Quincy News

Traeder eyes local Grand Prix becoming Indy 500 of karting

Spectators line the hillsides of South Park as they watch the Grand Prix of Karting in 2018. Terry Traeder is expecting the June 8 to 9 running of the Grand Prix to top both last yearŐs numbers for entries and attendance . | H-W File Photo
Phil Carlson 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 25, 2019 9:20 am

QUINCY -- Terry Traeder did not have to think twice about why he thought the Grand Prix of Karting's popularity did not miss a beat despite a 17-year hiatus.

"This is a bucket list item for people," said Traeder, referring to both drivers and fans alike.

More than 300 drivers from across the Midwest and beyond, coupled with the thousands who attended the 2018 rebirth at South Park, have Traeder, serving as event coordinator a second straight year, anticipating an even grander Grand Prix this time around.

Traeder is expecting the June 8 to 9 running of the Grand Prix to top both last year's numbers for entries (302) and attendance (estimated at between 15,000 and 23,000).

Traeder is a former world champion karter himself and the son of the late Gus Traeder, the legendary Quincy promoter who founded the Grand Prix in 1970 and built it into a world-class event. Like his father, Terry's goal for the Grand Prix is singular in nature.

"We want it to be a great event for the city of Quincy, held in the most beautiful park in the world," he said. "We're trying to make this the Indy 500 of karting."

The Grand Prix is a nonprofit event that will cost an estimated $110,000 to roll out, according to Traeder, who has strong backing from 19 local sponsors and Margay Racing LLC out of St. Louis.

The original Grand Prix ran for 32 years, first on the downtown streets of Quincy then at South Park, before ending in 2001 when the racing surface had started to erode and many karters at that time were turning to different disciplines.

Karting has enjoyed a rebirth in interest among drivers and fans alike in recent years, and Traeder hopes to capitalize on that enthusiasm.

"We want this to be karting's premier event," Traeder said.

The 1.13-mile South Park racing surface is once again a draw in itself for many of the sport's top drivers. Traeder said the challenging 13-turn course, which had been refurbished prior to last year's race, drew raves from participants and onlookers alike.

"There's no track like it anywhere, and I know -- I've raced everywhere," Traeder said.

Traeder said personal discussions with karting industry leaders, racers and fans following last year's races tell him the new Grand Prix will continue to grow. The event's all-time record of 625 entries could be smashed as soon as 2020 or 2021.

Traeder also noted the Grand Prix will be the stepping stone of a "fabulous month of racing in Quincy."

Following the Grand Prix again will be the event formerly known as the Quincy Optimist Club Soap Box Derby. Due to legal restrictions, the race can no longer use "Soap Box" in its title, but event officials are expected to soon announce a new moniker for the June 14-15 downhill runs on the 18th Street hill near Bob Mays Park.

Sandwiched around the Grand Prix of Karting and the event formerly known as the Soap Box Derby is the weekly Sunday night offering of dirt-track racing at Quincy Raceways.

"You can't beat this area for racing," Traeder said.

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