Karts make debut

Kart racing made its first appearance at the Warren County Fair on Tuesday.

Volunteers prepped Motorsports Arena Monday, making sure the track surface was smooth and flat.

From the youngest – the junior squirts, ages 5 to 7 – to the “Old Timers”, drivers of all ages took to the track.

They tested themselves, many in cars featuring identical 6.5 horsepower engines. That might not sound like much, but the cars can get to 60 miles per hour.

Familiar names from Stateline Speedway – Ron, Dutch, and Dan Davies, Boom Briggs, Dave Turner, Jay Plyler, David Scott and Mike Knight – were among the Old Timers who loaned their talents to the fair to demonstrate their skills and generate interest in the event.

There were age groups, but there were also weight classes – seniors, mediums, heavies, extra heavies, double extra heavies, and triple extra heavies. “The skinny guy won’t have an advantage,” Warren County Fair Track Committee Chairman Jerry Jesperson said. “They’re going to put lead in his pockets.”

“It’s something different. It’s been an experiment to get a different crowd in,” race promoter Brandon ‘Chief’ Bilskie said. “It focuses on youth.”

“We’re trying to get some new family entertainment in here,” Jesperson said. “The people that are doing it and backing it are 100 percent family-oriented.”

The event gets some kids out of the house, out from in front of televisions and video games, Bilskie said. “They can rent cars or just do track time and see if they like it. It’s a family sport.”

Bilskie said the races are intended to act as a feeder program “for late-model drivers down the road. Without kids learning now, we won’t have racers 15 years from now.”