road-racing beginning with the 2002 season when it unveils its
much-anticipated state-of-the-art karting facility as part of its $50
million Modernization Plan.
The Sears Point Karting Center is expected to be operational in March, 2002.
It has been designed to international standards and will be able to host
international karting championships. The Center will be operated by the Jim
Russell Racing Drivers School, which has been at Sears Point Raceway since
"I believe that karting is the fastest growing segment of auto racing," said
Ken Ude, president of the Jim Russell School. "World champions like Michael
Schumacher, Gil DeFerran and Juan Montoya all use karting to keep their
skills sharp. The Sears Point facility will be the finest karting track and
racing experience on the West Coast. For years we have been asked 'When are
you getting into karting?' Now we can definitely say in March of 2002."
The track has been designed to CIK/FIA standards. It will be three-quarters
of a mile in length, 28 feet wide and feature up to five different track
configurations. Most tracks in California are only one-half mile long and
much narrower. The size of the Sears Point track will also make it
appropriate for high-speed shifter kart racing.
"We are e***d with the overall track design and we're looking forward to
expanding the Sears Point racing program into one of the most dynamic
segments of our sport," said Steve Page, president and general manager at
Sears Point Raceway.
The Center will be built on the south side of the Sears Point Raceway
property. Jim Russell's karting school will offer a wide variety of racing
programs that will create a ladder system, beginning with Kadet Programs and
moving through Sprint kart classes, to Shifter classes, to an
arrive-and-drive kart racing series that feeds into the USAC Formula Russell
Championship Series in full sized racecars. Ultimately, the ladder leads to
an opportunity with a USF 2000 team.
Ude said he also plans on developing a Jim Russell Kart Racing Series,
similar to the program that the Jim Russell School currently offers for its
open-wheel racing students. In addition, the Jim Russell School will also
offer kart sales, open track days, season passes, maintenance and storage at
The Jim Russell School has been teaching the art of auto racing since 1957,
and past graduates include Formula One standout Jacques Villeneuve, former
CART champion Jimmy Vasser, Emerson Fittipaldi, Casey Mears and San Rafael
resident Memo Gidley. When not in operation by the Jim Russell School,
Sears Point is open to hosting national, as well as international, karting
"I believe this will be the only karting facility in California specifically
built to CIK standards, so we could host anything," Ude said.
For more information on the Jim Russell karting programs contact the school
at (800) 733-0345 or monitor their Web-site at www.russellracing.com. You
can also visit www.searspoint.com.
The Sears Point Karting Center is part of the raceway's ongoing $50 million
Modernization Plan that will transform the facility into one of the premier
road-racing and entertainment venues in the world. The comprehensive
two-year project began in September, 2000, and is expected be nearly
complete by the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup, June 20-23, 2002.
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