It’s not for the faint of heart.
While go-karting may bring the mental image of small children driving around a track at low speeds, sport director Nick Dice sees the sport in a different light.
“When you say go-kart, people kind of laugh,” he said. “…There’s kids out there that are eight years old and are hitting 50, 60 mph and the carts just aren’t going to be at their top speed if you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Kart racing has a special place in Dice’s heart, as his father and grandfather were heavily involved in the sport, and he grew up racing as a result.
“I met my wife at the race track, I got my first job out of college from someone I met at the race track, and it’s just been my network ever since I started,” Dice said.
An accomplished athlete, Dice played a year of college football at Northwest Missouri State before breaking his leg and also competed in track at a high level. To him, though, nothing can top the feeling kart racing provides.
“I didn’t get the same charge out of that stuff as I did out of racing,” Dice said. “Racing is really interesting because you have the competition aspect, but preparation is similar to how it would be for any other physically athletic event.”
After both competing and volunteering in the swimming event for the Cornhusker State Games in previous years, Dice’s familiarity with the Games led him to think kart racing would be a good fit for the state-wide competition. While the sport is stereotyped to be dominated by 16-year-old males, Dice says one-third of racers are women now, and participants range from 5-year-olds to 50-year-olds, making it a sport accessible to everyone.
“I think it just fits the mold of the Cornhusker State Games really well, where you’re bringing in amateur athletes with a lot of different diversity and they’re all competing on the same stage,” Dice said.
One of the three new sports for the 2019 State Games, kart racing competition will take place at Tuxedo Park in Crete on July 27. The event is grouped first by type of kart, then by experience level to create balanced classes. Participants can choose either flat or caged karts, where the flat karts are the traditional style seen in racing, and the caged karts include a cage which drivers are enclosed in. From there, additional classifications include beginner, amateur and adult groupings to further divide the field.
Dice is excited by the opportunity to bring his beloved sport of kart racing to a new audience at the Cornhusker State Games, and he encourages anyone interested to stop by Tuxedo Park and see the sport is all about.
“It’s something that is available to everyone… the playing field is pretty level for everybody,” Dice said.
Registration is currently open for the 2019 Cornhusker State Games. Featuring competition in 70 sports, participants can find more information and register online at our 2019 Sport Listing
Story by Luke Mullin