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Club looks to kart races for help

A special kart race will be held Aug. 11 at the Citrus County Speedway to raise money for the financially strapped Boys and Girls Club of Citrus County.

Kart racing features racing go-carts, some equipped with stabilizer wings and motorcycle engines. They buzz around the track at speeds approaching 60 miles per hour, said Dan Kelly, director of the Florida Champ Kart racing association.

The kart race was announced Tuesday at the Citrus County Fair Office by fair manager Jean Grant. The Citrus County Fair Association, a non-profit agency, owns the speedway and leases it out to racing promoters.

"I'm an optimistic person, and I think that we can raise $5,000 for the Boys and Girls Club," Grant said.

Kelly said, "There's no other race in Florida scheduled for that day, so we are anticipating a big turnout of racers." The kart racing program is on a summer hiatus.

For the race, five classes will be racing, with about 125 karts expected, Kelly said.

Tickets for the kart races are $10 each; the Boys and Girls Club will get $6 from each ticket sold, while $4 will be used to pay for insurance. Other than the insurance and money needed to pay a few track workers, all money will go to the Boys and Girls Club.

The races begin at 1 p.m., the track opens at 8:30 a.m. and practice laps start at 10 a.m.

Newly elected fair board president C. L. Calloway said the race is a good way to show that the entire county, not just the west side, supports the Boys and Girls Club, which is in Crystal River.

The five racing kart classes include modified midgets, with their stabilizer wings and 250-cc motorcycle engines, the sprint karts, champ karts, which feature a full roll cage, and the mini cups, which are quarter-scale models of actual Winston Cup stock cars, Kelly said.

Tickets for the event are available at all three chambers of commerce, the Citrus County Fair Association office on U.S. 41 south of Inverness, AJ's Pit Shop in the Crystal River Mall, and Brannen Banks in Citrus County.

The race is one of several efforts around the county to raise money to keep the club going. The club serves hundreds of Citrus County youth in a variety of counseling, educational and recreational programs.

Also Aug. 11, the Democratic and Republican parties of Citrus County join forces _ an unlikely event during an election year _ for a day of food and fun at the O'Keefe Ranch in Pine Ridge.

Despite the conflicting times with the kart race, organizers of the first-time cooperative event between the two major political parties said they are going ahead as planned.

The event starts at 1 p.m. and will feature a barbecue, archery and skeet shooting, horseback rides, a softball game, children's games and an auction. O'Keefe Ranch is a private 40-acre ranch at the end of Conestoga Road off Pine Ridge Boulevard.

For information, call Mike Gudis, 382-5863, or Skip Steighner, 382-3945.

Boys and Girls Club officials are seeking adults to become "sustaining members" with memberships starting at $50 a year. Sustaining members will be invited to attend annual meetings, will receive mailings and will be allowed to vote.

Crystal River Bank is expected to support the drive by including fliers about the sustaining membership effort in its August mailings to its customers.

Call the Boys and Girls Club at 563-2005 for an entry form.