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Meet the Sisters of Speed

If your memory of go-karts is one of a lawn-mower engine strapped onto a wooden frame, a steering wheel bartered from the junkyard and wheels from your old red wagon, think again.
Jonesborough’s own Alexcia Ray, 11, has been driving go-karts for four years, and her vehicle looks nothing like the go-karts of yesteryear.
The nifty little go-kart Alexcia drives comes complete with roll bars, state-of-the-art tires and a paint job professional drivers might covet. Her vehicle can even approach speeds of 85 miles per hour, although she only drives it up to 45 miles per hour.
“I like it a lot” said Alexcia, who has every intention of becoming a professional race driver, and is already rated as one of the 100 upcoming drivers in the World Karting Association. “I have made new friends and it’s really fast and fun.
“I like when I spin out,” she added with a mischievous giggle.
Petite with long, dark hair, it’s hard to believe Alexcia has such a passion for go-kart racing. She got started with the sport in the most innocent of ways — her dad, Robbie Ray, bought a couple of go-karts at a yard sale, built a little track in back of the family’s house and drove one himself. Then he gave Alexcia the go-ahead, and she took to the track like a duck to water.
Before long, Ray and his father, Smoky, who drove racecars years ago, realized they had a highly-motivated potential champion on their hands. They began to encourage Alexcia to perfect her driving abilities, and that she has.
Alexcia won the Lickcreek Speedway local series in 2007, finished in second place at the Beechnut series in 2008, then went on to win the Spring Shootout at the Dumplin’ Valley Speedway before finishing in third place in the Tri-State Maxxis Series in 2009.
“We’re carrying on a family tradition,” Smoky said. “I raced in Johnson City when I was younger, and their mother’s granddad raced with us, too. Their daddy raced cars, too.”
Meanwhile, Kaylee, Alexcia’s six-year-old sister saw her having all the fun and asked to drive, too. Kaylee drives a ‘Kiddie Kart’ and this will be her first year racing on the motorsport track. Like her big sister, Kaylee also wants to one day be a professional racer.
“I like racing because it feels good,” Kaylee said.
The sisters’ racing isn’t just fun and games though. The girls are also racing to raise awareness about breast cancer. In honor of their cause, the girls’ karts have been painted bright pink.
For more about the Ray sisters and their racing visit