IndyCar Series racewinners Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon will return to their karting roots when they take part in the twelfth annual SKUSA SuperNationals at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas this weekend [20-23 November].
The two IRL regulars will be joined by 2007 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year - and avid kart fan - Phil Giebler and Firestone Indy Lights veteran Bobby Wilson, with Wheldon, Rice and Wilson all due to compete in the TaG Pro class, and Giebler in the SuperPro category.
Wheldon, who signed this year to return to Panther Racing's IndyCar programme after several successful years at Andretti Green and Ganassi, will drive a National Guard-liveried kart entered by Kartel Motorsports, the team co-founded by current Grand-Am driver Joey Hand.
“Karting is something that I'm very passionate about and I have to say all the young guys that are aspiring to join the IndyCar Series and compete in the Indianapolis 500 are going to be desperate to beat us this weekend,” Wheldon admitted, “Our off-season is very long and this is a perfect time for me to get back into what I consider an incredibly competitive environment. I'm going to enjoy myself and have a good weekend.”
Kartel Motorsports will pair the former Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion with karting veterans Neil Alberico, Chris Scribner and Kyle Wiegand, and Hand has expressed his excitement over bringing Wheldon to the team.
“Obviously, having Dan and the National Guard on the Kartel Motorsports team is a big deal,” the sportscar veteran said, “This is the premier event in the United States and we feel we have brought a premier line-up of drivers. With the combination of their talent and our rigorous testing programme, we feel we will compete to win in every class.”