|2013 SUPER SERIES: 'HALFWAY REPORT'|
To really grasp the level at which the 2013 season is performing at, one has to look back to the ’12 season’s halfway point to truly understand how different the two seasons are. 2012 was only the second full season for the series, and it brought to the table some standout sophomore efforts, as well as some breakthrough new talent into what was already a strong lineup. While the overall championship battle was still very close at the halfway point, it was still only between about three drivers at the time, with 4th place astern by about 100 points. The Masters title was essentially a two-man effort, and the rookie championship was also only a two horse race, with both battles having fairly hefting point gaps between the top drivers.
Fast-forward to 2013 and we have a starkly different picture, with not only each championship enjoying an intense battle for the title, but it is strung out amongst several different drivers. Along with this is a general unpredictability in the possible result, with all five rounds producing a different winner each time, along with several different drivers making up the podium every round.
Below we take a look at the top drivers in each of the three divisions, as well as thrown in some possible hints to what we may see over the course of the next 6rounds. One thing is for sure though, if you aren’t enjoying the action from behind the wheel in the 2013 Super Series, you will be treated to one helluva show from the sidelines…
2013 Overall Championship
KC Cook – 1st Overall | 1160 pts
“Cook already looked to be a solid threat for the podium, but after his January performance, I’d say he is now one of the favorites for the championship”. – Season Preview
Heading into the second half of the season as the point leader is a great bit of momentum, and the fact he was in the thick of things for the National Championship will certainly boost this. One of the best new talents to enter the Sport Karting in recent memory, Cook has taken to just about everything he has sat in very quickly, and has established himself as one of CalSpeed’s best in only a years time. In only is sophomore season, he has already put up very strong results, winning the pre-season exhibition event, following that up with a top three in round #2 and a win in round #5. The only chink in the armor is the missed round, and subsequent 0 in round #3…
Logan Calvin – 2nd Overall | 1155 pts
“Logan is known as one of the smartest drivers on track, keeping his mistakes to a minimum, and displaying an almost unmatched consistency”. – Season Preview
While currently second in the standings, it is my opinion that Logan Calvin enters the second half of the season still as the man with the target on his back. Only 5 points out of the point lead, the defending champ has a near 20 point gap to the next driver in total points, and leads all other drivers (that have run all 5 rounds) in average points earned per round. Here is the other key point: Logan suffered a 25th in round #2 after a turn one incident, but other than that hasn’t scored worse than 350 points in an event. This may have kept things a little closer than they could have been, and Logan is still every bit as much a threat as ever…
Miles Calvin – 3rd Overall | 1145 pts
“If he is able to add a small dose of patience, I think he will have the total package, and could be the strongest of the contenders”… - Season Preview
Guess what? Miles found the patience. The elder Calvin may have flipped the switch during the Grands, although his overall finish doesn’t show the end result. Subject to some very tough luck over the weekend, Miles’ driving was some of the smartest, and most patient ever in his career during the Grands weekend, looking like a completely different driver on track. While he has missed one round this season already (and presumably one more in the Fall) the ‘old’ Miles has put up some of the best numbers this season, currently sitting 3rd overall. If the switch has indeed flipped for Miles, he could pull off in 9 rounds, what most are trying to do in 11…
Darren Mercer – 5th Overall | 1130 Pts
“Darren has the nod by several in the paddock to be the next Super Series champ, and I for one am excited to see what his true sophomore effort produces.” – Season Preview
Last year was Darren’s first full year (which ended up quite well with a 2nd overall), and while he lacks the experience of some of his immediate peers, he carries himself, and drives like a seasoned veteran. He once again showed this fact during the Grands, narrowly missing the overall title, but proving he was one of the best in the business in the process. As he did in the second half of 2012, he is matching Logan blow for blow in terms of stats this season, with the two drivers leading all others that haven’t missed a round. One thing has changed however: he has had a chance to taste what it might be like to be champ during the Grands. In my experience, there is no better motivation…
The above 4 drivers had my nod as the primary contenders at the beginning of the season, and have proven this fact by being the primary protagonists throughout the first 5 rounds of the 2013 championship. That said, there is quite the collection of drivers that are right in the mix, regularly fighting at the front with these four, and need only that little something to really take the fight to the front. The real question mark on the second half of the season is: 1) how will this group (and others further down the standings) effect the fight for the championship, and 2) who, if any will find the spark that will ignite their own title hopes, and truly become contenders for the 2013 overall Super Series Championship…
Sergio Bravo – 4th Overall | 1135 pts
The lead masters driver in the field, Bravo is more than just the favorite for the Masters title, he has his sights firmly set on the overall hardware as well. Finishing 5th overall last season, Bravo is no stranger to the sharp end of the standings, but has missed that little something to be able to take the fight to the top three on a regular basis. Now able to count himself amongst the A-Main winners elite, Sergio has found that little something extra this year, but with scoring two bad rounds, his back will be up against the wall for the next five months…
Jerott King – 6th Overall | 1115 pts
What Jerott King has been able to accomplish this season really is astonishing; top 5 in the points much of the season, including scoring a podium in the 5th round of the championship. What is astonishing is the fact he hasn’t put in a full season here before, having only run select races, and is making the trek down from Northern California every month to compete in 2013. His chances of finding the podium as an out-of-towner are bolstered too, after his top 5 run at the Grands 2 weeks ago…
Jay Schreiber – 7th Overall | 1110 pts
Scoring the third-most points so far this season (before throw out), including a huge win during the 3rd round, Jay has been one of the absolute best all year from qualifying to the Main. And while he hasn’t always finished at the sharp end of the A-Main, his ability to score strong points regardless has only improved as the season has progressed. His stellar performance at the Grands suggests he could have something for the top five, and I wouldn’t count him out of the running by any means.
Bill Kreig – 8th Overall | 1105 pts
Although he is 8th in the points, Bill has put up some very impressive numbers, scoring two podiums, a fourth, and a ‘lowly’ 9th in four starts, having missed the 4th round entirely. Completely flying under the radar all season, Kreig is having a breakout season, driving extremely smart, and showing a consistent pace that we only saw from time to time in 2012. Although winless so far, his ability to be at the sharp end at nearly every race he runs could change that stat by seasons end…
Jon Kimbrell – 9th Overall | 1095 pts
Jon’s characteristic consistency has returned here for 2013, leading all drivers in his drop total, meaning has had the best ‘bad’ days of any competitor. What he hasn’t returned to yet is his consistently winning ways yet, but if he does find the top step one or two times, he’ll shoot up the points real quick. We may see a different Kimby in the second half of the season too, as the ‘wait and see’ style could get swapped out for a ‘make things happen’, especially as we close in on the season finale.
Taylor Hays – 10th Overall | 1090 pts
It is a matter of when, not if for Hays, and this year has a lot of signs pointing to the when. Although it is one of his throw outs, round #3 could have been much stronger for him, which could have put him much higher up the standings. That aside, Taylor is looking stronger than he ever has, and is still very much a challenger for the podium this season. In fact if he driver like he did during that infamous third round (where he climbed through the B, and into the A), then I think his usual top 5’s will turn into podiums, and his usual podiums will be of the top-step variety…
2013 Masters Championship
Sergio Bravo – 1st | 1135 pts
“Getting that elusive A-Main win would be a great achievement for arguably the most successful Masters driver at CalSpeed.” – Season Preview
Check. The back-to-back champ is once again raising the bar to match the competition around him, answering the performances of his rivals, and staying on top of the points. One of the most consistent drivers in the series, Bravo has actually had a couple of off rounds so far, which will put a little added pressure to perform during the second half of the season. No stranger to the target on his back, Bravo is the stick that all other Masters drivers measure off of, and he will be tough to beat over the next 6 rounds.
Jay Schreiber – 2nd | 1110 pts
“Expect Schreiber at the sharp end all season, and too have a break out year in the overall standings.” – Season Preview
Grand National Champion. Nothing instills confidence like those three little words, and Jay did it in convincing style too, clinching it with a race remaining. Here in the Super Series, he was the first of the Masters to win this year, scoring his first career victory, which volleyed him to the top of the standings in round #3. On top of that, he has displayed a consistency that has won championships in the past, sitting second-highest among drivers in their throw-out total. While he is second in the standing right now, Jays chances at the championship are about as good as they can get…
Dave Messimer – 3rd | 990 pts
Dave is not have the season he hoped for here in 2013, seemingly constantly needed to dig out of a hole event after event. The pace and craft are there, but things just haven’t lined up so far this season. The cause it lost yet however, as his three ‘keeper rounds’ out of the five so far are still solid, and something to build from. He has a bit of momentum from the past two rounds (his best of the year), and if he can find the sharp end in succession the next couple rounds, he could be right back in the hunt.
David Kelmenson – 4th | 931 pts
David started of the year strong, dipped slightly, but then has been fighting back the last couple of rounds. While the championship is looking distant at this point, a top three in the championship is very much up for grabs, and he is in position to take the fight to Dave. A perennial top five runner in the Master class, David has finished 6th in the class the past two seasons, and he’s on pace for a new personal best this year, regularly making life difficult for the sharp end.
Ben Blank – 5th | 913 pts
Sitting just outside the top 15 overall, and 5th overall is still a very strong run for anyone, but I think we haven’t seen the best that Blank has to offer yet. A penalty in the previous round set him back a bit, but this driver has made huge strides this year. If he can put together complete rounds for the rest of the season, he is going to start stealing points from the front runners, and could be one of the #1 spoilers over the next five months.
2013 Rookie Championship
Steve Spring – 1st | 805 pts
Steve entered the season as the guy with the most experience at CalSpeed, having run a few races at the tail end of 2012. This season has been anything but smooth for the current rookie leader, with hot/cold point totals throughout the first five races. He ended the first half on a high however, making the A-Main and solidifying himself as the one to beat in the rookie class.
Michael Wodjat – 2nd | 751 pts
Wodjat’s first two rounds showed a rookie with potential, and his next three proved it, with consecutive high paying point rounds to catapult to 2nd in the standings. Riding 3 strong rounds, Wodjat has a good amount of momentum heading into the second half, and is definitively Spring #1 competitor. Consistently one of the top rookies across the stripe every race, Wodjat is still improving, and has a very strong shot at the title this year.
Justin Tolman – 3rd |673 pts
Like Wodjat, and many of the other rookies, it took Tolman a couple of rounds to figure things out, but he has put up strong points since round #3. While not getting as high up the ranks as the top two, Justin is still one of the top rookie performers on a regular basis, and could reel in the leaders in the next 6 rounds.
Cody Calvin – 4th | 650 pts
The youngest Calvin raised a lot of eyebrows early in the season, scoring a near 300-point day in the third round, which at the time was the largest point haul by a rookie this season. While he hasn’t matched that run since, he is far and away better than he was at the start of the season. The fact is that the pace and fundamentals are there for him to score big points again, it is just a question of when…
Ian Enz – 5th | 637 pts
As it is with many rookies, your first season has a lot of up and downs, and hot and cold performances. With Enz it is no different, showing flashes of brilliance, then other times making those classic ‘rookie mistakes’. One big plus for Enz is a strong showing during the Grands, and if running a big event helps him as much as it usually help new drivers, Then Ian could be scoring a lot more points in the near future.
RD’s Picks: Ones to Watch…
Kirk Feldkamp – 11th | 1033 pts
Sitting in 11th, Kirk has actually been driving like someone who should be right inside the top 10, and in the thick of the title hunt. A throw away season opener, and then missing round #5 knocks down a peg, but his average points in the other 3 races are solid. Kirk is an absolute spoiler for the top 10, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was inside it by season’s end.
Jose da Silva – 23rd | 801 pts (7th in Masters)
In just his second full season, da Silva has shown to be one of the strongest Masters drivers at CalSpeed, and during round #5 he put it all together for an A-Main run. An up and down first 4 rounds has him further down the standings, but he showed well during the Grands, and has a lot of momentum heading into round #6. Da Silva just needs everything to click for the whole race day, and he can start challenging for a top 5 in class.
Jonathon Vitolo – 28th | 743 pts
I think Vitolo could be the biggest mover during the second half of the season, and is one of the most under-rated drivers in the paddock. Not lacking for pace, he has unfortunately been involved in a few incidents that has hurt him in more ways than one. During the Grands however, a new Vitolo emerged, and if that same driver shows up for the next 6 races, up the standings he will climb…
Bruce Allen – 29th | 734 pts
If you look at the point total difference, from the first three races, to the last two, it would look like it was two different drivers. Things have clicked for the sophomore entry, and he is now a regular threat to make his way into the A-Main. Add to that his first foray into a national event like the Grands, and the improvement in the second half of the season should be noticeable…
Andrew Lemons – 43rd | 596 pts (6th in Rookies)
If he had started the season at round #1, Lemons might be right up there with the top two in class. Instead his first race was round #3, which wasn’t exactly stellar, and neither was his second race. This is typical for brand new drivers, but what isn’t typical, is making the A-Main in your 3rd start and putting up a new top score for all rookies. If he continues to outscore the competition by 40-50 points like he did, then Lemons could pull an upset championship run over the next 5 months…