To say that MG Tires is a staunch supporter of the Superkarts! USA program is a vast understatement. The partnership between the Brazilian tire manufacturer and U.S. karting’s fastest growing racing organization has been an extremely positive one, and this union will be on display once again as MG Tires has been confirmed as the title sponsor of the third annual SKUSA SpringNationals, the opening race weekend of the 2012 SKUSA Pro Tour.
The event is just two weeks away, set for April 20-22 at the Phoenix Kart Racing Association facility in Arizona, and MG has stepped up with an unprecedented prize package that has never before been offered by a tire supplier. MG will be presenting each and every podium finisher, 48 in all over the weekend, with a new set of MG tires as a reward for their top-three performance. This program will provide over $10,000 in value to Superkarts! USA Pro Tour competitors.
“My personal relationship with MG Tires is now in its 12th season, and I’m thrilled that they have come to the plate to support our racers once again, with such an incredible sponsorship package for the SpringNationals,” offered Tom Kutscher, SKUSA President, singing the praises of his tire partner. “Our MG SK-White program is a key component of our program and provides our racers with the best tire in the sport. The new MG-WT rain tire is also strong, and I’m pleased that we now have it in place for 2012 so that we are an all-MG organization. This prize package for our MG Tires SpringNationals podium finishers is beyond crazy, and I hope that our racers realize how cool this is.”
This year’s MG Tires SpringNationals promises to be the largest yet. As entries continue to pour in, SKUSA officials are now looking at having to cap certain classes at the 40-driver mark in order to maintain the length of the daily schedules. The classes that are closing on the cap include S4, TaG Senior and TaG Master. In fact, S2 could be pushing the cap as well, despite the fact that the class graduated five of its top drivers into the headline S1 category this year.
“I’m happy with the momentum that we are seeing in the sport and with our Pro Tour, as our growth is continuing in 2012,” added Kutscher. “After launching and establishing the series in 2010, we enjoyed huge growth last year, seeing a 60% increase in participation for the 2011 SpringNationals. This year, we are anticipating at least 20% growth, with a definite possibility of more. Topping the 200-entry mark seems certain, based on the commitments we’ve received from teams and drivers. Man, I’d love to see 250. How great would that be for the sport right now?”
“One of our goals is to provide an exciting platform for ultra-competitive national competition, and I truly believe that we’re achieving this objective,” Kutscher continued. “The level of competition in our classes is staggering, and I think that our internal ladder system has so much to do with this. We’re seeing some great young drivers moving into S1 from S2, and the new stars of S2 are now emerging. The same goes for TaG Senior and TaG Junior. As the champions and frontrunners move up, things are only going to become more spirited.”
Racers are asked to register for this event as soon as possible -- and definitely prior to the Sunday, April 15 pre-entry deadline -- as SKUSA officials need the most accurate driver count possible to maximize efficiency in transporting the event race tires to Phoenix. By visiting www.skusastore.com , competitors can fill out their online registration form to ensure they are entered for the 2012 SKUSA SpringNationals. Pit spot reservations are now available, and teams are encouraged to make a reservation as soon as all drivers under their tent have registered.
The benefits for drivers participating in the SpringNationals, and the entire Pro Tour, are extremely valuable. In addition to the purse and prize fund assembled by SKUSA, two important programs involving the SuperNationals are in place. The top-three drivers in the point standings of each class heading to Vegas will have an ace in the hole when they hit the track on Wednesday at the Rio. The class leaders in all eight Pro Tour categories will have a guaranteed starting position on their grid on SuperSunday. Regardless of their performances through qualifying, the heat races, or even the Last Chance Qualifiers, these competitors will at minimum have a spot at the tail of the field for the main events. In addition, all of SKUSA’s regional ProKart Challenge champions will receive the same incredible opportunity.
The second program is the SuperNationals Priority Entry program, which has been designed to ensure that SKUSA’s racers will have first shot at participation in the Las Vegas spectacular. The mechanics of this program are still in the design stage, although when complete, it will provide preferred entry opportunity for drivers running the first two Pro Tour events and then those competing in their entire ProKart Challenge regional series up to the entry date. Following these groups, racers who entered at least one Pro Tour race will get preferred entry, following by those entering at least one of SKUSA’s six ProKart Challenge series. This is all focused on giving SKUSA’s regular racers the opportunity to enter the SuperNationals before the race is opened to the masses.
Lastly, SKUSA’s research, development and launch of the TaG Cadet category in 2010 has been a strong part of the Pro Tour and the SuperNationals. Once again, the overall class champion in the TaG Cadet class will head to South Garda, Italy in October 2013 to represent Superkarts! USA in the Rok Cup International Final. This event is attended by drivers from all over the world, and would be a highlight in the career of any young racer. This is a full support package for the driver, including entry, equipment, pit space and more. Two-time Pro Tour TaG Cadet champion Colton Herta will represent SKUSA this year, but now that he has moved to TaG Junior, the door is wide open for the next young star to take center stage.
The host hotel for the SpringNationals weekend -- the Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Happy Valley -- has already sold out, but SKUSA was able secure another limited room block at the Courtyard by Marriott, where just a few rooms remain available at the special “Superkarts! USA” group rate for one more day. More details about this and other event details are posted at the series link on the SKUSA website (http://www.superkartsusa.com/national/skusa-pro-tour.html). Racers are encouraged to secure their accommodations as soon as possible, as this is a ‘destination area’ of Phoenix and rooms can often become in short supply. SKUSA recommends competitors act quickly to avoid extended travel time from the hotel to the track.
Visit www.superkartsusa.com to keep up-to-date on anything related to Superkarts! USA and the Pro Tour for 2012.