How far would you travel for a great event in the middle of the summer? No points, no cash payout, just a chance to race at the return of one of the most prestigious karting venues in the United States that was making a return after 22 years. It was also only the second event for USAC Racing's new Karting division and their first ever street race.
So how far would you travel? Meet Intrepid Kart Colorado's Dustin Courter of Parker Colorado and his family and friends. Dustin raced karts from 1994-2005, then a pro truck and super late model in 2007 and 2008, but that was the end of it until 2017. In 2017 he climbed back into the driver seat and they made the 1182 mile journey across the country from Parker, Colorado to Elkhart, Indiana.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“We did some traveling with Jeff Nelson back in the day (I was on Invader chassis at the time), but I remember hearing all kinds of stories from guys like Jeff of Elkhart and Quincy in the Park. Like a lot of folks I had my dreams set on racing cars for a living and my parents did everything to make it happen.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â exclaims Dustin. ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“My parents and I both were really excited to hear that Elkhart was coming back, we worked hard to get there and it was worth it for sure!ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Along with his Mother Jeannie and Father Chuck, they brought along 125cc driver Christian Bird and his tuner Gary Davis. Dustin competed in both the 125cc Shifter and a Briggs and Stratton 206 classes along with the 206 endurance race.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Christian is a S1 guy as well and it was difficult for him to skip Summer Nationals, but he agreed that it was one of the most fun weekends of racing he'd ever had and happy he made the choice to go Elkhart. The weekend was one of the most memorable, it was awesome.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
In the years between the years of racing Dustin kept busy with becoming a firefighter/EMT as well as opening Canvas Corners. Canvas Corners is a fire department training prop that he designed and fabricates. This gave Dustin a unique connection to the Thor Industries Elkhart Riverwalk Grand Prix.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“A mentor of mine in the fire service Brian Brush introduced me to Chris Martin who works for Elkhart Brass. Chris and Elkhart Brass have helped supply me with the tools needed to teach classes and have been good friends. When I rolled into town for the GP Chris took me around and introduced me to the Chief's and firefighters on duty, and what a great bunch those guys are! An explanation on Canvas Corners: It's to help firefighters train on moving fire hose through a building as they reach the 'seat of the fire'. Canvas Corners "The Engine Company Training Prop" is an expandable collapsible training option that can be set up in a parking lot or used in coordination with a drill tower and affordable for agencies on a limited budget.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
After a journey across the United States the weekend ended on a high note for them. Dustin captured the win in the Briggs and Stratton 206 Endurance race on Saturday and followed up the weekend with a second place in both the 125cc Shifter final and the Briggs and Stratton 206 classes in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 people on Sunday.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are definitely planning on returning to Elkhart for this year's race as well as trying to make it to Indianapolis in July for USAC's race at Indy as well. Elkhart had such a great atmosphere and then you add in that USAC is appealing to the grassroots type of karter and not over charging them for every single item.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Look for more details on this event as we get closer to the second annual Thor Industries Elkhart Riverwalk Grand Prix August 10-12, 2018. For more information and news make sure to follow www.USACkarting.com and be sure to keep up with us on social media.