The Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda is a youth-focused, cost-contained series serving as a building block to open-wheel racing for competitors making taking that next step from karts to cars. Several F4 U.S. drivers like Jack William Miller of Westfield, Indiana, John Paul Southern Jr. of Westlake, Ohio, Austin McCusker of Glen Head, New York, and Lawson Nigel of Fort Worth, Texas, started their racing careers whipping around hairpin turns, developing their race craft in karts.
Some F4 U.S. drivers still participate in the Superkarts! USA series. Jay Howard’s Motorsports Driver Development driver Braden Eves of Gahanna, Ohio, entered the SKUSA Supernationals, the largest karting event in the world, this weekend to continue to develop his skills behind the wheel.
“The extra seat time that I gain from entering karting events really helps with agility and the physical demands of driving a car,” Eves said. “Karting develops my race craft and the same basic principles I learned in karting translated to my F4 U.S. season.”
Eves karting experience converted perfectly this year in F4 U.S. The first time Eves ever competed in a car, he placed on the podium and went on to win a race and earn four more podiums in the three F4 U.S. events he participated in this season. He also placed fourth in the SKUSA Pro Tour Championship.
Other F4 U.S. drivers at Supernationals are gaining experience outside the car. Global Racing Group pilot Jacob Loomis of Corinth, Texas, is serving as the main mechanic on a S2 (shifter) kart.
“Being a wrench has given me even more respect for my engineers and mechanics,” Loomis said. “I’m here before and after the driver leaves, perfecting his set-up. It’s also crazy stressful because if I make a mistake on the car it could cost the driver the race. The experience has also taught me how to communicate with my engineer.”
F4 U.S. national champion Kyle Kirkwood of Jupiter, Florida, is coaching four karters between 10-13 years old during Supernationals.
“I’ve coached these drivers all season, and have got to see each one of them grow and develop their craft. We share in successes and disappointments. I’ve spent so much time with them that they feel like my own kids now,” Kirkwood said. “Coaching these four up-and-coming drivers is my way of giving back to the sport that has given me so much. This experience has also really helped me become a better communicator and improve my data analyzing skills.”
Abel Motorsports driver Jacob Abel of Louisville, Kentucky, attended the event as a media correspondent for F4 U.S., covering Eves’ weekend progress on F4 U.S. Snapchat.
“The experience has made me appreciate the time and effort that goes into creating a great story for fans,” Abel said. “It’s also good to get back to the kart track and catch up with old friends.”
The SKUSA Supernationals runs through Sunday in Las Vegas. Fans can follow Eves’ Supernats 21 story on Snapchat at f4unitedstates. Live timing, scoring and coverage for the event can be found by downloading the SKUSA- Superkarts! USA app.
Photo provided by Braden Eves