With preparations complete, green flag ready to drop on Quincy Grand Prix


The Quincy Grand Prix returns to South Park this weekend with featuring racing beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday. | Shane Hulsey photo

QUINCY — It’s almost time to drop the green flag.

On Friday, Quincy Grand Prix promoter Jeff Scott and his crew put the finishing touches on the 1.1 mile course in South Park that will host this weekend’s karting event.

“It’s a big deal,” Scott said. “It’s great for Quincy. It’s really good for the sport of karting. We have racers from all over the country that are super excited that this event is going to be here this year.”

Scott took over as race promoter after the 2023 event was canceled.

“I have fond memories of sitting on the hills and watching racers back in the ’80s and ’90s,” Scott said. “To be able to come back and race myself and now to be the promoter, it’s a pretty cool experience.”

Scott said the South Park track is a favorite among racers.

“A lot of people that have been in racing say it’s probably the most unique track,” Scott said. “It’s been referred to as ‘a city park built around a race track.’ There’s nothing else like it. The elevation changes, you’re coming through the sun and the trees. And it’s the biggest crowd we race for in the country.”

It took Scott and about 15 other workers two days to get the hay bales and barriers in place around the track.

“They all have to be in the right spots and the right height, and we wrap all the trees with hay bales,” Scott said. “We want to make this as safe as we possibly can for the racers.”

One of those racers — Tony Neilson, a nine-time winner at the Grand Prix — said the day before a race involves a great deal of mental preparation.

“Your mind better get right,” Neilson said. “Mentally, you better be tough because it’s a quick-paced weekend. Just check over all your karts, go through all your notes and make sure everything is right.”

Even though Neilson has won his share of races in Quincy, he could not overstate the significance of winning at this event. He likened the Grand Prix’s spot in karting history to one of the biggest events in open-wheel racing.

“This is kind of like Formula 1 and Monaco to me,” Neilson said. “Just the history, who’s won here before, who’s run here before. When you put your name on the list of winners here, it means something.”

Seeing the thousands of fans lining the course never fails to put a smile on Neilson’s face either.

“When you get to take a victory lap around here and see all the fans, that makes it all worthwhile,” Neilson said. “There are people hooting and hollering all over the track. It’s cool.”

Neilson credited Scott for taking on the project of bringing this event back to Quincy.

“Kudos to him for putting forth the effort because anybody who thinks these things just happen, they don’t,” Neilson said. “It’s such a team deal, a lot of money, and a lot of effort more than anything.”

Scott can’t wait for the nearly 300 racers to put rubber to the road on Saturday.

“We’re all just excited to go green tomorrow morning,” Scott said.

Practice begins at 8 a.m. Saturday followed by qualifying at noon and the 12-lap features thereafter.

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