WKA: IRL SoK: Shawano finale preview

The Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series will wrap up the Eastern Division schedule this weekend in Shawano, WI at the USA International Raceway (USAIR). The 1.1-mile long facility that incorporates multiple configurations will be...

The Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series will wrap up the Eastern Division schedule this weekend in Shawano, WI at the USA International Raceway (USAIR). The 1.1-mile long facility that incorporates multiple configurations will be making its third straight year on the Stars schedule, a popular track for most of the teams and drivers. This weekend's track layout will follow the same as last year's - with Eastern Division champion Phil Giebler scoring the fastest lap in ICC Qualifying with a 57.043 lap time.

The big factor that may decide the five championships this weekend will be weather. In the series first visit in 2005, rain was a big factor all weekend. Last year, only a small shower Saturday night/Sunday morning dampened the area, not effecting the racing action. This weekend, scattered thunderstorms are forecasted for both Saturday and Sunday as of Wednesday afternoon with a clear day Friday for practice.

USAIR will once again welcome the series competitors and their families to Shawano with a Brat Fry on Friday evening that will begin immediately after the conclusion of Friday practice. The Brat Fry is always a welcome social break provided by the considerate and hard-working staff at USAIR.

On Saturday, up to 200 cars are expected be present for the Street Scenes Show & Shine and Poker Run festivities that will coincide with the annual Stars & Cars auto show that USAIR intertwines with the event. Judging and awards ceremonies for the car show will take place on Sunday. D.J. Crazy J will be on hand providing music for both Saturday and Sunday's events.

Sunday will also see a celebrity race featuring retired NFL stars Gilbert Brown, Santana Dotson, and Joe Panos as well as former world snowmobile racing champion Chuck Decker. The celebrity drivers will make their entrance to USA International Raceway in grand fashion by helicopter. They will be accompanied in by parachutists and fireworks, all to coincide with the singing of the National Anthem by area singing sensation Laura Hacker. The celebrity race will support the Gilbert Brown Foundation which sends underprivileged children to football camps all expenses paid and works with youth to create a positive influence in their lives.

On track, three of the five Eastern championships have clear front-runners who basically need to cautious of not giving away points from the weekend.

ICC

Gary Carlton has a strangle hold on both the East and the West, winning all six finals thus far. The PCH Motorsports driver holds a 45 point advantage - including each driver's drop thus far - over Matt Jaskol (Team Top Kart USA) heading into the weekend. Carlton only needs to finish ninth or better in Saturday's final if Jaskol scores the victory to clinch the Eastern title. Still mathematically in the championship fight are 2006 EKN Rising Star Michael Vincec (Cameron Motorsports) and former #1 ranked ICC driver David Jurca (Italian Motors). Vincec is just 15 points behind Jaskol with Jurca another 15 points further back. Though both Jaskol and Jurca have run both East and West, their East point total gives them a better chance at catching Carlton in the overall standings.

PCH Motorsports ICA

The Eastern Division championship will not be decided this weekend, but rather at the Western Division finale at Moran Raceway on September 14-16. Current Eastern championship leader Scott Jenkins (Team Intrepid/Champion Racing) will miss this weekend's Shawano event to attend the European KF2 Championships in Salbris, France. The British native won both finals at the Race of the Americas and New Castle events to hold a 45 point lead over fellow Brit Jake Rosenzweig. The PSL Karting driver, who now calls the U.S. home, will need a couple podium finishes for a chance at the Eastern title and stay in the overall championship hunt. Cameron Motorsports Cody Jolly sits third in the standings, 15 points back from Rosenzweig, tied with Federico Montoya - who will not be in attendance this weekend. Rounding out the top five, still mathematically in the Eastern chase, is PCH Motorsports Jacob Neal.

Spec Racer

The one class that has provided great racing all year has been the Spec Racer division. Like most of the races, the Eastern title is a toss up heading into the final weekend. With a drop already applied, new Team Top Kart USA member Conor Daly holds the number one spot on the strength of two podium finishes at Race of the Americas. His old ArrowUSA teammate, Edward Fortier sits 22 points behind in second. Third sits Zach Beard (FirstKart.com) while fourth is Adam Johnson (Team Top Kart USA) - who has an outside chance of winning the title. Rounding out the top five is Cale Wyse (Franklin Motorsports), needing some help this weekend to get up into the championship fight.

JICA

Just like the Spec Racer, the JICA category is even closer. Four drivers sit within 10 points of each other. Tony Kart USA drivers Gustavo Menezes and Jarvis Gennari sit 1-2 heading into the weekend. Menezes has a five point advantage over Gennari. Also sitting second his FirstKart.com's Brendan Langlois with four straight podium finishes though loses the tiebreaker with Gennari as of now with no wins compared to his one victory. Five points behind them is Team Intrepid/Leading Edge driver Scott Rossi. The Canadian has three podium finishes to his credit. Rounding out the top five is Jose Zanella - currently not registered to attend the event.

King Taco Cadet

Like Carlton, Sage Karam has a strong hold on the Cadet Eastern championship, winning the first four finals. The MRP-Birel America driver has been strong all year long, looking for his second Cadet title in three years. Nick Neri (Tony Kart USA) sits second, 45 points back from Karam, needing some help on the weekend. Grant Vogel (Team Intrepid/Vogel Racing) sits third, 20 markers behind Neri while Tyler Thomas (Team Top Kart USA) and Mason Chelootz (Team Intrepid/NBR) round out the top five with the drop included heading to Shawano. The East Division Champion in the category will receive an all-expenses paid trip to a 2008 IndyCar event for them and a guardian courtesy of King Taco.

-credit: sok

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Series Kart
Drivers Phil Giebler , Matt Jaskol , Jake Rosenzweig , Conor Daly , Jarvis Gennari , Sage Karam , Nick Neri , Gustavo Menezes , Tyler Thomas