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Mega New Prize Offering for SuperNationals 20

'20 for 20' introduced to attract former winners back to Vegas.

Marco Ardigo
Marco Ardigo last ran the SuperNationals in 2012 and was victorious in KZ2.
Photo Credit: Joey Barros/Kart360

Considered by most everyone to be the largest kart race in the world, the SKUSA SuperNationals happen annually in Las Vegas and draw top names from around the globe each November. With more than three months left before the 20th running of the event, there are many announcements yet to come. However, one announcement we can confirm is the word that SKUSA has come up with a special prize called “20 for 20.” From what we’ve put together, this prize will be awarded to any driver that has won previously in a premier category at the SuperNationals that also repeats their performance at the 20th event.

To win one of the three premier categories of S1, X30 Senior, and KZ2 at this year’s SuperNationals, you win $10,000. If you were a previous winner of that category in the past 20 years, you will be awarded an extra $10,000, making it a $20,000 payday at the 20th SuperNationals -- hence the '20 for 20' naming. It’s still a bit blurry if the Formula C years will count towards KZ2 and if S1 will count when it was considered S2, but we’re going to assume those years count for those categories.

We have put together a list of all previous winners at the bottom of this page that contains 38 individual drivers that should be qualified to go after the $20,000 and classified them into three groups based on our opinion of their chances to repeat.

The Players

Most of these guys are from the most recent years, but there are a solid 12-13 drivers that have a legit shot at bringing this home. We will start with the premier KZ2 category. Five names jump out at us and those are Bas Lammers, Anthony Abbasse, Paolo De Conto, Gary Carlton, and Marco Ardigo. The most recent winner and two time champ, Gary Carlton (Formula K), will definitely be in attendance this year and will have as good of a shot as any. The other favorite would have to be now five-time European Champion Marco Ardigo. The only problem is that Ardigo and his Tony Kart factory team have not attended Vegas in three years and there are rumors that OTK has some beef with SKUSA. Will a 20K incentive be enough to squash that? Only time will tell with this one.

The other three drivers mentioned we also expect to see alongside Carlton in a few months. Between the three of them it is impossible to pick a favorite as they all have been very fast on multiple occasions.

Gary Carlton fired up after SuperNationals 19 win in KZ2
One of the best opportunities to win $20,000 will be Gary Carlton's in KZ2.
Photo Credit: Canadian Karting News

Next we will move into S1. Last year’s winner Danny Formal was nearly untouchable and if the track doesn’t change too much for this year’s race we may see a repeat of the 2015 result. Fighting him for this prize will be the 2013 champ Joey Wimsett. Since winning the event in 2013, the Oregon native has struggled a bit to find that same speed, but a few weeks ago at the SummerNats we saw a glimpse of the old Wimsett that could lead a triumph. Jordon Lennox Lamb dominated the 2014 SKUSA season going undefeated all season long. Lennox will be competing in KZ, but we assume there will also be a kart put together for S1.

Last there is TaG Senior. Four drivers make up the list of serious contenders for us. Leading the way is Top Kart’s Marco Maestranzi. He has competed at the SuperNats three times and has yet to finish outside the top three. That kind of consistency in Vegas can only be found with the house taking your money, and David Sera finishing second (love you, David). This brings us to Andre Nicastro, who has been Sera’s arch nemesis for years. Nicastro has not been as much of a factor the last few years, but the guy still has it and will be highly motivated this year.

2015 Champion, Louie Pagano, is always quick in Vegas no matter how his season has gone to that point. Though Louie has not been the strongest in 2016 we have no doubt he will be a hitter come time to cash in. For the past few years Philip Orcic has been all over when it comes to racing as he has tried to break into car racing. Since winning TaG Senior in 2011 he has competed most of the time since in KZ2, but we have a feeling this year he will be back in a single drive kart trying to win the 20K. Last year Orcic impressed many with his performance on the Mach1 chassis and it will be interesting to see if he will return with them this year.

The Dark Horses

Everyone listed above is still in a kart a majority of their time and still climbing to the peak of their careers, but the Dark Horses are those that have not spent as much time in a kart and will have some rust to kick off if they are to repeat.

We are going to start with Michael Valiante, but this is where the “rules” make things complicated. MV as he is known by many is a legend in North American karting and won Formula C at the SuperNats in 1997, 1998, and 1999. In most recent years he has competed in TaG Senior and has been very close to winning multiple times. Right now he is busy with his sports car career, but he is in a kart quite frequently. If the rule stands that you must win the same category you won previously, MV will have to enter KZ2 to win his check and that is chock-full of professionally paid kart drivers. Even with someone of the caliber of Valiante, it would be an uphill challenge competing against that much talent.

Another driver in similar shoes as Valiante is Wesley Boswell. Despite his immense talent and ocassionally being in the seat, he too would have to enter KZ2 after his huge win in ICC in 2003. Looking back over the years, the win Boswell had for Birel and MRP that year is one of the few that stick out in our minds in the 20 year history. 

Ron White won SuperPro (now S1) in 2002. Ron continues to compete in S1 and we fully expect to see him on the grid. He may not have the outright speed he used to have, but never count him out and with this kind of motivation anything is possible.

The driver we are the most intrigued about in this entire list of drivers is that of current OGP-fame, Alex Speed. The former Manteca, California resident was perhaps the top driver in the United States in his prime years dating back to 2003. Alex may seem like he is never in a kart, but do not be fooled. Being one of the leaders at OGP in Florida, he continues to drive and it wouldn’t take much prep for him to be back in top form. Add in his father, Mike, and this could be a deadly combo if proper preparation has been done.

In TaG Senior both former champs Joel Miller and Gabby Chavez have full time car rides and though we hope to see them on the grid in November they will not be favorites simply due to seat time.

Fun to consider, but unlikely

There are a few drivers on the list that have not been seen on the National karting scene in some years and we do not expect to see them competing at the event in November. David Jurca is one of the most recent names on the lists. We last saw him at the SKUSA SpringNats at the Dallas Karting Complex in 2014, but since then he has moved to London, England where he works in the financial industry. David has not been in a kart for nearly a year, so we don’t expect to see him at the event.

Memo Gidley is a household name for many over the age of 25 and is one badass driver. Memo is still recovering from the injury he sustained at Daytona during the 24 Hour race a few years ago, so we do not expect to see him racing although we fully expect to see him at the event as he works with a few young drivers from Northern California. Another driver and a former rival of Gidley’s is Alex Barron. Alex won the inaugural SuperNationals, but what he is up to is unknown to us at this time.

Scott Speed
Photo Credit: facebook.com/scottspeed

As we prepared to to wrap up this article we reached out to two-time winner Scott Speed, brother of Alex and 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross Champion, to see if he had considered the opportunity. He relayed to us that he was unaware of the possibility and did seem open to the idea. We’ll likely hear more from Speed in the coming weeks and months and get the word out when we receive it.

It was fun to kick around some of these names from years and years ago to consider their odds of jumping back in. Who would you like to see make the comeback?

Past SuperNationals winners in premiere categories

Older categories have the current name in parenthesis.

2015
KZ2: Gary Carlton
S1: Danny Formal
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Louie Pagano

2014
KZ2: Paolo De Conto
S1: Jordon Lennox
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Marco Maestranzi

2013
KZ2: Anthony Abbasse
S1: Joey Wimsett
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Nicholas Rowe

2012
KZ2: Marco Ardigo
S1: Simas Juodvirsis
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Gabby Chavez

2011
KZ2: Anthony Abbasse
S1: Mirko Torsellini
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Philip Orcic

2010
S1: Alex Speed
KZ2: Marco Ardigo
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Andre Nicastro

2009
SuperPro (KZ2): Bas Lammers
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Taylor Miinch

2008
SuperPro (KZ2): Jonathan Thonon
S1: Jose Zanella
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Emanuele Pagani

2007
SuperPro (KZ2): Marco Ardigo
S1: Connor DePhillippi
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Joel Miller

2006
SuperPro (KZ2): Gary Carlton
S1: James Kennedy
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Daniel Morad

2005
SuperPro (KZ2): Lorenzo Mandarino
S1: Logan Gomez
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): David Jurca

2004
SuperPro (KZ2): Jason Bowles
S1: Brian Keck
TaG Senior (X30 Senior): Jerry Henderson

2003
SuperPro (KZ2): Wesley Boswell
S1: Tyler Givogue

2002
SuperPro (S1): Ron White
ICC (KZ2): David Jurca

2001
SuperPro (S1): Scott Speed

2000
SuperPro (S1): Scott Speed

1999
S1: Memo Gidley
Formula C (KZ2): Michael Valiante

1998
S1: Darren Elliott
Formula C (KZ2): Michael Valiante

1997
125 Moto (S1): Alex Barron
Formula C (KZ2): Michael Valiante