SKUSA SuperNationals 26 - TJ Driver Diary

Well if you follow my social media at all, you’ll have seen that I will be racing SuperNats this year in a last-minute decision. Obviously I’ve all but retired from “pro-level” racing, just doing 1 or 2 races a year the past few years, but keeping sharp by doing a lot of practice days and a lot of coaching. However, through my connection with @Paul_Montopoli , the BestKart factory needed a driver for KA Senior at SuperNats, and my name was thrown around. I was flattered to be considered, as usually factory teams aren’t going for old washed up dads with growing beer bellies as their team representatives, but apparently I’ve kept relevant enough that I have something to offer yet! I was hesitant to accept for a few reasons. Like I said, my racing has been limited lately, so I wasn’t sure if I would be sharp enough to mix it up at the biggest race in the world. But I’ve been pleased with my last few race weekends and felt basically as strong as ever, so I quickly brushed that doubt aside. And then I felt like leaving my wife and kids for a week would be a pretty big commitment, and I didn’t want to leave my wife hanging trying to juggle our crazy littles by herself, so I had to have her really be okay with it, and fortunately she was. She is always supportive and accommodating toward my racing because she knows how much karting means to me, and she saw this was a cool opportunity, which is so awesome. Then there was the money factor. SuperNats is obviously an expensive weekend and between diapers, daycare, and my car hobby (addiction), I didn’t know if I could swing it. Fortunately our deal with BestKart is pretty lucrative and also my mechanic (dad) was happy to step in and front some of the cost because he wants to go race as much as I do. So the boxes were all ticked and I said yes to the deal just a couple weeks ago.

So what am I actually doing? Basically, BestKart are trying to bring a new chassis to market and want to push into the Americas, so they are debuting the new karts at SuperNats with the hope we can perform on a huge stage. We want to test and develop the karts and give feedback to the factory on how we can improve them. This is pretty exciting for me, as I’ve never been part of a real “factory” effort like this. Though it will be a challenge to show up in a kart I’ve never driven before, I’m stoked to get to grips with this chassis and some of the new components AMV is bringing for the kart, and see how they feel and give my feedback on them. Part of my reason for saying yes to this was to further expand my knowledge base on different karts and learn how they work so that I can better serve drivers I’m coaching and tuning for.

I will have two different chassis models at my disposal, and we will test to see which is better suited to the track in Vegas. I’ve been chatting with the factory guys and they are very excited and positive about some of the stuff they are bringing. De Conto has been testing some stuff for them and he has been upbeat about it as well, which is a good sign.

Today my dad and I will be starting all the prep-work, including tearing down my OTK to the frame and bringing along my lead, electronics, engine etc. SKUSA released the track map today, and I’m certainly happy to continue running my Innovative engine, because it looks like we are going to need some serious power here.

Anyway I leave for Vegas Tuesday afternoon, I’ll land there in the evening and hopefully get to do some quick introductions before we hop into practice Wednesday morning. This will be my 7th or 8th SuperNats, I lose track, but I haven’t raced it since 2019 and I haven’t raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway yet, so it’ll be a learning curve. I will try and keep this updated so you guys know what’s going on behind the scenes!


You had me at “I will be racing”. :heart:

Good luck TJ! We are rooting for you. Go class that place up.


Life got in the way and I won’t be racing this year… But I’m planning on making the drive up to watch Super Sunday. I’ll make sure to hunt you down and come say hi.


Good luck TJ! Get some :sunglasses:


This is awesome news! Curious to hear your feedback on the karts!

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That track is gonna be very interesting for KA. Lose the draft and you’re dead, basically. You have the race-craft to know how to handle that situation, and I’m sure you’ll do great! How come you’re racing Sr and not Masters?

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Why would I race Masters when I can race Senior? :wink:

I still feel comfortable in Senior. Plus, making weight for Masters is a real struggle for me. That alone will keep me out of Masters for a while.

I think the draft will play a part but I don’t think it’ll be a determining factor in the result. New Castle requires you to keep the draft because the rest of the track is so flowing. Here it looks very stop-and-go so I think there will be opportunity to be strong in the infield and hang with guys who are faster on the straights. SuperNats usually has a really long straight, even back to when it was in the casino parking lots, but it never has been track where the draft is super important.

I think we will be turning a ton of RPM too, so we won’t be making much power on the straights.

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This is really awesome, I’ll be following along so good luck with the weekend. Always a big fan of developing new chassis and running something different.

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It’ll be cool to try the kart. I’ve raced OTK basically for 10 years, but have driven a lot of different karts lately with my coaching. But based on what BestKart is telling me, this chassis works a lot differently to the OTK stuff, so should be cool to see how that translates into the kart’s feel.

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Interesting that they’ve scooped you and Adakonis up! Anyone else gonna be repping the BestKart brand that you know of?


@tjkoyen is this the same chassis or variation that XRM in Arizona had been messing with? I’ve been following them and some of the drivers on it the last year.

Adakonis in X30 and they were trying to get a junior driver as well, but I’m not sure who they got. I think there will be three of us under the tent.

@Don_Westlie I don’t know much about XRM but yes they are a BestKart dealer though I’m not sure if they are only 206 using the 4-stroke chassis?

Montopoli would have been there in Masters but having some minor surgery a few days prior so it is a “no-go”.

Just those two for now that I know about.

I talk to them from time to time. All 206 from what I know which is a different chassis. I believe they are looking at some interesting stuff for 2024.

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Stoked for you @tjkoyen! Looking forward to watching you and the BestKart team.

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That’s fair. I thought the same when I did Summernats in Sr and quickly realized the maturity difference between Sr and Masters :slight_smile: only took one dumb move into turn 1 by a 16 year old to destroy my sunday chances after we finally got the kart hooked up and with good pace. But, that could happen in Masters too, and it’s just part of racing.

Anyhow, I’ll be rooting for ya. Sounds like an awesome opportunity and experience.

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There’s some drivers running BestKart in the Pacific North West for at least the last few years I’ve been racing here. Entirely in 206.

I think kart development becomes more fun as you get older lol.

Good luck and I’m jealous.

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Yeah no kidding about the straights… 1000ft

They have worked with a guy here who’s been running a BestKart in KA.


Maybe someone already mentioned it and I’m blind, but is BestKart an independent manufacturer or a rebrand?