Hunter-Reay to compete in PRI All-Stars Karting Classic
Confirming his participation in this year’s highly anticipated Snap-on Stars of Karting All-Stars Karting Classic, 2008 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Ryan Hunter-Reay will join a number of pro racing’s top drivers for this third annual event, held in conjunction with the 21st Annual PRI Trade Show in Orlando, FL, Dec. 11-13, 2008.
The race will take place Thursday night, Dec. 11, on a specially prepared road course built directly outside the Orange County Convention Center, site of the one million-square-foot show floor housing the PRI Trade Show. Last year, the Snap-on Stars of Karting All-Stars put on an exciting show, highlighted by the drivers making up the Masters division, including Jamie McMurray, Marco Andretti, Christian Fittipaldi and Ron Capps, all of whom were returning to their karting roots. Grand-Am’s Michael Valiante took the All-Star win, while ICC National Champ Gary Carlton won the Karter Division race, while placing second in the Masters Division race.
Based on the success of last year’s event, many pro drivers have stated they plan on returning, including 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, and road racing veteran Bryan Herta. Other drivers who have made plans to race include former F1 and rising star of ARCA and NASCAR Scott Speed, NASCAR driver A.J. Almendinger and French open wheel racer Nelson Philippe. Both Valiante and Carlton are also returning to compete this year.
“We are very excited to have the All-Stars Karting Classic return,” noted Steve Lewis, producer of the PRI Trade Show. “Kart racing is where many of the drivers now enjoying successful careers at upper-level auto racing series began racing. The All-Stars lineup last year featured a ‘who’s who’ of pro drivers and everyone can look forward to another stellar lineup of Stars karters and great racing action.”
“Last year’s event really showed the true potential of karting as an entertainment medium of motorsports,” said Paul Zalud, president of the Stars of Karting. “We are more excited than ever to bring this exciting event back to the PRI Trade Show in Orlando.”
The PRI Trade Show is the world’s largest racing trade show, featuring exhibits of the latest advances in racing products, motorsports engineering and machining equipment by 1,400 companies. The kart racing venue was expanded to include 5,000 grandstand seats to accommodate what race organizers expect will be a much larger crowd this year based on the previous year’s successful event. “The All-Stars Karting Classic also helps put the spotlight on the steadily growing number of kart supplier exhibits, buyers and participants in the PRI Trade Show,” Lewis added, “making the show an important central point for all karting businesses.”
“It’s great to get such a wide variety of different types of drivers from so many different motorsports together to go do something like this to help promote go-karting and to have just a good, all-around fun time,” Rice said.
Hunter-Reay added, “I grew up karting, like many of the other drivers, and still to this day I have two karts, and it’s my main off-season training program. It’s just something that I love to do, so if there’s a kart race and guys who I race against in the regular season are going to be racing in it, I want to be racing against them. And they have drivers from other types of series so it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple years now.”
Reaching more than 45,000 show attendees at the 2007 show in Orlando, the three-day PRI Trade Show is timed so that racing retailers, engine and car builders, wholesaler/distributors, professional race teams and other industry participants can shop the latest new product introductions and have them in inventory for the next racing season. This year, Dale Inman serves as Opening Day Breakfast Speaker and more industry social events are on deck, as Budweiser sponsors the PRI Happy Hour on Thursday night. Also, a full slate of motorsports business seminars is scheduled for Friday and Saturday mornings.
Snap-on Stars of Karting Presented by the IndyCar Series represents the pinnacle series in the sport of karting and often times the first step to a career in motorsports. With its association with the IRL and other key motorsport entities, the Stars of Karting gives racers the chance to move onward. With incredible power-to-weight ratios, karts have been the starting point for such world-famous drivers as Danica Patrick, Michael Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta and seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher. PRI Trade Show