Revving engines, checkered flags and flashing scoreboards electrify the vibe at RPM Raceway in Farmingdale — and both kids and adults are getting behind the wheel during its Tuesday night go-kart league racing sessions.
“Our goal is to be authentic and only second to getting in a real race car,” says co-owner Karen Davis-Farage. “It becomes very real from the moment you enter the pit.”
HOW IT WORKS
RPM Raceway offers a competitive four-week league every season for adults and kids on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m.
Eight to 10 karts compete on a quarter-mile track with each race lasting 12 laps.
The 120,000-square-foot space has two tracks with spectator seating. Kids ages 8 to 12 or at least 48 inches tall can drive up to 25 mph while 13 and up, including adults, can hit 35 mph without a driver’s license, or 45 mph with a license. Helmets are provided — and mandatory. The karts, which are made in Italy, are electric, so there’s no gas or oil involved.
“There’s no emissions or bad smell,” Davis-Farage says. “It enables everyone to be a racer in the building and a spectator when they are not.”
LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Gabriel Gatti of Howard Beach may be only 9 years old, but racing is in his blood. On a recent league night, he rounds the track clocking in his best lap at 25.5 seconds. But, he’s not satisfied.
“My goal is a 24.9 lap time. I’m really close to it,” he says. “I never get scared of the speed — I push!”
Glenn Lehenaff, 56, of East Northport works as a mechanic during the day and races go-karts at night.
“The key is to look as far ahead as you can,” he says. “You can do very little about the turn that you are in, but you can do a lot about the one you are approaching.”
Back in the day Walter Stroud, 44, of Yaphank used to race stock cars but he has replaced that with go-karts.
“Stock car racing was cool but it’s in a circle,” says Stroud, who won three go-karting seasons in a row last year. “This is more lefts, rights and straights. The curves are the best.”
At age 11, Tristan Allen Jr. of Valley Stream is just learning the sport, but his competitive edge is fully intact.
“I just want to win and be the top of my class,” he says. “But, mostly I hope to beat my dad one day.”
Tuesday night go-kart racing league RPM RACEWAY
WHEN | WHERE 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays at RPM Raceway, 40 Daniel St., Farmingdale. Next four-week session starts March-April.
INFO 631-752-7223, rpmraceway.com
CHANGE OF ‘KARTS’
Head out east for a different type of go-karting at Karts Indoor Raceway, located at 701 Union Pkwy. in Ronkonkoma.
“We offer slick-track racing,” says owner Lenny Elkins. “When you go into the turn, the rear end of the kart slides out on you. It makes it a little more fun.”
The family-friendly center, which also offers laser tag, black light small ball bowling, 30 video games and a café, runs karts at a slower speed (maximum 32 mph for adults, 20 mph for kids).
“You don’t have to wear a helmet,” Elkins says. “The track is slippery as opposed to being grippy.”
INFO $15 per race, 631-737-5278, karts1.com