Rock Island, IL, to Host Grand Prix

4 Sep, 2015

The Gateway Motorsports Park Kartplex is proud to be sending an elite team of nine racers to the prestigious 21st annual The Rock Island Grand Prix (RIGP), the world’s largest karting street circuit race, this weekend Sept. 5-6, in Rock Island, Illinois. 

Team Gateway is made up of drivers who race in Gateway Motorsports Park Kartplex Ignite and/or Super Comp Series.  Drivers include, Ryan Bettenhasusen who is Gateway’s most recent Super Comp Series winner, Royce Payton, Colten Dudici, Michael Scharf, Nick Todtenhaupt, Austin Blair who is Gateway’s most recent Ignite Series winner, Rod Scharf, Jeremy Remick, and Keith Scharf.

At speeds in excess of 80 MPH in high-performing professional karts, drivers will race through the city streets of the district of Rock Island before fans of thousands cheering them to victory.   In all, 16 races will be featured at The Rock Island Grand Prix in 2-cycle, 4-cycle, gearbox and vintage classes. Saturday will feature practice in the morning and heat races in the afternoon. Sunday’s Opening Ceremonies will be at 10:30a.m. with the Driver’s Parade followed by the Kid’s Autograph Session at the Start/Finish line. Racers will be rewarded for overall race craft instead of just going fast, with points being earned for both finishing position and positions gained during the race.

“Bringing our team of drivers to events like the RIGP exposes them to another level of competition that further develops their abilities as drivers,” said Keith Freber, owner of Margay Racing and partner in Gateway Motorsports Park Kartplex.  “With only a few exceptions, all of our team drivers got their start in our Ignite program, which is geared toward making it as easy as possible to get involved in competitive racing.”

The Gateway Kartplex is focused on providing a safe and highly competitive racing environment where a premium is placed on driver development.  “Our long term goal in competitive karting is to provide a solid foundation for drivers who choose to pursue their racing dreams or who simply enjoy the adrenaline rush of competing in motorsports at an affordable level,” explains Freber.  Margay Racing is the winningest chassis brand in the history of the Rock Island Grand Prix.  With over 100 wins, Margay is over 50 wins clear of its nearest competitor. 

The Gateway Kartplex Ignite series is truly the foundation of the Motorsports pyramid.  Every driver at the top level of motorsports got his/her start in karting.  The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, Kevin Harvick, got his start racing 4-cycle karts at his local kart track.  Danica Patrick got her start racing 4-cycle karts at her local track, and the list goes on.  Competitive professional karting tracks like the Gateway Kartplex provide the path the drivers need begin their climb up the motorsports ladder.  The drivers need to bring desire, determination and a modest budget.   

“We have been very fortunate to have a track owner in Curtis Francois who takes a longer view and wants to build a racing program that is successful over time at developing highly talented young drivers, yet also provides a place for the hobbyist to enjoy the thrill of karting in a safe and competitive environment,” said Freber.

According to RIGP officials, this year’s races will be featured on an upcoming segment of Mav-TV’s Motorsports Road Trip featuring Aaron “Adventure Aaron” Carotta. Action to be featured will include the Margay Ignite Shootout featuring the new Margay Ignite K3 spec kart, designed and marketed as an easy entry point into the sport for race fans.

Action starts Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. and concludes around 5 p.m. The Rock Island Grand Prix has drawn top drivers from coast to coast as well as Canada, Bermuda, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, France, Italy, Poland, Costa Rica, the Philippines and England. The races will be web cast live on

The vision for the new Gateway Motorsports Park is to create a racing lifestyle that attracts enthusiasts, professionals, amateurs and car lovers by harnessing the energy and passion of the thousands of racing fans in the heart of the Midwest. 

 Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering nearly 200 acres, Gateway is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the region, encompassing a ¼ mile NHRA-sectioned drag strip, 1.25 mile NASCAR Speedway, 1.6 mile road course, a state-of-the-art Karting facility and a new 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue.

For more information about Gateway Motorsports Park visit .


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