I thought I'd bring this back a little bit with the USPKS opener, and KA100 introduction, coming in exactly one month from today. I have the entry list for the class so far, and am wondering what we think the races are going to look like here.
When I look at this list, 3 names really stick out: Kevin Nelson, Mike McAndrews, and our very own TJ Koyen. All 3 have won previous series, and they're all from Wisconsin, my home state as well. Looking at the list, I actually see at least 5 Wisconsin natives, so the state is pretty well represented, but that's beside the point. If I had to find a top 3 here, these 3 would be it. They're all plenty experienced and have the capabilities to get anything done when it needs to be.
Adam Crepin appears as well. He is a good driver, having won last year at the Route 66 event in South Bend, Indiana. I don't, however, see him in anything from USPKS, although I may just be missing that. I could definitely see him being an underdog here, creating some interesting races and competition. A notable drive from him was a run from 24th to 8th in the Sunday final of Route 66 at Badger Kart Club this year. He definitely has the tools to compete here.
Couple other Wisconsin natives here are Josh Hotz and Danny Corcoran. Both are good drivers that I know to some extent, so I have a little bias, but I see them doing well in the series. Having raced against Corcoran, he is one of the cleanest but aggressive drivers I've seen, and his adaptability is quick. Winning Route 66 events before in the Yamaha class, he is definitely a skilled competitor. Hotz, on the other hand, has been a TaG racer for the past few years taking second in the 2016 Route 66 Sprint Series championship, and winning 3 of the 10 races. I'll be keeping my eyes on both of these competitors through the season to see how they fare in battle.
Last couple names I'll touch on (as they're the only other ones I recognize enough to put into a decent paragraph) are two senior rookies of Alex Bertagnoli and Michael Paterno. Both have competed well at the junior categories in the past few years, so the move to both a new engine and a new set of competitiors will really put them to the test. Bertagnoli, with Merlin Nation, won the SKUSA X30 Junior championship last year, a feat on it's own, and will be carrying that momentum into the new season. Paterno is a strong competitor as well. While possibly lacking some of the reputation Bertagnoli can carry, he is still looking at being a strong competitor in the new season.
Thoughts, opinions? Anything you disagree with or names you'd like to add in? This season is definitely shaping to be an interesting one!