AKRA CEO, founder Bill McCutcheon passes away at 73

MONROE, N.C. — American Kart Racing Association (AKRA) is saddened to announce that our organization’s CEO and founder, Bill McCutcheon, passed away early Monday morning at his home. He was 73.

Over the past year McCutcheon had battled health issues and continued to fight until the end of his life. Through the last week, he’d spend multiple hours each day working in the office, fielding and making phone calls in efforts to best position AKRA and his family for the future.

Bill was a South Carolina native who spent most of his adult life residing in Monroe, N.C., southeast of Charlotte near the South Carolina border.

He was a lifelong kart racer and industry member and owned a variety of karting-related companies and race teams, including McCutcheon Motorsports and R/T Leathers with his wife, Linnie.

Bill McCutcheon (left) at a podium awards ceremony at Summit Point in May 2022
Bill McCutcheon (left) at a podium awards ceremony at Summit Point in May 2022

McCutcheon’s lasting legacy will be AKRA, which he founded in 2005 following a successful stint as World Karting Association’s director of 4-cycle programs including the Speedway Dirt, Speedway Pavement and Gold Cup series.

AKRA immediately became an industry leader in karting organizations with a successful Dirt series, 4-cycle engine rules package and tech manual, and track insurance program. AKRA continues to provide insurance for dozens of tracks and series across the US, and the organization was instrumental in developing a rules platform for the Clone engine, which many tracks and series continue to utilize.

In late 2014, McCutcheon partnered with Van Gilder, another lifelong karting industry professional. Together, they formed the AKRA National Road Race Series and American Sprint Cup Series. 

While the sprint series lasted only two years, the Road Race Series has become the top series of its kind in North America. In combination with host clubs such as Dart Kart Club and Woodbridge Kart Club, AKRA-sanctioned road races have continued to attract outstanding and sometimes record-setting turnouts at tracks like Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Pittsburgh International Race Complex and Summit Point Motorsports Park.

In the wake of McCutcheon’s untimely death, AKRA is pleased to announce the organization will continue. 

Linnie McCutcheon and Bill’s stepdaughter, Marsha Barnes Gaylord, will head up AKRA’s track insurance program and dirt-oval and 4-cycle rules package and tech manual.

Van Gilder and Keith Shampine, who’s been involved with AKRA in a variety of capacities since 2016, will lead the AKRA / Hoosier Kartsport National Road Race Series through the remainder of 2023 and into the future, as well as focus on the AKRA membership program and member benefits.

AKRA’s official website and the American Kart Racing Association Facebook page will be updated in the coming weeks to reflect changes in the organization. Until then, please join us in thoughts and prayers for the Bill McCutcheon family during this difficult time. Arrangements will be announced as soon as they are available. 

4 Responses

  • Karting has lost one of its best promoters and, more importantly, a great person. Bill was a true “karter” and never stopped working to make our sport better. The Griffiths extend our deepest condolences to Bill’s family.

  • He was part of our family for over 40 years. He was a Christian man and no one ever doubted his faith. Tell daddy and our son Ricky to behave and watch the gates!!!

  • I was so sad to read about Bill”s passing. Although our relationship has only been by phone and email messaging, conversations with him were always positive, professional, but also down to earth. With him knowing that we are just a little dirt track in Southern Kansas with about a dozen members, he was on board right away in assisting us in insuring our little facility. He will greatly missed. Our prayers and thoughts go out to not only his family but to the many people Jim had touched their life’s with his work and friendship.
    Sincerely…. Bob Curtis … Compass Speedway, Arkansas City, Kansas

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