EKN Trackside: 2014 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals – Sunday Report
Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals
The 2014 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals will go down as an historic, memorable and distinct event in North American karting history. Dallas Karting Complex hosted the final day of action with the record number of drivers taking to the Caddo Mills, Texas facility for Round Two of the weekend on a bright and warm Sunday.
Despite the eight drivers earning victories on course, and the $6,500 in prize money awarded, the day was marked with the loss of the CRG West trailer due to fire. An electrical fire sparked within the hauler, as the efforts of many throughout the paddock with fire extinguishers could not douse the flames and over 75% of the stacker trailer was lost. Thankfully, the quick actions of those surrounding that area of the paddock, and low wind speeds compared to that of previous days, the fire did not spread to any other tent or trailer. The Superkarts! USA and Dallas Karting Complex staff came together during a time of danger, the pits were evacuated to help eliminate the chance of danger, and no person was hurt. The Kacic family will rebound and recover from their lose, and the karting family is behind them 100%.
The delay in the day’s activities did not hamper the action on track, with the SKUSA staff and racers pushing through to get all the scheduled laps completed and nearly back on schedule with the final checkered flag. Eight drivers claimed victory to complete the weekend, with a number of repeat winners returning to the top of the podium.
The goal of every TaG Senior driver was to find the speed in qualifying to start up front and avoid the carnage that typically happens in large fields. DKC/SodiKart USA made sure of that as he laid down the quickest lap of the qualifying session. A 52.362-second lap was the best of the session, clearing the field by over two tenths of a second. Veteran David Jurca put his Italian Motors USA/Italkart onto the front row, with Saturday winner Jake Craig (Tony Kart) third. Matt Johnson (Tony Kart) and Franklin Motorsports/Merlin driver Kyle Kalish completed the fast five.
The start to heat one was one of the cleaner beginnings to a TaG Senior race on the weekend, returning to action right after the pit evacuation for the CRG West trailer fire. Pagano retained the lead from the pole position with the top-four in the mix after Kalish was shuffled back. Pagano pulled away in what was an uneventful eight-lap race. Jurca crossed the line in second, but was penalized three positions for jumping the start. That promoted Craig to second and third to Johnson. Kalish recovered take the checkered flag fifth, but moved to outside row to of the heat race after the Jurca penalty.
Heat two was possible the worst start for the TaG Senior drivers, including Pagano. The field stormed into the opening corner with Pagano getting spun around at the apex, and collecting a number of drivers. This allowed Craig to inherit the lead with Kalish avoiding the carnage and up to second. Roger Ralston Jr. (FA Kart), Andrick Zeen (Margay) and Travis Lowe (Kosmic) made up the top-five following the opening circuit, with Lowe on the move early. Ralston and Zeen fought for position, and a little contact benefitted Lowe as he slipped by for the spot. As they fought behind them, Craig and Kalish drove to a 1-2 finish and set up the front row for the main event. Lowe was able to escape with third as his KartSport North America rookie Gresham Wagner (Arrow) fought up to fifth over Zeen and Jurca.
Pagano’s DNF in heat two set the stage for a come-back drive in the 15-lap main event to remember. The race began with the inside line taking advantage, with Craig, Lowe and Wagner assuming the top-three positions with Kalish back to fifth behind Ralston on the opening circuit. Thanks to drivers wrecking in the opening corner, Pagano was up to the 13th position after the first lap with plenty of time to move forward. Into the 10th spot by lap two, Pagano gained a position every lap with a similar turn one pass that he set up through the turn 14-15-16 complex. By the time the race reached the seventh lap, the SodiKart driver was into the fifth position. Wagner and Ralston went back and forth for the third position, and that allowed Pagano to close in and pick them off in consecutive laps despite a valiant effort put in by Ralston to keep the charging SKUSA #2 plate-holder at bay. The front two were nearly in a dead heat, as they matched their fast lap of the race with Craig leading every circuit for his second victory and $1,000 check. Lowe was runner-up on his second podium finish of the weekend while Pagano ended up third in a stellar drive from the back. Ralston finished fourth with fellow Florida driver Dustin Stross (Tony Kart) earning a fifth as a privateer effort. Zeen would end up sixth with Kalish, Wagner, Austin Elliott (Kosmic) and Austin Osborne (Tony Kart) completing the top-10.
Author: David Cole ( EKN )