Iconic History Comes Alive with Triple Crown of Karting

Quincy, Elkhart and Rock Island street races form unique trio of events

Three of the most iconic races in the history of karting will join forces in 2018 to co-promote the Triple Crown of Karting. Bragging rights and trophies in North America will be awarded to the top street racers in 4 classes.

Points will be awarded at the Quincy Grand Prix at South Park, June 9-10 in Quincy, Ill.; Thor Industries Elkhart Riverwalk Grand Prix, August 10-12 in Elkhart, Ind. and the Xtreme Rock Island Grand Prix powered by Mediacom, Sept. 1-2 in Rock Island, Ill.

Triple Crown of Karting awards will be given as the result of points won in Briggs & Stratton LO206 Heavy, Yamaha Heavy and 125cc Open Shifter at Quincy, Elkhart and Rock Island. The fourth category to be part of the Triple Crown program is the Margay Ignite Senior division. While the category will not be part of the Elkhart weekend, it will include results from its visit to the USAC Karting Battle at the Brickyard on July 4-6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; along with Quincy and Rock Island.

In order to participate, racers must sign up for the series prior to the Quincy event and pay a one-time $50 series fee in addition to regular entry fees. All money will be returned to competitors through trophies and awards. If there are not 6 entries or more in a class, the class will be dropped and fees returned.

Each event will run its own rules, weights, spec tires, prizes, etc. and assign Triple Crown points. For example, you could finish in fifth place at one of the races competing against non-Triple Crown competitors, but still win first place points for finishing ahead of others participating in the three-race series. Triple Crown awards will be presented at the Awards Ceremony at Rock Island on Sunday, September 2.

The points system is simple: 6 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth with all others who start receiving 1 point. Ties will be broken by finishing position at Rock Island. This system virtually assures that everyone has a chance to win the Triple Crown as long as they
participate in all of the events.

The return of Elkhart in 2017 and Quincy South Park this year restores two of the more historic races in the sport. Coupled with the Rock Island, which continues well into its third decade, the races represent 65 years of karting history

Quincy Grand Prix of Karting at South Park

In 2002, race promoter Gus Traeder decided not to bring the South Park race back after 32 years based on a deteriorating track, high costs and declining entry numbers. Traeder founded the race in 1970 as a tie-in to the Dogwood Festival.

This year’s decision by Traeder’s son, Terry, to bring back the Grand Prix of Karting to South Park after a 17-year pause was two-fold. Gus Traeder passed away in 2016. Terry Traeder, a former national and professional champion driver, knew his dad had always wanted to see the race brought back. When the Quincy Park District resurfaced South Park’s streets, Traeder
knew the Grand Prix could be resurrected. After talks with the district, Traeder cleared his first major hurdle by securing insurance.

The Quincy Grand Prix was once the longest-running street race in America. Its roots could be traced back to 1958 when Gus Traeder was the manager of Quincy’s Montgomery Ward Farm Store. A supplier brought a kart to the store and Traeder bought Quincy’s first. Gus Traeder later became a well-known racing promoter and founded the Professional Karting Association in 1978. That first race in 1970 saw 73 drivers in five classes compete for a purse of $1,000. At its height, there were nearly 600 entries.

There will be no purse this year, but drivers will compete for special trophies and prizes.   Work is underway for a special trophy named the “Gussie.”   The 1.13 mile tree-lined course will be the safest to date.

Xtreme Rock Island Grand Prix powered by Mediacom

Rock Island, known by racers as “The Rock”, has long been an iconic event that is on most racers’ bucket list. It began in 1994 and was part of Traeder’s Professional Karting Association for the first two years. The race shifted gears in 1996 with karting promoter and NASCAR Winston Cup safety official Tom Argy Jr. becoming race director. Since his death Terry Riggins has served in that capacity for the past 15 years.

Rock Island combines national and even international kart racing with the ambiance of the city’s Downtown Arts & Entertainment District in a metropolitan area of 375,000 people. It includes nightly outdoor concerts, a car show and other activities. It hosts racers from coast to coast and 8
foreign countries and is the only place in kart racing where top level 4 cycle, 2 cycle, gearbox and vintage karts all race together at the same venue in front of thousands of spectators. For the past 19 years it has also been host to the “King of the Streets” shifter race. Rock Island is
sanctioned by USAC and is on the ACCUS national schedule which allows international competitors.

Thor Industries Elkhart Riverwalk Grand Prix

In the early 1990’s the Elkhart Grand Prix had over 40,000 spectators, 600 entries, and was televised on “the new” ESPN2 network. After a more than 20-year absence, the Thor Industries Elkhart Riverwalk Grand Prix brought karting history back to life in northern Indiana last year.

As part of the revitalization of downtown Elkhart’s Riverwalk District, racing returned in 2017 along a unique .6-mile track that crosses the Elkhart River twice per lap. Led by Thor Industries and the City of Elkhart, the region’s RV manufacturers came together to create an event the city’s citizens and racers can enjoy every August!

Over 140 racers took part in the 2017 event that was highlighted by a weekend of concerts, family events, and racing. And 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger and better with the addition of karting’s first “Relay Race” — pitting 4-kart teams against each other and more concerts and activities for the family.

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