By Steve Eighinger
WEST QUINCY, Mo. — TNT Kartways will be hosting a special birthday bash July 31 to commemorate the facility’s diamond anniversary.
About 80 of the region’s most competitive karts will celebrate TNT’s 60th birthday with what promises to be an interesting showcase.
TNT owner Terry Traeder and director of operations Jeff Miles both feel the birthday event will be a perfect complement to a sport that is growing by leaps and bounds. Just a few years ago, Miles said TNT was averaging about 15 karts for its Saturday night shows. Now that number is normally north of 60.
“Karting has grown a lot over the past five years, both locally and nationally,” said Miles, who has helped guide the local growth for “the last six or seven years” at TNT Kartways, which is little more than a good straightaway across the Bayview Bridge from Quincy.
The sport’s powers-to-be — including those who both govern and manufacture — changed the overall dynamic of karting about a decade ago by introducing different rules packages and making the sport more accessible from a financial standpoint.
Miles said karting has also learned to do a better job of taking the sport to the people and that resurgence has been quite evident at TNT.
“Rental karts, for example, are doing a great job of getting people into (kart) racing,” Miles said. “That, in many cases, leads to those people buying a kart (and becoming even more involved). We’ve seen a lot of people, especially those who used to compete years ago, coming back to the sport. There are new tracks popping up all over the country.
Traeder agrees wholeheartedly.
“Karting is in the midst of a tremendous comeback,” Traeder said. “The sport has done nothing but grow in the past five years.”
TNT has been Mecca for karters since the legendary Gus Traeder built the track in 1961. It is a site synonymous with karting history, having hosted dozens of national events, included being featured on ABC Wide World of Sports in the 1960s. The track has hosted more national karting championship races than any other site in the nation, even though it has not been the site of a national event since 1994.
“The Traeder family has the goal of bringing the TNT Kartways track back to the status it enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s as one of the finest tracks in the nation,” Traeder said.
The anniversary celebration will feature a variety of giveaways throughout and will follow this schedule:
5 p.m.: Official practice, although the track will be open throughout the day for drivers to use the track.
6:30 p.m.: Drivers meeting.
7 p.m.: Qualifying.
8 p.m.: Racing begins.
9 p.m. (approx.): Finals.
Event will showcase changes
Traeder, a Quincy native and former world karting champion himself, has been overseeing a $200,000 renovation project at TNT Kartways for more than a year. Part of the TNT renovation has been a new state-of-the-art racing surface for the twisting, turning .45-mile track.
“This is the first major renovation since 1973,” said Traeder, who also owns TNT Golf Cars and Motorsports in downtown Quincy and is the director of the Grand Prix of Karting, a longstanding area tradition.
Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?
Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.Purchase Story