2022 USPKS Race 2

not where i expected it to be but I’m not complaning

TJ hit it right on the head both on the series and how they typically miss each other.

It makes up about a 15 race schedule

Jan // Feb - SKUSA Winter Series x 2
Jan // Feb // March - ROK Florida Winter Tour x 3
March into Summer - USPKS x 4
April into Summer - SKUSA Pro Tour x 3
October - IAME Grand Nationals x 1
Nov - ROK Vegas x 1
Nov - SKUSA Vegas x 1

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This is a great list. Are there other one-off races that most pros do? I’m thinking RIGP has a pretty good crowd of “big names”. Any others?

Is the CKNA Grands big enough to make that list? Sure seemed to get quite a few “2 cycle drivers” over the last couple of years.

What are the collective thoughts on what the new layout for the GoPro will be? The alternative layouts for the IAME Grands were a little Mickey Mouse IMHO for a USPKS race.

I would like to see actual track limits for original GoPro layout. Or reverse? Reverse might be a bit dangerous though. Left at bottom of main straight looks like it would be messy.

SuperNats is technically a one-off again these days as it doesn’t count toward the Pro Tour points. For a while it was the final event in the series and had championship implications.

IAME and Rotax Nationals could be considered one-offs as well.

I’m guessing reverse and perhaps some form of the new cut-offs being used. I queried this but it sounds like nothing firm yet on the actual layout.

Personally I don’t mind going back to the same track over and over, though it would be nice to mix it up on a new venue. When New Castle was new, every series went there, some twice a year, so we got pretty burned out of it within the first few years, but it’s such a good track for racing that I don’t mind going back once or twice a year anymore.

Thanks Xander,
I have a follow up question…

So if you are a pro racer and you follow the race schedule above, what does your practice/training look like?

In my neck of the woods, the hotshots race club and regional as well, presumably to have fun and stay sharp.

What does a pro racer do when they aren’t in one of the 15 races that matter?

Testing, coaching, or wrenching for someone else at a lesser event.

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Nothing formal? No development plan? At this stage, these guys on their own for driver development?

Or,do they have a TJ in their corner, watching and guiding their efforts?

I’m sure some drivers have specific things they want to work on within their own karting and driving arsenal, or maybe some have gotten into some development program with aims to move “up the ladder” into a car or something, but most of that is on the driver. Within the big karting teams there are obviously driver coaches and people who are helping a driver be better, but most of these big karting teams are just that; karting teams. It’s a business and not part of some larger scale development program with aims of turning karters into professional racing drivers down the road.

I think you overestimate the professionalism and formality of being a “pro karter” in the US. In terms of structure, I don’t think there is a lot of difference between some of the bigger teams, and something like you did when you were racing where it’s simply a tent program. Maybe the big teams have a nicer tent, are more organized, and more knowledgeable than small teams, but it’s still just a small business that helps people drive little cars around in the woods for plastic trophies.


Interesting. That makes sense. I wonder if it’s kinda the same in Europe with their more “formal” kart to car progression.

So the value of a Ryan to a tent program is his results in a race? This makes guys like me want to tent with RPG?

In Europe you have teams like Rosberg’s team where there is actual connection to the European ladder system. Much more professional over there it would seem.

In the end, if you’re looking to go to cars, what development path you take is probably less important than if you have seven figures in your bank account. Sign the right size checks to the right people and even fairly mediocre drivers can make a career out of racing eventually.

The value of Ryan to RPG is he is experienced and one of the top drivers in the country, so he provides data, setup direction, and a whole host of other things that go along with that experience. Plus he’s a known quantity for those guys. If a setup adjustment works for him, it’s likely he’s accurately feeling what it’s doing and can say “yeah that was good, throw that on everyone else’s karts”. The other drivers can all benefit from those things, so the value of being in that tent is pretty big just from that respect. I don’t know exactly how much say he has in those things, but I know every team I’ve been in, that’s how we’ve worked it. We take our best guy and basically just copy what he’s doing based on setup and data and try to lift everyone to his level.

If the best guy in the team can only manage 15th, everyone in the team only has access to the 15th best data on the grid, so it makes it tough to raise everyone up any higher than that.

This is why when I’m coaching or wrenching, if possible I like to jump into the kart and lay down a session to get a data set that I am sure about. Even if I’m not the fastest, I know exactly where I’m lacking or whatever, so it’s a known quantity of data.

Each driver still has to drive the kart though. Having access to the leader’s data is just information. You’ve gotta utilize that information. In the couple races I’ve done in the last couple years, I’ve just leeched data from Lemke. I look at it and go “oh right, I’m losing 0.3 and it’s all in braking” and then I proceed to lose that 0.3 all weekend because I’m old and rusty.

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Hadn’t considered the chasing setup bit as that’s not really part of my skill set yet. That makes sense.

Thott: Let’s say Greg Fine (7’, 1"") was teamed with Ryan (Short Italian man)…

Wouldn’t the difference in size/weight completely invalidate the setup that works for Ryan?

Devils advocate, here, obviously.

Ok, @tjkoyen, that last line just about made me spit-take my coffee all over my monitor… absolute classic! :clap: :rofl:

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That’s how me and my karting buddies refer to it when we realize we are taking it too seriously. Gotta stay grounded!


Setup would obviously be different but having someone who is a known quantity or could provide info on how the track is evolving would help us steer where we are going on the setup.

For a few years I worked with a tall kid (6’4") while mostly everyone else in the tent was under 6 feet tall. We couldn’t apply the same setup as everyone else, but with 4 different drivers, we could have a good idea from their feedback what direction we needed to go. So when 5’3" Lil’ Johnny is telling us the track is gripping up but their kart feels good, I know on my 6’4" kid we need to start going to a harder axle and widening the rear track width out, because we are going to have a tough time with it.

Conversely, when it starts raining or it’s cold, I start rubbing my hands together because I know 6’4" is going to be money in the low grip, but we know we have to start raising Lil’ Johnny’s seat and adding caster.

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The race teams that are based in Texas (Iron Rock, Alan Rudolph Racing Academy, Crosslink, just to name a few) have team testing days. As a team, they go to a local track and practice as a team. I am sure that some of the other big teams will do that.

Some of the drivers that aren’t located where their team is may have a “To Do” list that they must do for their team. I know a paid driver that has a “time sheet” to fill out in order to get paid. If they don’t fulfil their requirement, they won’t get paid.

TJ already answered this mostly, but it varies.

For a lot of the pros that are trying to keep minimal out-of-pocket costs on their season, aka pay their own real life bills, they usually wind up tuning or coaching at the local and regional level. It’s quite common across the board in motorsports. For some, their racing schedule is maybe just covered cost and acts as branding, and then how they make a living is the off weekends when they get offered coaching and tuning gigs.

Brandon Jarsocrak is a great example. Guy makes a living running his own club // regional tent program at GoPro Motorplex club races, tunes and coaches on gap weekends across the country, and then races a handful of events a year. Last year, he ran 6 events in total – the full USPKS schedule, the IAME Grands, and SKUSA SuperNats.

Some other younger guys working their way up to be at his or Ryan Norberg’s level may run regional or club events to stay fresh or work on their game. Alex Stanfield and Branyon Tiner ran a full Texas Sprint Series schedule this year, Pauly Massimino and a host of others run GoPro Motorplex club races, and the Midwestern based guys like Lemke run Route 66 for the majority or full calendar.

As also mentioned above, there are test weekends these guys will do, but it’s not as often as what a pro probably should. RPG has the most active testing schedule and it shows. But it also costs.

Over the next few years, hopefully we can continue to fan the flames of growth for the sport here in the states to get some outside sponsorship revenue for these teams. I think a combination of that and obviously more kart sales will create a bit of a better environment and ladder for local guys to climb up.

In the motocross world, much bigger than ours, local shops get a set amount of funds or structure to help support local hotshots. And just coming out of a meeting I had today, one US importer team has a deal where each dealer gets 1 free tent spot at each big race on the year. So, we’re getting there.

Just need a bigger pyramid to really have a top step that’s a step above where we’re at even now.


Thanks for the explanation. That articulates it nicely for us.

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This is good knowledge. Thanks.

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i dont think revers would work because of some of the outside kerbs which would be beaching anyone who touches them

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