Salty Dog’s Grand Prix and the Future of American Racing

I started late. I didn’t drive in my first professional auto race until age 21. Before that, I was addicted to go kart racing. No, not the World Karting Association or the National Karting Alliance. I’d never heard of them.

My karting career began by paying five dollars for ten minutes of track time in a 5 horsepower, 25 mile per hour fun kart at tiny, tourist-driven venues during our family vacations. We stopped at go kart tracks from Virginia to Utah. Any track, any time. It wasn’t real racing, but it was the only racing I had.

The tracks were minuscule. The karts were poky rent-a-wrecks. Sometimes they didn’t even require a helmet. My first races were on tracks like the Salty Dog Grand Prix against other vacationing kids, most of whom never realized they were locked in bitter competition with a teenager and his visions of grandeur.

SHORT TRACK: Finally, A Suitable Replacement for the Hooters Pro Cup Series

The Hooters ProCup Series was on top of the world in 2001.

Brian Vickers was graduating to NASCAR after a three-year Pro Cup career. Joey Logano would join Hooters a few seasons later. Every short track superstar in the eastern half of the country knew that Hooters was the place to be. Johnny Rumley, Bobby Gill, Jay Fogleman, Jeff Agnew, Michael Ritch… they all knew that the money, the prestige and the path to the top went through Hooters Pro Cup.