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Pro Karting - Phil Giebler Racing's Miller 3rd, Cricca 9th In TaG Senior Main

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LAS VEGAS, Nov. 25, 2011: Phil Giebler Racing’s Joel Miller finished third and teammate Shawn Cricca took ninth in TaG Senior main event at the prestigious Superkarts! USA SuperNationals XV on a .66-mile temporary course Sunday (Nov. 20) at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

It was the third time Miller has stood on the podium at the SuperNationals. The 23-year-old from Hesperia, Calif., won in 2007 and was second in 2008. Miller’s drive this year was both remarkable and disappointing.

Miller started on pole for the 41-kart, 25-lap main event, a position earned by winning two of the three heats, finishing third in the other heat and qualifying third fastest in his group.

“Everything was set for a very good day,” Miller said.

But Miller’s engine didn’t respond at the start and he fell to seventh on the opening lap. He stayed there until moving up to sixth on lap 12, advanced to fifth on lap 20, fourth on lap 21 and passed Felipe Fraga corners from the checkered flag for third.

“The engine had sucked in a rock sometime before the final,” Miller said. “It still ran and I thought there was no way I was going to make it halfway. I richened up the carburetor and gave it more fuel to make the engine last as long as possible. It definitely didn’t run well. The rock worked its way through the bottom end and damaged it. When I pushed the gas coming out of the slow turns, it didn’t go. I hadn’t been passed on the straights the whole weekend and I was passed on the straights in the final.

“I had to wait to pass Fraga to the end because if I had passed him earlier, he would have passed me back.”

Miller, who has driven in Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda and other top open-wheel development series, had the fastest lap of the race, averaging 50.282 miles per hour in the FA Kart with an IAME Leopard engine built by D Power.

“Joel did a great job all week,” Phil Giebler said. “I am proud of our results even though we were so close to winning the biggest race of the year in North America.”

It was Miller’s final karting event of the season. He plans on returning to Giebler’s team in 2012.

“Phil and I hope to continue our relationship,” Miller said. “It worked very well and I look forward to the opportunity to race with Phil and Everett (Giebler) next season.

“I have to thank everybody on the team. I think they all had their hands working on my kart at some point during the weekend. Daniel Patino (of D Power) gave me great power.”

Cricca, a 20-year-old from Simi Valley, Calif., ran consistently in the top 10 throughout the event. He was ninth fastest in his group in qualifying and finished fifth, seventh and 10th in his heats to start 13th.

“Shawn did a fantastic job to fight at the front all week long,” Giebler said. “He’s taken a huge step forward this year and I am excited to see what the 2012 season brings for him. He doesn’t have the experience that most of the guys he was battling, but he held his own and it will be a great learning experience to take into next year.”

PGR’s Andrew Wiener, Emily Maddison and Jess Peterson failed to reach the main. Wiener missed by one position, finishing seventh in the Last Chance Qualifier. Peterson was 13th and Maddison 14th in the LCQ.

“Andrew was so close to making it to the final,” Giebler said. “His race in the LCQ was intense and he missed the transfer position by one spot. He was heartbroken and so was the team.

“Emily and Jess had their fair share of bad luck all week, finishing one heat each. Emily qualified fifth in her group and was 14th in a heat. She made a huge step this week. Jess was struck by mechanical issues all weekend.”

Mason Daughters of Polo, Mo., finished 17th in the TaG Junior main event.

“Mason had an up-and-down weekend,” Giebler said. “He had a great first heat, charging to fourth from 12th starting position. In the second heat, he clipped another kart that spun on the first lap and dropped to 26th and bent his axle. He finished 19th. In the third and final heat, Mason was running 10th when he made some contact and fell to 19th and came back to finish 12th.

“Mason transferred to the final and started 17th. He moved up to 10th by the fifth lap, then was pushed wide and fell back to 18th and finished 17th.

“Mason has come a long way this year. It says a lot when we are in the biggest race of the year and we are disappointed with 17th. I am very happy to see his progress. We couldn’t put together his development package without the help of Level 5 Motorsports and Boardwalk Ferrari.”

Jorge Borelli finished 12th in the G1 main event and 26th in TaG Master. Bryce Watson finished 23rd and Steve Wiener was a DNF-39th in the TaG Master main.

Phil Giebler Racing results at Superkarts! USA SuperNationals XV, Nov. 19-20, 2011

TaG Senior: Main event--3. Joel Miller, Hesperia, Calif., FA Kart-IAME Leopard; 9. Shawn Cricca, Simi Valley, Calif., FA Kart-Vortex Rok; Last chance qualifier—7. Andrew Wiener, Chula Vista, Calif., FA Kart-IAME Leopard; 13. Jess Peterson, Sparks, Nev., FA Kart-IAME Leopard; 14. Emily Maddison, Calgary, Canada, FA Kart-IAME Leopard.

TaG Junior: Main event—17. Mason Daughters, Polo, Mo., FA Kart-IAME Leopard; 33. (DNF) Felipe Gildin, Brazil, FA Kart-IAME Leopard.

TaG Master: Main event—23. Bryce Watson, Australia, FA Kart-Vortex Rok; 26. Jorge Borelli, Brazil, FA Kart-Vortex Rok TT; 39. (DNF) Steve Wiener, Chula Vista, Calif., FA Kart-Vortex Rok.

G1: Main event—12. Jorge Borelli, Brazil, ICC-Vortex.

KF2: Main event—19. (DNF) Alex Humbert, France, FA Kart-Vortex; 23. (DNF) Antonio Furlan, Brazil, FA Kart-Vortex.

S2: Last chance qualifier—19. (DNF) Fauzi Dib Saad, Mexico, FA Kart-Honda.

S4: Heat—26. Vatche Tatikian, North Hollywood, Calif., FA Kart-Honda.

All 14 PGR drivers were in FA Karts. Miller had an IAME Leopard engine and Cricca used a Vortex Rok engines, both built by D Power Racing Engines. Peterson used an IAME Leopard from Adkins Speed Center, Maddison, Andrew Wiener and Daughters had IAME Leopard engines from D Power, Gildin used IAME Leopard from SwedeTech, Humbert’s power came from Vortex built by Braun Racing, Watson and Steve Wiener had Vortex Rok’s from D Power, Furlan used Vortex, Borelli had Vortex Rok TT in TaG Master and ICC-Vortex in G1 and Tatikian and Dib Saad were powered by Hondas from Darcy Decoste Racing.

Owned by the 2007 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, Phil Giebler Racing is based in Orange, Calif., and competes nationally at the highest level of karting in the United States. Giebler is a resident of Huntington Beach, Calif.

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