QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) — Terry Traeder wasn’t sure if the day would ever come.
He figured the 2001 Quincy Grand Prix was the last of its kind in the Gem City. The karting race was a staple in South Park for more than three decades but came to a shrieking halt.
Traeder never lost faith.
His late father, Gus Traeder, helped spearhead the event in 1970 and the event was nationally renowned for 32 years.
However the aging pavement in South Park made it too dangerous for the race to continue.
Traeder partnered with the Quincy Park District and the track was repaved which put the wheels in motion for a return of the Quincy Grand Prix this weekend.
"Gus did it for 32 years and he’s sitting right over here in Green Mount Cemetery watching all the festivities, (and) seeing that we’re doing it right," Terry said.
"We wanted to make it a great show for the karters that are coming here. Right now we’re up to 15 states where they’re coming in from (and) make it great for the city of Quincy. I want people to know it’s all free to come here, bring families, and a new generation of people to see the Grand Prix."
The final touches are being put in place at the 1.2 mile track with the bulk of Saturday’s schedule being practice with the sprint competition in the afternoon, and then championship Sunday to cap off the Grand Prix.
Traeder says a significant portion of the preparation boils down to safety for the drivers and on-lookers.
"We’ve got 500 hay bails, a mile of plastic barriers, (and) two miles of fencing. We are really concerned about that. It’s got to be safe," Traeder said.
"This (race) has got to have the reputation that it’s safe for the driver and for the spectator. That’s my big thing this year. We want to be able to get out of here without anybody getting hurt."
There are 245 drivers registered for this year’s event which will also be streamed online on YouTube for those who want to watch each race unfold.
The Quincy Grand Prix is part of the Triple Crown series and a handful of drivers will be search of series points.
Veteran IndyCar driver Scott Pruett will serve as grand marshal. Pruett won a karting championship during the 1982 Quincy Grand Prix.