|ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – AT&T, the nation’s largest telecommunications company, and Mazda North America and MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, will return as Presenting Sponsors of the 2008 Rock Island Grand Prix. |
This marks the 14th year for AT&T as a Presenting Sponsor of the world’s largest karting street race, while Mazda announced its plans for multi-year deal in 2007.
AT&T is a high-profile sponsor of a wide range of athletic and entertainment activities and venues throughout the world, including sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Team. It also supports a wide range of community-based activities throughout the country.
“At AT&T were very happy to continue our sponsorship of the Rock Island Grand Prix. The Grand Prix provides two days of high quality, family, racing entertainment. The event is the highlight of the Labor Day Weekend,” said Dennis Pauley, Director of External Affairs / Illinois for AT&T.
Mazda also sponsors the Mazda Rotax Kart Challenge, the World Karting Association, Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League, Superkarts! USA, as well as New Castle Motorsports Park near Indianapolis, Ind. Over 9,000 grassroots Mazda racers compete in various classes with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA).
"Mazda is pleased to return to the Rock Island Grand Prix for 2008. For the second year, our nationwide karting intiative is in full swing. Having Rock Island as part of plan is important to us and we wish the drivers, crews, and teams preparing for this year's event the best of good luck,” said John Doonan, Manager, Motorsports Team Development for Mazda North America.
“Our Mazdaspeed Motorsports program has had an outstanding year, kicking off with a win at the 24 Hours of Daytona with the Mazda RX-8 and our Mazda6 in World Challenge now has three wins on the season. We look forward to closing out the final weeks of the season strong with a great event in Rock Island and the opportunity to wrap up some other championships," Mr. Doonan said.
The support of companies like AT&T and Mazda allows an event like the Rock Island Grand Prix to keep expenses passed on to racers at a minimum.
“As the costs of racing climb, the support of sponsors like AT&T and Mazda help us keep the cost to enter a race the magnitude of the Rock Island Grand Prix among the lowest in the sport. We are hopeful that with costs contained, continued fair and competitive racing, and an unequaled off-track entertainment value, racers will continue to support this great community event,” said Grand Prix President Roger Ruthhart.
“We also hope that racers, crews and race fans that benefit from this long-term sponsor support will show their thanks by supporting Mazda, AT&T and others when they make future purchase decisions. Whether it is the biggest sponsor, or the smallest, it is important to support the companies that support kart racing.”
Jumer’s Casino Rock Island is sponsor of the $35,000 purse – one of the largest payouts in professional karting. Kart Expo International also returns as a major sponsor. Holiday Inn in Rock Island is the host hotel and race headquarters. John Deere & Co. returns as sponsor of the John Deere Awards Show for drivers and race teams.
Others sponsors of this year’ Rock Island Grand Prix include: Zimmerman Cars; PG Racing, Lafarge North America, Bob Bondurant Driving School, CBS4 TV; radio stations B100, 97 Rock, Star 93.5 and The River 104.9; The Dispatch, The Rock Island Argus and The Leader newspapers; Quad-Cities Online; and Mediacom. Illinois Oil Products is the sponsor of VIP Hospitality Park and the Jewell Group is sponsor of Sponsor and Volunteer Party. Other sponsors include Coors Light and Euclid Beverage, Sprint Kart Speedway and 61 Kartway, JET Karting, Triple E Sales, HyVee food stores, Koehler Electric, S&S Printing, Courtesy Car City, Rieken’s Racing, Sunbelt Rentals, Communications Engineering Corp.(CEC), Gas & Electric Credit Union, Rogan Inc., EZ Companies, County Waste, Full Circle Media, J&J Camper and Rock Island Country Market.
The Rock Island Grand Prix, the world’s largest karting street race, draws 400 entries from throughout the United States and Canada competing for one of karting’s largest purses. It has also hosted racers from Italy, France, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, Argentina, Bermuda and Mexico. It includes 14 feature pro races in 4-cycle, 2-cycle and shifter classes. It is always held the Saturday and Sunday or Labor Day Weekend.
AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the world with over 100 million customers. AT&T is the recognized world leader in providing IP-based communications services to business and the U.S. leader in providing wireless, high speed Internet access, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. As part of its "three screen" integration strategy, AT&T is expanding video entertainment offerings to include such next-generation television services as AT&T U-verse TV. With 55.8 million subscribers, AT&T provides international voice services to virtually every country and territory in the world. It is a global company that sets the industry standard for a new era of integrated communications and entertainment services. The AT&T Foundation has contributed more than $1.8 billion to nonprofit organizations around the country, putting it among the five largest corporate foundations in the United States. (www.att.com)
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you’ll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the fastest growing road-racing class in the U.S. is the SCCA’s Spec Miata class, with nearly 1,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America’s racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda’s involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world’s premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Mazda North American Operations, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Canadian operations are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., in Ontario, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico, Mexico City. (www.MazdaUSAmedia.com, www. Mazdaspeedmotorsports.com )
The Rock Island Grand Prix is hosted by The Downtown Rock Island Arts and Entertainment District which features Casino Rock Island, retail shops, excellent restaurants, live entertainment, dinner theater, art galleries and comedy clubs all within walking distance of the host hotel. It is located on the Mississippi River three hours west of Chicago in an area known as the Quad-Cities which straddles the river and the Illinois/Iowa border. It is at the intersection of Interstate highways 74, 88 and 80 and is served by Quad City International Airport in Moline, Ill. (www.ridistrict.com)
For more information on the Rock Island Grand Prix, visit www.rockislandgrandprix.com and www.myspace.com/rockislandgrandprix.