Home Forums General Karting Discussion The GOAT of Karting

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    • #77907
      David Cole

      Who do you consider the Greatest Of All Time in US Karting?

      Read my column and post your ideas and lists here.

      David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

    • #77923
      Walt Gifford

      Al Nunley??

      FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
      Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
      Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
      41 years karting experience

    • #77924
      Joseph Rapp

      I don’t know as many racers nationally as some others do so my list may be constrained to the Midwest, but I think you’ll notice my list is about local talent and emphasizes those who love to race.
      1. Tony Neilson
      Tony has accomplished a great deal at rock island but the facility at 61 kartway puts him at the top of my race. The greatest way to show support for kart racing is to give the racers a track and Tony has done that for us. He races his Margay chassis now and again and shows people that there is a cost-effective way into racing as well
      2. Connor Lund
      A great kart racer and tuner. Knows what he’s looking for in a kart, and is freaky fast. He knows his chassis inside and out and has found victory at the RIGP a few times. Connor is one fast driver to chase! He works with his dad to get the kart on and off the track and he really reminds me of the modern day hard working racer.
      3. Thor McDonald
      Here is where my list probably gets whacky for those of you not familiar with the local track I race at (61 Kartway) Thor makes 3rd for a couple of great reason’s. he loves to race, but more importantly he’s a big help to those getting involved in karting for the first time. He helped me out a great deal my first year and years after. I have seen him pass great knowledge on to other newcomers as well. Finally it a family affair with his daughter Hannah and son Odin racing. He preps the karts every week and does a fantastic job keeping track of three karts over the course of a club race.
      4. Logan Smith
      Logan is quite the kart racer and I have a lot of respect with what he’s done at CHMS. He also won the Midwest Briggs weekly racing series I believe. Logan’s\most impressive performance to me was when he took a wrecked go kart at last ears rock island grand prix and turned it into a solid top 10 finish. He also has quite the win streak locally and I believe he’ll give Connor Lund a run for his money next year in the cup.
      5. Jordan Bernloehr
      Jordan races trans am cars, but I love the fact that he still loves to compete in karting and the only reason he isn’t higher on my list is probably because I don’t know him as well as some of the other comptitors listed above. Jordan keeps his ties with karting strong is a great example of a Karter who has moved on to bigger racing, but still stayed strong to his roots.
      6. Carter Pease.
      Carter may be the next Tony Neilson from what I can see. He’s close to grabbing his first Rock sometime soon. He also is very talented behind the wheel. He is also very excited about promoting the sport of karting and is always willing to give an interview. Carter finds his way to the club races to even though he also competing regionally. Supporting home tracks is always most important.
      7. Al Cram
      The 73-year-old races because he loves it and is always willing to help new comers and veterans alike. Most of all though I love racing against a guy’s that’s in it just for the thrill of racing. I think it’s important to keep in mind that having fun is what it’s all about and Al does that.
      8. Rick Phillips
      One of the first great drivers I raced against at the Sprint Kart Speedway. Rick doesn’t race anymore but from what I remember he was fast and very knowledgeable. Always tinkering and willing to help. He reminded me of a good o boy. He was always happy to be at the track. I haven’t seen rick for years, I used to see him every year at rock island, I Believe he is a true innovator and great racer when it comes to karting.
      9. Randy Raridon.
      Randy is fast and loves to race. He gives advice freely to those who need it and is very knowledgeable. I think Randy loves karting as much as most of us do and wants to see the sport grow I hope we can accomplish that. It has been fun watching him race the masters class where he competes for wins and podiums. But once again his greatest quality is his love for the sport
      10. Tyler Schurr.
      An Engine Builder???? Well he hasn’t always built engines. He used to race, and he raced at rock island the last 2 years in memory of Travis DeVriendt. Travis was a good friend of Ty’s. I put ty on the list of drivers not just because when racing against him I thought he was fast, but because as a local engine builder he’s knowledgeable and willing to help racers. He Plays a major role in the planning of the Rock Island Grand Prix. He gives racers an opportunity the race. Whether in karting he was providing engine packages or in late model race owing a team. Ty is Great person in the sport and I believe the people behind the scenes need some recognition to.
      Well that’s my list. like said local, but I think these people are important to karting and are great drivers for reasons beyond just driving

    • #77925
      David Cole

      Hi Joseph,

      First off, can you please update your profile to include your first and last name per our forum guidelines. Thank you.

      Second, Thank you for the list.

      Tony is a great driver and among those in the RIGP greats. Connor Lund is another great talent as is Jordan, who I got to race against at RIGP.

      I have a lot of names I remember from my local tracks when I first started racing that were my first superstars in karting.

      David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

      • #77926
        Joseph Rapp

        I think i fixed it? let me know if not

    • #77928
      Rob Kozakowski

      If you are at all nostalgic, it’s hard to argue against the Top 8 from that 2006 list:

      1. Lynn Haddock

      2. Kyle Adkins

      3. Lake Speed

      4. Scott Pruett

      5. Mark Dismore

      6. Ron Emmick

      7. Kathy Hartman

      8. Duffy Livingstone

      I’d almost argue that North American (sprint) karting needs to be broken up into 2 “eras”.  The first extends from the beginnings to the early 90’s, when most of the karts were American-made.  The names above absolutely define that era.

      To me, the “modern” era began when the Euro-made karts really took over. I’m biased because I used to race a bit with the Italian Motors guys, but from the “modern” era, my pick as the best goes to Michael Valiante.  I think the greatest 3-way battle we’ve experienced in this era was the Formula A days between him and 2 other greats whom I’d rank right behind him – Phil Giebler and Patrick Long.  What separates MV from the other 2 for me was his success in Shifters in addition to the direct drive stuff.

    • #77930
      David Cole

      Great three from the ‘modern era’. Long and Giebler are on a small list of those to earn success and race in Europe.

      David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

    • #77931
      Howie Idelson

      Tom Nields. Go back and look at what he did. Won in every discipline of the sport at the highest level and against a lot of the people on the list -driving, then went on to do the same as an engine builder. There’s no one on the list that has as much cred.

    • #77949
      Connor De Phillippi

      I only have knowledge of the more recent years due to my age.. but here is the main bunch I looked up to. No particular order

      -Alex Speed

      -Gary Carlton (especially his trackmagic days)

      -Lorenzo Mandarino

      -Ron White

      -Alan Sciuto


    • #77971
      Larry Dobbs

      There are a couple of racers I race with today that I think are some of the best and a couple I haven’t seen in a while who were the fastest: Vince Puleo from Northern California, and Anthony Williams from Southern California can be found at NCK races and many people stop what they are doing in the pits just to watch them!  Eddie Lawson used to come and lay down beautiful laps in his 250 twin cylinder Superkart and Kyle Martin still holds the track record at Laguna Seca in J.R. Clausen’s 250 single cylinder superkart.  As David Coultard  expressed after driving a superkart, these guys are insane!

    • #77987
      Tim Landon

      Vince is good.  I used to work with him at Emmick.

    • #77990
      Pete Muller

      Sorry David — I *have* to stick Fullerton in the list even though he’s British.

      – Terry Fullerton

      – Lynn Haddock

      – Kyle Adkins

      All 3 of the above come from eras when the driver did it ALL — tuned the engine (probably even built it), set up the chassis, raced it, cleaned it, transported it, etc.

      Fullerton might have been the best driver ever — the only guy that Senna couldn’t really beat in karting.

      Haddock?… well, in my opinion he gets the nod for being the most complete.  Build engines, modify engines, build/modify and set up chassis, tune everything at the track, and win National Championships in Sprint, Road Race, and Dirt (more than any other driver in U.S. karting history, I believe).  And for good measure:  take on Jr. Drags and mop up the National field with his daughter in the driver’s seat.

      I HAVE to include Kyle Adkins, as he may be the only driver I ever saw that seemed to be able to actually defy physics when he was really motivated.  I saw him do things in a kart that seemed absolutely, completely impossible, and have yet to ever see anything like it from any other driver.

      All of them unbelievably great, IMO.  If pressed though, it surely must be Haddock because he was great at *everything*!  (and still is at many of them).


    • #77992
      Jim Fry

      I cannot argue with the top 50 list. Great group. Some awesome drivers missing from the early days of karting are:

      Mark Shepard
      Jim Akkerman
      Darryl Domes
      Ed Hundley
      Rick Paronelli
      James Carraway
      Junior Neal
      Chuck Pittenger
      Butch Stewart
      Ken Burden

      And of course so many more that were the stars in karting’s early days!

    • #78688
      Steve Matotan

      GOAT is easy, Kathey Hartman. Wait, not so easy because Lynn Haddock is also, so pick ’em.

      The drivers I thought were the best in my day:

      Jim Akkerman

      Gene Renegar

      Jim Wester

      Mike McAlister

      Rod Whorton

      Barry Marshall

      Frank Harbin Jr.

      Bobby Shiffert

      Dave Knapp.

      Of the recent group of drivers, I think these drivers would still win the race even if the race was 1 hour and there were 80. + entrants:

      Chris Hegar

      Ryan Hegar

      Jim Russell Jr.

      Brian Wilhelm

      Buddy Wallen.


      Steve ” yeah I miss it ” Matotan

    • #78697
      Lindsay Read

      Randy Fulks – after all, his 52 Daytona wins alone, are pretty impressive.

    • #78765
      Craig McNeese

      David you took on a big topic when you asked who it the GOAT in US karting.  Different eras, racing formats and areas of the country are going to make this a tough one to answer.  I never saw Kathy Hartman race, but I have no doubt she was one of the best by what I have been told and what I have read.  I have seen Lynn Haddock race and I have no reluctance in giving him consideration.  Lake Speed winning the World Championships make him a contender as well.

      My time in karting was primarily consisted of street racing in the 80’s and 90’s.  During that time there were none better than Mike Birdsell, Scotty Evans and Ron Jones in the streets of the Midwest.  All these guys had success on the dirt and sprint racing as well.  B.J Carter and Jodi Krug are two more Midwest dirt racers that were as good as they come for 20+ years.  Krug still suits up once in a while and runs at the front.

      Lastly, I never saw him race, but I have it on good authority that Barnesville legend Dicky Wilson was one of the best in his day.

      It is obvious our sport has had many talented drivers, but if push came to shove and I had to cast my vote for just one–it would be Lynn Haddock. He has raced and won in virtually every form of karting known and he did this for decades.


    • #79041
      Doyle Goodman

      Add to list: Joey Lunati

      • #97841
        John LaRue

        Certainly deserving of the award for best chemist in karting!

    • #79657
      Russ Thompson

      This thread and events of the last week prompted me to dig out this video I shot at the 1986 WKA 2-cycle Winternationals at Barnesville. A chance to see two of the prominent names on the list go at it. Haddock and Adkins battle in heat 1 in 100cc Controlled Heavy.


    • #80147
      James Shiffer

      One name/team I’d like to add for consideration would be Jeff Bartlett and my dad Jim Shiffer. They raced primarily street Races through the 80’s up until 1995 when my dad passed away.  They raced along side many of the names on this list and had quite a bit of success they ran very well at both Quincy races racking up many wins and top 5 finishes. They also ran storm lake,  st. Joe, Nebraska City and many others. They won the IaKA championship in 1989, the miller mile 4 times among countless other wins.

      I was 11 years old when my father (Jim) passed away so I didn’t get to see them race as many as I would have wanted to so I’m always looking for more information about their racing history.  They ran the red and white 46 kart under the team name J & J racing. If anyone has any information about their history or where I can find results from races they participated in I’d love to hear from you.  Also if any of you remember these guys or have any stories about them to share I’d also really appreciate it. Please e-mail me at jdshiff46@gmail.com

    • #86618
      Bernie Baldus

      If we put everyone listed in a barn during their prime 20 + years:

      with 3 karts (Dirt, Sprint and Road Race) to tune and setup themselves.

      My money would be on Haddock.



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