Self Sweeps all 3 Heat Races and Becomes 1st American to Start Pole in TaG Junior Class
The SuperNational Karting Event in Las Vegas, Nevada plays host every year to the best young open wheel drivers in the world. Since its introduction in 2008, the TaG Junior Class has been dominated by top European and South American drivers; until this year.
15-year-old NASCAR Driver Austin Wayne Self returned to karting last week in an attempt to represent the USA in winning the World Class SuperNational Trophy and turned the week upside down for the rest of the field. Self swept all 3 heat races and was on his way to the checkered flag when the exhaust header on the Woltjer built motor broke in half with only 6 laps to go.
“The 07 KartSport Team had an unbelievable week at the SuperNats,” says Austin Wayne Self. “We were a little behind in Wednesday practice as I was figuring out how to drive a kart again and we were testing motors. On Thursday we climbed to P2 on the speed chart and from Friday morning on we were untouchable.”
“Austin’s driving and feedback was perfect,” says Crew Chief Michael Ramirez. “Eric [Jones, President of KartSport Arrow North America] and I nailed the changing track conditions and the Arrow X1E chassis responded exactly as we expected to all of our changes. We set the kart up to come in very late in the main because we knew we would be there in the end.”
“And then there was the sickening sound of a cracked header just past the halfway flag. It was like the world just crushed in on us. I have never seen a header break in the middle of the bend. We have seen it happen at the flange so we use a reinforced design to prevent cracking. This was nothing anyone could have anticipated.”
“This team has had a lot of heartbreakers in the past. That’s just the way it goes when you’re one of the front-runners. But this was probably the biggest heartbreak we have ever had to endure,” says Tim Self, President of AM Racing. “Just 6 more laps and we would have swept the entire SuperNats week and brought home the bling for the USA. Despite the final outcome, it was a great week for Austin and the KartSport Arrow Team. Michael Ramirez, Eric Jones and Daniel Woltjer did an outstanding job with the kart and the motor. I don’t think there is a better team than this in any TaG series. It is very inspiring working with these guys, but unfortunately Austin’s NASCAR schedule only allows him a couple of these types of kart races per year. In fact, I’m not sure if we will be able to return to Vegas next year, we will have to wait and see.”
“It’s a heartbreaker for sure,” says Eric Jones. “On the other hand, we were the 1st TaG Junior Team to win all three heats and the 1st American to start on the pole in this class. So we are far from leaving Vegas empty handed. We made history last week and gained the respect of the best teams in the world. I’d say that’s a great week. I am very happy.”
Austin will race with the 07 KartSport Team one last time this year on December 11th in Indianapolis when he goes head-to-head with IndyCar and Sprint Cup drivers, as well as top national kart drivers in the Indy Karting Classic, which is the concluding event of the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMSI).
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