TAG kart race draws local father, son, Venezuelan champion

John Davella and his son, Tony, decided at the last minute.

Gustavo Pinto had planned for weeks to race in the TAG Kart World Championships.

They are three of more than 40 drivers competing in the fifth annual event this weekend at Grand Junction Motor Speedway. Qualifying and heat races took place Saturday, with another heat race and finals scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today.

The Davellas usually participate in the Grand Junction Motor Speedway club races, but were encouraged to come out for the TAG Worlds.

John is competing in the TAG 125 Spec Moto Heavy class. Tony competes in the TAG Senior class.

Kart racing has become a favorite father-son activity for the Davellas, who live in Palisade.

They learned about the track three years ago and rented karts out of curiosity.

“We were coming so often, we decided to buy one,” John said. “We tried sharing one, but the science of it isn’t there.”

Sharing a kart for John, 53, and Tony, 16, wouldn’t work come race day, so they bought a second one.

“This keeps us together,” John said. “It’s priceless. He’s 16; he could be in trouble, but he’s out here.”

“It’s a blast,” the Palisade High School sophomore said. “It’s an adrenaline rush and the other drivers are nice.”

“The people are the best here,” John said. “Everyone is willing to give you an engine to help you finish a race.”

Tony enjoys it so much, he would rather race karts than get his driver’s license.

“It’s not a big deal for me,” he said. “It doesn’t intrigue me.”

Kart racing is one of several things they do together.

“We do everything together,” John said. “Scuba dive, bicycle rides, hike. We have a dragster that we work on.”

“We have a good enough relationship,” Tony said. “I have fun doing things with him.”

One of Pinto’s three sons got him into kart racing.

Now the 44-year-old from Caracas, Venezuela, has won three Venezuelan TAG Master national titles and is in second place in the points race this season.

This is his first race at Grand Junction Motor Speedway.

Pinto said the president of his kart racing team wanted him to race in the event.

Pinto planned to bring his own motor to install in one of the Speedway’s karts, but it was seized on his flight from Miami.

Despite his motor being confiscated for security reasons, Pinto is enjoying the event.

“This is spectacular,” Pinto said through an interpreter. “The scenery, the people and the climate is great, like Portugal. There are great drivers too. I’m trying hard to beat them.”

Pinto qualified third in the TAG Masters class.


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