Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix Cancelled for 2020

With the uncertainty of when the state will reach Phase 5 of Restore Illinois, and with a strong commitment to the health and safety of the racers, volunteers, staff and spectators, the Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix, the world’s largest karting street race, has announced that this year’s Labor Day weekend event will not be held.  Planning has already begun for 2021.

After surveying racers across the county, it was found that only about 25 percent of the kart tracks are open and racing. Fifty percent of the racers said they were committed to racing at Rock Island while most others were taking a wait-and-see approach.

(Photo by Paul Colletti / pcolletti@qconline.com)

The event annually involves hundreds of race teams from across the country and thousands of spectators. Race organizers also rely on high school groups to help with track construction in exchange for a donation to the group, yet there is no guarantee school will be in session in the fall or that group sponsors or parents will want these crews working. In addition, many of the race’s sponsors have suffered from being closed.

The state’s social distancing requirements also mean it would be difficult to distance competitors in the pits and impossible to ban spectators from public sidewalks. It is also unlikely that there would be enough seating in bars and restaurants to accommodate the many out-of-town guests and there would be no nightly outdoor entertainment.

“In the end, we simply felt that there were too many obstacles to hold the races this year,” said Roger Ruthhart, race president.

The Grand Prix is the biggest weekend event of the year in Rock Island and race organizers were planning to expand the offerings even more in 2020.

Teams at Rock Island last year represented Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Missouri, Massachusetts, Indiana, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, Maryland and Arizona as well as Canada and Bermuda. Rock Island is licensed through the United States Auto Club (USAC) and is on the ACCUS calendar so that drivers from any country can compete. There have been drivers from 8 foreign countries and 13 foreign winners.

Sponsors for the event include: Mediacom, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Hoosier Tires, LeCont Tires, Gett Industries, Briggs & Stratton Racing, Modern Woodmen Financial/ Joe Schurr agent, CBS TV4 / Fox 18 and CW, Schurr Power Racing Engines, RLV Tuned Exhaust, Sunbelt Rentals, AMT Ambulance, Johannes Bus Service, The Dispatch-Rock Island Argus-QC Online.com, Holiday Inn Rock Island, eKartingnews.com, Courtesy Car City, Gas & Electric Credit Union, Rogan Scale, Triple E Sales, Curry’s Transportation, Miller Trucking and Excavating, Brenny’s Motorcycle Center, Hiland Toyota, QC Gearheads, RIGP Corner Workers, Becky Rasmussen, Quad City Camaro Club, HMG-TB Kart Indy, City of Rock Island/Ald. Dylan Parker and the local radio stations Q106, Fox Sports QC, WOC and WLLR.

For more information on the race, please visit rockislandgrandprix.com.

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