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Local siblings take home gold in go-kart racing

It's in their blood and they'd have it no other way. Meet J.W. and his sister Jessie; two of the area's youngest go-kart racing champions.

Posted: May 10, 2021 7:00 PM
Updated: May 11, 2021 10:42 AM

(BUCHANAN, Co.) For the Ray family, go-kart racing has been a tradition for 46 years now, and the best drivers are just getting started.

The newest racers to the family are siblings J.W. and his younger sister Jessie, who are both competing across the region. 

Jessie, who is seven, first started competing a year ago.  She has won twice and has received several other trophies. Jessie said her favorite part about racing is going really fast.

Now for her ten-year-old brother J.W., he has five years of experience with a room full of trophies to showcase.

"Honestly I have about 43 trophies...not all of them I have won," said J.W. Ray. "It's been fun racing because I've been making new friends. Really the go-kart racers there and the ones that help me with my pit-crew feels like family to me."

Besides making friends, all of the Ray family is involved. Grandpa Ray, Jim, said he began in 1975 and passed it down to his son Josh, who has now passed it down to his children. 

"It's enjoyable to watch them work on the cart and it's enjoyable to watch them work together as a family in the effort to win the race. Josh working in the pits, Jennifer working in the pits, and my wife working in the pits," said Jim. "I primarily do the fabrication on the carts. Put the bodies on them, put the numbers on them, the decals on them, those kinds of things."

Josh said his kids compete locally at Emma Indoor Raceway and the KC Raceway in Independence, Missouri.  He also said they compete in other states like Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma for the Hoosier Great Plains Series along with the Maxxis Series in the Midwest. 

J.W. and Jessie enjoy working on their go-karts and getting the opportunity to race as siblings.

"I feel like I can teach her stuff, and she'll learn really fast," said J.W."

The family created a Facebook page called "King Son Ray Race Team" for family and friends to follow along.

The next race is the AJC Mid America Series which will take place on Saturday at the KC Raceway. 

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Today will be another warm and sunny day with highs back in the low to mid 90s. The heat index will be slightly higher today due to the increased humidity. Temperatures will start to rapidly warm on Thursday and Friday with highs in the upper 90s. Heat index values both days will likely be near or at the triple digits. Rain chances will start to increase Friday night into the weekend as a cold front approaches our area. Temperatures will cool into the lower 90s for the weekend with highs back in the 80s for the beginning of next week.
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