PRESS: SKUSA PRO TOUR READIES FOR LAUNCH AT SPRINGNATIONALS
This year’s Superkarts! USA Pro Tour is fast becoming one of the bright spots of American karting for 2011, as our sport is now rebounding from being hard hit by the recent economic recession. Despite the continuing issues with the national economy, karting is certainly fighting back as entry numbers in the primary regional series have been extremely encouraging, and SKUSA is part of this recovery. There is positive momentum building all over the country and SKUSA’s West Coast-centric ‘Pro Tour’ is enjoying significant buzz regarding good fields in virtually all of its classes. The opening round of the SKUSA Pro Tour – the Honda Racing/HPD SpringNationals in Tucson, AZ – is now less than a week away and the research performed by the EKN staff shows that this program will see significant growth for 2011. The inaugural Pro Tour launched last spring at Infineon Raceway with just over 100 participants and the forecasted numbers for this year’s opener are north of 170.
The 2011 SKUSA Pro Tour will consist of three events, anchored by the granddaddy of them all, the SuperNationals in Las Vegas in November. The season kicks off on the April 29 – May 1 weekend in Tucson, Arizona for the second running of the SpringNationals. As recently announced on EKN, Honda Racing and Honda Performance Development (HPD) have signed on as the title sponsor for the event, helping to raise the bar for an event that SKUSA’s Tom Kutscher is aimed at making into a “mini SuperNats”.
SKUSA’s return to the S1-S2-S3-S4-S5 class structure in 2010 has provided a clear ladder for drivers looking to advance in their gearbox categories and the Pro Tour will provide a great look at this program in action. Several drivers have made the move to the next level of competition, namely the class champions from both the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto and S5 Junior Stock Moto classes. The one major change to the shifter dance card has been the departure of G1, as the class drew only minimal support through SKUSA’s multiple offers to reserve a place for the class on the Tour. The organization’s TaG class approach is equally as clean, with drivers moving from Cadet to Junior and eventually into the Senior class, anchored by a growing Master division.
The departure of Crockett for S1 will open the door for a new champion in S2, and it is expected that 2010 frontrunner Matt Alcorn will once again be in the fight. That said, the S2 class on the Pro Tour will explode this year as close to 40 drivers have been confirmed for the SpringNationals, so it’s anyone’s guess who will step up. Alcorn was very strong last year aboard his Energy, and his smooth style will be an asset in both Tucson and Grand Junction. He is focusing on the Pro Tour this year with the goal of winning the S2 crown and the #1 plate.
Six drivers from last year’s SuperNats’ top-10 will challenge for the S2 title this season. A leading contender is the event’s runner-up finisher, Innovative Karting’s Nicky Freytag (Intrepid). The 19-year old from Arizona has gotten off to a solid start in 2011, as he currently leads the PKC South standings and will look to defend his home turf. Fellow podium finishers Cody Diede (Intrepid) and Josh Lane (DR Kart) join Freytag as championship contenders. Diede showed growth in maturity last year and ended the season fourth overall in the Pro Tour S2 title chase. Working under the tutelage of Leading Edge’s Greg Bell, Diede is sure to be a factor in Tucson. Midwest road race guru Lane put in an impressive fifth place effort in Vegas last year. Now teamed up with the new DR Kart importer (DRT Racing) and putting in a solid off-season training program, Lane is poised to challenge for the season championship. Colorado driver Cory Milne (GP), Zanardi America’s own Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Adam Booker (Wild Kart) placed inside the top-10 in Vegas and should be included in the battle in Tucson.
There will be some promising young talent coming into the battle this season, including guys like 3G Kart Racing’s Jake French (Birel) and Champion Racing’s Evan and Shane Walters (Intrepid). French jumped from S5 to S2 last year, impressing at the Rock Island Grand Prix King of the Streets and qualifying second to Crockett at the SuperNationals, only to hit trouble in the heat races to fall out of contention. The Walters’ brothers from St. Louis bring with them an eagerness that could see them battle for podium finishes.
SKUSA’s internal ladder will graduate more top S5 drivers into S2 this year and ’10 Pro Tour champ Daniel Langon (GP) will lead a crew that includes Christian Schureman (GP) and Augie Lerch (Intrepid). All three will need to develop poise under pressure in taking on this massive S2 grid.
Provisional S2 Entry List
|Shane Walters||Champion Racing||Intrepid|
|Evan Walters||Champion Racing||Intrepid|
|Ryan Kinnear||Champion Racing||Intrepid|
|Adam Booker||Kartel Motorsports||Wildkart|
|Andy Gerl||Innovative Karting||Intrepid|
|Arie Luyendyk Jr.||Zanardi America||Zanardi|
|Augie Lerch||Innovative Karting||Intrepid|
|Bill Kann||Team AZ Karting||Birel|
|Brandon Scheiber||Northwest Race Karts||Sodikart|
|Bryan Lemon||Innovative Karting||Intrepid|
|Bryce Cornet||Champion Racing||Intrepid|
|Carly Mandarino||Crockett Motorsports||GP|
|Chance Stephens||Innovative Karting||Intrepid|
|Christian Schuerman||Rocky Mountain Kartworks||GP|
|Clint Korte||3G Kart Racing||Birel|
|Cody Diede||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid|
|Connor Wargin||Rocky Mountain Kartworks||GP|
|Corey Neuveau||2 Wild Karting||Tony Kart|
|Daniel Langon||STA Racing||GP|
|Eli Ziegler||Rocky Mountain Kartworks||GP|
|Jake French||3G Kart Racing||Birel|
|Jessica Sollberger||Select Shifter Services||DR Kart|
|Josh Lane||DRT Racing||DR Kart|
|Kyle Hathcox||AZ Kart Werx||GP|
|Logan Jones||Rocky Mountain Kartworks||GP|
|Mariana Ramirez Sabage||Leading Edge Motorsports||Intrepid|
|Matt Alcorn||Syar Motorsports Energy||Energy|
|Nicky Freytag||Innovative Karting||Intrepid|
|Patrick Cushenberry||Kimball Williams Racing||CRG|
|Sabre Cook||Critical Zone Racing||CRG|
Walters Motorsports would like to thank all our business partners for their continued support to the team and racing in general. These include; Caribbean Creme, Champion Racing, Intrepid Kart Technology, Leading Edge Motorsport, WaltersWebDesign.com and WaltersImages.com.
For more information on Walters Motorsports please visit our website www.WaltersMotorsports.com
Written By: EKartingNews.com