ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Will Alan Rudolph win his fourth straight King of the Streets title? Who will qualify to to represent the Rock Island Grand Prix at the Rotax Max U.S. Nationals? Who will be the first champion of the Rock Island Cup series...
ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Will Alan Rudolph win his fourth straight King of the Streets title? Who will qualify to to represent the Rock Island Grand Prix at the Rotax Max U.S. Nationals? Who will be the first champion of the Rock Island Cup series for gearbox drivers over age 35? Who will win the F1 Indoor Karting Center Charity Race as it returns to the Grand Prix race week schedule? And how will the new Swiss-made 250cc Biland 4-stroke be received by racers at its first major race in the United States?
All of these questions and the biggest one of all -- who will take home a piece of The Rock, the new trophy to be awarded in 14 classes, as well as a chunk of one of the largest prize purses in karting, will be answered at this year's Rock Island Grand Prix professional kart races. The races, featuring the top kart drivers in North America, are held through the downtown streets of Rock Island, Illinois, each year on Labor Day Weekend, August 31-September 1, 2002.
SBC/Ameritech and Bi-State Home Improvement return as Presenting Sponsors. Jumer's Casino Rock Island is sponsor of the $25,000 purse -- one of the largest payouts in professional karting. Kart Expo International in suburban Chicago has signed a long-term sponsorship agreement and is the newest addition to the Grand Prix sponsor team.
Check out the racing action Saturday, August 31 for practice and timed qualifying and Sunday, Sept. 1 for 15 feature races. Actions runs from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free to the public. Pit passes may be purchased for $10 per day.
The Rock Island Grand Prix will host Superkarts! USA's King of the Streets event for 125cc gearbox SuperPro drivers for the third consecutive year. The race is once again sponsored by Bob Bondurant SuperKart School in Phoenix, Arizona. The field will be made up of the nation's top shifter drivers and they will again be chasing Alan Rudolph who has won the King's crown the past two years in Rock Island, as well as 1999 in Quincy, Ill.
Also back this year is the Rotax Max Street Challenge featuring the water-cooled 125cc Rotax Max motor. Rotax Max International rules will be followed. The winner will automatically advance to the Rotax Max U.S. Nationals. Last year's RIGP winner, Tim Lobaugh, also won the U.S. nationals and led the American team to the international finals in Malaysia.
The Rock Island Grand Prix will also present a special exhibition race featuring the new 250cc, 2 cylinder, water-cooled 4-cycle Biland motor which is just beginning to be important to this country by IMI Motorsports, Erie, Colorado.
New to this year's Grand Prix race lineup is the FIA/CIK Intercontinental C class (Formula IC), and a 125cc Masters class (Formula G1) for gearbox drivers over age 35. The 125cc Masters class will be the final race in the Rock Island Cup Series. Competitors have been earning series points by competing in this class at Superkarts! USA ProMoto Tour events. The Rock Island Grand Prix will be the only east meets west race in the series, with final series points awarded and a winner named.
The final new twist at this year's Rock Island Grand Prix is the return of the popular charity race. The F1 Indoor Karting Center Charity Race will be held Wednesday and Thursday, August 28-29, at the F1 Indoor Karting Center in Riverdale, Iowa. Entry fees from $100 to $300 provide varying numbers of practice sessions in preparation for the race. This event offers an opportunity for novice Quad-Cities residents to race. Entry fees will be pooled and each driver will designate a favorite charity with the designated charities of the winning drivers each getting a portion of the purse. For entry forms call the Grand Prix office at (309) 292-8133.
Tom Argy Jr. of TCM Racing, Niagara Falls, N.Y., will return as race director. A local race association organizes the race in conjunction with the Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District. Electronic timing and scoring will again be provided by Superkarts! USA with starting positions assigned based on timed qualifying.
The Rock Island Grand Prix has drawn top drivers from 26 states, Canada, Bermuda, Mexico, Brazil and Italy. This year racers will compete in 15 separate races with over 300 entries expected.
Four Points Hotel by Sheraton in Rock Island will again serve as the host hotel and race headquarters. Other sponsors include Zimmerman Pontiac Cadillac Honda Oldsmobile; WHBF-TV4; radio stations B100, 97X and 93Rock, and The Dispatch, The Rock Island Argus and The Leader newspapers. Illinois Oil Products will sponsor Saturday night's Karter Hospitality Party. Other sponsors include: Budweiser and Stern Beverage, The Jewell Group, Russell Construction, Hooter's, Sprint Kart Speedway, Key Auto Mall, Rieken's Racing, H&H Towing, Iowa Illinois Taylor Insulation, and MidAmerican Energy. For the first time cash awards will be made in the 4-cycle Junior II class, provided by the Quad City Vintage Rod & Car Club, which will also have its hot rods on display during the festival weekend.
The 2001 race provided great on-track excitement which organizers attribute to the growing quality of drivers attracted by the event, as well as ideal weather conditions. Fast-lap records were set in 12 of 14 classes. On Sunday, Rudolph took three-tenths of a second off the track record set by 27-time national champion Brian Jacobson during Saturday time trials in the 125cc SuperPro class. Illinois' Jason Birdsell won a record 10th and 11th career championship at "The Rock.''
Racers can again register on line this year at www.rockislandgrandprix.com . Registrations are due by Friday, August 16, 2002, Entries received after this date and up until 5 p.m., August 29 will be assessed a $25 per entry penalty. Entries received after August 29 will be assessed a $100.00 late charge. Drivers who pre-register but cannot compete can receive a refund.
Rock Island is located in an area known as the Quad-Cities on the Mississippi River where it intersects with Interstate highways 80 and 74. The area has a population of 375,000 and welcomes karters with open arms. The Quad-Cities features three riverboat casinos and a great variety of entertainment and attractions.
The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District, which hosts the race weekend, is a great spot to go after a day of racing. It features a casino boat, a number of top restaurants, coffee houses, night spots, comedy clubs, dinner theater and great live entertainment all within walking distance of race headquarters at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. Live outdoor entertainment is featured on the Great River Plaza throughout the race weekend.