Grand Junction, Colorado prepares for SKUSA Pro Tour invasion with three-day event
Article By: Superkarts! USA
TEMECULA, CA (July 8, 2011) – The much-anticipated second round of the 2011 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour is now just one week away as the Mothers® SummerNationals will be held at the Grand Junction Motor Speedway on July 15-17. A projected list of 150 racers will compete for three days in two full rounds of racing, which will count toward the season championship that began just two months ago in Arizona at the Honda Racing/HPD SpringNationals. Eight categories will continue their attack on the Pro Tour championship, with the headline categories of TaG Senior and S1 Pro Stock Moto vying for a portion of the $3,500 purse.
“I can’t believe the Mothers® SummerNationals is already here,” commented Superkarts! USA President Tom Kutscher. “It seems like yesterday we were setting up in Tucson for what was an exciting weekend to kick off the 2011 SKUSA Pro Tour. I’m happy to be returning to Grand Junction after being there to start our rejuvenated SKUSA Mountain Region two weeks ago. Our Pro Tour racers are going to love this place. Those drivers who still have not registered have until this Sunday, July 10 at midnight to sign up and qualify for the pre-entry pricing. Anyone who is on the fence needs to just commit to it. You won’t be disappointed with what we at SKUSA, the competitors, and the track in Grand Junction have to offer.”
The Grand Junction Motor Speedway is located along the Colorado River, on the northeast side of the largest city in western Colorado. The circuit is 32 feet wide and 9/10 of a mile long, with 13 turns. A mixture of fast straight-aways, technical corners and elevation changes provide the ideal backdrop to the Pro Tour championship series. For the SummerNationals, the track will be run in the clockwise direction.
With Superkarts! USA’s emphasis on making each stop of the Pro Tour a standout event, the Grand Junction Motor Speedway crew has put together a number of exciting additions to the weekend. To begin, they have organized a fun off-track activity for Thursday, just as everyone arrives and completes their paddock set-up. At 1:00 pm local time, Superkarts! USA and GJMS will host a golf tournament at The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa. The course, located roughly 10 miles from the track, was voted among America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses for 10 years straight by ‘Golf Digest’ and the Best Public Course in 2008 by ‘Golf Magazine’. The cost to play is $67 for green fees and cart, and a prize table is currently being put together. And for those not interested in golfing, there are plenty of Colorado wine tours in the area for people to sample. If you’re interested in either of these options, please contact Grand Junction Motor Speedway at 970-256-0107 to reserve your spot in the golf tourney or to find out more about the wine tours. On Friday, following the full day of official practice, SKUSA will once again provide a complimentary barbeque to all of the drivers, crew and family that have purchased a pit pass.
When the track opens for Saturday’s racing action, it will be back to business – as drivers look to gain a piece of the more than $55,000 in cash prizes and racer support for the Pro Tour competitors. The two headline categories – TaG Senior and S1 Pro Stock Moto – will each battle for a $1,000 first place check that will be awarded to the event winner (cumulative point leader on the weekend), with the second and third place drivers earning $500 and $250, respectively. All categories will continue their fight to earn the Pro Tour championship in their respective classes and be part of the SKUSA ‘Circle of Champions’ support package for 2012. SKUSA will provide each 2011 Pro Tour champion with complimentary entries, race tires, fuel and oil for the following season, which equates to roughly $25,000 in racer support.
One key element following the action in Grand Junction is where everyone will be situated in the Pro Tour standings. The top three drivers in the Pro Tour points in S2, S4, TaG Senior, TaG Junior and TaG Cadet will be rewarded with guaranteed starting positions in the SKUSA SuperNationals main events should they not transfer following the heat races or the Last Chance Qualifier. In addition, the TaG Cadet Pro Tour champion will be awarded a partially supported trip to the 2012 Rok Cup International Final in Italy, including the event entry fee, a new OTK chassis with Vortex engine to use for the race, tires for the race, one set of practice tires, race fuel and hotel stay for the driver (four nights) – airfare is not included. There is certainly a great deal on the line for all those in attendance in Colorado.
Acting as the headline category for Saturday will be TaG Senior sponsored by Zanardi America, which provided some of the best racing in Tucson. With a feature win and a podium trip logged in two days of action, Brett Felkins left Tucson leading the championship chase by a mere 30 points over the impressive rookie Dakota Dickerson. The 14-year old made his Senior debut that weekend in fine fashion. Sunday winner Matt Johnson sits third in the standings – 120 points back – with plenty of racing left to decide who will be among the top-three leaving Grand Junction. The S1 Pro Stock Moto class will headline Sunday’s action, and Kiwi driver Daniel Bray is in the driver’s seat, coming off a dominating performance in Tucson. Right on his heels, however, is teammate and S2/S5 graduate Lukas Johnson, who stood on the podium both days. Veteran pilot and two-time SuperNationals winner Tom Dyer enters Grand Junction 100 points back in third.
Kyle Hathcox has the momentum swinging his way entering the Mothers® SummerNationals in S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, which is sponsored by RPB Motorsports. A near sweep on Sunday in Tucson, coupled with a runner-up in Saturday’s main event, have the Phoenix driver leading the championship chase over Texan Jake French and Tucson Saturday’s winner Nicky Freytag. Hathcox doubled up in the win column at the recent SKUSA Mountain Region event in Grand Junction, which means he will be in the fight once again. With a perfect score in Tucson, Jimmy McNeil will be the target that the drivers in the Leading Edge Motorsports-backed S4 Master Stock Moto class have on their radars. McNeil’s lead is at 200 points, but can easily be lost depending on the results that Nick Firestone and Illinois driver Lance Lane – who sit second and third – can record in Colorado. In TaG Master, Ohio’s Brian McHattie is trying to match McNeil’s S4 results as he scored two feature wins in Tucson, positioning him as the point leader in the Full Throttle Karting-sponsored category. Larry Fraser was runner-up both days, putting him just 25 points out of the lead. Billy Cleavelin was the quickest both days, but was unable to transfer that pace into victories as mechanical issues plagued his efforts.
Austin Schimmel and Alex Tartaglia exchanged the top spot each day in the S5 Junior Stock Moto category, sponsored by MG Tires for the SummerNationals. Schimmel left Tucson with the point lead, thanks to his consistency, and leads Tartaglia by 45 points – while Micah Hendricks sits third with a host of others close behind. A wild SpringNationals in TaG Junior, sponsored by Tony Kart West, has Jake Craig as the current point leader thanks to his two podium finishes. Canadian Parker Thompson closed the gap thanks to his feature win on Sunday, and now trails by 75 points heading into Colorado. Bailey Murphy is just 15 markers behind, and has confirmed his entry for the second stop on the Pro Tour. In TaG Cadet, sponsored by Peterson Wealth Management, Colton Herta’s dominant performance at Tucson will afford him some breathing room heading into the SummerNationals. Christian Brooks will look to stop Herta’s streak in Colorado, as he currently sits second in the standings.
Teams and competitors will begin moving into the Grand Junction Motor Speedway on Thursday (July 14) to set up their paddock spaces for the weekend and will also be able to complete registration that afternoon. Drivers hit the asphalt on Friday morning to begin the on-track action with six sessions available per class. Saturday will fire up Round #3 of the Pro Tour with qualifying, two heat races and a main event on the docket. The same format will follow on Sunday, as the results will count toward Round #4 of the point chase. SKUSA awards points for every official on-track session, so every driver will be flat-out on attack to gain as many points as possible. For complete details on the event, be sure to visit the event page on the SKUSA website (www.superkartsusa.com/national/skusa-pro-tour/summer-nationals.html).
Superkarts! USA will once again partner with eKartingNews.com, as they will be providing their full ‘EKN Trackside Live’ coverage throughout the weekend. In addition to daily race reports, forum updates and results, the live play-by-play audio – provided by EKN Publisher and Superkarts! USA emcee Rob Howden – along with live timing will be available through their webpage (www.ekartingnews.com/live).
About Superkarts! USA:
Established in 1995, Superkarts! USA is dedicated to shifterkart and TaG racing and is the leader in the field, currently promoting five regional racing series. Racing programs are currently running in Southern California, Northern California, Hawaii, Colorado, Missouri and Iowa, in cooperation and support from official tire supplier MG Tires. In 2011, the organization is promoting the second edition of the SKUSA Pro Tour, which features a pair of major events in Arizona and Colorado, all leading up to the annual SKUSA SuperNationals, the biggest shifter kart race in the world, held every November in Las Vegas, NV. For more information on SKUSA, please visit www.superkartsusa.com.