QUINCY -- For Scott Pruett, this weekend represents a homecoming of sorts.
A member of the U.S. Motorsports and World Karting halls of fame, Pruett saw his road-racing career begin to take shape during his formative years, which included karting in Quincy.
That's why Pruett, 58, was more than happy to serve as a special guest Saturday and Sunday at South Park, site of this weekend's rebirth of the Grand Prix of Karting. The world-class event will feature about 300 entrants from at least 15 states.
Three finals are scheduled for Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. Eleven championship races start at noon Sunday.
"I won my first national title, at age 12, in Quincy," said Pruett, who was the guest of honor Friday night at a special gathering at BoodaLu Steakhouse near the Quincy riverfront. "I have always remembered crossing over the river, the huge fields of racers here -- and the passion of Gus and Terry Traeder. There are so many great memories of Quincy, but most of all it's the people here."
Pruett is a good friend of Grand Prix of Karting organizer Terry Traeder, a former world champion karter himself and the son of the late Gus Traeder, who founded the event in 1970. The Grand Prix concluded its original 32-year run after the 2001 races.
Among Pruett's major on-track accomplishments have been victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, two International Motor Sports Association GTO championships, 12 Hours of Sebring, two IndyCar victories, five Rolex 24 of Daytona victories, five Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Championships and 10 professional karting titles.
Pruett also had four top-five NASCAR finishes and four NASCAR poles.
Pruett retired from competitive racing earlier this year, after January's Rolex 24 at Daytona.
"Being able to come back to Quincy is like being able to go back to the grass roots," he said. "It really is."
Pruett said it is difficult to single out any one on-track accomplishment from his career. What he remembers most, he said, are the drivers he went wheel-to-wheel against and the friendships that ensued.
"The Unsers, the Andrettis, the Earnhardts ... ," he said, rattling about two dozen names.
Pruett, who now does promotional work for Rolex and Lexus, said he still finds it hard to believe his driving career has come to an end.
"Where did all the years go?" he asked.
Pruett lives in Sacramento, Calif., and spends some of his spare time these days writing books for children.
Here's how Saturday and Sunday will unfold at South Park:
• 8:30 a.m. — Warm-up sessions.
• 10:30 a.m. — Timed practices.
• 4 p.m.: Finals begin for Sprint Yamaha Heavy, Spring Briggs 206 Heavy, Sprint Margay Ignite.
• 8 a.m. — Practice by class.
• Noon — Finals begin for Briggs 206 Medium, Yamaha Medium, Margay Ignite, Yamaha Masters/Super Masters, 80cc Shifter, Briggs 206 Heavy, Vintage, Margay Ignite Masters, Briggs Masters/Super Masters, Yamaha Heavy, 125cc Shifter.