This whole week has been an experience with so many wonderful events that make Race Week in Homestead, Florida something special.
One such event was Kart Racing at the fantastic AMR Motorplex. Situated
on-site at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, AMR Motorplex is an outdoor karting facility open to the public seven days a week, year-round. AMR Motorplex features two circuits: a 0.7-mile, 11 turn competition track for kart owners, and a 0.3-mile, 3 turn rental track for kart rentals. I was invited to participate in a race for media in town for NASCAR race week. When I got the call the kid in me hollered back “yes” but later on, this senior citizen questioned “What the heck did you agree to.” After all, I was 15 years old the last time I drove my Sears Roebuck Go Kart. Back then I was more of a daredevil who managed to survive several roll-overs before giving it to my younger cousin, Joey Running late, I darted in and out of rush hour
traffic perhaps sharpening some moves to be used later on the track. On arrival, I met Andrew and Neal from Homestead-Miami Speedway who calmed my nerves as they walked me through the waver. There were nine other media personalities, all younger than half my age. I looked sharply into their eyes and detected no signs of fear. I had to save face, since it was too late for me to back out.
Then came instructions…red flag-stop, green-go, yellow-caution, white-one more lap and checkered race was over. Next, we were all issued racing gear consisting of a burka-like hair net with helmet and neck brace. It was off to our karts, mine being #8.
We started with a caution lap followed by a qualifying race of about 12 laps with speeds reaching up to 45 MPH. Coming in last gave me the surprise advantage of getting the pole position for the final 20 lap race. Now in kart #18, I vowed not to come in last again! Not knowing much about racing, I kept to the inside which cut my speed thus hurting my time, but proudly, I never spun out or hit the wall as many others did causing the yellow flag to go up. Those who crashed simply were freed and allowed to return to the race in their same position without penalty …seems a bit unfair to me.
When the checkered flag was waved I knew I had done better coming in at number 8. Congratulations to winner Rick Mazza. As for me, I plan to return to the track several times over the next year in hopes of getting another chance at seeing that checkered flag wave for me!