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Rock Island Grand Prix
ROCK ISLAND, ILL. – The Rock Island Grand Prix, the world's largest karting street race held Labor Day weekend, has announced plans to upgrade track design and construction this year by eliminating the use of straw bales.
Presenting sponsors are AT&T and Casey’s General Stores.
“The Rock Island Grand Prix has used more than 2,000 straw bales as part of track construction since its inception in 1994. Over time we have integrated more modern and more forgiving forms of barriers. This year we have decided to step into the 21st Century,” said Roger Ruthhart, president of the Rock Island Grand Prix.
The many bales of straw used for the track provide a significant manpower and logistics challenge to load and unload each year. Broken bales are messy, costly and time consuming to clean up, Ruthhart said. “And if it rains, the Rock Island Grand Prix is the proud owner of $8,000 worth of wet straw that we then have to dispose of.”
The new track design will be safer and should be easier on race equipment
that does go off course and approved by the event’s insurance carrier.
More than 60 new crash pillows are also being added to pad obstacles on the sidewalk that are near the racing line. In the case of the long straights, the track and runoff area will be marked by orange cones while some of the shorter straights will see more of the barriers utilized.
Ruthhart pointed out that many temporary circuit races, such as the Superkarts! USA SuperNats, only utilize a single layer of barriers and are still very safe.
“The course we will provide this year will be safer than what we have had in the past and the new barriers should do less damage to equipment that does hit it,” Ruthhart said.
He stressed that the larger barriers will not be weighted by any means other than their normal weight and will move if hit. “For the most part we believe that the smaller Scribner barriers will continue to be the main line of defense just as they have been for the last decade,” Ruthhart added.
AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the United States
and one of the largest in the world. AT&T is the recognized world
leader in providing IP-based communications services to business and
the U.S. leader in providing wireless, high speed Internet access, local
and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services.
As part of its "three screen" integration strategy, AT&T
is expanding video entertainment offerings to include such next-generation
television services as AT&T U-verse TV. With 55.8 million subscribers,
AT&T provides international voice services to virtually every country
and territory in the world. It is a global company that sets the industry
standard for a new era of integrated communications and entertainment
services. The AT&T Foundation has contributed more than $1.8 billion
to nonprofit organizations around the country, putting it among the five
largest corporate foundations in the United States. ( HYPERLINK "http://www.att.com" www.att.com)
Casey’s General Stores, with headquarters in Ankeny, Iowa, operates 1,645 stores in 11 Midwestern states. The first store was opened in 1968 by founder Don Lamberti. The majority of the group’s stores are in communities with a population of 5,000 or less. Casey’s success has been attributed to clean stores, restrooms and the friendly employees who pride themselves on customer service. Casey’s customers know that inside each store they will find dedicated, helpful and well-trained employees, exceptional prepared food and a clean environment in which to shop.(www.caseys.com)
The Rock Island Grand Prix is hosted by the Downtown Rock Island Arts and Entertainment District which features retail shops, excellent restaurants, live entertainment, dinner theater, art galleries and comedy clubs all within walking distance of the host hotel. Jumer’s Casino & Hotel is just a short drive away. Rock Island is located on the Mississippi River three hours west of Chicago in an area known as the Quad-Cities which straddles the river and the Illinois/Iowa border. It is at the intersection of Interstate highways 74, 88 and 80 and is served by Quad City International Airport in Moline, Ill. ( HYPERLINK "http://www.ridistrict.com" www.ridistrict.com)