Downtown will roar with 27th Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix

Grant Prix
Racing will again take center stage in downtown Rock Island this Labor Day Weekend for the Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix, Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 1-4. The event also features food, drink, live music and family fun, organizers say. CREDIT VISIT QUAD CITIES

For the 27th year, the largest karting street race in the world is getting ready to take over downtown Rock Island this Labor Day Weekend.

Two days of racing once again will top the menu for the Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix, which was founded in 1994. The event also will again serve up plenty of entertainment, food and fun off the track as the race roars to life without COVID-19 restrictions.

The grand prix runs from Thursday through Sunday and the holiday weekend is capped off on Monday by the Annual Rock Island Labor Day Parade elsewhere in the city. Participants will step off at 9:30 a.m. at 18th Avenue and 24th Street. 

Roger Ruthhart, president of the Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix, told the QCBJ, “From the very beginning the event has been held for the benefit of the community and its businesses. We bring kart teams to town from all over the world and provide free family entertainment.”

 “We are excited to see vendors and nightly entertainment back and groups of new volunteers who benefit financially from helping set up the track,” he added. “It’s an exciting weekend for Rock Island and the Quad Cities and we hope everyone comes down to check it out.” Admission is free to the family-oriented grand prix. Here’s what fans will find on the track:

  • Racing is scheduled for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with morning practice and afternoon qualifying heat races on Saturday and practice, opening ceremonies and 18 feature races running on Sunday. 
  • Joining this year’s King of the Streets open shifter race – which is one of the most iconic races in karting, according to the Grand Prix  – will be King of the Rock races for 100cc engines and for the Briggs & Stratton 206cc engine. Vintage karts from prior to 1985 also are again being featured in 2022.
  • The announcing duo of Jay Kidwell, sports director at WHBF-TV, and long-time karting Announcer Dave McIntrye will be heard throughout a downtown that is wired for sound so race fans can expect more information, more explanations, great interviews and lively banter from the team.
  • For the first time, Exhibition Races will be held both Saturday and Sunday featuring electric powered karts with 20kw motors created by Best Hybrid Batteries in Shorewood, Illinois. “These should be fast and interesting events for both racers and spectators as electric powered racing could be part of the future of the sport,” Mr. Ruthhart said.
  • New this year is a team racing event where drivers from the same home track can collect team points even if they are racing in different classes. There are no new entry fees and few rules, just the chance to win glory and bragging rights as the 2022 Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix Track Team of The Year. The winner will receive a large banner to display at their home track or club.

When the racers aren’t running, there are plenty of attractions to keep visitors happy. Organizers say downtown businesses will be better staffed in 2022 to serve racers and race fans and nightly outdoor entertainment will be featured throughout.

“We are glad to see some good energy return downtown this year and encourage race fans and the community to enjoy the three-night Trackside Bash,” Mr. Ruthhart said.

The Bash is where organizers say racers and race fans gather to have fun once the action is over.  Sponsors include: Smoking Dog, Hammar & Associates, Friendship Manor, Blaze Restoration, the Music Connection, QC Custom Tees, and QC Photo Booth. Vendors include: Smoking Dog, Icons, El Patron and Huckleberry’s Great Pizza and Calzones. 

Bands include: Wolfskill, The Resistors, DJ Tom Cox, B and D Acoustic, John Born Duo and Midnight Blue Country Band. Admission for music fans is $15 with $10 for racers and fans with pit passes on their wrists. A weekend pass for all three nights is $40. Those who donate a dog or cat toy or food for the QC Paws Animal Shelter will receive $5 off the regular day pass. 

In addition to the big bash, other activities include:

  • Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse is presenting “Disaster,” Broadway’s side-splitting homage to classic disaster films. More information at circa21.com.
  • Shot and a goal: The Quad City Storm hockey team will again welcome fans to Shoot The Puck street hockey fun in the center of the course where fans can learn about the team, its schedule, get ticket information and meet Radar, the team mascot.
  • Vendors are open: There will be Miller beer stands both in the infield and on 18th Street and Third Avenue, with both locations run by the Smoking Dog. Other food and drink vendors will be available, coordinated by Bayside Grille.
  • 61 Kartway, the kart track in Delmar, Iowa, will have a booth where you can see racing karts up close, get karting questions answered and learn about how both adults and kids can get involved in kart racing locally.
  • Motorsports Careers: The Bradley University Society of Automotive Engineers will have its race cars on display in front of WHBF-TV on 18th Street and will talk about their program and careers in motorsports.

Opening ceremonies for the Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix are set for 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The Vietnam Veterans honor guard will lead the Parade of Champions, and the National Anthem will be sung by Jill King. Local dignitaries will offer welcoming remarks.

Sponsors include: National Karting Alliance; Mediacom; Briggs & Stratton Racing; Bally’s Quad-Cities Casino & Hotel; Hoosier Kartsport; O’Reilly Auto Parts; Modern Woodmen Financial, Joe Schurr agent; Miller/Coors and Euclid Distributing; RLV Tuned Exhaust; CBS TV4, Fox 18 and CW; the local iHeart Radio stations: Big 106.5, Fox Sports QC, WOC and WLLR; Schurr Power Racing Engines and Tyler Schurr Racing; Sunbelt Rentals; Johannes Bus Service; Holiday Inn Rock Island; eKartingNews.com; Courtesy Car City; Gas & Electric Credit Union; Rogan Scale; Triple E Sales; Hiland Toyota; Brenny’s Motorcycle Center; Duncalf Karting and Duncalf Chiropractic Center; Hakuna Matata Charters; and QC Sports Net.

Find more information, visit here or by visit the Grand Prix’s Facebook or Instagram pages.

Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix Schedule:

Thursday, Sept. 1
6-11 p.m. The Trackside Bash opens with Wolfskill and The Resistors. Admission $15, $10 with pet toy or food. Food and drink vendors.

Friday, Sept. 2
5 p.m.: Streets close in The District.
6-11 p.m.: The Trackside Bash (on plaza stage): DJ Tom Cox and B and D Acoustic.
6 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Circa 21 Dinner Theatre, “Disaster.” (Find out more here.)

Saturday, Sept. 3
10 a.m.: Grand Prix Marketplace vendors open. QC Storm Shoot The Puck and Bradley SAE race team both days and 61 Kartway.
12:45-5 p.m.: Qualifying and Heat races.
6-11 p.m. The Trackside Bash. John Born Duo and Midnight Blue Country Band.
6 p.m.: Circa 21 Dinner Theatre, “Disaster”  

Sunday, Sept. 4
10 a.m.: Grand Prix Marketplace vendors open with QC Storm Shoot The Puck, Bradley SAE race team, 61 Kartway.
10:30 a.m.: Opening Ceremonies.
11 a.m.: Kid’s Autograph Session. Start/Finish line. Featuring QC Storm mascot.
11:15 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: 18 feature races.
7 p.m.: Awards Ceremony, Holiday Inn, Rock Island 

Monday, Sept. 5
9:30 a.m.: Annual Rock Island Labor Day Parade, 18th Avenue and 24th Street.

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