A new racing series is coming to east Tennessee. It is not for late models or any type of racing cars. It is for kart racing.
Former driver Jed Emert has started the Rocky Top Summer Series that begins next weekend at Dumplin Valley Raceway in Kodak. The idea behind the series to is offer a better purse for the karting community.
Emert is a multi-time champion in carting. He has moved into crate late models, but still has a passion for karting. He has always kicked around ideas to make karting better. Emert got his first taste of promoting in 2012 at the cart track at Smoky Mountain Speedway.
“After the kart track at the Mountain had been closed for a while, Steve Epling contacted me and informed me that he was going to put on a money race at the kart track again,” Emert recalled. “Well, it went from him asking my opinion on things, to me kind of helping out with it. I got to see the promoter side a little bit, the things that go on and the stress that comes with it. Well the race went fairly well and it lit a small flame in me to have another race, but with myself in charge.”
Emert started thinking on ideas for a race of his own, coming up with purse ideas, locations for such a race, and more. He put on his first race last year at Dumplin Valley.
“So I started working on how to have a race, how much to pay, where to have it,” Emert said. “Well almost a year later, I promoted a race at Dumplin Valley Raceway called the Labor Day Shootout. I had told myself before the race that if the race was a success, I was going to look into making a series.”
“It was a decent success, we had a good kart count even with a 60% chance of rain. After the race had passed, I started asking around to my peers and people who I respected in the sport, if they thought a series would work in this region. I told them all my ideas and most of the felt like I was on to something.”
The Rocky Top Summer Series was formed and will kick off May 31 at Dumplin Valley. Emert says his series is different because of the purse structure through the field.
“Our series is different in a lot of ways from other series, especially the national tours, but they also have their similarities,” Emert stated. In our two top-tier classes, we are paying back to at least 15th place every race and paying to 25th in points. Now I’ve not been in karting for many years, but I’ve never heard of anything like that.”
“It’s funny because big car racers often complain because ‘tow money isn’t high enough’ and I always respond with, ‘Well at least you get tow money, karters don’t even know what that means.’ So we are trying to do something different for all our classes, to make it a big show, yet a fun and affordable show and that can be a fine line.”
Emert says the Rocky Top Summer Series will continue if the inaugural edition is successful.
“Well I would love for my series to be successful for years to come,” Emert said. “And if it is successful and keeps growing, then I’m going to keep on promoting. It’s something that I truly enjoy doing. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to talk. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been late to something because I was talking too much, I could go ahead and retire. But in all seriousness, it’s something that, on the karting side, I could see doing for years to come. If it something I feel like I can be good at and the Lord has given me opportunity, which he has, then I’m going to do it. And who knows, you may see me promoting big cars one day.”
For more information about the Rocky Top Summer Series, visit www.rockytopsummerseries.com or call Jed Emert at (865)-216-1294.