Photo provided by Mt. Wellington go-kart track

Scott Dixon laments closure of track where he began his racing career

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When Scott Dixon wakes up Thursday morning, his mind will likely be 8,200 miles away and he’ll likely feel sad.

The five-time IndyCar Series champion will likely mourn Thursday’s official closing of Mt. Wellington, the Auckland, New Zealand go-kart track where Dixon learned how to race on four wheels.

After 51 years in business at the location, Mt. Wellington is closing after landlord Panuku Development, which owns the land the track sits upon, decided not to renew its agreement with the track and the KartSport karting group.

It’s expected that the land will be redeveloped, likely for a commercial enterprise.

“Without Mt. Wellington, it’s quite easy to say that I maybe wouldn’t have continued in my career, it might not have even got started,” Dixon told New Zealand website Stuff.co.nz.

Dixon said he first went to Mt. Wellington as a 7-year-old to watch his cousins race karts. It wasn’t long before he climbed behind the wheel – and the rest is history.

“That’s what started it all off,” Dixon told Stuff. “Had a go, loved it and then two weeks later we had a go kart of our own and had been racing there ever since.”

Panuku officials are reportedly making efforts to relocate Mt. Wellington to another location in Colin Dale Park in Auckland, but it’s uncertain whether that will happen because it’s expected it would take 2-3 years to build a new course, or whether Mt. Wellington will be no more.

“For me, of course I’m disappointed to see it go,” Dixon told Stuff. “I’ve got so many great memories from that place as do many people before me (and) I’m sure many after.”

Click here for a story and video about the track’s closure by New Zealand TV station TVNZ Seven Sharp.

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IMSA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: Why Sebring is so special to Bobby Rahal

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Bobby Rahal has driven in some of the biggest races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 Hours and, of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1986 and in 2004 as a team owner.

But winning the 12 Hours of Sebring two years in a row (1987 and 1988), Rahal feels, is right up there in terms of his greatest accomplishments as a race car driver.

As IMSA celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rahal reflected on what racing at Sebring International Raceway has meant to him:

“To me, Sebring is the ultimate endurance race. Not as long as Daytona or Le Mans, but the demands put on a car and driver at Sebring are highly unusual.

“My father raced at Sebring in the late 60’s. To win that race two years in a row really meant something to me.

“While we’ve won a lot of other races, we’ve won just about everywhere, you name it. But for me personally, winning at Sebring those two years in a row was very special.”

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