Kart Counts Dwindling

CKR47

Member
What do you guys think are the root causes of dwindling kart counts and what can we do as a racing community to help? Obviously cost will always be a factor but right now the economy is doing well and kart racing is the most affordable racing out there IMO. I think a lot of millenials (such as myself unfortunately) are growing up without the passion of hands on wrenching and motorsports and therefore do not pass this on to their kids. I just had a little tike myself and can not wait to get him behind the wheel of a champ but the question is, how many will he actually race??
 

paulkish

old fart
There are twice as many people and more have means to race today then when we put a man on the moon.

Grass roots racing in general has not dwindled but gone from hands on to buy it from a catalogue and promoters/parts pedlars have learned they don't have to care about how they hurt or do not hurt grass roots racing. They market to a nitch income level where they know they will find because of more people making decisions of how to spend their disposable income, be it a boat, travel, sport game investment for their kids or racing, to sell too. Car racing in this area is becoming more and more spend your $15,000+ with us and go racing for cheap or what you think will be cheap.
 

CKR47

Member
Yeah, i think it's a combination of these things like I mentioned... Sports are great, but the practical skills you can learn pales in comparison to racing that translate to other aspects of life (taking care of equipment, troubleshooting, problem solving, learning tools, working with tools, learning about physics, etc. etc.). Also, if you make it a family affair, the time spent is bonding unlike any other sport.
 

amusall

Member
Anyone think the typical winning percentage could have something to do with it? After being out of it for ten years I recently got my girlfriend's 12 and 8 yr old son's into it. Her dad has been involved with some type of racing most of his life however she is new to it. When I explained that we could possibly go a year or two without winning a race she thought it sounded crazy for someone to put so much time and money into something they may struggle at. At first glance I can see her point but I think its all about passion and perseverance. Things today are different than they were 20 years ago. Technology and video games are a much bigger part of a kids life and people are too impatient to work at something and wait for success. When I was a teen racing with my dad we were lucky enough to have won a decent amount of races but we "lost" way more than we ever thought of winning. It definitely builds character and gives you so many practical life skills.
 

Mac_49

Premium User
For some, me included, it's a lack of available resources OFF the track that doesn't enable some to be included in the sport. Simple things that keep a lot from participating like a vehicle to transport everything, trailer to haul it, where do you keep a trailer if you don't have the room? Pay for a storage unit/parking spot for trailer? If no trailer then where to store everything when you're not using it?
A lot of racers I've met rent rather than own when it comes to a house. Apartments don't offer the best of anything to keep a racing setup secure. Even renting a house with roommates becomes a war of shareable space.
I know A LOT of people that want to race so bad that can't, not for the reason of affordability but simply just no where to keep everything when not racing.
 

foreverfaster

Premium User
for me, it's distance to the tracks and the number of classes, coupled with tech or no tech. we've been running about an hour from home to play.. I like SA stuff, no tech and go racing. our local (1 hr drive one way) track is expensive. no pay outs and $30 in fees, and the owner's not really interested in making any changes to the karting program. If it were closer to home.. and the cost was half for no pay, i'd be there every weekend. had fun running wide open on the local stock car track... 72mph the wall comes up pretty quick
 

CKR47

Member
yeah these are some good points. I would say there are a lot of ways to "succeed" without winning, I'm sure you would agree. Just improving and constantly getting better is a big acheivement. Then when you start running up front and yes there is only 1 winner but being competitive and up front is all you can ask for.

Resources off the track are tough, sure. People rent housing, how about renting equipment? I've heard of people having "rent-a-rides" where someone could show up and race. Now this would be a little tricky because of tearing stuff up, lack of experience, scaling/sizing the kart for a particular person, but it's an interesting idea..
 
Anyone think the typical winning percentage could have something to do with it? After being out of it for ten years I recently got my girlfriend's 12 and 8 yr old son's into it. Her dad has been involved with some type of racing most of his life however she is new to it. When I explained that we could possibly go a year or two without winning a race she thought it sounded crazy for someone to put so much time and money into something they may struggle at. At first glance I can see her point but I think its all about passion and perseverance. Things today are different than they were 20 years ago. Technology and video games are a much bigger part of a kids life and people are too impatient to work at something and wait for success. When I was a teen racing with my dad we were lucky enough to have won a decent amount of races but we "lost" way more than we ever thought of winning. It definitely builds character and gives you so many practical life skills.l her everyone gets a ribbon at the end of
Tell her everyone gets a ribbon at the end of the day, that says "You are a Winner". That fits with today's intitalment mentally.
 

viice

Member
If you want my honest opinion as someone who questioned even getting into karting. And has hit walls when trying to get my friends (age 18-40) into the sport. This is going to seem extremely critical, but we need to be critical of the sport that we love if we are going to see changes!
Most of my opinions come from other forms of racing I have participated in/been around and how they have seen success. SCCA, NASA, WRL, CMRA, MCRA and local track day organizations.

-Relatively large and complicated start up/cost in comparison to other hobbies.
-$1000 to drop nearly immediately even on a used kart, minus stand and etc. We don't see this as that large, but newcomers to the sport do.
-Sky is the limit as far as other equipment is concerned.
-What else do I need, and why is the information not easy to come by. Why is it daunting when I see it.

-Storage area? Transportation?

-EXTREMELY poor organization from local tracks and sanctioning bodies. MAKE IT PROFESSIONAL. BRAND IT PROFESSIONALLY.
-I want to show up and feel like I could take a damn NASCAR season title even though it's just weekend kart racing.
-People want to feel like they've won something, or like they've lost and can do better. That keeps them coming back.
-Poor advertisement from local tracks. Most people have no idea they exist. It took me 2-3 weeks to find even 5 tracks that were local to me.
-Local tracks seem to have no intention of selecting a sanctioning body that is similar to local tracks. Or following through with the rules.
-Predator classes are all different, everywhere you go and require you to change springs/filters etc. just to go run for nothing but a medal.
-Lack of information online without searching for hours upon hours upon hours.
-Our websites are awful. And our Facebook pages lead one to have to scroll for a long time to get to even a schedule.
-What's with having to call to find out rule sets?
-Band together and make your websites somewhat pretty, up to date, and informational.

-No clear "Ultimate goal" top out to inspire new drivers.
-What if it turns out I'm good? What is there to inspire me outside of local tracks? Where do the best of the best go?

-Social Stigma of oval racing. While most see this as a family sport. I never did. I didn't grow up in this. And I raced for 10 years in cars/karts/bikes and hopping into oval racing was certainly different. Completely different crowd. And along with that came the stigma that it's just a bunch of rednecks who like to turn left and argue with each other... That's not the case.

On to the track:
-Sounds like track prep is a well guarded secret. Keeping secrets stops a track from being good when it could be great.
-If a tracks not good it's not good.
-Track reputation and favoritism of local drivers.
-Track management and organization.

-Rental karts! Make it easy and competitive for new drivers!
-Prices seem a little steep for the amount of seat time provided. (In comparison to say... Endurance racing in a car... which is approximately $375/hr. Vs Oval karting which including 2 practices, 2 heats, 1 feature turns up at about $550/hour... Assuming 28 minutes of seat time and $225 for a night rental.)

Other things have been mentioned about the generations. But the truth of the matter is... Nobody gives a damn about racing anymore. We are the weird ones. And racing hasn't been marketable to anyone since the 60's and the 70's.

TL.DR
Motorsports isn't cool anymore to the general public.
It's expensive and hard to get into.
We're disorganized.
 
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viice

Member
For some, me included, it's a lack of available resources OFF the track that doesn't enable some to be included in the sport. Simple things that keep a lot from participating like a vehicle to transport everything, trailer to haul it, where do you keep a trailer if you don't have the room? Pay for a storage unit/parking spot for trailer? If no trailer then where to store everything when you're not using it?
A lot of racers I've met rent rather than own when it comes to a house. Apartments don't offer the best of anything to keep a racing setup secure. Even renting a house with roommates becomes a war of shareable space.
I know A LOT of people that want to race so bad that can't, not for the reason of affordability but simply just no where to keep everything when not racing.
Mac. Interesting suggestion. We have a local motorcycle collective. Where people pay something like 60-120 a month to store their motorcycles there and use the shop equipment to work on their stuff. They have events and make it like a family.
I don't see why this couldn't work for people who want to go kart racing. And don't just limit it to us oval guys!
 

Mac_49

Premium User
Mac. Interesting suggestion. We have a local motorcycle collective. Where people pay something like 60-120 a month to store their motorcycles there and use the shop equipment to work on their stuff. They have events and make it like a family.
I don't see why this couldn't work for people who want to go kart racing. And don't just limit it to us oval guys!

I honestly think that would be a fantastic idea for a lot of people. I came from Denver recently and because of what I was mentioning above couldn't race. My former pickup had a topper so luckily I could keep the kart in the back of it 24/7/365 safely. But at the same time all my equipment rode in the pickup as well. It was my garage, my trailer, my service bench as well as my daily driver. Once it got hailed out and totaled that was it for me and racing. I had to sell everything because I lost my whole setup with the pickup. That's how I saw a lot of racers do it to with the pickup setup.
But if something like this were to happen I think A LOT of people would come out of the woodworks. Not to mention you'd be surrounded by gearheads to help you work on things that new racers know nothing about. It'd be a legit storage, shop, service and pro advice building all in one. :unsure: :unsure:
 

racing promotor

Moderator
When I ran a track back here central Pa I leased it however If the landowner would of sold it to me part of the upgrades would of been 4 rows of storage units with electric and work bench inside, Get done racing clean things up pull the door down and leave kart stays there.
 

viice

Member
When I ran a track back here central Pa I leased it however If the landowner would of sold it to me part of the upgrades would of been 4 rows of storage units with electric and work bench inside, Get done racing clean things up pull the door down and leave kart stays there.
Gateway Motorsports Park's (or whatever they've renamed it to) Karting area has something like that. Tiny little storage units where people can store their ignite karts.
Keep in mind we're a homegrown sport. Unless someone with serious money wants to buy up/support/build a few local tracks. I don't see that on the mind of many owners.
 

racing promotor

Moderator
Gateway Motorsports Park's Karting area has something like that. Tiny little storage units where people can store their ignite karts.
Keep in mind we're a homegrown sport. Unless someone with serious money wants to buy up/support/build a few local tracks. I don't see that on the mind of many owners.
I know I could have sold them out mine would of been big enough to work on the kart and store everything needed there, some would of been bigger for 2 karts, No dragging a trailer to the track.
 

viice

Member
I know I could have sold them out mine would of been big enough to work on the kart and store everything needed there, some would of been bigger for 2 karts, No dragging a trailer to the track.
Sure. I'm just saying for some place like.... KC or something to do that. Someone has to build them... Someone has to pay them to build it. There's that initial investment that most owners are not going to want to put forth. Regardless of if they'd sell out or not. Separate story if there is a building that already exists.
 
I haven’t read thru all the responses however I blame parenting nowadays. Too many parents are ok with video games babysitting their kids.. resulting in lack of ability to interact with others, lack of drive, lack of knowing the feeling of losing and winning... the list goes on and on. Just my opinion.. however I do my best as a dad trying to show my 14 and 8 year old good work ethics.. I tell them if they learn that at a young age, they will be head and shoulders above anyone else when they start a career . So far it’s working. But what do I know? I just do the best I can as we all do.
 

Don K

Member
Strain on the family budget. Families are being stressed with three huge expenses they didn't have twenty five yeas ago. One cable, two cell phones and three family expense for eating out almost always. Takes up a huge part of the money families had for extras and recreation.

The machine in hand! You can't tell me this hasn't had an effect. The dumbing down of a nation.

DK

PS, plastic cars of today instill absolutely no emotion like a 71 Camero with a Z71 350 V8.
 
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bpr

Member
Big problem in this area [upstate NY] too many tracks all running the same night thins out the fields at all of them
 
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