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Sterling Heights — In all the years Doug Guthrie raced at Kart 2 Kart, he never managed to finish first.

"There's a lot of second-place and third-place trophies," said Kelley Root Guthrie, his wife and deputy metro editor at The Detroit News. "It was always the fault of the cart or somebody unfairly clipped him from the back. He would come home filled with absolute vitriol."

But Guthrie, the former Detroit News auto critic who died suddenly of a heart attack in October 2013 at age 60, never stayed mad for long. For as competitive as he was, he was just as kind.

"For me, he was more of a professor, the one directing me in and out of the track. He was kind of like my pace car," said Kevin Hardy, a co-worker and neighbor of Guthrie. He said Guthrie introduced him to go-kart racing.

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The Detroit News auto critic died suddenly in Fall 2013.

"When I'm driving today, I can hear Doug telling me where to brake, where to be tight and where to let it rip," he said.

On Tuesday, members of the Detroit media and Guthrie's former colleagues gathered at Kart 2 Kart in Sterling Heights to race in his honor.

The go-karting event was sponsored by Quicken Loans and Kart 2 Kart, and coincided with the week's events leading up the Belle Isle Grand Prix.

"Doug loved carting, loved automotive, loved the Grand Prix," said Merrill Cain, spokesman for Team Penske racing. "It's been our honor to keep this going and keep his memory alive."

Racers competed for the Quicken Loans Cup, and bragging rights. They were joined by Luca Filippi, Verizon IndyCar Series driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet for CFH Racing, and Arie Luyendyk Jr., SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Truck Series driver.

For Guthrie's daughter, Grace, the Memorial Grand Prix is another way to honor her father with what he loved.

"I remember him coming home and talking about the Grand Prix," said Grace, who was carrying on her father's name in the race. "I think it's amazing he's now part of it."

lrazzaq@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2127

@laurenarazzaq

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