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Amazing Pro Driver Lineup for All-Star Karting Classic at PRI UPDATE The names of the drivers, who have thus far committed to the Snap-on All-Stars Karting Classic to run Dec. 11, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, in conjunction with the 21st Annual PRI Trade Show, reads like a ‘who’s who’ of contemporary racers.  With two Indy 500 winners, an NHRA champion, and IndyCar, NASCAR, ALMS, Grand-Am and NHRA newcomers and veterans alike, the entry list continues to grow on a daily basis.

The drivers ready to compete in this year’s All-Star event:

  • Dan Wheldon, 2006 Indy 500 winner
  • Buddy Rice, 2004 Indy 500 winner
  • Ed Carpenter, IndyCar
  • Michael Valiante (last year’s All-Stars winner), Grand-Am
  • Will Power, IndyCar
  • Marco Andretti, IndyCar
  • Antron Brown, NHRA
  • AJ Allmendinger, NASCAR
  • Max Papis, sports cars
  • Cristiano Da Matta, sports cars
  • Oswaldo Negri, Jr., open wheel
  • Raphael Matos, open wheel
  • Scott Speed, stock cars
  • Bryan Herta, sports cars
  • Townsend Bell, IndyCar
  • Jamie McMurray, NASCAR
  • Nelson Philippe, open wheel
  • Jan Heylen, open wheel
  • Joey Hand, Grand-Am
  • Alex Lloyd, IndyCar
  • Vitor Meira, IndyCar
  • Ron Capps, NHRA
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2008 Indy 500 Rookie-of-the-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.  The All-Stars line-up last year featured a tremendous array of pro drivers, and everyone can look forward to another stellar group of Stars karters and great racing action.”

In addition, this year’s race will be televised on Fox Sports. With support from Bridgestone Tires, Masters Entertainment and the PRI Trade Show, karting will once again be brought to the forefront of the mainstream media with a half-hour televised broadcast in April of 2009.

“Having this exciting Stars of Karting event being produced to be shown on Fox Sports really shows the magnitude and scope of this exciting race,” added Lewis. “All of the excitement seen by thousands at the event will be viewed by millions worldwide on television.”  With eKartingNews.com’s Rob Howden as part of the on-air color commentary team, karting will be prominently displayed on one of the biggest television networks in all of North America.

Racing begins at 7:00 p.m. Thursday night, with two big races:  the Masters (Pro) Division and the Karters Division, featuring many of North America’s hottest young karters.  Expanded grandstands, and food & beverage stands will be available to accommodate PRI’s race audience as well as many local Orlando fans.  A special 44-page race program will be provided to all attendees free of charge.

“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.”

11/27/08 Team Australia driver Will Power will return to his roots when the Australian competes in the 2008 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) All-Stars Karting Classic at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on 11 December 2008.

Power will drive for the FirstKart.com team in the Masters division, running as part of a three kart squad alongside fellow IndyCar driver Marco Andretti and leading NHRA Top Fuel drag racer Antron Brown.

Power’s motorsport career began at a young age in the sport of karting, when he and his brothers raced at the Greer Park Kart Raceway in his hometown of Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia. Zzzz

Power still drives karts regularly to help maintain a high level of fitness all year round and tune the sharp reflexes required to drive an IndyCar at speeds of over 370km/h at venues such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Karting is where it all began for me but it’s one part of my driving that I’ve never completely stepped away from,” said Power.

“I still drive karts regularly both here in Indianapolis in the US and back home in Toowoomba. The karts are so fast and the tracks are so demanding that it’s the best way to keep your eye in between races or during the off-season.

“And on top of all those benefits, it’s a huge amount of much fun and something you can do with your friends, whether it’s other drivers or just your mates.

“So you can understand why so many drivers keep racing karts through their whole careers. Any training you do that’s also fun is always great.”

Power will drive a First Kart chassis powered by a 125cc IAME Leopard engine as he competes in a field full of well-known competitors including AJ Allmendinger, Max Papis, Cristiano Da Matta, Oswaldo Negri, Buddy Rice, Scott Speed, Townsend Bell, Jamie McMurray, Nelson Philippe, Jan Heylen and Ryan Hunter-Reay. More driver announcements are expected in the lead-up to the event.

“I’ve really got to thank the FirstKart.com team for this opportunity and I’m hoping to give them a great result,” said Power.

“We’ve got quite a team lined up for the event. I’ve heard a lot about this race and I’ve been really keen to get some kart races under my belt during this long off-season.

“It should be a lot of fun but in saying that I’m taking it quite seriously. I’m still very fit and I want to get a good result for the team.”

For Power, this event caps a massive year. The 27-year-old won the Champ Car finale in Long Beach, California, made his Indianapolis 500 debut in May and scored his third consecutive pole position for his home event on the Gold Coast aboard the #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone.

This season Power scored three top five finishes and six top 10 finishes, ending the season with the eighth best qualifying average in the series, scoring 12th in the 2008 IndyCar Series standings and placing third in the Bombardier Rookie of the Year Standings.

The All-Stars Karting Classic is staged at night and is the season finale for the US-based Stars of Karting Series. The event is held in conjunction with the enormous PRI convention and is telecast on US television.

The FirstKart.com team will also run a three-kart team in the Karter division for Indy Lights drivers James Davison and Bobby Wilson and karting ace Spencer Pigot.
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