A healthy contingent of IndyCar and Mazda Road to Indy competitors are in Las Vegas this weekend to race in the 17th edition of the SuperKarts USA SuperNationals.
One of the biggest events on the karting calendar, the 11-class SuperNationals weekend is being staged on a temporary track inside the parking lot of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Three IndyCar drivers – KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, Team Penske’s Will Power, and Andretti Autosport’s latest hire, Carlos Munoz – are on the entry list.
Bourdais is racing as part of the Rotax DD2 shifter class, Power is making his SuperNationals debut as part of the TaG Masters class, and Munoz will be in the KZ2 Super Pro class.
As for the MRTI group, Indy Lights championship runner-up Gabby Chaves is back to defend his 2012 race win in the TaG Senior class. Another Indy Lights racer, Matthew Di Leo, and USF2000 champ Scott Hargrove are competing in the S1 Pro Stock Moto class. Pro Mazda pilot Zack Meyer will race against Munoz in KZ2 Super Pro.
Finally, 13-year-old Colton Herta, the son of Barracuda Racing owner Bryan Herta, is slated to run in the TaG Junior class.
A full rundown of the event format and schedule can be found on SuperKarts USA’s official website.
Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.
“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”
Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.
The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.
Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.
Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.
Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.
Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.
Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”