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    St. Charles, Illinois—The 3rd ‘Summit Conference” of the U.S. sanctioning associations took place on February 23 at the 2003 Kart Expo International. The following is the minutes from that all important meeting. The host organization is the Karting Industry Council, the national karting trade organization headed by Charles Pistorio, president and Bob White, Executive Director.

    Representing the US associations were: Brad Swiggart – International Kart Federation, Dave Larson – International Racing Association, Paul Zalud – Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow, Mitch Wright – SCCA, Jim Murley – SKUSA, and Ken Venburg – World Karting Association. Not present was Karters of America Racing Triad (KART).

    Call to order
    Charles Pistorio called the meeting to order about 8:25 A.M.  Each of the attendees was asked to introduce themselves.  Charlie then offered a brief recap of the agenda for the meeting.

    The following agenda topics were discussed:

    Safety Issues
    Brad Swiggert (IKF) discussed some information about safe helmets for children.  The problem is that helmets for children need a different type of liner than that used in adult helmets because children have softer skulls.  Currently, most of the karting organizations' technical manuals require the use of a helmet with a Snell rating of 95 or higher.  Testing for the Snell rating is based on the helmet construction used for adults, and does not make allowance for children's softer skulls.  According to SFI, a nonprofit California-based safety research organization, a helmet with a Snell rating of 95 may be potentially dangerous to children.

    At this time, only Snell and SFI certify helmet safety ratings.  As president of IKF, Brad plans to introduce to his board a technical requirement that helmets be approved by either Snell or SFI. There was a general discussion that resulted in suggestions that KIC join SFI to receive their safety publications and keep abreast of their safety research.  There was also a suggestion that KIC send representatives to the annual SAE Motor sports Conference and participate in their helmet safety seminars.  In the meantime, Brad will distribute copies of the information he has received to the other attendees.  Mitch Wright agreed to discuss the information with the SCCA trauma doctor for his comments.  All the attendees expressed their desire to develop a common standard to increase the safety of kids' helmets.

    Overlapping of national race schedules
    All the organizations are aware of the competition for the limited number of tracks and race dates.  They agreed that less overlap would allow karters to attend more races, to the benefit of all the organizations.  Charlie Pistorio distributed a small, multi-fold calendar, prepared by Kart Marketing International, that contains the national race schedules for all the major organizations.  He expressed the hope that all the organizations will continue to coordinate in an effort to reduce overlap in the future.

    Technical Issues
    Bob White reviewed the status of the National Tech Committee.  The committee, which was formed as a result of the last Summit meeting, held it first joint meeting on February 21, 2003.  The purpose of the meeting was to review issues that have been resolved to date, as well as new issues that will be addressed in the coming year.

    Bob reported that the committee has made significant progress toward establishing common rules among the organizations for two-cycle tech.  Unfortunately, little progress has been made in the four-cycle area because volunteers have not been available.  Among the significant issues to be addressed in the coming year are the CIK changes in bodywork, the phase-in of major rule changes and the potential development of a Two Cycle Technical Seminar Series.

    The committee is developing a proposed standard for the implementation of the new CIK bodywork.  Bob will submit the proposal at the next WKA board meeting in March 2003 The goal is that if WKA, as the CIK representative for the United States, accepts the proposed standard, and then all the other organizations will implement it.  Mitch Wright noted that the CIK changes were made to address safety issues and in his opinion, it is important that all the organizations adopt the changes.

    Because of the confusion that has existed about the implementation of the new bodywork, the tech committee has recommended that in the future, major rule changes should be announced a year in advance to allow both karters and manufacturers time to react to the changes.

    At its meeting the National Tech Committee also discussed the issues of pre-tech and tech inspection.  The committee volunteered to develop and present a seminar on the inspection of two-cycle engines.  The seminar would explain the proper procedures and techniques for performing the technical inspection, as well as what tools are needed for the inspection.  The committee wanted to know if the organizations would support such a seminar.  The attendees were in favor of KIC undertaking this project.

    Finally, Bob noted that a National Tech Team was also formed after the last meeting.  In the past year, team members Scott Evans, Phil Poole, Ron Pierce and alternates Jim Stroud and Jack Hoergel have provided technical assistance to the SCCA, WKA, Stars of Tomorrow and Rotax programs.

    National Kart Week
    Charlie Pistorio asked for the attendees' input on the staging of a national kart week.  He distributed copies of the marketing plan prepared by Darrell Sitarz of Kart Marketing Group.  There was some discussion about the timing and venue for such an event.  The attendees agreed to review the proposal and provide their comments to KIC.

    Charlie Pistorio expressed his appreciation to the representatives that attended the meeting.  He asked for any questions, comments or suggestions for topics for KIC involvement.  The meeting adjourned about 10:00 A.M.

    Rock Island, Illinois — The Rock Island Grand Prix has announced it will cap class entries in 2003 to maintain the quality of one of the world's premier kart races.

    The Rock Island Grand Prix is the largest professional karting street race in the world. SBC Communications and Bi-State Home Improvement remain the Presenting Sponsors of the Rock Island Grand Prix. Casino Rock Island returns as sponsor of the more than $25,000 purse.

    The event, which features 15 separate races held on Labor Day Weekend through the streets of downtown Rock Island, Illinois, has registered significant increases in entries the past several years. Organizers do not want the event to grow so big that it cannot be run in the organized and professional manner which kart racers have grown to expect.

    The caps, which have been approved by the host organization, will still provide for significant increases in entries for 2003. But they will assure that they do not come in such a way as to destroy the racing schedule, said Roger Ruthhart, president of the Rock Island Grand Prix.

    Plans for 2003 call for 10 classes to be capped at 30 entries and five classes to be capped at 55 entries. If all classes were filled it would result in 575 entries. The Grand Prix registered its largest turnout in history last year at just under 400 race entries.

    The Rock Island Grand Prix has always set 30 as the most karts it would allow to race at one time. If there are more than 30 in a class, the fastest 25 in timed qualifying advance to the Feature Race with the remainder running a Sunday morning last chance qualifier. The top five places in that race then advance to the back of the field for the Sunday afternoon feature.

    Under the new plan, the opportunity for last chance qualifiers will be limited to five classes. Organizers rewarded those classes that have traditionally had the largest numbers of entries at ``The Rock.''

    The five classes that will be capped at 55 entries include 4-cycle heavy, 4-cycle medium, 2-cycle Super Sportsman, Intercontinental C, and 125cc Masters gearbox.

    That leaves the following classes capped at 30 entries: 125cc SuperPro "King of the Streets,'' 250cc Biland, 125cc SemiPro gearbox, TAG U.S.A. Street Challenge, Intercontinental A, Yamaha medium and heavy, 2-cycle Senior Sportsman, 4-cycle Junior II, 4-cycle Light.

    Registrations will be accepted in the order they are received. A waiting list in each class will be maintained until August 1. The Rock Island Grand Prix will also alter its policy of automatically offering refunds to drivers who must cancel or do not show up to race. Requests for refunds will now be considered on a case-by-case basis with no refunds granted after August 1.

    “Our goal has always been to encourage as many as possible to race at The Rock and hopefully this policy will not change that. But as the race continues to grow, fewer and fewer competing races are held the same weekend. This year we also opened entries up to the world by seeking FIA/CIK licensing. Having the host hotel totally booked in early March is another indication of how the event has grown. Our organization reluctantly felt it had to take this action to maintain the event at a manageable level,” said Ruthhart.

    “It has always been our goal to run as professional a race as possible, keeping it well organized and on schedule. We believe that has been important to the success of this event,” Ruthhart said.

    “If action was not taken to keep the event at a manageable size, we would run the risk of attracting so many entries that we would not be able to effectively conduct the races. Having a world-class event is more important to us than the number of entries,” Ruthhart added.

    “If the Grand Prix were to achieve 575 entries allowed under the caps, it would still rank as one of the larger karting events in the country,” Ruthhart said.

    The Rock Island Grand Prix expects to mail entry packets to previous competitors and others on its mailing list in late April. Ruthhart encourages racers to register as soon as possible. If you wait until the last minute, you might find the classes filled, he said. If you want to be added to the mailing list, please contact the Grand Prix office.

    Rock Island is in an area known as the Quad-Cities, located on the Mississippi River where it intersects with Interstate highways 74, 80 & 88. It is also served by the Quad City International Airport in Moline. The area has a population of 375,000 and welcomes karters with open arms. The Quad-Cities features three riverboat casinos and a great variety of entertainment and attractions.

    The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District, which hosts the race weekend, is a great spot to go after a day of racing. It features a casino, a number of top restaurants, night clubs, coffee houses, comedy clubs, dinner theater and great live entertainment all within walking distance of race headquarters at the Four Points Hotel by Sheraton. Live outdoor entertainment is featured on the Great River Plaza throughout race weekend.

    For more information see www.rockislandgrandprix.com . Call (309) 292-8133 or email grandprix@qconline.com for additional information.

    Panama City, Florida — Formula Kart Productions announced today that they have signed contracts to provide television coverage for the 2003 FL RotaxMax (RMax) State Championships. The event, scheduled for August 30-31, will be seen in over 22 million homes nationwide. 

    "I am thrilled to get this deal done." says Formula Kart Productions President Bill Wright. “With this unprecedented Fox Sports Net coverage, combined with the more than $12,500 in individual competitor awards, this event ranks as one of the premier sprint karting events in North America."

    The 2003 FL RMax State Championship event will be the first of an annual "Invitational" RMax event. There will be no entry fee for this event. The top 7 drivers from each class of each of the 3 FL Region RMax Challenges will be invited to attend. The 21 fastest RMax drivers in each of the 3 classes will meet to find out who's the best of the best in FL RMax. 
    Individual competitors will be racing for the title of "FL RMax State Champion", and the individual awards.

    All competitors will be racing for the Formula Kart Cup.  Competitors will score points that will be combined with the points of their "Local Challenge" (i.e. North, Central, South) competitors. The "local Challenge" that scores the most points will be awarded the Formula Kart Cup. The Formula Kart Cup will be a perpetual award that will be presented to the "Local Challenge Champions" at each annual FL RMax State Championship event.

    The 2003 FL RMax State Championship event is part of the FL Karting Awards Partnership between Formula Kart Productions and the Skip Barber Racing School. 

    * The winner of the International Class and the Masters class will be awarded a 3-day Skip Barber Racing School.

    * 2nd place in the International Class and the Masters class will be awarded a $1,000 certificate for a Skip Barber Racing School.

    * 3rd place in the International Class and the Masters class will be awarded a $750 certificate for a Skip Barber Racing School.

    * Junior competitors will be racing for gift certificates redeemable for karting parts and accessories. We currently have over $2,000 in certificates, and anticipate that amount will increase substantially once this announcement is made.

     The location for this event is TBA. I can tell you that the location will NOT be at any of the tracks where we normally race. A temporary facility is being considered. Our intent is to provide a circuit that will not allow any person or group an advantage.

    For more information contact Bill Wright at Formula Kart Productions, 850-258-0846, or email me at overdue@formulakart.com

    Quincy, Illinois — A committee of local businessmen, community members, and fellow karters, is making the effort of bringing back a street race to Quincy, Illinois.  As many of you know “The Grand Prix of Karting” held in Quincy’s South Park ended after running for 32 years back in 2001.  In order to concentrate our efforts the group is offering a short survey to see if there is sufficient enthusiasm for an event in the Midwestern city. 

    If you are interested, please take time to fill out this short survey.  You may complete the short survey online form online from a link on www.quincykarting.com, or forward your remarks to brooksy@adams.net. If you print out the form from this website, snail-mail it to: Bill Brooks, 3231 East Tower Road, Quincy, IL 62305

    Would you be interested in returning/coming to Quincy for a street race?
      ___Yes     ___No

    If you ran at “The Park” before, why did you not return? Or why did you never attend?  (Please check all that apply)
    ___ Safety Concerns
    ___ Entry Fees
    ___ Problems with former Race Management
    ___ Conflicting Race Dates
    ___ Quincy is too hard to get to
    ___ Cash Payout issues with the Purse
    ___ Was not aware the event existed
    ___ Did not offer my class - my class(es)  being ________________________
    ___ Other (please specify) _________________________________________

    We have different sites that are being discussed, just in case the Park was not used.  Some initial feedback is some karters would return only if “The Park” was revived.  Would you come to Quincy if “The Park” was NOT used?
    ____Yes     ____No

    Please rank the following some of the potential sites we have identified in order of preference with “1” being your first choice:
    ____  The Park
    ____  A downtown race resembling Rock Island Grand Prix
    ____  An Airport race
    ____  A Mall race (large parking lot)
    ____  Forget the street race, make it a quarter mile dirt oval
    ____  Other (please specify) ____________________

    Hilliard, Ohio — Stars of Tomorrow formally announced today a change in class structure affecting the national series.  The World Formula class, previously included in the national series, will be run at the regional level only for 2003.  The popular Rotax FR125 class will now join ICC, ICA, 80cc Junior, Yamaha Junior, and Cadet in the national class lineup for Stars this year.

    "As we got closer to the commencement of our season, we realized the World Formula class needs more grass roots development before being included in our national program," said Stars Operations Director Paul Zalud.  "The formula is a good one, and we have confidence Briggs & Stratton, among others, can lead the way in developing its adoption within the karting community."

    'Stars' has included Rotax in the national structure due to its popularity and affordability to help support the program. 

    "Rotax is one of, if not the, most popular karting class worldwide.  It is recognized by the CIK, was included in Stars the last two years, and the growth here in the U.S. is significant," continued Zalud.  "For these reasons, we think it is a good class to continue to feature in the Stars national series.  We want our events to be well-attended and available to a
    large cross-section of aspiring racers.  At this late date, Rotax was the best choice."

    Regulations are still being finalized, but it is likely the Rotax class in Stars will largely follow the Rotax Max Challenge International class regulations.  The class in Stars will currently not be a qualifier for the Rotax Max Challenge, a successful program aimed towards the older, recreational racer.

    The Snapon.com 'Stars of Tomorrow' karting series is the official first level in Champ Car's driver development system and an officially sanctioned series of WKA/SCCA Pro Racing. 


Kart Marketing Group, Inc.
Post Office Box 101
Wheaton, IL 60189 USA
Telephone: 630-653-7368
Fax: 630-653-2637
Email: karting@msn.com


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