August Little 500 Go-Cart race coming next year?
PLYMOUTH — If things continue to keep falling in place, Plymouth could be the site of a Little 500 Go-Cart race in August of next year.
FOP Lodge 195 has been researching the possibility of holding go-cart races in the downtown area. It has been more than 15 years since that type of race was held here.
Heading up the initial fact finding on the particulars of what a race would entail are FOP members Joe Reed and Phil Scott. Reed has made trips to various towns in and out of the state to observe races and meet with promoters.
Reed said, “We are only in the beginning stage…at ground level; but everything is looking positive.”
According to Hurshel Hunter, president of FOP 195, the organization has been seeking another way to raise funds for projects to benefit kids throughout the county.
He said, “We would also like to help the downtown merchants and all of the businesses in the community by bringing in visitors.”
Hunter and Reed appeared before the Board of Public Works this week to present an overview of their intentions. They received a unanimous blessing from the board to proceed. At that meeting, Hunter said, “We will not do it if we can’t do it right.”
Originally there was discussion about holding the event on or near the Memorial Day weekend. However, they soon discovered that many of the racers and support staff who are involved in go-cart races also participate in various aspects of the Indianapolis 500 which is held on that weekend each year.
Several weeks ago, Reed and Scott had surveyed the downtown businesses to ascertain how they felt about holding the race in general and using the Memorial Day weekend. When as change in dates was considered, they again went to the merchants and asked about holding the event either in July or August.
Hunter said they sent out 32 letters and then followed up with personal visits.
He said, “We received responses from about 60 percent of the merchants so far and all we got back were in favor of holding a race.”
Hunter said they are still looking at what kind of budget would be necessary to schedule an event and what kind of profit could be made: “We realized we have to find additional ways to raise money to help the kids and families in the community. The need is greater than you think.”
By way of illustration, Hunter said they were able to gather donations of backpacks and school supplies to distribute throughout the county schools at the beginning of the school year.
Hunter said, “We had 700 backpacks and gave each school 75. The Plymouth schools alone had requested 700. We’ve been successful, not because of us, but due to the generosity of the community.”
In speaking to the Public Works Board, Reed said, “If I had to guess, I think we could have 150 to 200 racers.”
According to Hunter, they will be making a final decision on whether to proceed or not by February or March of 2012.