sealPurdue News

March 14, 2002

Gene Keady named Grand Prix marshal

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Organizers of the "Greatest Spectacle in College Racing" have named Purdue men's basketball coach Gene Keady as grand marshal for the 2002 Grand Prix kart race on Saturday, April 20.

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The theme for the 45th annual event, which also features an alumni race, is "Grand Prix: The Tradition Lives On." The 50-lap alumni race, which is held every five years, will begin at approximately 1:30 p.m. The main race will follow at approximately 3 p.m.

Tickets will be available beginning April 8 at Stewart Center, Room G2, or by calling (765) 494-2708. Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the gate.

Kyle Hill, Grand Prix president, says both the alumni race and Keady serving as grand marshal should attract a large number of race fans.

"Hopefully, this will increase the excitement for the upcoming race and capture the essence of the event," Hill says. "I'm sure all students, in addition to alumni, are looking forward to this year's Grand Prix events."

Josh Morgan, alumni race chairman, says he looks forward to welcoming former Grand Prix racers back to their alma mater.

"It's time once again to wipe the dust off those karts and come out and run in the 2002 alumni race," Morgan says. "So far, we have around 14 participants who are very eager to jump back into their karts for another chance at receiving the checkered flag. This special race allows us to celebrate the tradition of Grand Prix and to highlight previous contestants."

Among the drivers registered for the 2002 Grand Prix are last year's winner, Thomas Gray, a senior in the Schools of Engineering from Indianapolis.

Rookie orientation begins Thursday, March 28. General practice begins Tuesday, April 2, on the kart track north of Ross-Ade Stadium. Qualifications will be from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 13, and Monday and Tuesday, April 15 and 16. The fastest driver on the first day of qualifications will earn the pole position, and qualifications will determine 27 of the 33 starting positions. The final six spots on the starting grid will go to the top two finishers in each of three sprint races, which start at approximately 11:30 a.m. on race day.

The Grand Prix Student Ambassadors will preside over the events. They are Ashley Armstrong, a junior from Springville, Ind., who is studying animal science, and David Hornthal, a senior from Northbrook, Ill., who is studying industrial engineering. The ambassadors each received a $1,000 scholarship from the Purdue Grand Prix Foundation. Sixteen other students received $500 scholarships.

Gala Week, an annual celebration for reunion classes sponsored by the Purdue Alumni Association, also takes place at Purdue during Grand Prix weekend. Events include receptions, lunches and banquets for specific classes at most schools. For more information about Gala Week activities, contact Cathy Cobb at the Purdue Alumni Association, (765) 494-5178.

Grand Prix Day on the Memorial Mall will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 19. Activities include miniature car racing, a moon walk, product give-aways and information booths. A "Battle of the Bands" concert, sponsored by the Purdue Student Union Board, begins at 7 p.m.

The Purdue Grand Prix Foundation is a student-run, nonprofit organization that conducts the kart race and related events to raise money for student scholarships. The foundation also receives support from Ford Motor Co., Coca Cola Co., Kimberly Clark Corp. and Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Kyle Hill, (765) 494-2708,

Casie Walukonis, promotions director, (765) 494-2708,

Josh Morgan,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: The media are welcome to photograph or take video footage of the Grand Prix. Individual interviews with race participants also can be arranged by contacting Casie Walukonis at (765) 494-2708,

Thomas Gray cuts inside in the No. 83 kart on his way to the checkered flag in last year's Purdue Grand Prix. Gray, of Indianapolis, will attempt to defend his title and claim his third Grand Prix win during the 45th annual running of the event, set for Saturday, April 20. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)

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