After a successful debut last year in terrible stormy weather conditions, the second annual Snap-on All-Stars Karting Classic will take place this weekend. The Star of Karting presented by IndyCar Series partnered with the Performance Racing ...
After a successful debut last year in terrible stormy weather conditions, the second annual Snap-on All-Stars Karting Classic will take place this weekend. The Star of Karting presented by IndyCar Series partnered with the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) last year to host a one-day karting event in conjunction with the annual PRI Trade Show in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center. This year's race has stepped up even more, bringing in more professional drivers paired with the top companies in the karting industry.
A temporary track will be constructed in the parking lot of the convention center. With the help of the members of the EuroKart-Sim.com, a simulation of the track using their kart racing software was developed and will be available for show attendees to try out with the Wagner Race Products simulators in the Stars of Karting booth. The event will feature a Karters division, as well as a Masters division, which will feature guest drivers from all forms of motorsports. Both divisions will run under the Spec Racer division rules.
Not only will the racing event be a great opportunity to expose karting to the 42,000 motorsports industry attendees at the annual PRI Trade Show, but the series and the karting industry will have a significant presence in the exhibit halls of the show. SSC East, First Kart USA, Grand Products, Tony Kart USA, Champion Racing, Italian Motors, MRP Motorsports, Motorama Kart Parts, Screaming Talent-Gillard, and Franklin Motorsports just to name a few.
Returning as the event's inaugural champion is IndyCar Series driver Buddy Rice. The 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner headline the Masters division which will feature 21 of the best motorsports has to offer. Rice's fellow competitors from the IndyCar Series - Marco Andretti, Tomas Scheckter, and this year's Indy Rookie of the Year Phil Giebler look to continue their reign at the top.
Runner-up last year was former IndyCar Series driver and current American LeMans Series pilot Bryan Herta. The co-founder of the Snap-on Stars of Karting will look to move one step up this year. Fellow ALMS driver Christian Fittipaldi will make his first appearance at the event.
One driver many in the karting industry are excited to see return to the fiberglass seat is America's latest Formula One driver Scott Speed. The former karting national champion has not run a competitive karting event in years and with his career now focused on moving up the stock car ranks, Speed is able to get back to his roots.
Other good ole boys by way of NASCAR hitting the track is AJ Allmendinger, Jaime McMurray, John Andretti, and former World Karting Champion Lake Speed. All four have a strong karting background, especially Speed who spends his retirement time racing his TaG and vintage karts around the country.
Current Grand-Am Rolex Series drivers Joey Hand and Michael Valiante - both who are involved in the karting business - will put on the helmet this weekend. Valiante's team owner Wayne Taylor - who's two sons are former Stars of Karting competitors, will return after finishing fifth last year.
The Champ Car World Series will be represented by Jan Heylen, Katherine Legge, and Nelson Philipe - all making their first appearance at the karting event. NHRA will have two drivers at the event - Ron Capps and Steve Johnson. Two-wheel drivers will make the transition to four on Thursday as MotoGP legend Eddie Lawson and Yamaha Factory Supercross rider Heath Voss will compete. Lawson is no stranger to karts, running a 250cc Superkart in his spare time around the Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway course.
The Karters division brings together some of the top drivers in North America. Reigning ICC National Champion Gary Carlton will compete in the event against former National Champion Alex Speed, last year's All-Stars Karting Classic podium finishes Matt Jaskol, Kyle Wiegand, and reigning Skip Barber National champion Joel Miller. The rest of the field includes some of the young rising stars in the karting today.
Teams will begin to set up at 8am Thursday morning with Practice set to begin at 4pm. After three sessions for each division, the groups will get 10 minutes to Qualify at 5:45pm. Prefinals are set for 7pm and the main events to start at 8pm. To watch updates throughout the event, visit the Official Discussion Thread.