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.