Saturday, February 27, 2021

Home City Life Kid-friendly All About Go-Kart Racing in Utah
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All About Go-Kart Racing in Utah

As race tracks go, it’s not particularly long—roughly 2,000 feet from starting point, around to where the checkered flag will fall. Within that distance, however, there are 14 turns, a 300-foot straight, allowing speeds up to 35 miles per hour and always competition for the lead or just one spot ahead of a friend.

Back in 1999, Joe Miller opened the first FastKart Speedway in Spokane, Wash., and a second opened in 2000 in Salt Lake City. In 2004, he moved it to the current Salt Lake indoor facility at 3969 S. 500 West. And it is there he designed a track configuration that can be either two short tracks—1,000 feet each—on busy days or one long track—2,000 feet.

It is, as he points out, “An opportunity for people to race, and to decide if they want to go on and do more racing.’’

Available to customers are about 30 specialty go-karts. The frames have been modified to endure the bumps and grinds of racing competition. The karts are powered by a 6.5-horsepower Honda engine with speed controls removed. There is no transmission, simply a centrifugal clutch that engages when the gas pedal is pushed.

Top speed is actually around 44 or 45 miles per hour. The 300-foot straight however limits speed to around 35, which to the novice racer is plenty fast.

At race time Miller limits eight karts when the shorter tracks are used and 14 on the larger track.

Story has it that go-kart racing was founded by a hot rodder in California around 1956. Since, it has grown into a all-out sport, complete with racing circuits and a full range of karts, custom racing suits and digital temperature gauges.

As with everything, the karts evolved from a simple frame and engine to a highly-sophisticated vehicle capable, on some tracks, of 135 mph.

The high-speed karts, however, are quite different from the family-friendly ones used at recreation centers. For example, the recreation engines are typically your standard four-stroke—in the case of FastKart, 6.5 horsepower. The more competitive engines can produce upwards of 90 horsepower for twin 250 cc. The most popular engines, however, are the single ones turning out 125cc.

And therein rest the speeds today’s karters reach, which is well over 100 mph.

Miller says he spent a lot of time racing around the country in the 1980s and 1990s, “and I spent a lot of time go-kart racing.’’ So it seemed only natural he would venture into the go-kart business.

“It’s a venue where people can come and check out their skills. It’s a great racing environment where people can actually race without having to spend a lot of money and have a good time.’’ he says.

He is currently in the process of moving a track from Layton into Ogden.

Kart racing is, in fact, recognized as the most economic form of motorsport racing. And, it is a sport that can be enjoyed by almost anyone in their free time.

Miller’s two Utah tracks are open daily with different opening and closing times (see

He offers two programs. The first is “Arrive and Drive’’ and the second is “Arrive and Race.’’

Under the “Arrive and Drive’’ karters simply show up and drive 10 minutes and 18 to 22 laps for $20 or 15 minutes (30 to 35 laps) for $25.

The “Arrive and Race” are, in fact, races—40, 60 or 100 laps. Prices are $30, $40 and $60, respectively. The race starts with each driver taking a 5-lap qualifier. From those times the lineup is established and racing is on—from the green flag to the checkered.

These, of course, are not the only tracks in Utah. Miller Motorsports Park north of Tooele has a large outdoor track with cars capable of 40 mph. There are several more tracks, some intended for young children, such as the Boondocks Fun Center and others intended to test race-driving skills.

Miller Motorsports Park—Tooele

Rocky Mountain Raceways—West Valley

Desert Thunder Raceway—Price

FastKart Indoor—Salt Lake City

Trafalga Fun Center—Orem & Lehi

Boondocks Fun Center—Kaysville & Draper

Fiesta Family Fun Center—St. George

Even in the exploration boom of the 1800s, nobody dared to explore the terrain flowing through the Green and the Colorado Rivers.⁠

That is, nobody until Major John W. Powell said the 19th Century equivalent of “Hey man, hold my beer while I try this.”⁠

Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division⁠

A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way! ⁠

We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.⁠

A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬

Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! ⁠🎉⁠

These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us.⁠ 🍽⁠

At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm⁠ 💙

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness⁠

Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing⁠

This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries ⁠

As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection⁠

Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @oquirrhslc for Betting the Bottom Dollar⁠

When COVID-19 hit Salt Lake City, Oquirrh co-owners Andrew and Angelena Fullers' dream was seriously damaged. But the Fullers keep trying to follow the rules. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @hearth_and_hill for Opening Doors⁠

As the pandemic ravages independent restaurants, Hearth and Hill has reaffirmed its commitment to small businesses in Park City and used its large dining room as an informal gathering space for the city. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @fisherbrewing for Creative Canning⁠

This year, Fisher found ways to utilize their beer, taproom space and canning capabilities for good. They created special lines of limited edition beers in custom cans to help raise funds for local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. 💙⁠

A wind storm #tbt for your feed today. 🌬️🛹⁠

2020 was a long, long, loooong year, so we asked local photographers to share what the new normal looked like through their eyes. The link is in our bio!

Just hours after being sworn in, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for a review of the boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The monuments—designated by Barack Obama in 2016 and Bill Clinton in 1996—were reduced by roughly 2 million acres by former president Donald Trump, and the executive order is seen as move towards restoring the original boundaries.⁠

Read the full story through the link in bio.⁠

📸Bears Ears National Monument: Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism

What’s your favorite park in Utah? ...