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Copied with Permission from Kevin Greer - www.kartship.com


8 Easy Steps to Get Started in Karting


The first step in getting started is to take the family out to a local race and have a good time! We recommend you buy a pit pass and wander around the pits and watch the races from there. This way, you're right where the action is. Watch, see how the races are run and ask anybody your questions.

You will find most racers are very enthusiastic and very helpful. Be sure to find out about classes, types of engines, recommended karts, rules, and schedules. Ask racers, track officials, or at the registration window. Most tracks have a rule book or flyer which contains most of this information.


Some excellent books on Karting are readily available from Steve Smith Autosports (714) 639-7681 or from your local kart shop. The Complete Karting Guide and Four Cycle Karting Technology are both comprehensive books which are very helpful. Other good publications are National Kart News magazine (219) 277-0033, The Inside Track newspaper (800) 472-4006 and The Official Karting Directory (708) 653-7368. These books and publications will give you a good sense of what is involved in karting and are an excellent resource of general information.   Also some excellent websites to research karting on are www.ekartingnews.com and www.4cycle.com .


Go to a local concession track. Although these karts are not as performance oriented, you will get a great feel for the excitement of racing.  You also might find some local racers willing to let you “hot lap” their karts for a few laps after the racing action for the day is over at your local track.


Decide what type of Kart racing, which engine, and which class you will run. Types of racing include oval, sprint, or enduro:

1)       Oval tracks, with either dirt or asphalt racing surfaces, are very popular with the new racer. There are also many concrete indoor ovals that are used for racing in the winter;

2)       Sprint racing is conducted on 1/6 to 1/2 mile asphalt road courses with many right and left hand turns. Most tracks race on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday afternoons from May to October.

3)       Street racing has grown in popularity over the past several years. This is Sprint racing on a temporary course through a park or the downtown streets of a city. This type of racing is most popular with the spectators.

4)       Enduro Karts are very fast and are raced on big tracks like Mid-Ohio, Grattan, Daytona, and Road America. Due to the speed and investment, competitors are usually the more experienced drivers. Enduro Karts are not recommended for novices.

There are several types of engines to pick from. Common engines are the 5hp Briggs & Stratton (4-cycle), and the 100cc Yamaha (2-cycle).  Classes are divided by age, weight, and type of engine. Different tracks run different classes. Make sure you know the class structure before you purchase your equipment.


There is some basic equipment you need to start. You should be able to get set up within your budget.



New Kart

$1,200 to $2,200

Used Kart

$500 to $1,500





Econo Briggs

$350 to $550

Alcohol Briggs

$600 to $1250


$1000 to $1500



Safety and Other


Helmet (Snell 2000)

$120 to $350

Neck Collar

$20 to $40



Racing Suit or Jacket

$65 to $200

Kart Stand

$40 to $170

Spare parts and gears


Fuel, lubricants, etc.

$50 to $100


Make at trip to the local kart shop. The shop owner will soon be a good friend and is the source for some of your best information. The shop will set you up with equipment that is right for the level of racing that you are planning. The shop can also help with kart set-up, engine tuning, and driving basics.

Many of the shop owners and employees are also racers. Remember, when you have fun, the shop will get a good, long term customer. Listen to their advice.


Now, you're almost ready to go racing! A little practice in a noncompetitive environment is very helpful.

Some of the local tracks offer a kart school. This is a chance to drive your kart under the observation of a qualified teacher which shortens the learning curve. The schools teach kart maintenance, set-up, driver safety rules, engine tuning, and the basics of race driving.

Another way to get some "set time" is to call the track for practice times. Many tracks set aside several days a week, just for practice. It is a very affordable way to run a lot of laps and to get the feel of the kart.

Be sure to practice some of the basics: starting, stopping, and turning the kart off. If the driver is a Junior, also practice pushing the kart. If the kart has a problem during the race, the driver is responsible for pushing the kart out of harms way.


Go to the races. Get there early.. Take advantage of practice time before the race. Ask to start at the back of the pack. Learn a lot. Keep your cool! Celebrate your achievement! Have a great time!


There are some risks associated with any type of motor sports. Tracks and competitors are always concerned about safety. All karts are inspected before the race to be sure they are race ready. In addition, racers must have proper safety equipment, including a driving suit or jacket, an approved helmet, a neck brace, and driving gloves.

You will be asked to sign a waiver of liability when registering. Be sure you are familiar with the insurance coverage the track provides. Insurance at the track will also require that anyone entering the pit area buy a pit pass. Your cooperation is appreciated!

Area Kartshops:


Kartshop Telephone Contact Name Location Website
Hotlaps 217-242-7875 Mike Wittler Quincy, IL www.hotlaps.us
TNT Speed & Sport 217-228-2226 Terry Traeder Quincy, IL  
PG Racing 314-821-KART Greg Yocom Kirkwood, MO www.pgracing.com
Viper Racing 636-475-7487 Dennis Riggs Herculaneum, MO www.viperfirst.com
Laukaitis Racing 217-877-8877 Kent Laukaitis Decatur, IL www.clearlight.com/~laukrace/2000
Fastlane Kart Shop 217-522-8212 Ginny Barnard Springfield, IL www.fastlanekartshop.com

Also some area tracks have websites that have racers who post their equipment on for sale.  Try www.slka.net (St. Louis), www.midstatekartclub.com (Springfield, IL), www.badgerkartclub.com (Wisconsin), www.kcka.com (Kansas City).  Also other websites specializing in listing used karts are www.kartads.com, www.kartsale.com, www.kartfinder.com .  The drawback to these sites the listing are not always local and it is buyer beware.  Just like used cars,… most people are honest but it only takes a few who are not to cause a problem.