Five drivers from the local go-kart team Win-Ray racing will put their talents to the test today and tomorrow at the National Indoor Kart Championship.
Now in its 22nd year, the championship will draw racers from across the United States to the Batesville Civic Center, home of the largest indoor karting challenge.
"We're really excited this year," said driver David Winters. "While we're mainly focused on having fun, it would be nice to get a cut of the $71,000 cut."
Make no mistake — there will be some seriously competitive racing at the event. Winters and the team have put thousands of dollars into their cars and have also received sponsorships form over a dozen local businesses.
"The preparation really takes place year-round," said David's father Dennis Winters. "Our last race was about a month ago, but we keep up with things throughout the year."
The Winters family will also be represented by two more brothers, James and Jeremy, along with teammate Bill Ray.
Dennis, 61, said the adrenalin-pumped competition is fun for all ages.
"Kids can start driving at the age of six with parental consent. I joke that once you're over 60, you need to get the children's consent."
And family involvement is exactly why the team is trying to promote a stronger karting atmosphere within the Cleveland community.
"It's very family oriented — just look at the Winters," said Ray. "People say there's nothing to do in Cleveland. If we could get a track here, I think it would be a good way to get families to spend more time with each other."
Making all the pieces fit requires a significant team commitment; from building the engines, replacing parts, painting the bodies and general mechanical maintenance.
The sport requires a dedicated squad, much like NASCAR crews.
Championship races in various classes will begin today and finish up tomorrow.
Event admission is $8 and children under six are free.
The races will also be streamed live online at www.onikc.com/stream.html.
David said the team has achieved its objectives at the previous two championships, and this year's goal is to reach the top of the podium.
"Our first goal in 2010 was to qualify, and we did that," said David. "Last year our goal was to finish in the top 5, and we did that. This year we want to win it all.
"There's going to be a lot of excitement and we feel good going into it."
Those interested in boosting the local go-kart scene are encouraged to contact David at 662-641-0752.