Jamie McMurray remembers his Go-Kart Christmases in Daytona.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 19, 2002) - Just like Christmas, go-karts come only once a year to Daytona International Speedway.
Beginning the day after Christmas, Daytona International Speedway will host the largest karting event in North America.
In the five days of racing at both the Speedway and at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium, there will be 2,500 entries in over 70 events spread across three different series.
The World Karting Association sanctioned events begin Wednesday, Dec. 26 with the WKA/Briggs & Stratton 4-Cycle Day at the Speedway.
On Thursday, Dec. 27, the WKA/Dunlop Tire National Road Racing Series races and the Sprint Championships get on track at the Speedway while the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series Kart Races also get underway at Municipal Stadium.
The WKA/Dunlop Tire National Road Racing Series will do battle on the Speedway's 3.56-mile road course. This is the first time the Speedway has hosted the Sprint Championships. They'll race on a newly constructed half-mile road course that has been built in the infield between Turns 3 and 4.
Go-kart racing is one of the many avenues that are used to get a jumpstart into motorsports. Some current stars of NASCAR have participated in past go-karts events at Daytona International Speedway, including 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray, who will run for Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors in 2003 and has already won his first Winston Cup race.
"From 1987 to 1992, every year, that's where my family would spend Christmas," McMurray said. "Sometimes we would leave Christmas Day from Missouri to drive down and other times we would go down early and spend Christmas in our motor home in the Kmart parking lot in Daytona. It sounds funny but that's what you did."
McMurray, who will drive the No. 42 Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2003, says there will be probably one or two future stars in racing who'll be racing in the go-kart events at the Speedway.
"There were guys that I raced go-karts with that you didn't think would make it that did and there were other guys that you knew would be professionals and now there a engineer," McMurray said. "There not even into racing. Most certainly you'll find a star somewhere in that field."
The infield will be open to spectators at the Speedway, while the North Grandstands will be open for the races at the stadium.
Tickets for the Speedway and the stadium are $10 per person. For more information on WKA events or the upcoming Speedweeks 2003 events, log on at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.