SMITH: A Look At The Kart Nationals

McKenzie Smith.

During the Kart Nationals Tour in the Midwest, I was able to race five times in three states over nine days.

I competed at Thunder Hill Speedway in Wisconsin, English Creek Speedway in Iowa and at Ealeyville Speedway in Illinois. The first weekend, I went to Thunder Hill Speedway with the 250cc kart and they had 19 registered in my class. It was a two-day show, but separate racing each day.

The first day was going good, with fourth place finishes in both heats. In the feature, I was racing hard for position at the end, and things went three-wide in the corner. The three of us ran out of room and we spun; I got a flat left rear tire. I did not know at the time it was flat so I stayed on the track, but I quickly realized on the green when I lost a couple positions that something wasn’t right. I wasn’t stopping, though.

The kart didn’t want to turn left going slow, but under full power it was a lot better.  I ended up holding on to 11th. When I got done with the feature my Dad said, “Do you realize you were racing on three tires?” I told him, “That’s why it wouldn’t turn left!”

Then on the second night in the feature, I had a strong run off the corner on the outside, but the kart I was passing came up and I jumped his tire and around I went, putting my right front into the wall and finishing my night.

We headed home for a day of cleaning and then loaded up both the Box Stock and 250 kart and off to the next race at English Creek Speedway. It was a two-day show, but the first night was heat races and the second night was features.

The heats went good for Box Stock, I finished third in both and locked it in the A-Main, but had some work to do with the 250 after ending up in the B-main.

The second night I started the 250 in the B-main, it was around the transfer spot until the middle of the race when I spun. I had to restart in the back and didn’t make it back up far enough to transfer into the A-main.

During the A-main in Box Stock, about five laps in I got spun from behind and it jumped the berm and onto a cone. My chain came off so I had to go to the infield and was finished for the night.

Kart Nationals
McKenzie Smith in action with her outlaw kart.

We had a couple days off to clean everything and also spent a couple days at the Knoxville Nationals. Next was Ealeyville Raceway in Illinois. It started out good, being third quick in hot laps and sixth quick in qualifying on a track I haven’t seen before.

By the time the heats started the track was super bumpy, my wing slider broke in the heat race and it was tough to steer. In the feature, the track was even rougher and the kart was handling really bad. Towards the end of the race, I was running the bottom about to turn in to the infield to get out of the way and I got hit hard from behind. That ended my night and also bent my chassis.

I learned a lot over the week, racing different-sized and different-banked tracks, but I didn’t get the results I wanted. It was fun racing some new tracks with the 250 and spending some time with the Kvapils. I have one scheduled race left at English Creek for 2018, which will also be my last Box Stock class race.

Thank you to my partners for their support: Sky Zone Des Moines, MyRacePass, Gregg Young Chevrolet Norwalk, EBU, Ellis Greenhouse, Jocko’s Sprint Part, Central Iowa Insurance Services, Hog Wash, Midwest Balloon Services, Sign Creations, Speed Sport, Compass Racing Development, Monte Motorsports, Adams Performance and my grandparents.