Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Archive for the ‘ Rock Island Grand Prix ’ Category

These videos were too good not to post.

It was a busy weekend of street racing with USF2000, Star Mazda, and Indy Lights at Baltimore. And, of course, my favorite Labor Day weekend event was also taking place; the Rock Island Grand Prix. I’ve posted a few videos below illustrating the weekend’s Road to Indy action. Enjoy.

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USF2000

Ride with Scott Hargrove as he advances from 14th to 6th in Race 1 of the USF2000 National Championship. _____

Star Mazda

 In this clip, ride with Star Mazda driver Sage Karam through the “lows” of Race 1 and the “highs” associated with victory in Race 2.

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Indy Lights Baltimore 2012

 Check out highlights from the Indy Lights race in Baltimore below.

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Karting

Rock Island Grand Prix – 2012 For great coverage of the 2012 Rock Island Grand Prix, jump over to Kart360.com and check out the interview with the 2012 King of the Streets Jordon Musser… “I’m real excited about karting just because of how competitive it is. The car stuff is awesome, it’s cool to do but when it comes down to the best drivers in the world, they are all right here in karting.”

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Video of the Day

Posted September 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm Rock Island Grand Prix, video Comments

Take a ride with Connor Wagner through the downtown streets of Rock Island, Ill. during the 2011 Rock Island Grand Prix ‘King of the Streets’ final.

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It’s good to be king.

The Rock Island Grand Prix and the Mazda Road to Indy have set-up a multi-year partnership that will see the King of the Streets victor receive a USF2000 test day.

For those who don’t know, the RIGP is the world’s largest go-kart street race held every year over Labor Day weekend in Rock Island, Illinois. The event traditionally draws some of the biggest names in karting as well as several key members of the motorsports’ community. The headline event — known as the ‘King of the Streets’ — features shifter kart pilots battling it out for the prestigious RIGP crown.

I’ve attended the RIGP for the last several years to provide live coverage and before that took part in the event as a competitor. It’s arguably the best weekend of the year and certainly one of the most fun racing weekends on the annual calendar. If you’ve never attended, make sure to put it on your bucket list.

Anyway, back to the partnership. This is pretty big news. I know IndyCar has been working to link up to the karting world for some time now. Obviously, with so many sanctions and series competing, this is a tall task; you don’t want to alienate one group of karters by supporting another. I think this new partnership with the RIGP is a positive step because it’s a big race with competitors from all over the world participating — plus it’s a one-off event that draws talent from various forms of karting. If nothing else, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

2010 RIGP King Kyle Wiegand celebrates victory with donuts on the front straight in Rock Island.
(Photo: Ryan — JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com)
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Rock Island Grand Prix Photos

Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:45 am Rock Island Grand Prix Comments

I’ve compiled a slideshow of my shots from the 2010 Rock Island Grand Prix below. The photos have been reduced dramatically, so please contact me for high-res shots. Enjoy.

2010 Rock Island Grand Prix
photo credit: Ryan – JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com

Related Reading:

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I uploaded a gazillion photos (mostly action shots) to my Flickr account for your viewing pleasure from today’s Rock Island Grand Prix practice and qualifying sessions. A few slideshows of my shots are embedded below.  If you want to see the photos in full-size make sure to expand the slide.  Enjoy.

In addition to the photos, I was posting qualifying results to Twitter.  Make sure to follow JOWT for more.

Photos are available for use, but please consider making a small donation via PayPal on the left sidebar if you choose to use one and make sure to provide accurate photography credit: Ryan – JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com

Thanks.

2010 Rock Island Grand Prix First Morning Practice

2010 Rock Island Grand Prix: Second Practice

2010 Rock Island Grand Prix Qualifying Sessions

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Rock Island Bound

Posted September 3, 2010 at 9:19 am Rock Island Grand Prix Comments

Good morning.  I’m packing up and will be departing shortly for the Rock Island Grand Prix.  Coverage will be sporadic this weekend, but you can expect a fairly detailed notebook and some event photos next week. EkartingNews will be on hand providing live coverage of the event, so there’s really no need to duplicate efforts. You can tune into their coverage here.

The RIGP makes for one of the best race weekends of the year.  If you’ve never been, I recommend you make the trip.  See you at the Rock.

Related Reading: Previous RIGP Coverage

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Thursday Morning Reading

Posted September 3, 2009 at 5:00 am Karting, Rock Island Grand Prix Comments

The Rock Island Grand Prix, also known as the world’s largest go kart street race, is scheduled to take place this weekend over Labor Day in the Quad Cities.

A few months ago, or perhaps even up until a few weeks ago, the future of the event was in question— due to lagging entries. Thankfully, long-time supporters and fans banded together and voiced their support and loyalty for the event.

The RIGP is one of the most exciting events of the season and Ekartingnews has recently put together a countdown of the Top-15 performances from The Rock.  You can read them here.

(Note:  I’ve linked to the #1 Ranked performance, if you wish to start with #15 and countdown —scroll to the bottom of the above linked page and click #15.)

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The future of the Rock Island Grand Prix lies in the hands of would-be competitors, as the organizer’s of the world’s largest street race are considering and unthinkable decision… to cancel the race—due to lack of entries.

Labor Day weekend at the Rock makes for one of the best weekend’s of the year in my book. I’ve been both a spectator and a competitor at this great event and I would certainly hate to see it face an untimely demise. If you want to help out and take part in one of the year’s best kart races… make sure to get your entries in early. Your timeliness will affect the future. (see below)

Last year, I provided live coverage of the event and I hope to do so again this year.

You can register online …. HERE.
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The following is a press release from the Rock Island Grand Prix:

The following statement was released by the organizing committee of the Rock Island Grand Prix following its meeting on June 9, 2009:

The Rock Island Grand Prix, the world’s largest karting street race now celebrating its 15th season, is one of the most revered events in racing. It is produced each year by a not-for- profit organization. We are not a profit machine. Each year we plan to break even financially in an effort to keep costs to the racers as low as possible. Our goals are to produce high- quality racing and entertainment for competitors and bring people to downtown Rock Island, Illinois. The country’s recent financial situation, however, has now put the future of the event in question. Unexpected losses in 2008 (caused by the economy, high fuel prices and the loss of competitors and sponsors that resulted) ate up much of the event’s reserves. The 2008 event saw the lowest turnout of racers in its history. The 2009 budget was based on a further loss of sponsor support, some cuts in expenses and some minor increases in fees to racers. In the past, the event was able to rely on substantial sponsorship and small fluctuations in entries were not a concern. Some of those sponsors have been lost over the past 2 years and we have not been able to replace them due to the economy. This has left us much more dependent on competitor fees.

Historically, entries at the RIGP have ranged between 380 and 410. Last year entries dropped to 250 – the lowest in event history. The 2009 budget is based on attaining the same level of entries as in 2008. The business plan for the event does not allow for holding an event with less than 250 entries. So far entries for 2009 are running at roughly HALF the number that were registered at this time last year. The organizing committee of the RIGP has determined that if there are not at least 150 entries in hand by its next meeting on July 14, it will consider suspending the event for 2009 with no assurance that it will resume in the future. Even at 150 entries, the race may not be held if there is a belief that it will not attain an ultimate entry level of 250.

Should the organization ultimately decide to suspend the race in 2009, sufficient resources exist to pay for expenses which have already been contracted as well as return sponsor and competitor fees. No one will be out money. Entries received between now and mid-July will not be processed until a decision has been made to move forward. The Organizing Committee of the Rock Island Grand Prix is under the assumption that entries will pick up and the race will be held. We are moving forward based on that belief. But it is the feeling of the committee that if revenue projections cannot be met, it is better to suspend the event early before many competitors have finalized their plans, rather than at the last minute. The losses that would be sustained by meeting existing commitments would be far less devastating than going through with an event of this magnitude without adequate revenue.

Efforts have been made to encourage participation through contacts with many teams, importers, tracks and kart shops. To date those efforts have generated little participation. We also thank our friends at Ekartingnews.com, Ekartingnews.ca, Vroom.it, and National Kart News for their efforts to enhance our exposure in a tough year.

We understand that some racers must wait until the last minute to make decisions about whether or not they will race. We encourage those who can, to register soon so we can gauge the level of support we can expect. If you cannot commit at this time, but are planning to come, please let us know by email. That count is important too as we try to assess whether we can reach the ultimate goal of 250 entries. It is our hope that by stating this position early, the karting community will have time to respond so that we know where we stand when we make the decision. We hope that the support will be significant enough to allow the event to continue for 2009, rather than forcing Rock Island to join other legendary street races like Elkhart and Quincy which now exist only in history books.

In addition to entries, sponsorships are still available ranging from $350 on up. Racers
can enter online with a credit card at www.rockislandgrandprix.com or print out the Entry Packet from the Web site and submit it by mail with a check or credit card number. You can also call our office and we will mail the Entry Packet to you.

If the Rock Island Grand Prix is the one race you look forward to, or a race you always wanted to run, you might make this the year. Otherwise the future is uncertain.

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Thank you to everyone who followed the live updates on Junior Open Wheel Talent over the weekend in Rock Island. This is truly my favorite event of the year and 2008 was no exception. The weather was absolutely perfect and the spectators were out in force. For those that followed the live posts all weekend or for those looking back at the live blog posts, please excuse any grammar or spelling errors, as the main objective was to get you the updates as soon as possible.

I want to personally thank Roger Ruthart for his endless efforts to make this a successful event year after year. A big thank you to all the corner workers and volunteers this weekend as well, without you this event wouldn’t be possible. I was amazed at the hustle and hard work all weekend, despite the elements and long hours.

Event Preview
Live Blog (Friday Edition)
Live Blog (Saturday Edition)
Live Blog (Sunday Edition)

Here is a link to the 2008 Rock Island Grand Prix Full Results.

See you next year….

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Michele Bumgarner of the Phillipines just made history by becoming the first female to win a main event at the Rock Island Grand Prix. The RIGP is known as the world’s largest go-kart street race. Michele qualified on pole and led every lap in the TAG Senior category. The Filipino driver already has a very impressive karting resume from her home country….hence the nickname “Asian Karting Queen”. The victory comes as an early birthday present as Michele turns 19 on September 2nd.

Over the last month, Michele and her younger brother Mark (Skip Barber National competitor) have been spending time in Indianapolis meeting with Indy Racing League and Indy Lights team owners under the guidance of their new manager; Charlie Patterson.

Michele has spent the majority of 2008 competing in the Star Mazda championship.

Further reading on Michele.

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