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2014 Marks 20th Running of the Rock Island Grand Prix

Published By Texas Lone Star Grand Prix, Inc.     July 17, 2014    
Rock Island, IL, United States - Get Directions


Labor Day Weekend 2014 Marks the 20th Running of the Rock Island Grand Prix.

By all accounts Rock Island is the granddaddy of kart street racing in the United States.
No other kart street race has stood the test of time like this grand prix.

Stacked Open Shifter Field at Rock Island


Driver Legacy

Many of the stars in kart racing have graced the streets of Rock Island at some point in their careers.  Current Indy Car Racer, Graham Rahal, is one of the many professional racers who competed at “The Rock.” Large fields have been the norm on this historic street circuit dubbed “The Rock” by some.


Graham Rahal, RIGP Alumni

Here are a few more examples of the Rock Island racing legacy:
Alan Rudolph has won King of the Streets 5 times -- '94, '98, '00, '01 and '06.
Kyle Weigand and Jordon Musser have each won 3 times. Other winners include pro drivers Scott Speed and Joey Hand.

In 2013, Gary Lawson of Mentor, Ohio won 4 more races to run his career total at Rock Island to 25 wins -- 14 more than anyone else.

Dr. Al Cram, 72 (in 2013), who races in the 4 cycle Clone Medium and Heavy classes appears to be the oldest entry on record.

Each Year an RIGP King Is Crowned


An Event with International appeal

Drivers from coast to coast in the US as well as Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, France, Poland, Italy, England, Argentina, Costa Rica, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Colombia have all made the trek to race at Rock Island. 
There have been 9 foreign-born winners at The Rock. 
Michele Bumgarner of the Philippines is the only woman to have won at Rock Island, doing it in back-to-back years.

Michele Bumgarner

The Rock Island Team and the Event
Track setup and teardown have been reduced to an art form carried out by dozens of volunteers who work in sync starting at the close of business on Friday.  Like at the Indy 500, volunteers make Rock Island possible and there never seems to be a shortage of folks wanting to be a part of the Rock Island team.

Fields at Rock Island have always been large peaking at 411 entries in 2005.  300+ entries has been the norm with a few years just below that number because of the sagging national economy.
An interesting fact about Rock Island Grand Prix is that it was not started by kart racers (although they suggested it).  It was started by business leaders looking for an exciting sporting event that would bring people downtown on the holiday weekend.  From the beginning the race has always been part of a bigger weekend festival. The management of the Rock Island Argus newspaper took the lead in organizing and promoting the race which was then called “the Rock Island Argus Grand Prix.”  The newspaper saw the popularity of motorsports on the rise and saw the opportunity to put the region on the motorsports map with a reasonable investment.

Ultimately, the race transitioned to a committee of business and civic leaders who organize, promote and run the race.
Typical spectator turnout for the race weekend is estimated to be just north of 20,000 people with more than half attending on Sunday for main event racing.  Admission to spectators has always been free.  Simple math indicates that approximately 400,000 spectators have watched kart street racing at Rock Island over the years.

The Rock Island Legacy
Over the years many organizations seeking to build and promote street races have sought the advice and counsel of Rock Island organizers including newcomer The Texas Lone Star Grand Prix.
The Rock Island team has worked with these organizations giving advice and guidance and in doing so has contributed to the reemergence of kart street racing across the United States.

Tom Argy Jr., a world leader in the sport and NASCAR Winston Cup safety official, was hired as race director and many safety improvements were added to the event.  Following Mr. Argy’s death in a car accident the Race Director role passed to well respected racer and race official – Terry Riggins. 

Riggins built on Argy’s successes and added Rick Fulks as his Assistant Race Director.  Riggins and Fulks together have brought new perspective to the event team.

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