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August 13, 2010 News
eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month - Stepanova Nekeel - July 2010
Stepanova Nekeel bought his Tony Kart chassis just four days before winning the Rotax Senior National Championship (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Stepanova Nekeel bought his Tony Kart chassis just four days before winning the Rotax Senior National Championship
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.

The US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals has become one of the most premier events to win in recent years. Competitors spend nearly all of the 365 days in-between each annual event preparing to claim the national title. With this year’s event moved up to July, some time was lost but the competition did not lack as racing was fierce around the 1-mile New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana. When the final checkered flag waved to crown the Senior champion, it was Stepanova Nekeel who scored the victory. The odd situation with the victory by the 20-year old was the fact he bought the kart at the track prior to starting the event.

Arriving to the track Sunday to begin two days of testing before the start of the event, Nekeel - along with his father Tim - worked on the same chassis they used for the Rotax Pan American Challenge race the month before. With the father/son team not happy with where their program was going, Stepanova decided to change chassis. Locating a used Tony Kart in the paddock, Nekeel begged and borrowed $950 cash to buy the package prior to the start of the event on Wednesday, along with borrowing a Tony Kart graphics kit and getting a good deal on a suit.

Following the official practice day, Nekeel was 11th in the final session of the day. After qualifying 12th overall, Nekeel ran strong in the heat races, finishing no worst then sixth to end up P8 on the grid for the Prefinal. Nekeel stated after the race weekend they used the heat races more as test sessions, being the first time aboard a Tony Kart. The opening corner of the Prefinal was traffic jam with drivers in the front few rows getting together. Nekeel was able to escape, dropping to 13th but regaining the spots he lost before completing the first lap. From there, Nekeel moved forward, running as high as third before settling into fourth over the final circuits.

A much cleaner start for the main event, the field shuffled through the opening corners with minimal contact. Nekeel would move himself into the second spot by the completion of the first lap and began running down the leader, Daniel Formal who escaped to a good distance in the first mile. Running down Formal, Nekeel moved to the lead on lap eight. From there, Formal fell into the grasp of a host of drivers while Nekeel continued to run consistent lap times to extend his lead, driving away from the battle for second. Nekeel would lead the final 13 laps of the 19-lap race to score his first national crown and earn a spot on Team USA to the Rotax Grand Finals for a second straight year.

Nekeel, who is currently in the process of building a new neck collar company - SFN Neck Collars, plans to race local events throughout the rest of year along with the final round of the Rotax Pan American Challenge. In November, Nekeel will join the rest of Team USA in La Conca, Italy for the Rotax Grand Finals.
Stepanova Nekeel - EKN Driver of the Month - July 2010 (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Stepanova Nekeel - EKN Driver of the Month - July 2010
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

July 2010 EKN Driver of the Month - Stepanova Nekeel


Date of Birth: February 9, 1992
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Parents: Tim Skeel and Julie Nelson
Siblings: Kiev Nekeel and Adam Skeel
Height/Weight: 5’11”/155lbs.
Education: Student at Seattle Central Community College
Job: NA

Racing Resume

Chassis: Tony Kart
Engine/Engine Builder: Rotax/BBR, CRE and RPG
Sponsors: My ma and pa
Series You Compete In: Rotax Pan American Challenge, Gatorz Challenge of the Americas
Years Karting: 7
How did you get started in karting? My parents bought me a Tony Kart cadet while visiting family
What has been the high point in your racing career? Winning the Rotax Senior National Championship
What are your goals in racing? To have fun
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? As little physical demand on myself as possible
Funniest moment at the race track? Watching Derek Wang try to drive his kart into his trailer


Favorite Track: USA International Raceway
Favorite form of professional motorsports: Formula 1
Favorite karting driver: Marco Ardigo
Favorite professional driver: Kimi Raikkonen
Favorite website: eKartingNews.com and soon sfnneccollas.com
Favorite movie: The Big Lebowski
Favorite actor/actress: Gemma Arterton
Favorite music/group: Mac Dre
Favorite vacation/activity spot: Italy in November (Rotax Grand Finals)
Favorite food: Captain Crunch

The Real Deal

What do you do when not at the track? Chill
What are your goals outside of karting? To make bank
What type of street car do you drive? 1987 Toyota Corolla GTS
What type of street car would you like to drive? 1967 Toyota 2000 GT
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Physical activities/exercise
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? Making Andy Seesemann as the dictator of IKF, WKA, CKI, FWT and SKUSA
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? The on track battling, you can go fast in any motorsport, but karting is the best for dueling, bumping and crashing

July Driver of the Month - Honorable Mention:

- Sam Beasley: WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series @ Road America & US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals - Three wins, 1 runner-up (2 pole awards) & Runner-up (Rotax Senior)

- Derek Crockett: SKUSA Pro Tour SummerNationals @ USA International Raceway - S2 double winner

- Jacob Donald: WKA Gold Cup Series @ BeaveRun - 4 wins (swept Junior classes)

- Chuck Gafrarar: WKA Road Race Series @ Road America - 3 wins (TaG 2, Stock Leopard 1, Stock Leopard 2)
Pacific Mountain Central Eastern International Western Canada

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