Race organizers create winter affair to generate revenue at fairgrounds

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Hunter Blankenship is one of an estimated 40-50 go cart drivers expected to race at Carroll County Fairgrounds this Saturday. (Submitted photo)

BERRYVILLE -- If you are looking for a good way to escape the cold, you won't want to miss Saturday's heat races at the Carroll County Fairgrounds -- or the main events.

In an effort to bolster the economic impact for the fairgrounds and to bring excitement to the venue, Heath Blankenship and Jeff Miles have teamed up for the first go-cart and lawnmower races held at the facility.

"We've had lawnmower races in the past but this is the first time for go-carts," Blankenship said of the event. "We need some money-making operations for the fairgrounds. We are always looking at different things. And this is something I think people will enjoy."

General admission tickets will be available at the gate on Saturday for $5 with kids 6-under admitted free. Pit passes will be available for $10.

Blankenship said he expects 40-50 go-carts at the fairgrounds' indoor arena with speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour on the 1/10-mile oval layout. There will be five classes, including an open class where you can "Run What You Brung".

"There is always a lot of excitement when these guys get going," Blankenship said. "Hopefully, we won't have any major crashes. We try to keep that to a minimum. We want to see excitement. But we want to keep it safe."

Blankenship said drivers from Springfield and Flippin are expected to participate. There are two other tracks in Northwest Arkansas, one in Blue Eye and the other at Yocum Creek. He said drivers that frequent those tracks are expected to make an appearance on Saturday.

"We are hoping to draw in some of those racers," he said. "But we won't be competing with them."

Miles has been busy preparing the track, ensuring the safety of both drivers and spectators.

"The dirt in the arena packs really well," Miles said. "We are going to make it where it is safe for everyone. We will have burms set up and the track is going to be flat so we can keep the speeds where they need to be."

Miles said he expects 30 or more lawnmowers to be entered in five different classes. He anticipates Saturday's event to be a springboard for future races.

"If this one goes well we will do a couple of more in March and April," he said.

Gates open at 1 p.m. with racing getting underway at 2 p.m. Drivers interested in participating are encouraged to call Blankenship at 870-426-9689 or Miles at 870-423-8375.

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