA SUPERNATIONALS XII Two-time SuperNats winner comes up just short in attempt for third event win LAS VEGAS, NV (November 27, 2008) -- Winning at the biggest event of the year can be very difficult, but earning...

TOP-FIVE FINISH FOR MENEZES AT SKUSA SUPERNATIONALS XII
Two-time SuperNats winner comes up just short in attempt for third event win

LAS VEGAS, NV (November 27, 2008) -- Winning at the biggest event of the year can be very difficult, but earning your third is certainly no stroll in the park. On the November 24-26 weekend at the National Guard Superkarts! USA SuperNationals XII in Las Vegas, two-time national champion runner-up Gustavo Menezes attempted to join the names of NASCAR's Scott Speed and Rolex Grand-Am's Michael Valiante as the only three-time SuperNats victors. With 48 other TaG Junior drivers looking to become the first ever winner in the class, Menezes was up against a tough challenge but nothing he would back down from. Held on the grounds of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, this race was the biggest event in North American karting in 2008.

Considering the staggering number of laps and events that Menezes ran throughout the year, he would go into the event among the favorites to win the division. Not one to disappoint, Gustavo was in the top-ten on the leader board during practice, dialing in his machine. An ignition issue during the final practice session put the team behind the eight-ball as it would put Menezes down the chart in that important run, positioning him in the slower qualifying group for the following day's qualifying session. Determined to not let that slow him down, Menezes set out to post a fast lap, however, a busy track would not allow him a clear opportunity for a quick time, putting him 18th on the overall results.

An opening lap skirmish in the first of three heat races dropped Menezes back to the 27th position. With patience and highly-calculated maneuvers, Gustavo worked himself back up to 15th in the 15-lap sprint. Similar to the first heat, Menezes advanced up through the field to post a fifth place run in the second race. Two red flag situations shortened the final qualifying heat to just four laps and thus ended any chance of the Tony Kart driver to improve his position, placing 15th for the second time. With the additional laps, he would certainly have advanced into the top-10.

Starting 10th in the main, Menezes had an opportunity to fight for the win. Able to get through the opening corners without any issues, Gustavo was up to eighth the first time he crossed the timing loop. From there, an intense battle with the other drivers inside the top-10 ensued until lap nine when the race was red-flagged for an large incident further back in the field. Once restarted, Menezes began in the fourth position. Due to the stoppage, the race was shortened by 10 laps, hindering Gustavo's kart as it was set up to 'come in' later in the race. Working with handling that was only beginning to improve, Menezes would lose one spot to a Tony Kart teammate and finish the feature in fifth.

Working under the same tent as last year's TaG Senior winner, Star Mazda driver Joel Miller, and IndyCar Series pilot Buddy Rice, Menezes left the event with a wealth of knowledge that the young 14-year old driver hopes to turn into success in the years to come.

Following the Vegas event, Menezes and his family jumped on a plane to trek across the Pacific Ocean toward China to compete at the CIK-FIA Asia-Pacific KF3 Championship on November 27-30 in Macau. On this outing, he will be under the Tony Kart Junior tent.

-credit: www.gustavomenezes.com

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Series Kart
Drivers Michael Valiante , Scott Speed , Buddy Rice , Joel Miller , Gustavo Menezes