Your chance to fill the need for speed

Posted Online: April 24, 2013, 6:39 pm
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Roger Ruthhart,
If you stop by this spot each Thursday, it's likely you have an interest in motor sports. More than likely you would love to be racing, but feel you are too old to learn, "could never do that," or likely feel limited by your income.

If that is the case, you have probably overlooked kart racing. Karting is where many of the world's top racers started and honed their craft. But it is also a fun, family-oriented sport unto itself.

You don't have to be a national-level super star to enjoy it. Karters race every weekend at local tracks all across this country. You meet others who are race fans and look forward to hanging out with them at the track. As I said, it is also a family sport – fathers, mothers, sons and daughters can all get involved.

You can learn to be a better racer and fill your need for speed at the same time.

Here in the Quad-Cities we have a great opportunity at 61 Kartway, off Route 61 in Delmar, Iowa. The track is one of the top facilities in the country and family run by the Neilsons – Cliff, Cheryl, son Tony, daughter Christy Hughes and her husband Greg.

Your best opportunity to find out what the sport is like is this Saturday's annual open house, but you can also arrange to stop by at other times.

What makes 61 Kartway unique is that it has a fleet of rental karts. If you think you might have an interest, you can go out there and they will give you a helmet, a little instruction and put you out on the track so you can experience racing first hand. It's a great way to find out if you or someone in your family is really interested before owning your own racing kart. They even have a cadet-sized kart for younger kids.

All drivers must be at least 5-foot, 5-inches tall and be age 15 or older. Individuals under 18 must have a signed parent's consent form. The cadet (smaller than adult size chassis) with a 4 horsepower motor is available for drivers ages 6 to 10. Only the driver of the cadet kart and one adult instructor will be allowed on the track during this session. Parents will have access to the track for viewing. This is designed to introduce the sport to younger drivers and help parents decide if their child is ready to try kart racing. The rentals are also great for group or corporate outings.

Karting has a variety of classes designed for people of all shapes and sizes – some slower and some faster – which gives you a great opportunity to advance as your skills develop.

Saturday is the annual swap meet and open house from noon to 5 p.m. There is no charge for those selling or looking to buy and the track will also be open for a free practice, so you can talk with others and see what all the excitement is about. A $10 pit pass is required for racers.

If nothing else, it's an excuse for a drive in the country – the track is only about 30 minutes from the Quad-Cities. Check the website at for more information or call or email at or 563-659-8900.

Sprint Kart Speedway: Davenport's venerable kart track at the Mt. Joy airport will also hold its annual open house Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Steve "Spider" Duffy has been putting on races for 20 years and it is also a good place to get started in karting, except that it does not have the rental options.

Summer Showdown sponsor: Clinton Harley-Davidson of Clinton, Iowa, is official presenter of the Matco Tools Summer Showdown, June 20-22, at Cordova Dragway Park.

"We are super excited to have Clinton Harley-Davidson on board with this event and especially with the presence of the Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Series," said Cordova Dragway Park track operator Scott Gardner.

The Matco Tools Summer Showdown presented by Clinton Harley-Davidson is expected to draw in excess of 500 race teams with the addition of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle classes, Pro Stock Snowmobiles, Nitro Fuel Altereds and Nostalgia Pro Stocks. Those will all be in addition to the regular NHRA sportsman classes.

"The Matco Tools Summer Showdown is exactly the type of venue that Clinton Harley-Davidson wants to support and promote,''said Chris Fuller, general manager and owner of family-owned dealership."Harley-Davidson and speed naturally go together. To have this quality event in our own backyard is exciting for us as well."

Season Openers: Our local tracks have been battling the weather so far this season, but both Davenport and Quad City Speedways are scheduled to have their first season points races this weekend.

Things kick off first tomorrow night at Davenport where last Friday the IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series race was postponed and rescheduled for July 5. Friday is the Koehler Electric Season Points Opener with IMCA Late Models, IMCA Mods, Street Stock, IMCA Sport Mods, and 4-cylinder Stocks. Admission is adults $10, teens and seniors $9, children ages 7-12 are $5 and children 6 and under are free with a paid adult.Pit Passes are $25. Pit gate opens at 4:30 p.m., grandstand gate opens at 5 p.m., hot laps start at 6:30 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.

Sunday's action at Quad City Speedway will also be the first points race of the season. Scheduled to compete are Eriksen Chevrolet Buick IMCA Late Models, UMP Modifieds, IMCA Modifieds, Weber Auto Group Street Stocks, 4-Cylinders, and the return of the Topper Jetting Figure 8's. Pits and grandstands open at 3:30 p.m.with hot laps at 5:15 p.m. and racing begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission for adults is $10, reserved seating $11, seniors $8, kids ages 6 to 12 are $4 and kids ages 5 and under are free. A Family Pack for two adults and two kids is available for $25 but must be purchased on race day between 3:30-4:30 p.m. Pit passes are $25.

This column appears each Thursday in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Please send items of interest to . Racing results should be sent to .


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.

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