Everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, including ‘Situation Saturday’ for the 2023 United States Pro Kart Series Texas Grand Prix at the Speedsportz Racing Park. The first wheel-to-wheel action took place at the New Caney, Texas facility on the day the included a drop in temperature of 20 degrees with high winds after a storm cell rolled through overnight. The track conditions changed by the session with clouds, then blue skies and more clouds. We got what we were expecting from the 30 heat races contested on the day, excitement with hard, close racing across the board.
Two heat race wins helped to put AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA) on the pole position for the main event in SRP Engines Pro Shifter. Myers qualified second and used the outside front row spot to grab the holeshot in all three heat races. He fell back to second in the opening race with top qualifier Danny Formal (RPG / Kosmic) able to claim the opening moto. Myers went on to win the other two, leading wire-to-wire in both heats. Marijn Kremers (PSL / Birel ART) jumped up to the runner-up spot in Heat #2 after placing fourth, and followed it finishing behind Formal in the final heat. Formal will now start from the outside of the front row with Kremers remaining on the inside of row two alongside Giorgio Carrarar (IM / Lenzo Kart) with Hunter Pickett (PSL / Birel ART) remaining fifth.
It was a two-win day for Franklin Motorsports X30 Pro top qualifier Helio Meza (IRM / Tony Kart). Meza bested the field in the opening stint and outran the 37-driver field in the third heat. Meza was introduced to Senior level racing in the second heat as he was shuffled out of the lead and continued to lose spots, eventually finishing 13th to drop down to fourth on the grid for the main event. Diego Ramos (PSL / Birel ART) won a wild second heat that had emotions heated after a wild 10-lap session. Neither however earned the pole position for the main event as Alessandro de Tullio (Prime / Birel ART) was more consistent over the three heat races, placing second, third and fourth to claim the inside of the front row for the Final. Ramos will start alongside on the front row with SKUSA Winter Series champion Joe Turney (CDR / Kart Republic) starting third next to Meza. Harley Keeble (Piquet / Sodi Kart) is fifth with Blake Nash (Nash / EOS) starting sixth.
Helio Meza (IRM / Tony Kart) was able to win twice as well in the Mike Doty Racing KA100 Senior class during their six different heats. Meza won A vs B and A vs C from the pole position before he was just edged out by defending series champion Alex Stanfield (GWR / Gillard) in the A vs D race. Those two wins, however help him to retain the pole position for the main event. The three other heat races were won by Josh Hotz (HDD / Exprit), John Burke (Tesoro / CRG), and Brandon Lemke (Hi5 / Exprit). Both Hotz and Lemke had one bad result, and will start from 14th and 12th respectively. Burke was runner-up in his other heats, and will join Meza on the front row. Stanfield and Peyton Phillips (Hi5 / Tony Kart) makes it a Texas Two-Step by filling up the first two rows for the main event grid. Henry Wheeler (MDR / LN Racing Kart) and Ivanna Richards (HRI / Tony Kart) fill out row three.
The action was close at the front of the field in the Speed Concepts Racing KA100 Masters class. It was a similar score for Orlando winner Mike Rolison (RPG / Kosmic) with two wins. Contact in the second heat race dropped him down the order and he was able to work his way up to 10th. That salvaged a front row start as he will line up alongside top qualifier Adam Crepin (Gillard). The privateer finished fifth, second and second to retain the pole position for the main event. Danillo Ramalho (Piquet / Sodi Kart) was in position to earn the P1 starting spot on Sunday with a third and a win. Issues at the start of Heat #3 dropped him down the order as he ended up finishing eight and will start from inside row two. Niki Coello (FMS / Merlin) remained at the front all day and holds onto his P4 starting spot with Tommy Andersen (Hi5 / Exprit) and Jake Feder (HDD / CompKart) in row three.
Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) has been perfect through two days of competition in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior class. After setting fast time in qualifying on Friday, Rivera went wire-to-wire for all three heat races to retain the pole position for the main event on Sunday. Behind him was a battle for second all day with Diego Guiot (IRM / Tony Kart) securing the front row starting spot with three top-five finishes. Jackson Wolny (RPG / Kosmic) had two runner-up finishes but slipped down to seventh in the final heat to keep his P3 starting spot. Teddy Musella (RPG / Kosmic) was top-five all day and will join his teammate in row two while row three is filled by Enzo Vidmontiene (MottazSport / Parolin) and Anthony Martella (SCR / Redspeed), who has improved after qualifying 10th.
The 50-driver BBS Racing Engines KA100 Junior class is still up in the air as to who the favorite is. Five different drivers were able to come away with a heat race win. Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon / Tony Kart) was able to claim the win in his first two heat races, following it up with a third place to earn the pole position for Sunday’s main event. Top qualifier Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) came inches short of a win, and then one corner short after contact slowed his pace. Those two runner-up results and a A vs D race win allowed him to stay on the front row, this time on the outside. Landon Skinner (Speedsportz / Redspeed), Fernando Luque (Supertune / Tony Kart) and Diego Guiot (IRM / Tony Kart) were the other three winners on the day. Skinner and Luque will go from row two while Guiot had two finishes outside the top-five to end up 13th on the main event grid. Alex Mercado (SCR / Redspeed) and Payton Westcott (Nash / EOS) fill out row three.
The DNJ International Services Mini Swift class has a number of contenders in the mix after the three heat races on the day. Marco Romero (Team Benik), Lucas Palacio (Team Tarp / Kart Republic) and top qualifier Rocco Simone (MottazSport / Parolin) were the three different heat winners. Simone holds on to the pole position for the main event after finishes of second and seventh in his other results. Max Cristea (MottazSport / Parolin) has been consistent on the day after qualifying ninth, earning results of fourth, third and second to make it a Parolin front row for the Final. Travis Pettit (Trinity / Kart Republic) improve one spot from qualifying with three top-six results on the day, starting tomorrow from inside row two alongside Romero. Royce Vega (Team Benik) and Palacio will make up row six.
Colton Schniegenberg (GWR / Energy) has put himself as the driver to beat in the Team Ferris Racing Micro Swift class. The Texas driver scored two heat race wins to start the day, coming from the sixth spot on the grid. He ended up missing out on the win in Heat #3, finishing second to secure the pole position for the Sunday main event. Kade Kaspar (Trackside / GFC) was a provisional winner in the opening heat but suffered a penalty to drop him to sixth. That is the difference from starting on the pole position and outside row one after placing second and first in the final two heats on the day. Maxwell Macha (SLA / Kart Republic) improved from 10th in qualifying in all three heats with a best finish of third at the end of the day. That earned him the inside row two starting spot with Aston Wyatt (Speedsportz / Birel ART) also improving up from eighth to now start fourth. Alex Chandler (Tony Kart) and top qualifier Parker Ives (RPM / Nitro Kart) will go from row three. Ives was spun around in the opening heat and ended up placing 22nd. He came back to finish third and fourth in the remaining races.
Sunday is the final day of action for the USPKS Texas Grand Prix. Follow the coverage on the EKN Social Media accounts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the top-10 results after each session. Listen to the racing action by heading to the EKN Live page or tune in on the EKN Radio Network.