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May the G-Force Be With You 

If you take up go-karting, make sure you hit the gym beforehand. Take it from the dudes in the Eastlake Grand Prix.

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Doug Marsh chuckles about the time he made a news reporter drive a six-foot-long go-kart. Because the car pulled more than 3 Gs of force as it rounded the corners, the journalist quickly discovered how out of shape he was after only nine laps on the track. The 75 competitors in today's Eastlake Grand Prix could meet the same fate. "The karts have such a short wheelbase that they're physically demanding to drive. And everything happens so fast that it makes everything so much more dramatic," says Marsh, president of the Championship Kart Racing Association. "All the muscles in your chest, arms, neck, and hands all hurt because of the g-forces. It's just brutal."The second annual race is divided into four age groups, for drivers from 5 to 65 years old. In qualifying rounds, contestants will race three 10-lap heats on an asphalt track to determine post positions. In the finals, drivers will floor their cars in a 15-lap race, with each division's winner scoring a trophy. For Marsh — a former go-karter-turned-formula-car competitor — the heats will bring back memories. "When my son turned eight, I got him into karting. As soon as I did that, I said, 'How did I ever leave this?'" says Marsh. "I would rather be karting than anything else." Drivers start their engines at 10 this morning across the street from Classic Park, 35300 Vine Street in Eastlake. Admission is $5 ($45 to compete). Call 440-953-3899 or visit www.eastlakegrandprix.com.
Sun., July 6, 10 a.m., 2008

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