Grand Prix weekend at Purdue

Purdue will host the 58th annual Grand Prix race Sunday.
Purdue will host the 58th annual Grand Prix race Sunday.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – It was a busy weekend at Purdue with the 57th Grand Prix race and celebration.

“We have thousands and thousands of people out today and it’s probably the most well attended breakfast club that I’ve seen in a number of years,” West Lafayette Police Captain Gary Sparger said.

Thousands of Purdue students filled Chauncey Village Saturday morning for breakfast club before the Grand Prix race. Sparger said despite the crowd most people are well behaved.

“It’s been a good crowd,” Sparger said. “Everybody is peaceful. They’re just having a good time. They’re not hurting each other, which is very important to us and nobody is damaging property and nobody appears to be driving intoxicated.”

Sparger said the relationship between officers and students has changed over the years. He said interacting with students is a method that seems to be working.

“I’ve worked here when we have jailed hundreds of people on a weekend and we’ve got this down to this point where we will probably take somewhere in the area of 20 for the weekend, so we’re doing very well,” Sparger said.

The reason for the celebration is the 57th annual Grand Prix go-kart race on Purdue’s campus. Thirty-three drivers competed in the 160 lap race. Purdue alumnus Al Wurster was the Grand Marshal. Wurster was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity’s Grand Prix team in 1982 and ’83 and has served on the Indianapolis 500 festival board.

“I was always one to tear stuff down and rebuild it and work on lawnmower engines and things like that,” Wurster said. “I was too tall to drive. I couldn’t fit in the cart, so crew chief was the next best thing.”

The racing enthusiast worked his way up in the ranks to be chairman of the race.

“The following year I was on junior board and then made my way to senior board as race chairman in the ’86 race,” Wurster said.

Wurster said he and his son make it back to the race almost every year.

Delta Tau Delta Fraternity driver Jimmy Simpson won the race Saturday for the second year in a row. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, off topic, or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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