DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – December kart racing at Daytona International Speedway dates back to the 1970s.
For the Dismore family, the roots in karting run even deeper.
“My dad started the company back in 1959, I’ve been around the sport my entire life,” said retired open-wheel driver Mark Dismore of Comet Kart Sales, a company located in New Castle, Ind.’
Dismore shined in open-wheel racing and was part of the Dan Gurney’s All American Racers Toyota team that won the overall 1993 Rolex 24 title. He has also competed on the high banks of Daytona in the International Race of Champions.
Nowadays, he operates Comet Kart Sales outside of Indianapolis and continues to make his traditional trek to Daytona International Speedway with his 28-year-old son Mark Dismore Jr. for Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket.
It’s a trip that he remembers first taking in the 1970s. Today, when pulling through the twin tunnels of DIS, Dismore’s memories shift more to karts than sports cars.
“That was then and this is now,” Dismore said about his 1993 Rolex 24 triumph. “I think about karts. I’m down here to help karters and customers of ours and spend time with my family and just enjoy the sport. It’s a family oriented sport. It’s more about karting and the family side of it and it’s a business for us as well.”
But Dismore will admit that winning America’s most prestigious sports car race with one of the legends of motorsport as the owner is one of the highlights of his career.
“It’s a great memory to race for Dan Gurney,” Dismore said. “He was a hero of mine when I was a kid. To be a part of that is awesome.”
Dismore is not racing during Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket but is keeping a keen eye on his son Mark Dismore Jr., who is entered in the Yamaha Can in the Sprint Championships, which is contested on a half-mile dirt track located in the infield of Turns 3 and 4.
The young Dismore Jr. flirted with a career in big-time stock car racing several years ago but today is very content in his place in the karting industry.
“My grandpa started this business 50 years ago,” Mark Dismore Jr. said. “I have no problem with my life as a go-kart guy. I enjoy every minute of it. I enjoy helping our customers and it’s a lot of fun seeing them win. I get as much kick out of that as anything. I’d love to be a professional race car driver but I’m happy with what I’ve got.”
Mark Dismore’s trips to Daytona Beach for the Christmas holidays aren’t going to be ending anytime soon. He has two young grandchildren who are ages 3 and 4 that are already showing an interest in the family business.
“They already want a go-kart but they are too young,” Dismore said. “They got to get some more years on them. I’m not one of those guys that wants to rush them into it.”
Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket wraps up on Tuesday. Tickets for Daytona KartWeek by Cometic Gasket are available at the Turn 1 tunnel, Ticket Booth E. Race tickets for any Daytona International Speedway events are available online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Racing Series (3.56-mile road course)
Briggs Raptor 360: Dominic Greco; Jr. Sprint Lite: Andrew Boyer; PP Can Sprint 360: David Bruinsma; 100cc Controlled: Tim Jennings; 100cc Pipe Heavy: Justin Taylor; Piston Port Can Heavy: Brad Zoeller; TAG-E: Scott Davis; CIK 125 Sprint: 1. Josh Lane; Stock Honda: Noah Star; WKA 125 Sprint: Brad Zoeller; Briggs Animal 335: Mike Stroik; Briggs Animal 385: Bret Spaude; Briggs Jr. Sprint Lite: Tom Smith; Stock Leopard: Jim Russell Jr.; WKA Sprint: Scott Clark; Jr. Enduro Lite: Alex Marchese; Piston Port Can Lite: Lindsay Walkup-Fox; Yam Sptsmn Med: Randy Fulks; B Stock: Jim Farr; Formula 100: Lance Fry; Formula 125: Brian Wilhelm; Unlimited: Jim Russell Jr.