< SKUSA SuperNats (photo courtesy OTP.ca/SKUSA)
AJ Allmendinger will swap NASCAR for a kart this week when he returns SKUSA SuperNationals XVI presented by MG Tires in Las Vegas this week. Also back in race action will be Allmendinger's Shell-Pennzoil karting scholarship winner Kyle Kirkwood, who will complete his final event of the scholarship following a year of karting at the national level.
Both Allmendinger and Kirkwood will compete against some of the best karters in the country with the 14th Annual SuperKarts! event attracting racers from across the nation. Allmendinger will contest the S1 class while 13-year-old Kirkwood will campaign the TaG Junior division with support from his Shell-Pennzoil KartSport team.
Allmendinger's scholarship has given Kirkwood the opportunity to race on tracks around the country and the Florida native has enjoyed several highlight moments throughout the year. With sponsorship from Shell-Pennzoil, Kirkwood delivered all season long to score four wins, two pole positions, 11 podiums and 16 top-10 results in 20 events. Those accomplishments saw him finish runner-up in the Yamaha Jr. Heavy championship. As he looks ahead to this weekend's event, Kirkwood looks to add yet another trophy to his growing collection.
A former karting standout, Allmendinger last competed in the prestigious Vegas event 10 years ago and has recently been doing some testing back in the Carolinas in preparation for what is expected to be some fierce competition. His best SuperNats! finish is second.
“We've had some good test days on the new kart and I'm really looking forward to getting to the SuperNats,” said Allmendinger. “It's been quite a while since the last time I was there and I've really missed it. I just love karting. There's so much talent there that you really have to be on top of it in order to do well. I'm also excited to see Kyle (Kirkwood) in action this weekend too. I didn't get to see any of his races in person this year, but he's done a really great job and I think this weekend will be no different.”
The five-day event will see several practice sessions for each class with all classes receiving one qualifying session, three heat races, and one main event. The starting positions for the main event will be determined by the amount of points earned in the heat races.
The on-track action begins with practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Qualifying and the first round of heats is slated for Friday with the second and third heats taking place on Saturday. The main events will begin at 10:00 AM local time on Sunday. For more information on this years SuperNationals, visit www.superkartsusa.com.