JESSUP, MARYLAND — Americans love recreation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports household budgets for entertainment are triple that of money spent on education. With a population ever-eager to find family-friendly fun, activity outlets are popping up throughout the United States. Fun can come in small packages, and at high speeds, when you're talking about kart racing.
They’re fast. Really fast.
One race, Learic Cramer, said, “They’re about 50 miles per hour if you can get them up to that.”
That’s around 80 kilometers per hour, and for most recreational racers this is as good as it gets.
“This is real racing; not for the faint of heart. It is hands-down some of the coolest stuff you can do in Maryland,” said Jordan Wallace at Autobahn Indoor Speedway.
“Anything with four wheels that goes fast… I’m up for it,” said Cramer.
The karts racing around this indoor track are not your traditional home-made go-cart.
“You don’t have a lawnmower engine. We’ve got a 20-horsepower electric motor on them. When you take away the emissions issue, you can be inside, and that’s awesome,” said Wallace.
Because inside means air conditioning and also that weather is a non-factor. Aside from that, though, these things move extremely quickly.
“You’re one with the kart. You feel the g-forces in the turns. You get pushed back in the seat,” said racer Bradley Boschulte.
“Forget your Porsches, forget your Ferraris, forget your Lambos [Lamborghinis]… these karts will whip them around a corner. It’s crazy,” said Wallace.
Not to worry if “crazy” is not your ideal speed. The designers of these machines had everyone in mind.
Ken Fitzgerald, another racer, said, “The advantage they have with the electric go karts is they can put you on a slower setting to try it.”
“This kart track is for people ages eight to 80. It doesn’t matter who you are. As long as you’re not pregnant or have a heart issue, you’re good to go,” said Wallace.
“He [meaning his son, Dylan, sitting beside him] does wrestling and that’s a little more scarier than being out here,” said Fitzgerald.
Like most action sports, it really comes down to one thing.
“Adrenaline. Speed. The thrill of doing something different and trying to get your personal best,” said Cramer.
“You got a lot of adrenaline going through your blood,” said Boschulte.
“You should definitely try it. It’s awesome,” said Dylan Fitzgerald.
A single race will cost $20 for about 10 minutes on the track. And while there is a discount for buying two tickets, the pros [professionals] warn of pitfalls in bringing a date to a race.
“One is you outrun her big time, and she’s just awful at it. Or what’s worse is you get your butt whupped [get beaten] by her… and all of us that work here are talking about it on the radio the entire time it’s happening. It’s hilarious,” said Wallace.
And remember, they say, this is something not to be tried at home.
“Don’t tell the cops, but I do it on the streets, too,” said Cramer.
Which may be reason enough to buckle up.