Professional racing on a smaller scale

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Neck and neck Democrat Photo/Jared Lankford Jake Davies, of Strafford, (near), leads Lexy Vanzanet, of Billings out of turn two of the Twister Alley track on Saturday. Vanzanet would storm back to win the heat.

Racing fans are known for their loyalty and love for the sport of racing. On any given weekend during the season, hundreds of thousands of fans fill stadiums to cheer on their favorite drivers.

On Saturdays in Butterfield, race enthusiasts can see the next generation of race car drivers and fans becoming indoctrinated with the sport.

At the corner of First and Maple Street community members will find a one-eighth mile go-kart dirt track known as Twister Alley, which was created by Butterfield Mayor Tony Cope five years ago.

"Racing is truly a family sport," said Robert Wolf, Twister Alley manager. "It's not a sport you get into with the mind set of getting rich but having fun."

The Copes wanted a type of business that was fast, fun, affordable and something the whole family can enjoy together.

Twister Alley features 15 different classes of go-kart racing. Classes are based on weight, age and type of motors. Currently, classes are formed around six and one half Briggs and Stratton engines. Wing karts will run in the 500 cc division and the open classes are close to an anything goes situation with some racers racing with 50 horsepower, single cylinder motors.

"We have racers from age five to 75 who compete on our track each week," said Wolf. "The kids race for trophies and the adults for money."

What draws people to this type of racing is the relatively low cost to enter the sport.

"You can buy a kart and race competitively for around $1,000," said Cope. "Some of my best memories have taken place when I have been working on cars with my family and friends. It is a great way for people to spend time together."

Twister Alley regularly has 30 plus racers each Saturday during the season.

"We have people from northwest Arkansas, Springfield, Monett, Warsaw, Nebraska and Oklahoma come to race at our track," said Wolf. "Karts have the ability to bridge all age gaps. That is what makes them so appealing."

For more information about go-kart racing, visit

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