From the Braver Institute
I don’t know at what age it struck me but for as long as I can remember, I have liked fast cars and I like driving fast. For as long as I have had a license, I have looked at an empty stretch of road as a test track to see how fast a car will go. Due to some sense of responsibility, I only let a car unwind on empty, uninhabited stretches of highway and when I am the only person in the vehicle.
Actually, I don’t drive like that much at all these days since I owe it to my daughters to not get myself killed, but before they came along there was little to stop me from putting my foot in the carburetor.
The more I think about it, it isn’t just going fast that is fun, I like racing too, which isn’t always a high-speed thing.
My first car was nothing special but it was very quick for a stock vehicle and I was never one to say no to a drag race. Sure, at the quarter-mile mark we might be going over the speed limit but we weren’t setting land speed records with these things.
Even go-cart tracks are a blast and the go-carts don’t really go that fast at all, except for the highperformance ones that are raced on real race courses—those things scream. When I worked for my family’s trucking company, my coworker Al and I would go to the local go-cart track at lunchtime on payday so we could race. We did it enough that the staff there got to know us, and would send us out on the track alone whenever possible so there weren’t any tourists getting in our way.
Our driving skills were close to equal but I outweighed Al by nearly one-hundred pounds. If I didn’t get one of the faster cars he was sure to beat me, although there were a couple of cars that had enough under the hood to haul me around the track at competitive speeds.
Al and I liked racing gocarts so much that we seriously contemplated buying one of the high-performance models so we could race in Escanaba. With our weight differences we would be able to race in two different classes with the same car.
We never did buy a car but to this day go-cart tracks still hold strong appeal.
A handful of years ago I was working in Minocqua, Wis. with my good friend Wayne Genghis and a coworker named Todd. While on the road back home, we noticed an awesome looking go-cart track near the town of St. Germain so we stopped to check it out.
Once in my go-cart I was back in full-on competitive racing mode. I wasn’t there for fun. I was there to race, and by race I mean win. On the track I put my foot to the floor and did everything I could to push it clean through the firewall of the go-cart.
I managed to get around everyone on the course except for a little girl who looked to be about ten years old. She most likely weighed next to nothing. Her car was as close as it could ever be to having no load at all yet still be under the control of a human. She wasn’t a good driver, she could simply go faster in the straightaways. At every corner she would let off the gas and I would catch her but she would lose me again in the next straight. I had to catch her. I had to pass her.
My opportunity came in a series of corners where she never had a chance to get on the gas. I had learned long ago that these cars could handle any corner at full speed so there was no real reason to let off the gas. I kept my foot to the floor and when the opportunity presented itself, I moved to the inside and passed the little girl.
After the race Wayne and Todd told me that the little girl ran into the wall after I passed her and was crying. Normally this kind of thing would be heartbreaking but I never believe a word that either of those guys say, and even if it were true, all I have to say is tough luck kid. If you can’t handle the race, get off of the track.
There is no mercy on the racetrack.
— — —