Track of dreams

KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT) --Cars and speed.

Whether you're driving down I-40 or watching your favorite NASCAR legend, going fast is in our blood.

East Tennessee's racing hero, Trevor Bayne, caught the racing fever early at Dumplin Valley Raceway.

On Saturday's from March until October, you'll find the sport's next generation of racers competing at the track--hoping it puts them on the fact track to fame.

"Maybe try to get into NASCAR," 10-year old go-kart racer Zach Sise said.

His older brother Trevor, 15, has similar thoughts.

"I would like to see this (go-kart racing) take me to a race car. Take that next step. You think about it (NASCAR) a lot."

One of the younger drivers at the track is 7-year old Eli Beets. In 2010 he won 20 races. This season, he already has four more wins added to his resume.

"We didn't realize he would be so active racing. It happened really quick for him," Eli's mom, Linda Beets, said.

"He's head strong with what he wants to do. He makes no bones about it and if he changes his mind, I'm sure we'll switch gears, but right now this is his baby."

Many of these kids share the same story. What started out as recreational racing, accelerated into a full-time passion.

Calvin Sise, Trevor and Zach's dad, says getting ready for the races has turned into a non-stop activity.

"It's gotten to be pretty intense for us. We pretty much live in the garage thru the week."

But with this commitment, comes a price.

"I miss out on alot of stuff. Like church stuff," explains Trevor Sise. "I don't get to hang out with my friends like a lot of people do, but I would rather be here than anyplace."

With an average speed of 65 miles an hour, these aren't your average go-karts, and the racing isn't your average investment either.

Tires can run up to five-hundred dollars a set., while brand-new engines can cost another $1,500 apiece.

Steve Horner, owner of Dumplin Valley Raceway, says a "race-ready" go-kart runs $5,000 to $6,000.

"Like any other sport, it's a financial thing. You have to have the money. The kid has to have talent, but it takes a lot of money to go fast," Calvin Sise said.

To help with the finances, teams at the track try to secure sponsorship.

"You have to have support to pay for all of this. It's really expensive, but it's worth it in the long run to get you down the road in your career," Trevor Sise said.

The most (financially) serious race teams will invest anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 a season to race their go-karts; however, this much of an financial venture is uncommon for most of the go-kart teams in the area.


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