So I raced two pro drivers on a kart track…

Global RallyCross has arrived in Los Angeles for it’s 8th and 9th races of the 12-race season. For some reason I have yet to be invited to the two races in Barbados, which follow LA. So I’ll pick up my chin and press on with some insight into the LA race. Well, not insight really… just a bit of the ol’ up-close-and-personal with two of the racers battling it out under the banner of the Andretti Racing and Volkswagen team flags.
Scott Speed and Tanner Foust popped into one of the handful of K1 Speed karting locations (Torrance), and I was invited to be part of the group to hang out and challenge the two hot shoes.

The karts are electric. The track is a mix of fast turns and tight bends. The group assembled to take on the two professionals is comprised of six ham-fisted auto journalists and two gents from Volkswagen PR. It’s a cool 95 degrees outside, which is more heat than Southern California gets in an entire summer. I grab a beaten and bruised too-large helmet from the rack, and actually enjoy the fact that the frontal foam is missing… more room for my big mouth.
I’ll be honest here. I’m not terribly worried about the rest of the journalist set, or the PR folks. They’re all delightful, friendly, lovely people to talk to, and I’m confident that I’m going to beat every single one of them. It’s the two skinny lads in the Volkswagen-branded collared shirts that have my attention.
Look. I know I’m not going to beat them. They’re both very skilled behind the wheel of anything with wheels and an engine, and I can occasionally do a solid burnout or drift on camera (I’m quite proud of the bit at the end of the Challenger Shaker video – skip to 7:40 if you’re bored).
That image above? That’s race one on top and race two split below it. Tanner’s fast, Scott’s fast, and I’m tired, sore, sweating, and working my ass off.
We have one more race lined up. This one sees all the drivers start on the circuit on a grid in the order in which they qualified. Foust is in front of me, Speed is just ahead and to my right, and I’m trying to not grip the wheel like its a Powerball ticket with all the numbers glowing in my face.
…I’d love to have some words here about how I hung in strong with Scott and Tanner. Maybe bumped Scott once, tried to late brake Foust, slid in through a corner between the two. None of that happened. These guys were gone so fast it wasn’t even funny. Since I qualified and started third, I had a clean track in front of me and only occasionally glanced rearward to see what was happening behind. I eventually caught up to the latter half of the pack and lapped a few, but I fell short of a personal goal by a few hundredths. Since I wasn’t going to beat them (honestly, I knew I had no chance… let’s make that clear), I hoped to break into the 28-second range.
I’m a failure.
Regardless, both Tanner and Scott were a pleasure to chat with before, in-between, and after the races. My plan is to lose 20 pounds and take their skinny asses on again in the future.
Good luck this weekend gents…
[Disclaimer: VW paid for the karting. That should be obvious, but I figure it’s worth pointing out.]

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  1. Kamil K Avatar

    Plaid shorts. You need plaid shorts.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      All great men were shorts.
      (This works best in a conversation, though)

    2. salguod Avatar

      My first thought too.

  2. theskitter Avatar

    Your average in the race is as fast as your previous bests. That’s no small feat.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I’m actually quite sore today from the racing… I didn’t fit in the seat all the way. My back is beat up.

      1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
        Bradley Brownell

        That feel, bro. I know it.

  3. 0A5599 Avatar

    Quite a respectable effort, but you should challenge them to a blooging contest.

  4. John Calvert Avatar
    John Calvert

    Tanner Foust always surprises me with how fast he can be. He was consistently faster than Scott who’s been in F1 (didn’t stay but it does say a lot).

  5. Bradley Brownell Avatar
    Bradley Brownell

    This remains my favorite thing on all of the internet.

  6. mve Avatar

    I did the K1Speed up in Seattle a few years ago. I beat maybe half the guys there, but I don’t think they were too happy that I put my kart on two wheels more than once. I’d really like to take lessons and shave a few seconds off, but they are a ton of fun no matter what.

    1. John Calvert Avatar
      John Calvert

      I found K1 to be nothing like actual Karting on a real track. Slippery cement down here in Santa Clara, CA.

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