Your chance to fill the need for speed

Posted Online: April 24, 2013, 6:39 pm
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Roger Ruthhart, rruthhart@qconline.com
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 61kartway.com for more information or call or email at information@61kartway.com 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 rruthhart@qconline.com . Racing results should be sent to sports@qconline.com .


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park.
1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.

(More History)