January 14, 2015 at 6:16 pm #40475
It is available for free download at TruTV. Just watched it on my iPad. What do you think of the show? The editing was pretty bad, but that is to be expected when you have kart people scrutinizing editing done by non-kart people. Overall it was fairly entertaining, but that is because I know a bunch of the people. I can’t imagine it will hold the attention of the general public. Hopefully it does and we’ll get a season 2!
January 15, 2015 at 6:12 am #40481
Here’s what I had posted on Facebook:
“Just started watching episode one of Kart Life and 27 seconds in, they explain how karting “isn’t only about talent, it’s about money”, and then they proceed to tell how guys are “working with millions” and the numbers “$225k” and “$6k a weekend” are thrown around. Are you effing kidding me? Apparently we’ve been doing it wrong for 13 years. What an amazing way to promote the sport to newcomers.”
Obviously the intent isn’t to promote the sport, but they are actually actively anti-promoting it. I was very disappointed by those opening statements and nearly turned it off then, but kept watching to see myself playing cornhole and drinking beer on tv.
January 15, 2015 at 7:07 am #40490
I dont know that TruTv had an intention to promote the sport. My thoughts on the show are as follows:
The show captured the quintessence 0f cadet and junior karting. Kart life uses several competitors and follows them throughout a race weekend.
In the first episode we are introduced to several characters. On one hand, we see the Tavellas, who are presented as a family that prides themselves in conducting themselves well on and off the track. The father, Phil, is a bundle of emotions while his kid is on the track. But, is able to reign it in when talking and counseling his kid. Despite being the victim of several bad driving incidents that lead to his son being crashed out to the back of the field, he insists on his kid driving the right way, the clean way. At one point in the show Phil tells Dylan “Keep driving clean. That is why you are respected and others are not.” (Paraphrased) We have competed against this family and can say that this is a pretty accurate representation of them.
Then, we meet the Bromantes, who are a presented as a much more boisterous and braggadocious bunch that are consumed with their personal wealth and the “win at every cost” mentality. I am not sure if this is simply a douchey caracature of the real family or if this is an accurate portrayal. But, it felt like Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was cast in this role.
Then we are briefly introduced to the Malukas family, who are only briefly discussed. While it is clear that he is an immigrant and a successful man that has achieved the “American Dream” financially, and enjoys his stuff, it doesn’t seem to define him (thus far.) My initial impression is that I like this guy. He seems to demand the best out of his son. What struck me the most was a glimpse into the second episode that shows the Mr. Malukas reach his boiling point and blowing up at his tuner/mechanic because of the way he is talking to or about young david. This was particularly poignant to me. Much like myself who is self admittedly too hard on my kid, it is difficult to see someone else be the same way with him. I have had the same feelings where I can not handle someone talking to my kid in such a way. Often, the mechanics and tuners are also emotionally invested and want what is best for the kid and sometimes treat them as their own. They dont realize at times when they cross the line.
Finally, we are introduced to Sasha, a 15 year old female driver that is a typical 15 year old girl placed in a racing environment. Not only does she want to race and win, she is shown to have the same real-world distractions that other boys and girls her age have.
At this point I am fully entertained. Anyone who is upset that this show focuses on money and the cost of the sport is simply ignoring the realities of what it really costs to race. Perhaps to get the simpler, less money oriented side of karting the film crew will introduce some 4 cycle or dirt circle track racing. But, it is my opinion that the show has given an accurate glimpse into our world, like it or not.
January 15, 2015 at 7:30 am #40495
Stewart, your summary is what I saw too. I am looking forward to the next episode. These reality shows must walk a fine line between keeping it accurate for the enthusiasts, but adding enough drama for the general viewer. I think it is accurate enough to keep our interest, but not sure if it has enough drama for the general viewer. Without general viewership the show won’t survive.
January 15, 2015 at 7:44 am #40497
With all due respect, if you think you need a $225k to $1mil budget to compete in top-level national sprint karting, you are out of your mind. People need to spend more time in their chassis tuning manual and less time in their checkbook. If your goal is to move up the “racing ladder” (or the money spending ladder as it is these days), then take your $1mil and go buy a seat in a feeder-level formula car or any variety of stock car.
Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on karting per year, maybe spend some time learning how to tune the kart and and learning how to drive. It’s much cheaper, trust me.
I understand the point of the show isn’t to promote karting, but it seems like it’s intent is to do the opposite and make karting look like a circus, much like all reality tv. I can’t possibly fathom how this show is remotely good for the sport. When 80% of the topics on this discussion board are from armchair experts proposing new ways to improve the sport, I’m surprised that this show isn’t getting more people worked up.
January 15, 2015 at 8:27 am #40499
T.J. Koyen wrote:
When 80% of the topics on this discussion board are from armchair experts proposing new ways to improve the sport, I’m surprised that this show isn’t getting more people worked up.
Well of course a lot of us on the forum are armchair experts. If it costs $225,000/yr to race a go-kart how many can afford to race? :P :P
January 15, 2015 at 8:32 am #40501
I feel like it would be a lot more interesting to the viewers and a lot more accurate if they profiled some of the “ordinary” budgeted drivers and alongside the big budget teams.
My first post might have been a little overzealous. Sorry, it’s been 0 degrees here and I’m going through karting withdrawals.
January 15, 2015 at 7:05 pm #40543
Considering we are part of the “ordinary” drivers that dont spend the money like some of these families do, I think it would be nice to see these kids documented as well. My son and his grandfather are the team. He being the driver and his grandfather being the tuner/ mechanic. They pride themselves in the fact that they do NOT cheat, he drives clean and is respected for that. He aspires to be a NASCAR driver and it is apparent that things will not be handed to him like some..he will do it the old fashioned way and EARN IT. We know these families that are in the show and like them…but why cant the ordinary kids be chronicled as well??
January 15, 2015 at 8:52 am #40503
You do not NEED a $225k/yr budget to race. But, think through this math. Some people ONLY race “National” level events or those that are perceived to be national level events. This is not an unreasonable number based on how many races they race. We have friends that will be racing both weekends of Florida Winter Tour, Pro Tour, USPKS, and some California PKC race….. and they live in Texas.
You mention that people need to learn how to tune on their own chassis. I agree. But, who would you learn this from? I would argue that you hire a great tuner/engineer and learn from them.
I was given two arrive and drive quotes for USPKS races. One of them was around $5,500 per race plus expenses, no mechanic, no engine. The other quote was around $3,000. This does not include our travel there nor the cost of renting engines nor the cost of mechanics.
Here is what our schedule looks like for the upcoming year and some of the expenses that I have time to calculate:
My planned race schedule is as follows: (remember, I live in AZ)
Phoenix Kart Racing Association (Local Club race) PKRA
-As many as we can squeeze in.
SKUSA! California ProKart Challenge
1.)Buttonwillow, CA (9 Hour drive or $600 round trip flights for my son and I not including testing dates)$450 entry fee, tires fuel. $600 for engineering and mechanic
2.) Willow Springs CA (7 hour drive)
3.) Riverside, CA (6 hour drive)
4.)Buttonwillow, CA (9 Hour drive or $600 round trip flights for my son and I Plus $300 transportation fee)
5.)Sonoma, CA (12 hour drive with trailer or $500 air fare plus $300 transportation fee)
1.)Phoenix, My home track, no transport fees ($700 Entry, Tires, Fuel) $1,000 mechanic and engineering
2.)Newcastle, (at least $600 in round trip air fare if we do no testing and leave the wife and other kid at home) ($700 Entry, Tires, Fuel) $2,500 mechanic, engineering, hotels, rental car
3.) Supernationals (5 hour drive , Hotel me plus tuner $1,400, engineering and mechanic $3,000)
1.)Go Pro Motorplex, North Carolina
2.) Shawano, WI
3.)Michiana North Liberty, IN
4.) New Castle, IN
January 15, 2015 at 8:58 am #40505
“Well of course a lot of us on the forum are armchair experts. If it costs $225,000/yr to race a go-kart how many can afford to race? ”
The true answer is, “Not many of us.” But, most dont run a full throttle National level schedule. They pepper in a few big races here and there. I can expect to spend in the $100k-$150k range if we hold to our planned schedule. It is tough because we are in AZ where we only have one big race this year that isnt Rotax. I have been told that bandoleros are less expensive as well as some full size cars. However, my kid has no ambitions to be a race car driver. He likes hanging out with his buddies racing go karts… So, what is a guy to do?
January 15, 2015 at 9:03 am #40507
I found it entertaining and pretty accurate to what we experienced in our first year competing nationally. The dollar figures were astounding but not surprising when you see the size of the haulers pulling into the track and teams going through multiple sets of new tires on the practice day. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is real but it’s not unique to karting. I’m sure that, like me, many fathers hope to hit the lottery to better help their sons. For me it’s not necessarily about getting to the front, it’s about having the funds just to continue going. The family atmoshere, intensity, comraderie and mostly the time spent with my son on the road is priceless. I thought they did touch on those things on the show.
I do hope they spent some time with some of the teams that aren’t spending $5,000 and up for a race weekend.
What a relief it was to see a father encourage his son to keep driving cleanly even in the face of a competitor that may not be. Phil Tavella gets bonus points in my book for that.
My experience with Henry Malukas was that he really is just a nice guy. He came over to chat with me in South Bend while I was trying to fold all of our gear back into the bed of my pick up and he was honestly just cool and curious about how we travel to races.
Even though we sometimes live in that world I found it fascinating. I will be curious as to whether this ends up promoting or hurting the sport. I have a daughter that dances competitively and I don’t think “Dance Moms” did that activity any favors.
January 15, 2015 at 9:07 am #40510
Fair enough Stewart, good assessment.
I just would like to see some of those guys who AREN’T spending a ton of money. It would be great tv to watch the little guys go against the big guys, and it would paint a more realistic picture.
I actually thought the families represented were portrayed well and weren’t exaggerated too much.
Okay, I’m calm now. I’ll give episode 2 a shot.
January 15, 2015 at 9:09 am #40511
Stewart – My son dreams of being a Nascar driver and would’ve rather started in Legends cars locally. I told him we couldn’t afford it and we were going to try Karting instead. If I knew then what I know now……..
January 15, 2015 at 9:16 am #40512
It seemed that they tried to show a team with less funding last night with the Welage family but we’ll have to wait to see where they take that story line. We already know through the teasers we’ll get to see them get picked up by Top kart in some capacity.
If nothing else it’s a little karting fix for those of us that don’t race January through March. :)
January 15, 2015 at 9:31 am #40513
How the heck are you able to watch the show? I’ve tried truTV.com but when I open the video it acts like it’s loading but after 5-10 minutes still loading. I tried the iPad but don’t see where you can download it? I even tried the truTV app but I don’t see the show being listed? Help?
Disclaimer: It is likely an issue with the interface between the keyboard and the floor so spoon feeding the obvious may be required… ;)
January 15, 2015 at 9:34 am #40514
I’ve told this story a million times. But, I will tell it again.
It was christmas of 1987 or so.. I was 13 or 14. All that I wanted for Christmas was a go kart, nothing else. I wanted one for years. After we opened all of the gifts underneath the tree my father said to me, “Sorry we could not get the go kart this year. Maybe for your birthday. Money is really tight right now.” My eyes teared up. But, I knew that my dad worked his butt off so that we always dressed well despite the crappy old beat up orange Toyota Corolla that he drove. He always made sure that we came first. Well, about 10 minutes passed after we opened presents and I hear what appears to sound like a couple of motorcycles racing up and down our normally quiet street. We run outside and it is my dad’s employees. One is on a CR 125 motorcyle and the other is on a black proline go kart with a KT100 flying up and down the streets. It was the best moment of my life up to that point. We ended up racing at Jamul Kart track in California. We showed up in my dad’s clunker truck to the track and had a great time. I never won a race, thanks to my competition being Robbie Mott, who was amazing. But, it was something that I loved to do. It was simple, super inexpensive (relative to today), and was great family time. Eventually I quit, ran out of time money etc… But, 6 years ago I was on a flight in First Class (Free upgrade) from Indianapolis to AZ and met PJ Jones. We started chatting and he encouraged me to get my kids out to the kart track. To my surprise, karting was no longer the sport that I left. Everyone had trailers and kart stands and fancy plastic sidepods.. and the cost was through the roof. My son eventually got a kid kart and we won a few races, picked up a duffy and some screaming eagles… and have continued to race. Does my son want to be a race car driver? Nope. So, why do we spend so much money racing? Honestly, its about pursuing excellence. Pushing the limits of our physical capacity at whatever we do. It is me doing everything that I can do to help him if he does his part. He has his limits and I have definitely reached mine (financially). But, the countless hours that we spend together and the amazing memories that we make together make it all worth it.
January 15, 2015 at 9:41 am #40515
Sounds like you race for the exact same reasons we do Stewart.
January 15, 2015 at 9:42 am #40516
So after reading some of the comments from various racers on T.J.’s Facebook post about the show, and all I can say what did they expect?
A few comments indicated some were honestly hoping this would be a perfect vehicle to promote karting. Other comments suggested that some karters who are heavily involved in the sport believe there is a halo surrounding it, and thereby deserves preferential treatment. No it’s not; it’s just go-karts. And as everybody knows who participates, there are some people in it who act very stupidly at times. Perfect Reality TV fodder.
In a world where shows like Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras exsist, and get A LOT of attention, what is it about karting that makes people think it would be treated any differently by reality television?
I didn’t watch the show yet, and it’s only one episode so far; but from Willis’ description of it, plus the fact they quoted the $225K right at the very beginning, suggests that the big theme the show is going for is a good-ol’ regular all-american family that everyone can relate to (the Tavalles), trying to compete in an environment full of rich, arrogant snobs (Bromantes). Throw in a few Psycho Parents, and the “Girl Power” angle (Sasha) that is standard for shows like this, and you have the typical formula for a reality show of this type.
The reality may be different from what they portray, but why would the producers care? As long as it gets ratings. Hate to break it to the people who thought this would be an ideal venue to promote karting, but this is not Public Television. They are not there for a human interest story. They are there to make money, and the way they make money is ratings. Look at the current landscape of Reality TV, ratings means deceit, treachery, backstabbing, and most of all people looking like a bunch of buffoons in front of the camera.
January 15, 2015 at 9:48 am #40517
I think the thing about “a million dollars” and “$225,000” is part of the editing process. The guy could have really been saying “We just live in a $225,000 house so we can afford karting”. And the editors just showed him saying “$225,000”. There is absolutely no way I would have even found this show if I wasn’t paying attention to the karting scene, so I doubt it will have any affect on the popularity of karting. I didn’t even know we got TruTV!
January 15, 2015 at 10:54 am #40519
Admittedly I’ve only watched a trailer on this show but it reminded me a lot of a previous show aired on ??? Network called something like Gold Cup Karting. Truck loads of money being spent, parents berating their children and generally making karting look like a circus side show.
The dollar figures being bandied about are crazy and not just on this show. Mr. Willis with his $100,000-$150,000 budget is an example. I know for a fact that their are a fair number of people spending 6 figure budgets racing karts, what I don’t know is why.
That kind of money will go a long way in other forms of motorsport that would get more attention and probably be safer as well. No you can’t race Indy or NASCAR with that budget but you can do a hell of a lot of car racing for those numbers.
I must be getting old, I just don’t get it.
January 15, 2015 at 11:38 am #40520
How the heck are you able to watch the show? I’ve tried truTV.com but when I open the video it acts like it’s loading but after 5-10 minutes still loading. I tried the iPad but don’t see where you can download it? I even tried the truTV app but I don’t see the show being listed? Help?
I’m having the same issue with ATT Uverse. It won’t load. Trying to get a DirecTV login.
January 15, 2015 at 11:47 am #40521
I just downloaded the TruTV app on my ipad and the show was available to me to watch. I have heard lots of people since then having trouble. I would suspect it got pulled because it is not supposed to debut until 1/28.
From my PC I can go to TruTV’s site too, find the show and click on it. It asks me to log into my Directv account to continue. I don’t know my password so I have not been able to go any further, but it does let me get that far which would imply I can watch it that way too.
January 15, 2015 at 6:10 pm #40540
Tried to watch it with my DirecTv account, no dice. You can catch the first episode on the 28th, I actually just saw a commercial for it.
January 15, 2015 at 6:48 pm #40542
January 15, 2015 at 10:12 pm #40549
Here’s a link if you have iTunes or an apple device:
To summarize I think it’s fair to say, so far, it’s every thing you could expect from a “reality” tv series. We have no control over the production or presentation of the sport.
So the question becomes, how can we leverage the exposure? Maybe a better question is, is it even worth putting time into given the tone it sets?
January 16, 2015 at 6:06 am #40562
I agree with TJ’s initial reaction; this show is an anti-promotion for karting. Let’s see, in the first 20 seconds the first two things they emphasize are A.) how expensive karting is, and B.) how dangerous it is, complete with footage of a flipping kart. Follow that up with clownish loud mouths obnoxiously promoting their kids and you get a lovely picture of our sport. All I can say is I’m glad this show wasn’t around when we decided to make the jump to outdoor karting.
That said, it’s a reality show, which means its purpose is to make the viewers feel better about themselves because they aren’t part of the freak show on tv. It’s not there to promote its subject material.
January 16, 2015 at 8:59 am #40570
I really need to watch this show although somewhat hesitant. I’m sure my voice is on it at some point from the taping they did at the 2014 Robopong 200 weekend at NCMP where I was the PA announcer.
I hope this thing isn’t a black eye for our sport.
January 16, 2015 at 9:09 am #40571
I don’t think it will be a black eye by an stretch. But I also don’t think it will make fans or interested people flock to the tracks either. Karting has way too many more pronounced barriers to entry for this show to matter in that regard.
January 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm #41438
It was pretty amusing to hear the track announcer voice-over for a different class than was showing on track…that has to get some points for “creativity” at least!
January 16, 2015 at 10:49 pm #40598
Finally got a chance to watch it tonight.
My first impression:
What a freaking joke. There are (or used to be) families with little money able to compete with families with no limit. Apparently i have been away for too long. What’s a tuner? You used to have to learn as you develop as a driver and as a team, probably the most rewarding parts of karting.
I will say my last impression (the last 3o seconds or so of the episode) makes you want to watch more. “This Sh*t doesn’t happen when your kids play soccer” haha probably best selling point of the whole episode in my opinion.
January 20, 2015 at 9:30 am #40741
TruTV should get Honey Boo-Boo into karting! LMAO
My son and I spent the summer of 2014 going to different kart races before deciding to compete in the Rotax for 2015. Didn’t see any drama at the tracks. Must be an east of the Mississippi thing.
January 22, 2015 at 8:56 am #40885
Whats a TUNER??? Well, a Tuner is someone that people with money pay alot to teach them the same thing he has taught to other people with money so they can all be the same speed without having to figure it out themselves
Well ok, at least thats my take on it. You can pay even more money, and park under someone elses tent
January 22, 2015 at 9:42 am #40889
Bob, you can park under my tent, but I’d probably charge you double what I’d charge anyone else, but that’s just because I know you. :)
Seriously, let’s just write it off to “reality TV’ which is probably the biggest oxymoron of the 21st century. We all know that the moments portrayed is this show are a tiny fraction of what this sport is all about. If the show gets some people to the track, then its our job to be good ambassadors of the sport and help prospective karters understand that what they saw on TV, isn’t what karting is all about. Then we can show them the good stuff.
January 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm #41304
Is there a kart show on tv tonight?
lol j/k. Anybody within 5 degrees of a person in karting must know about it via facebook. I found it interesting that none of the racing series have done anything to promote the show or bring attention to it.
January 28, 2015 at 6:46 pm #41305
Should be on 10 PM TruTV
January 29, 2015 at 7:40 am #41335
So, what were your thoughts after viewing the show last night, if you did not see it online previously?
January 29, 2015 at 7:42 am #41336
Here is a great recap, which I could not have written any better, by Jim Conlin
I’ve been reading some of the comments about the Kart Life premier last night. Holy cow. For 15 years I have listened to people whine and complain about how the great sport of karting never gets the TV exposure it deserves. It finally does and all these people do is whine and complain about editing and that its not how they would have done it. Frankly I was expecting much worse.
But what this morning’s comments reveal most is that karting has it’s own version of the 99% vs 1% economic tension. 99% of kart racers are revolted that 1% are spending exorbitant amounts of money on karting.
News Flash: The network executives know their audience and the people commenting on karting pages and forums aren’t them.
News Flash: At the very top level several kids are being fast tracked to professional careers. If you race several classes almost every weekend almost year round all over the country, it is going to be expensive. Easily over $100k if you want to hire the best services to give the kid their best chance.
News Flash: There’s just as much parent drama in soccer, baseball, gymnastics, you name it. That’s the American culture in the 21st century. It’s just that those sports last an hour or two as opposed to three 14 hour days.
News Flash: Entry level club racing where people are racing economically isn’t compelling enough for a TV show. Sorry. But if you think it is or if you think nothing could be more intense than your local club races you’ve never been to a national level kart race.
News Flash: There is no such thing as bad publicity. Go out and educate your local potential kart racers. Kart Life has given you an amazing opportunity to bring new people into the sport. Go make the most of it.
January 29, 2015 at 11:30 am #41354
I enjoyed the show. Reminded me of another show a few years ago, the name escapes me now. I would like to see some action where the adult classes are shown though. Also they need to show more of the technical side of karting, ie explain a little about the classes and the motors, might help entice new karters?
January 29, 2015 at 3:23 pm #41369
Ray, I agree with you, but the producers’ agenda is not to grow the sport of karting, it’s to get ratings by making the it look like a circus. It’s not a documentary. They want karting dads yelling at each other and pulling donuts in their corvettes, not a dad and his kid talking about chassis set up.
Newsflash: to the average viewer a “national” level karting event still looks like a county fair. There’s plenty of drama at any race anywhere. I’ve seen fights break out at indoor karting for gawd’s sake. That said, I don’t blame the producers for focusing on the high-price stuff.
And I don’t think people have a problem per se with what some people pay in karting (I don’t), but it is clear the show chooses to show the divide that exists. Like I wrote before, in the first 20 seconds they have dads dropping big numbers, and then in the preview for the next episode they show some mom crying because her family can’t spend more. The 99% vs. 1% appears to be a theme the producers want to explore.
But, yeah, I’ll still watch…
January 30, 2015 at 11:51 am #41409
I do not have children and am outside observer of the classes represented in the first episode. My opinion is the show represented what I see at the track and the people that are in the show are represented accurately. I do not feel the character of karting has been thrown in the dirt; because the reality is it is not a cheap and parents want their children to have the best equipment and manufacturers push racers to have the “newest technology” every year. Reading on other forums mainly dirt/oval crowd, they feel karting is being misrepresented and it makes me laugh as a fan of road racing as anytime I mention I like racing in public, people immediately think I like Nascar (which can’t be farther from the truth). I will continue to watch the series, because it is cool to see karts on TV.
January 30, 2015 at 11:53 am #41410
My son and I both liked the show We both thought is was pretty cool that he drove and still drives against some of the kids featured. I don’t think the show was intended to grow the karting community. However, I thought the show was very entertaining which I believe was the basic premise. There are plenty of reason why kart counts are down. Everyone has their own opinion.
January 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm #41435
I think they need some Umbrella Girls on the Show!
January 30, 2015 at 5:26 pm #41445
Glenn L RiggsParticipant
I thought show was interesting from a outsider looking in. Not how I would maybe have shown it but was good to see. Could almost smell the 2 stroke oil with this weather and time is great to see karts on tv. Had people from work asking questions about karts and tracks not that they will run out and buy but doesn`t hurt to get the word out. I hope it is around for a while and the content may also get better.
February 1, 2015 at 1:26 pm #41509
Its unwatchable. Worse than housewives. Makes our sport look like its nothing but no talent spoiled kids and their rich guido fathers and even more annoying mothers (maybe in some series’ that’s what is has become). Any sanctioning body that helped make this or endorse it in any way has done great damage to our sport. And its not just me. I see its getting a big thumbs down on most karting social pages. A huge black eye to the sport right when we could afford it the least. Make’s the “CHiPs go-kart terror” episode look like a factual documentary.
February 2, 2015 at 3:47 am #41528
<span style=”color: #444444; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 21px; background-color: #efefef;”>News Flash: Entry level club racing where people are racing economically isn’t compelling enough for a TV show. Sorry. But if you think it is or if you think nothing could be more intense than your local club races you’ve never been to a national level kart race.</span>
David I think your dead nuts wrong. I think the producers missed the mark completly. No karting event would be exciting enough to draw any audience at all not local or national. This show like most reality shows is about people. The audience doesn’t care how much money a team spent or what level race it is or how skilled the drivers are the audience wants drama. You could probably find a lot more drama at an active local club than the way they aproached it.
February 2, 2015 at 7:24 am #41543
You guys need to relax. This show has done nothing to hurt the sport of karting. All its going to do is put it in front of more people, and that can’t hurt anything.
I was at the events that they filmed at, and while its certainly dramatized for TV, this is what racing is like at that level. These aren’t club events where we show the newbies how to rebuild carbs and do an alignment. You’d better have your sh*t together when you show up. I’m sure the guys shown in the show are spending that kind of dough, because they are better at making money than they are at setting up a chassis. I wish I had that ability, but I don’t, so I had to learn the hard way, but you can still compete with them. I was at a SKUSA Pro Tour race a year ago, with my son racing Tag Sr. We qualified decent and were gridded up 4th or something like that. I looked down the grid before I started his kart and I was the only dad who was starting his kid in the top 10, everyone else had a mechanic. Honestly, one of my proudest moments. My driver went on to finish 2nd that day, and 4th the next. No one has a smaller racing budget than me, and I’m sure we spent $4k that weekend. I know that most of those guys probably spend double that. And I’m sure if Bromante, or Malukas were there, they would’ve spent 3 times that.
Here’s the point of my rambling. People need to know that club racing isn’t all there is. Would short track car racing be as popular without NASCAR or Indycars? Of course not. Do a bunch of people start racing short tracks every year thinking they’re going to NASCAR someday?..absolutely! We all know that NASCAR specializes in selling drama, but it also puts excitement and a dream in front of people. Some people will feel like chasing that dream and they will help fill the fields on Saturday night at your local track. Eventually they will realize that big time racing is all about money, but until their dreams are crushed, we’ll all get to enjoy more racing.
So, even if Kart Life over dramatizes what we all think of as karting, it still puts it in front of thousands of kids (and adults) who may have never known about the sport. Some of those kids will whine enough to get their folks to take them to a kart race, and maybe one of us will be lucky enough to say hello, and help them on their journey toward their own racing dream.
One more point about the money aspect. Lots has been made about the numbers thrown around at the start of the show. They are realistic for people trying to buy the experience and knowledge, but they don’t have to be that big. But it is necessary for those types of people to be in this sport. Without the big spenders, there is less competition and less of a program for everyone. You don’t need to be rich, but its beneficial to have rich people as part of your racing series, if you want to grow. These rich people are the ones that get tapped to help cover cookouts or other special races. When I was on the board of directors at my local club, they focused solely on keeping karting cheap, but they also marketed the sport as cheap, rather than on its other merits. This really frustrated me. If you market your sport to broke people, broke people is who you’ll have in your club. Everytime your club/series needs $1000 for an improvement or special event, you’ll have to shake everyone down for $20. If you’re lucky enough to have some people in your club that are a little more well off, many times they will be happy to help out financially, or help you get “the hookup” on cheaper services.
Closing point: Rich racers spend a lot of money race, but can be very helpful and donate to the club/series, to everyone’s benefit. Beat them on the track with your skills, but don’t chase anyone away. Teach newbies that you can spend as much as you want, but you don’t have to, if you’re willing to put the work in.
February 2, 2015 at 9:26 am #41554
Great points Tim. It’s so true that as a Dad/Tuner it feels really good when you can beat a team with a paid tuner/coach.
We just started running WKA last year and I know for us personally it was cool to see the big names in the sport on the same grid. If people have $250,000 a year to spend, let them spend it. If I win the lotto I’m rolling in to the next race in a $750,000 motor home too. If someone is nice and makes the event better I could care less how big their wallet is.
Hopefully over the course of the series they show that you don’t have to be wealthy to compete and have fun with your kids and families at these national events.
I have so many people texting me or asking me at work if this “Kart Life” show is the same racing that we do. It is making people curious. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.
February 2, 2015 at 12:35 pm #41564
amazing post Tim, you took the 30 minutes to type what I’ve been thinking every time I see people complaining about the money.
These guys are running 40+ weekends a year.
They show up with their family in an RV 1000 miles from home ($700 in fuel RT) or ship their equipment with a team ($1k a weekend) and then stay in a hotel for 4 days ($1k) mind you that no one has eaten a meal yet ($60 x 12 = $700ish)
Then they pay registration fees for a couple of classes, pit passes, rv passes, mechanic passes etc, 2 sets of tires per class, engine rebuilds, kart repairs etc. $1500-$2000 per weekend
40 weekend a year racers probably purchase 8 new chassis a year and 6 engines, thousands of dollars in spares and safety equipment.
How all these people crying foul don’t understand how that is going to cost you 4-5k a weekend even without any of the luxuries of a coach and a mechanic are beyond me.
If you really want to see stupidity in action, check out any of the topics on the show on some dirt racing sites or facebook. It will make you wonder how we are even classified as karters is they are too.
February 2, 2015 at 1:01 pm #41565
By the same token I can’t for the life of me understand why anybody with that kind of budget would race karts. That’s car money right there.
Most of the US born “stars” of racing seem to come from the world of short track car racing and they don’t spend that kind of money doing it.
February 2, 2015 at 4:39 pm #41578
If you can figure out how to successfully tell people with a lot of money how they should spend it i will make sure you win the nobel prize.
once you get a bank account full of money finding enjoyable ways to spend it becomes a challenge. I have more fun karting with my kid that doing anything i have ever done. My car collection is getting sold off to make room for karts.
February 2, 2015 at 4:47 pm #41580
What’s the saying “any expoaure is good exposure”. I enjoyed the show. Thought it was crazy the one guy spends $250k a year for karting. But if I don’t recall I believe I heard at one time that cole Whitt had a million dollar budget when he was karting. That’s probably inflated but also not too far off I bet. Like any other reality show take out karting add kids football or another sport and you will get the same type of show. Sit back and enjoy it and see how many people you can recognize.
February 2, 2015 at 7:21 pm #41588
Watched the cornhole board episode today…it was my first exposure. Not as bad as I feared, but the racing is rather, er….”dramatized.” I will say, it’s never good to take your teammate out! :) Wonder how the rest of the series will go…
February 2, 2015 at 8:48 pm #41589
Once again I find myself in almost complete agreement with Tim. Nice job buddy.
At the end of the day no one is leaving karting because of the show. And at the very least someone is going to start looking around for tracks or shops or racers to ask questions. When that time comes hopefully they find someone like Tim to lead them down the right path rather than some of the whiney knuckleheads that bitch and moan incessantly.
Looking forward to the next episode. And running my next Facebook ad campaign… :<)
February 3, 2015 at 8:29 am #41612
I’ll preface this by saying I’m acutely aware of a producer’s goals for a show of this nature. That is to get people to watch it, not even to like it. But to watch it and keep coming back. That’s the modus operandi of “reality TV.
Now if I put my karter hat on…
I’m at odds with kartlife. Some exposure is good, sure, but I don’t subscribe to the “any publicity is good publicity” mantra. It doesn’t stand up against the backdrop of the information age we live in. Nowadays everybody and their sister has a platform they can leverage: Facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr, wordpress/blogger etc. Reputation and perception is everything and spreads like wildfire.
The perception portrayed so far by the show about karting is:
It’s dangerous “touch wheels and you roll”
It’s about winning and only winning. Dont win? Don’t bother.
It’s lavishly expensive and money is everything.
It’s a stepping stone that you “use” to “go pro”.
Think about the demographic that this might appeal to? More of the same types. I take onboard what Tim Koyen said about some of the higher dollar “clients” being needed. That makes sense.
However that’s exactly why the growth in the sport, (aside from concession karting) is generally stagnated right now. There’s too much media/marketing emphasis placed on the stepping stone, short term customer side of the sport. The demographic we see portrayed in Kart Life so far. It’s short term gains. The sport would do well to focus in other areas in my view.
So will kart life help or hinder the sport? Certainly didn’t hurt reach for our facebook pages much. Although some of the comments from people inside and outside karting have been less than unsavory.
It will get (asphalt) karting in front of eyeballs thats for sure, again though the question is still . Beyond that that, it’s up to us to try and manage expectations and help people navigate the sport. Rob and Dave did well to get that article on TruTV’s Kart Life page and I have a couple of web ideas in the works. It’ll be a fun journey while the show airs.
February 3, 2015 at 10:54 am #41624
James, your comment about “too much media/marketing emphasis place on the stepping stone, short term customer side of the sport.” is a song that I’ve been singing for years.
You are 100% correct. When that direction was taken some years ago the sport has continually gone down hill. I guess the sport overall is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.
February 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm #41656
Very valid point guys. I’d say we still get many new karters each year but people are staying for less time than ever. I can’t stand when people say they are “moving up” to legend cars or some local stock car. There’s simply more competition in karts. This culture is as much the problem as anything.
February 3, 2015 at 7:21 pm #41659
Just saw a live video ad for Kart Life in the Lincoln Center subway station in NYC. Pretty cool seeing Malukas and Lemke wheeling those karts around in a subway station.
February 5, 2015 at 7:37 am #41741
patrick j slatteryParticipant
THE EDITING IN THIS SHOW IS TERRIBLE. I like the show but come on, they show three different engine packages on the track while supposedly showing one race.
February 5, 2015 at 10:51 am #41766
What they haven’t shown is how Camden Speth and Joey Eppink ran up front the whole Robo Pong race. Joey is listed the #2 100 cc. driver in the country by Kart rank. And beat the #1 rated driver by over 10 seconds in the Robo Pong Race …With a very limited budget.. Karting does not have to be as expensive as they portray it. And all of the top kids aren’t spoiled brats… They didn’t expose the true Karter!
February 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm #41787
I watched last nights show. It was much better then the 1st. episode. After being involved in motorsports of various types for over 40 yrs. I started to help my grandson in his karting. The one thing I’ve noticed is the stupid amount of $$ being spent to make little SpeedRacer look good. Of witch it does make an average driver stand out amongst lesser funded drivers. But here is the reality upon the fast track of turning Pro . When little SpeedRacer moves up into the racing world where everyone is throwing stupid amounts of $$ at racing , SpeedRacer is no longer the BIG fish in the pond and his true driving abilty will come through. My son raced Quarter Midgets along with many other kids with aspirations of becoming a Pro. Of all the kids in his ten years of racing only one boy went on to really do something, That was Ryan Newman. Back then 16 yrs. was the age limit. Many of his old racing friends went on to run Sprint Cars, ARCA, and SCCA. All are happy but with what they are doing even by not being a Pro. I guess what it all comes down to is. I’m not willing to mortgage my house and deplete my retirement account to elevate my grandson in karting. I’ll just continue helping him and create lasting memories and let his driving ability take him to his natural level.
February 5, 2015 at 5:37 pm #41799
The editing from last nights show was terrible. Don’t they know if they start on a yamaha they can’t switch to a leopard or a comer in mid race lol
February 7, 2015 at 10:05 am #41865
What I learned from episode 2 is that if you want to run up front in Yamaha Jr. ya better get daddy to buy ya one o them new X30 motors!
Oh yeah….also ignore your paid tuner’s observations about sliding the kart too much and just do what your pouty little brat says.
Too harsh?? :)
February 9, 2015 at 8:04 am #41955
I’ve been reading everyone’s comments and I have kept my thoughts to myself. Regardless of what any of us think, KARTING is getting exposure. The reason karting is not on TV normally, is it is boring to watch. I think the producers have put enough drama into the show to make it interesting.
I cannot believe that no shops have bought local TV advertising during the show. Most shops don’t have any idea the amount of FREE advertising they are getting. Take advantage of it guys. Call your local cable companies and talk to a sales representative about advertising in your local markets.
I know in the first two episodes, the Franklin trailer was shown at least a dozen times, Garry had the MRP Birel Trailers in prime spots, the event USPKS shirts had Verde Speed Resources, Comet and Top Kart were also in a ton of shots. The fences were lined with Tony kart fence banners & the huge MG Tire & Mini-Rok/Vortex inflatables were in a lot of shots. The USPKS events had a lot of exposure for our sponsors with the feather banners and signage. I know as a series, I have had several e-mails and sent them to our sponsoring shops.
Mark if you have not figured it out, they are concentrating on the sportsman & junior ranks. Hopefully, if there is a next season, they will feature a few senior driver families.
KARTING is getting exposure, regardless what any of us think, it will help the sport. Think positive and tell your friends to watch the show. If they mention that it sounds expensive, I suggest that you mention that they can get started in the LO206 Class for under $4500.00 for a complete new package.
Just my opinion.
February 9, 2015 at 9:23 am #41962
Even with all new equipment a 206 package can be less than 3500. No you can’t do that with a 4500 otk kart but you can with a comet eagle or similar American kart. Point being tell your friends karting isn’t the cheapest sport but it’s not expensive either unless you make it that way. Enjoy the show!
February 9, 2015 at 10:04 am #41968
What I learned from the few minutes I watched is you can spend a lot of money to:
A have very obnoxious parents that push kids beyond their capabilities and
B you can raise bigger brats with more money. If a 10 year old in my family talked like that he would blow soap bubbles for a week!
C if I didn’t know anything about the sport I sure a heck would not let my kids anywhere near it.
February 9, 2015 at 11:08 am #41973
Its interesting to read and hear all these opinions from karters about this show. It might be worthwhile to read Entertainment Weekly’s recap of the last episode to get a view from the perspective of a non-karter.
The absence of any discussion of costs, the technical inaccuracies, or the long debated “stepping-stone” discussion is very obvious. In other words, the things that have us karters all worked up, are of no consequence to the non-karters, aka viewers. The viewers are more concerned with clever nicknames like John “the boss” Bromante, or cute analogies, like calling Derek Fitzgerald a cross between Paddington Bear and Kid Rock. I actually enjoyed the recaps more than the show, because they are from an unbiased point of view. Obviously most of the viewers don’t have a clue about the sport, and they’re allowed to happily enjoy it without the encumbrances of knowing that Malukas’ X30 has no place on the grid in the Yamaha race, even if he starts from the back!
I often say that life is about perspectives. Success or failure, winning or losing, victory or defeat, all depends where you are standing. Let’s stand next to some non-karters for the next episode and we may enjoy it even more.
February 9, 2015 at 4:38 pm #41986
The funniest thing about Malukas and the X30 is you could have shot the same episode with us at Daytona… they told us “The Leopard is a little slower than the X30″… yep, just a -LITTLE-. Unfortunately I don’t have the six figure budget to have one of each in the trailer.. USPKS this year so it’s a Leopard in the trailer. I’ve never changed and tried so many things on the chassis to go faster in my life.. I guess it was good practice.
February 10, 2015 at 7:48 am #42013
Darrin, the producers would have a LOT more drama if they filmed a day at our club . . . but enough about the adults . . .
February 13, 2015 at 1:31 pm #42220
It is exposure for the sport, we all know the inaccuracy of the races or content, but the none kart racer does not know. It is reality TV, a lot of the content is made up. Kids under are tent are in it, and they had to recreate or change the narrative. It is reality TV which is not real life.
February 14, 2015 at 8:55 am #42257
patrick j slatteryParticipant
Now my Grandchild want Filet Mignon and sparkling water when we go to the Nationals :(
February 14, 2015 at 2:20 pm #42289
R E L A X, enjoy the TV show.
As Mike said, “”It is reality TV which is not real life.”
But seriously as an Indy 500 addict, I’m still pissed Turbo stared a snail !
February 15, 2015 at 9:49 am #42340
As was said about the one mother…. Cry because your kid bombed the SAT and you can’t afford to send him to a Tier 1 college. Yes, that could adversely affect his future. But cry because your kid didn’t finish up front in a go kart race in series that no one outside that series ever heard of and you can’t afford a better ride for him? Wow.
February 16, 2015 at 8:12 am #42400
Yeah, in our 13 years of karting, I’m pretty sure my wife never cried at the track, although I think my driver did a couple times…lol.
One funny thing about watching this show, is it reminds me how much I miss racing with my driver when he was only 12 and little things like finishing in the top 10 were cause for celebration. I hope these families, and everyone else for that matter, really appreciates where they are now, because someday anything less than winning won’t be enough, then its not as fun anymore. Now that I’m on the downside that of that “youthful exuberance”, and we’ve come to terms with the phrase, you can’t win them all, karting is fun again. So even though my driver is turning 24 next month, and his professional dreams were never realized, we ARE having fun at the track everytime we race. We’re some of the lucky ones, we get to keep racing, even as an adult. I hope the kids and families portrayed in the show all get their dreams of pro careers realized, but just in case they don’t, they should take plenty of pictures now, and log the memories well, because someday they’ll wish they spent more time savoring each and every pass, because the trophies are just dusty plastic reminders of the journey.
February 18, 2015 at 12:05 pm #42550
i like the show. and i think anyone who doesn’t think it’s pretty close to reality hasn’t had a kid in the cadet and jr classes recently. it’s expensive. like others have mentioned, karting at national level is way more expensive than Legend Car racing. can be more expensive than low level formula car racing.
February 18, 2015 at 6:52 pm #42564
Not a bash, just curious when a missing floor pan bolt is detrimental to you and your kart? A bit dramatic
February 18, 2015 at 7:21 pm #42566
I agree very dramatic. Especially since I was the one that put it on and it didnt happen like that at all. She was in no danger of missing the race. All the karts were still on the grid. But watching I felt like cole trickle trying to beat the pace car! Haha. There’s little truth to tru tv. It’s just entertainment.
February 18, 2015 at 8:56 pm #42572
We like the show but don’t like it turning into a top kart commercial. Hopefully a few of the other brands step up and claim some of the top drivers back, the next season is going to be a drag if they don’t find some new family’s.
February 19, 2015 at 3:36 am #42580
It’s reality TV so it portrays karting about as acuratly as “Jersey Shore” portrays life on the jersey shore. Knowing it’s not about karting and more about drama I’m surprised the producers didn’t shoot it at a local club. More people could relate to that than a few spoiled brats with wealthy parents trying to re live they’re youth through they’re kids.
February 19, 2015 at 4:06 am #42583
America doesn’t watch poor people on tv shows. They watch rich people. On house hunters are they ever buying an 80,000 house?
February 19, 2015 at 5:41 am #42594
That’s not true. The popular reality shows like “Deadliest catch” or “gold Rush” revolve around ordinary people. Not poor but not rich either.
I just think that a lot more viewers could relate to the 95% of people in karting that do most of it themselves without tuners and coaches. This shows focuses on the top level which means nothing to the average viewer. The show devotes around 5% to the racing itself the other 95% is about the people involved. The people involved in club racing would be a whole lot more intersting and entertaining than this group.
February 19, 2015 at 6:53 am #42612
My kid hears the “go-karting isn’t a sport” line all the time. That’s frustrating for a 10yr old to hear when he puts so much thought and effort into a sport he loves. It’s especially tough because, unfortunately, so much of a boy’s social being revolves around sports. One benefit I’m seeing from this show; a few kids at school have been watching it and now realize karting isn’t driving bumper cars at a carnival.
February 19, 2015 at 6:56 am #42614
…agree brian, think the show is a joke, wont, cant watch it no more…spoiled rich brats..
February 19, 2015 at 8:05 am #42620
Heard some dad say “I don’t do tuning I just write checks” I find working on our kart a lot more fun than writing checks..lol
February 19, 2015 at 8:40 am #42621
I have 2 boys 10 and 14. The 10 year old loves working on his kart and anything else he can get his hands on but he’s losing interest in racing. The 14 year old loves racing and he’s good at it. The problem is that the 14 year old wants to be flown into the padak in a helicopter exit preferably with people cheering run the race and fly out. He wants nothing to do with maintaining, repairing or tuning the kart. I don’t allow that to happen. I tell him your not that good and without the machine your not racing. So you must clean and maintain the kart and you must be continuously learning how to do more and more of the tech side. If you do that you get financial and physical support from me. If you don’t then your not racing. The idea that the dad and family make all the sacrifices and the kid is treated like a little prince is no good and it’s one of many reasons this whole country if full of helpless dependent people.
February 19, 2015 at 9:08 am #42623
worst show ever
February 19, 2015 at 9:08 am #42624
I don’t think I’ve seen one karting related commercial since this show has been on. Has anyone else?
I wonder if there would be a second season were they could follow a different group. But again, nobody is going to watch your average joe cleaning his kart and putting together an engine. That would be great but not realistic to get people to watch.
February 19, 2015 at 9:53 am #42630
I think it would be interesting now, at 4 episodes in, to see what the viewership is of 100 percent non-karters. Truly, people that not only don’t race, but don’t have a friend that races karts, or is on the show etc. How many pure, non-karter people are out there watching the show. I think this number would be interesting, as well as to see what their thoughts are on the show. I’m sure that is the fan base that TruTV is really going for, the “reality tv” viewer. There is way more potential in that bucket. I’m curious to see if they are digging the show. The fact that it got moved to a prime time slot this week is making me think that yes, their target audience, likes what they see… regardless of authenticity.
February 21, 2015 at 8:53 am #42773
I could be they moved it to prime time because a lot of people are watching or it could be there aren’t many people watching so they’re trying a diffrent time lot. Stop being a karter for a moment and ask yourself if you would watch this show? My answer would be no it doesn’t have much to offer the average viewer. I’m in the camp that thinks this show is good to promote the sport so I’m hoping they tune it a little and make it more entertaining for the average viewer.
Many years ago there was a reality show called “Mad House” It was about a local stock car stadium in NC and it focused on the racers and fans. I thought it was pretty good and at the time I had no interest in racing. It only went one season.
February 19, 2015 at 10:35 am #42632
I’m a fan of reality TV. I saw the show for the first time last night. All I can say is it totally lacked content and the small amount of content it did have was just some shallow emotional stuff and TopKart branding. I kept watching because I’m into karts but, I felt I had wasted my time.
February 19, 2015 at 10:56 am #42633
Weather you like it or not, This show is good for the sport. It’s introducing people to karting and letting them see what it looks like. I think it’s easy to underestimate that people form their own opinions and take what they want from the show. If it grabs someone’s interest and it’s something they might like to investigate further, they’ll imagine themselves doing it their own way. Since we’re all karters on here it’s easy to pick apart the small continuity details. People who aren’t karters will never see them. The people who I’ve spoken to from outside the sport who have seen it all have been intrigued. They’ve sought me out to ask questions. They’re generally interested in a sport that they’ve never had any exposure to. The show has drawn them in. I’ve been around karting my whole life. This is some of the best exposure I have ever seen for our sport. That’s my opinion.
February 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm #42650
I’m with Howie. Anything mainstream on TV will only help. The content really doesn’t seem that far fetched. At least not when compared to some of the national series I’ve been around.
February 19, 2015 at 8:54 pm #42659
Troy V SmithParticipant
Everyone has an opinion, and I have kept mine quiet in an effort to evaluate the show over a period of time. Over the past month now, one thing has remained consistent through the four episodes – and that has been the horrible illusion as to what kart racing really is. I mean no offense to anyone, but how anyone can remotely describe this show as “good for the sport” is beyond me.
This “show” does far greater damage to the sport than it does promote any interest. I’m sure many self righteous, egotistical, arrogant, rich “Jerks”, who are willing to spend mega bucks to continue to spoil his irresponsible brats, would love to get in on the “my kid is better than your kid” debacle as seen on this TV show. For the better part of the worldly population however, and non-karters in general, I would expect most unknowing watchers, to look at this sport as just as it is depicted – filled with grief, whining kids, arguments, unrealistic goals, unsportsmanlike behavior, death defying crashes and exuberant amounts of money spent for an overall crappy weekend. Gimmie a break…
This show does nothing which demonstrates the real efforts, the real camaraderie, the real struggles and victories or the real competitive spirit of our sport. Nor does it demonstrate the usual intent of all racers to help their fellow racers! The response and the “interest” in our sport would be far far greater if the world would see the true karters. Such as the two racers wrecking each other on the track, and the same two racers helping each other get their karts fixed! Or how about the multiple Juniors, battling on the track, yet to find them all a hot dog yielding, “band of brothers” off the track. Or how about the guy that turns his own wrenches, spending a couple hundred bucks a weekend and wins races! Where are the drivers meetings where 100 people can come together for a common goal? Where are the instant bonds built between pit neighbors, or the tools shared with the “not haves”, or the parts and pieces given to the competition in an effort to keep them on the track racing? Where are the true karters in this “Kart Life”?
A while back, I read someone had described “club racing” as boring – obviously he hasn’t been to enough “club level” racing events! The potential story lines, the eager participation, the variances in racing programs, the attempts to be competitive on moderate budgets, 5 or 10 karts crossing a finish line within a second or so and the family atmosphere throughout a weekend, is far more entertaining and “promoting” than this “Kart Life” rubbish.
It’s sad for me to think that those “watchers” that are not familiar with karting, are even choosing to watch such a “created catastrophe” – most of whom will never research our sport at all simply because of the false illusions within this show and an idiot producer. I would think we are losing far more potential karters because of this show than we will ever gain. How many individuals are going to watch this and think – “Wow, this looks fun, or gee – let me get my kid get in on this”? Probably very few! And any that were thinking about it, are probably second guessing the whole thing after an episode or two. For most, particularly in this case, I would think no knowledge of karting to be better than any thought of this being a represented truth.
I would doubt that most folks would put themselves, much less their kids into an enviornment demonstrated by “Kart Life” and “TruTV”. It might be entertaining for some, but… Truth is, there is a distinct difference it “publicity” and “promote”. This show absolutely does “publicize” our sport, it’s very sad though, that the “publicity” it provides is extremely poor for all of us. Does the show “promote” our sport – absolutely not!
February 20, 2015 at 3:42 am #42665
X2 I think the sadest thing of all is that filming at local clubs not only would have promoted karting but it would have been much more interesting and entertaining to the majority of non karting viewers.
February 20, 2015 at 5:53 am #42668
I can guarantee you there will be many, many track owners/managers uttering the phrase “it’s not really like Kart Life” when a new family stops by the track. As a relative newcomer to the sport, I can honestly say this show would have given me pause when we decided to make the jump to outdoor karting. Between equipment, travel, and the level of knowledge required to be even remotely competitive, the sport is intimidating enough without the overblown fake drama and douchebaggery seen in this show.
And as far as the club race vs. “national” race thing…we need to give that a rest. There is plenty of stuff going on at any race, and the average viewer could not tell the difference. In the episode where Malukas has to start from the back, it was what, a nine driver field? Do you really think that seems impressive to a non-karting viewer? Is that really a “national” level race? The average viewer sees nine kids on go karts and a few parents and tuners leaning on a fence. We live in a country where there are high school football stadiums that seat 17,000.
February 20, 2015 at 6:51 am #42693
I know I’ve seen a couple of vendors on facebook saying that they’ve seen some interest generated by the show. Hopefully it will somehow be a net positive.
I do think it’s unfortunate that adults see these kids as characters and now feel free to call them names. They’ve been made into characters but they are still kids. Kids that some of us know. I may have a different set of rules and values for my son when we’re racing but I know there are times at the track where a camera in my face, when something unfortunate happens on the track, would make me look like a complete ass taken out of context. My son has been known to throw his gloves in the seat and kick a water barrier or two. With clever editing from 4 different races they could probably make him look like someone he’s not. That being said – If you show showed up at a race in New Jersey this Summer and filmed me at a typical club race, working on the kart, talking to other racing Dads, or watching my son, it wouldn’t be very entertaining. I wouldn’t even watch it. TruTV could use some better editors but we can’t blame them for concentrating on characters that will push ratings. I’m sure their goal wasn’t to promote the sport. If there’s anyone on a local, regional, or national level that doesn’t deal with difficult people at the track please tell me where, because I’d like to race there.
The show has been moved to prime time so I guess it’s pretty popular. Hopefully if there is a season two they will show some of those teams that aren’t spending $250,000 and just having fun with their family and friends. And I certainly don’t mean me or anyone I’m close to. After seeing how these kids have been treated publicly, I would never subject my son to it.
I’d be curious how many people had the same reaction I did to the floor pan bolt. It didn’t make any sense to me how it was unfolding, but I’m sure there are more than a few of us, that have been in similar situations, and were pulling for those guys to get that damn bolt in and make the green.
February 20, 2015 at 7:09 am #42714
Watching last night’s NASCAR races is much like watching a reality show…the whole Danica/Hamlin discussion looked very familiar.
February 20, 2015 at 8:23 am #42718
David your just partial to the show since you got some good tv time:-)
February 20, 2015 at 8:25 am #42719
Hey, you have to get your 15 minutes of fame somehow ;)
February 20, 2015 at 1:21 pm #42743
Again, there was no floor pan bolt drama. If you watch again all the karts are on the grid.
Many scenes are pieced together to make create drama. For example Malukas did not win from last after changing engines. If you look he crosses the finish in his Yamaha and not the tag. He also didnt win the rain race in tag after spinning. That was also a Yamaha at the finish. But hey, America loves the comeback/underdog story.
Let’s be real here. It’s not like potential karters are going to see this and make the decision not to race. Even if a couple do, far more people will be seeing karting for the first time and become interested. A club president in Ohio said he has already had new people contact him because of the show. That is proof enough for me that the show IS good for karting
February 20, 2015 at 2:34 pm #42746
I didn’t mean to suggest it was real. You could tell that the floor pan bolt drama was manufactured but they kept cutting to karts on the track to help the illusion. The editing is just about unwatchable if you actually know what you’re watching. That being said it’s still hard to not pull for someone to get something done on the grid, whether the karts are on the track already or not.
Watching Malukas spin and lose about 8 seconds and still come back to beat competitors like Lemke and Holden is just silly.
February 20, 2015 at 3:50 pm #42748
David, I thought Danica was reading off a teleprompter and Hamlin flubbed his lines more than once. As far as the show goes, I think more interest would be generated if the drivers and fathers were a little more likable but a wise old filmmaker once said, “Without drama you have no story.”
February 21, 2015 at 7:04 pm #42800
They have been filming at FWT all weekend, mostly looks like the same kids on the other end of the lens.
The onsite filming crew knows what they are doing, the tv people that are responsible for making regular folks watch it are the ones creating the drama out of nothing via editing.
If you can see through the manufactured drama the show represents a national even weekend pretty well.
Phil Tavella is the nicest guy I’ve ever met at the track and if my kid turns out half as focused on racing as Dylan is I will count it as a win.
Get off your couch and go to a big event as a spectator and quit your bitching. If you had the money to race every weekend of the year you would, enough of the rich kid bullshit.
February 22, 2015 at 6:14 am #42811
Speak for you your self. Don’t pretend to know what other people are thinking when you obviously don’t. There are lots of people watching that show or reading this forum that have the money to run national and don’t and there are lots of reasons for that. Maybe they don’t want to commit all there time energy and resources to one child. Or maybe they think it’s not a very good way to teach a child how the world really works. Hell there are lots of people that would seriously question the wisdom of putting they’re family in a reality show of any kind.
February 23, 2015 at 8:07 am #42876
I know that the last episode manufactured some drama, but honestly it is the first time I have related to what was going on. There have been several times where I have had to run to the grid and catch up to to the pack on track. I think what makes kart racing different from car racing is it face paced and is constant working on the kart and making adjustment after adjustment, or in my case trying to fix all that is wrong with it.
February 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm #42916
As the weeks and the show goes on, I’m convinced that this show, single handedly is the best public introduction to the world of karting the US has ever seen. I have had more people from outside the sport ask questions then ever before. Non of them even mention the parental drama – they just want to know how to get involved or tell me how cool they think it is. People need to calm the f**k down on here about how it’s not a good representation of OUR sport or the continuity issues. It IS a true representation of our sport. All of it? No but a lot of it, yes. And, if you’re in the karting business, you have been given a huge gift. If you can’t see it – that’s your sword to fall on.
February 24, 2015 at 3:51 am #42939
You seem to agree that the show is good for the sport even if some things about it are negatives to some people but you want every one on here to calm down with the negative comments. I don’t get it. If the show is good for the sport then talking about it on this forum is good for the show. I wouldn’t even know about the show if not for this forum.
February 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm #42977
I agree with Howie about the show! I just love seeing Kart racing on TV. I do wish they showed more adults racing though, this sport is not just for kids.
March 7, 2015 at 6:01 am #43546
Gary, when did savannah switch to a tony?
March 7, 2015 at 6:46 am #43550
Halfway through the season at new castle
March 9, 2015 at 9:42 am #43667
Interestingly enough, I ran into my old FedEx driver the other day, and he asked if I watched that show, Kart Life. I told him yes, and that I was at most of those races and appeared in the background in some of the episodes. He said that he saw my kart stands on the show. I told him the show wasn’t very realistic and that most of the drama was contrived, but that the racing was real and in general, that’s how those events go. He said he liked the show and wished he could’ve raced like that when he was a kid. He also said that he never noticed any of the “editing liberties” that were taken, and that he thought it was a fun show to watch.
This guy knows nothing about karting, other than the kart stands ship in heavy boxes, but he likes the show. Go figure.
March 9, 2015 at 11:17 am #43673
My guess is that is the same review you will receive from ‘non-karters’
March 12, 2015 at 7:46 am #43897
Here is the ad for the show that’s been playing in the 66th St subway station in Manhattan for weeks.
March 14, 2015 at 9:05 pm #44050
I’m watching right now, they’re at Dismore’s, the Comet sign on the fence, clear, uskps clear, kartlift blurred. What? Why? Racing is really good btw.
March 15, 2015 at 5:16 am #44069
I had only watched a little of the very first episode because I had found it not a kind of karting that I was interested in. I know from past experience that you could spend that kind of money on karting if you had it, or even if you didn’t for that matter! But I don’t think that is really what the sport is about, so I had just decided to not watch it. But I have been kind of following this thread and also having people asking about the sport from having seen the show. So it has to be a good thing.
So then I watched the last episode, and as Brian said ” kartlift blurred” and I was also wondering what that was about. Someone must not get along with someone or didn’t chip in??
March 16, 2015 at 4:35 am #44129
How many season is this show in now?
I don’t think kart racing could actually be a proper hit show
March 16, 2015 at 5:04 am #44132
Afa blurring out the signs, I know a guy that was a major character in 1 episode of “Porter Ridge”. He was told not to wear shirts or hats with company names or logos because if he did they would either have to blur it out or get written permission to show it. They probably had written permission from Comet and USPKS but not from Kartlift. And from what my friend told me there is almost no reality in reality tv.
March 16, 2015 at 6:17 am #44133
Thanks for that info Bill. That makes sense.
March 16, 2015 at 9:19 am #44170
Bill is correct.
In one of the episodes, there’s a scene where the leading driver is wearing a 360 Plus Device… with the name and logo prominently shown. We got an email from the company that produced the show asking us if we would sign off that it was okay to show the image.
March 18, 2015 at 9:59 am #44350
The show is a curiosity in some respects. I’ve seen no advertising yet that seems related to anything other than a general demographic, and I have no clue what demographic the producers or the network thought it would reach. I think it would be interesting to see some Nielsen or share/rating numbers, but I wonder how anyone can possibly be making a nickel on the whole thing. First of all, it would seem logical to me that large sanctioning organizations must own the commercial rights to their sanctioned events for any sort of broadcast purpose, so the orgs running these events must have at least given permission for use of the facilities and footage.
My impression of karting at that level is that it wouldn’t surprise me that some enterprising parents with cash to spare didn’t just create this type of docudrama to raise the profile of their youngster in pursuit of broader sponsorship opportunities. I can see where it functions as a great PR tool for the individuals that are focal points, but I can’t see where the money is that drives it as a reality show.
The audience share can’t be enough to sustain it, unless my admittedly uninformed estimates of share/ratings are just way off. That would then suggest that somehow it’s a vehicle for product placement…which has been a driver for lots of other “Reality” shows, whether the audience realizes it or not but I’ve seen zip advertising that would suggest that there is any sort of tie-in with any of the companies that we all know are prominent in karting. I’m dying to know how the small amount of money involved flows around this show. Producer finances show concept, pitches to small network. Network agrees to buy X episodes. Producer and network negotiate on how much episodes are worth. Deal is struck.
What happens next? Do parents “pay” to play? Do companies pay promotional fees to production company to feature products? Does the production company pay a fee to the sanctioning orgs for rights and access?
If the producer or network is seeking permission from certain commercial entities to use their product name/likeness, then why not others (understanding this could have something to do with the rights that the sanctioning bodies or organizers have via pre-existing contracts with sponsors of the series or race)?
Who is it that looked at this whole scenario, fleshed out the details and said “Ya know, I think we can make some money on a TV show like this”?
Even with a master’s degree in business….I can’t make heads or tails of it.
March 18, 2015 at 10:35 am #44353
The KartLift logo is blurred out because I declined multiple requests to give them permission to use my logo “indefinitely” and “throughout the universe”. Mostly because I thought the show was going to be bad and I didn’t want anything to do with it. Turns out the show is decent and it would’ve been fine to release my logo, but I get touchy about stuff like that. The funny part is, that now the blurry logo has probably gotten more discussion and attention than it would’ve, had it been left clear. I’ll give them permission for next season, but I might still print the banners blurry, kinda like the Marlboro bar logos on F1 cars…lol
March 18, 2015 at 11:45 am #44364
Here’s a great example of a misguided business choice. Having a show on TV where your logo or product is passively shown like this is an incredible gift. This is a karting show about the sport where your products are used. Any endemic brand shown here has the possibility of hundreds of thousands of impressions if not more every week. The vast majority of the viewing audience is outside the sport. They don’t care about the things “karters” see that everyone is picking apart. In fact they just might be your next customer.
March 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm #44456
Yea Tim I could see where the use of your logo could be shown in a bad light, especially on a reality show.
Please read with humor in mind . Disclaimer :the use of any names or branding is strictly coincidental
Derek Fitzgerald is standing in the scale lanes with his KartLift next to Henry Malukas while awaiting his daughter Savannah to come off the track,
camera pans to Savannah and David both getting out of there karts, all of sudden the race is on to get the karts in the air, camera zooms in a both kart lifts going up in the air, sadly Savannahs kart is rising slow for some reason , and Herny is shown pushing Davids kart down the exitway while high five’in his son while telling him I told you we could one up him and beat them. Mean while Derek is not going to stand for getting beat, He tells Savannah to go get the box of used head socks from the trailer and take them over to Greg Welage’s and give them him, but he also instructs her to be sure to ask him if he could help with tuning the Kartlift to gain a couple of tenths in lift so that they may have a shot at being number one. Mean while while Phil Tavella thinks that Malukas lift has a illegal power slide and quietly lets the officials that they may need to tech it .
Cameras do slow fade, then goes to a next upcoming show preview with the title being “Lift-Gate ”
March 19, 2015 at 6:36 am #44410
If you were thinking of getting your kid into karting, you sure would want to get them either a TOP KART or TONY, right?
March 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm #44516
Have watched the first two episodes and IMHO not really sure this will motivate many families to “take up karting”. What with only focusing on racers that are competing at a very high level in both $$$$$ and time, the motorhomes and transports are nice but…………showing some more humble efforts of folks working out of a mini van or pick up truck and just having fun might be more real.
The high dollar spin of the show probably discourages more than it motivates.
Just my $.02
March 22, 2015 at 12:57 pm #44574
I think that’s exactly why the include people working out of their own small trailer, tuning their own kart, with just the family as the pit crew. It’s not just people “writing checks” as the Bromante guy said, and it was admittedly funny to see the elder Tavela struggle with simple things even I, in just a few years of karting, know how to do when they are running at the pointy end of the grid at a national level.
March 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm #44758
Well, Kart Life is the most commented Forum topic on ekartingnews.
And so far it is the ONLY kart racing show EVER on National television. Despite some good magazines from time to time. This is not the ‘old days’ or the about the average karter. I have watched every episode that I can. (It is on the Action channel here in Canada). It bares, to the annoyance of many writers, the essence of kart racing. Kart racing is expensive, competitive, fun, potentially life threatening, well policed, controlled classes, available to all, and nationwide.
Compare this to what happens in Europe or Asia. Full sponsorship for only a few. But the crowds at big events. Wow.
Two things I learned about racing: cubic inches and cubic dollars matter. Every driver cannot be the winner but the rest can always have dreams or simply enjoy what they do. Kart racing has been a huge secret since the mid 1960’s. Finally it appears on National TV…and some of you guys complain !!
These days there are many forms of extreme activities (sponsored by Red Bull or Monster Energy, etc.); back in the day kart racing stood alone as a pursuit, almost. Very seldom track owners (such as Gus Trader in Quincy) promoted our sport to the local businesses and town. “Race in the Park” anyone? Look at the street races in Rock Island. They have been around for decades.
“Kart Life” is great. Can be even better, but it has garnered a 2nd season and in Prime Time too. Geez, Malukas in a NYC subway. Who else has done that? Junior Neal has been on Fox News; that made Vintage headlines.
George, my friend, you do not see NCP owner and Indycar great Mark Dismore or any reference to the legends of the past at all. This show is a true glimpse of modern day kart racing at the highest Junior level and the need for resources, both time and money. And the warts abound !
And done in a competitive spirit.
Thanks for reading between the lines…
March 25, 2015 at 7:59 am #44802
Kart Life is NOT the first national tv show focused on Karting. Speedvision had a regular series from the Indy Speeddrome. And don’t forget the “go kart terror” CHiPs episode.
March 26, 2015 at 5:54 am #44863
I dont recall seeing a kart series from Speeddrome but there was a Saturday series from the Velodrome in Indy on ESPN or ESPN 2. I’m guessing thats what you are thinking of but not sure as the Speedrome has had kart races but not a series that i’m aware of.
March 26, 2015 at 6:13 am #44868
Yes it was the Velodrome series “Saturday Night Lightning” that was shown on ESPN 2, not to be confused with “Saturday Night Thunder” from IRP with sprint cars and midgets.
There was another show called (I think) “Gold Cup Karting” that followed a few families running WKA Gold Cup that aired a few years ago.
March 26, 2015 at 6:56 am #44871
Mark Dismore Jr.Participant
Saturday Night Lightning was a great series for karting. Most of the races were broadcast live on ESPN2. I think it ran from 1994 to either 95 or 96. That was purely about racing and not a “reality” TV series.
March 26, 2015 at 9:23 am #44878
Mark, it was a great series, I was unlucky enough to be the tech man. I believe it only ran for two years. At that time ESPN2 was kind of a catch all, when it went main stream sports the karts were done.
WFBQ’s Christie Lee was one of the hosts and she did her part from a couch in the infield.
March 26, 2015 at 10:24 am #44882
My kids like the “show”. They have friends at school that watch it too. And after 10 years of begging them to try it out….now both of my kids want to try it out. So thank you kart life!
March 29, 2015 at 3:14 am #45005
Pitt Race hosted an Open House for karting yesterday where my son Andy went to represent Kartwerks by displaying a few of our karts. He met with several new families/racers with one family in particular being very interested in moving forward. The young lady that will be the driver got interested from watching Kart Life. The highlight of her day was getting to meet Savannah.
This isn’t rocket science people – karting has been given a gift and the fact that the industry on the whole has done so little to take advantage of it is frustrating and shows the incredible vacuum of leadership in this industry in the US.
While IAME, Vortex, Rotax, Briggs, MG, Bridgestone, WKA, SKUSA, USPKS, etc continue to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight over market share, we watch that market continue to dwindle. Rather than be the engine that drives karting growth they choose to be divisive, petty and increasingly effective at driving people away rather than bringing new blood in. Market growth is infinitely more important than market share.
As a small kart shop I can attend a few shows to promote karting, spend a few dollars on advertising/sponsorship and generally try to be a positive voice for the sport to the general public. I don’t have the wherewithal to advertise on Kart Life or leverage any other opportunities of that magnitude to expose the sport to new people.
I have made a conscious decision to not sponsor/advertise anything other than local or club level programs that bring new people in to the sport. I will no longer sponsor any series, event, etc that is not using those funds to bring new people in to the sport. That said, if an industry effort was put together to grow the sport by doing things such as advertising on Kart Life, or potentially the SKUSA broadcasts on CBS Sports this spring, my checkbook is open and I have a pen in hand.
April 9, 2015 at 6:26 am #45769
The final episode was on last night, and I’d say it was probably one of the best. While they made the third place finish more dramatic then what really happened (something they did throughout the series), what they captured was the emotion of finishing the year with the best performance you could make.
If you look past all the catch-phrases, the screaming, yelling, fighting – the parents really do just want the best for their kid. And when they perform to the best of their abilities, it makes the parent feel amazing. As a parent, every time I hear about my kids school work, swimming on their own, etc. I know what that feeling is.
Overall, I think the show was great for the sport. It opened up the eyes to the general public what kart racing really is – a sport that people and families are very passionate for. I would love to see them follow another set of drivers in 2015.
April 9, 2015 at 6:51 pm #45800
the last episode was the best by far.
Hopefully next season has different families and a different series… be nice to see what its like around the country.
April 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm #45802
To me, the show has improved with every episode. I really liked the last few weeks and Hope the season 2 is successful so we can have more seasons!
good reality show for people with any interest in motorsports I think.
April 9, 2015 at 8:57 pm #45806
I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and will be tuning in next season. I feel like the producers had a great mix of characters, from budget racers to guys pitting out of car haulers, clean drivers to those who will do whatever it takes to win.
April 10, 2015 at 5:50 pm #45853
Well put Dan. It would have been such a cheap buy for a few commercials (as TruTV isn’t ESPN) and the perfect spot for someone to work on new faces.
Briggs & Stratton could have had a $25-50 off any LO206 if you mention Kart Life. WKA could have had a commercial that offered a free tech manual or reduced membership for first-time local racers. You can’t just try to keep bleeding the same people over and over. You ALWAYS need new customers; new growth.
But, there is a reason you are my go-to guy…
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