Put canned goods into these karts

NASCAR has time trials. Ceraland has Can Trials.

And nobody has been better at collecting cans than Cummins employee Derek Hastings.

The annual Ceraland Go Kart Grand Prix kicks off with a full schedule today beginning with heat races at 2 p.m. and eventually featuring three Canned Goods 30-lap races that begin about 4 p.m.

Speed is only part of the equation.

“However much canned goods you donate affects your starting position,” said Hastings, a 28-year-old driver who competes in the Briggs and Stratton L0206, senior 4-cycle class.

Last year, Hastings collected more than 600 pounds of canned food to donate to the Love Chapel Food Bank. That was a huge chunk of the 3,000 pounds donated by the race.

Not only did Hastings land the pole position, he got a 30-second lead on the rest of the field. It didn’t pay off with a win, though, as Hastings finished second.

“Last year we ran mixed classes in the food race,” said Hastings, noting that he lost to a more powerful car. “It took him all 30 laps to finally get me.”

In this year’s event, three separate classes will be contested in the food races so Hastings, who said he usually is a middle of the pack competitor, will be competing against other Briggs and Stratton L0206 cars.

He has collected between 500 and 600 pounds of canned goods and he was headed to the supermarket on Friday night to buy more. Most of the food he has collected has been donated by fellow employees.

Hastings, whose best finish in his series this season was a third-place, has stepped up his canned food drive the past couple of years. The year before last, he donated about 150 pounds of food.

“It’s for a good cause, and it gives me an extra race to run,” Hastings said.

Those who come to watch the races are urged to bring some canned food donations as well.

Today’s schedule begins with 7:30 a.m. driver registration and a drivers meeting will be conducted at 9:30 a.m. Practice laps will be driven from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. with heat races beginning at 2 p.m.

The feature events for each division will be Sunday with driver registration at 8 a.m., the drivers meeting at 9:30 a.m. and practice beginning at 10 a.m. The first feature kicks off at noon.

Some classes will feature cars that reach speeds of 100 mph that race around a course that features elevation changes and blind turns. The lower age and novice divisions feature cars that race at slower speeds.

Spectators are urged to bring a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on. More than 100 cars are expected to compete.

For more information, go to ceraland.org or sirakarting.org.