By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The roar of engines, smell of gasoline and burning rubber returned to downtown Anderson Saturday for the 19th annual Mayor’s Cup Grand prix go-kart races.
Held at the Mounds Mall for the past several years, a return to downtown street racing apparently attracted a lot more in the annual event among avid go-kart racers.
Last year, 51 go-kart enthusiasts came into town for the event; this year there were more than 120 entrants, according to organizers.
Tim Sawyers of Harrison, Ohio, came to town with six go-karts to compete in the day’s events.
“I like the street racing,” said Sawyers as he tinkered with one of his go-karts to get it ready to race.
“I wish they had two days. I don’t want to leave.”
Sawyers said he’s been racing go-karts since 1977, with breaks here and there for marriage, job and kids, but he’s never been out of it completely, and now enjoys attending races with his two sons.
Kathy Stevens, treasurer of the Anderson Sertoma Club, a key sponsor, said the annual race is the club’s big money maker of the year, of which 100 percent goes back into the community as charitable donations. She said the club hoped to raise $10,000 this year.
The club aids a number of causes including the hearing impaired, at-risk youth, the mentally handicapped, and hunger relief.
Stevens said she won third place in the celebrity race held early in the day. Mayor Kevin Smith won that heat.
“I think they gave him the fastest car,” she joked.
Saturday’s course was at Central Avenue and Ninth Street and viewing stands were set up at strategic locations around the course.
The annual Little 500 Festival, of which the Grand Prix is the kickoff event, is a month of community activities and events all geared to raising money for local charities.
This year’s beneficiaries include Gateway Association, Hopewell Center, Little 500 Festival, Gruenewald House, Sertoma Club, Lions Club, AIMS, Rotary Charities, East Central Indiana CASA, Dixie Contos Memorial Scholarship Fund, Diabetes Education and Family Forever Ministries.
Rick Dawson, president of Anderson Speedway, said more than $1.5 million has been raised for local charities since the Little 500 Festival began 26 years ago.
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