There is absolutely nothing in the world that gives me greater joy than go-karts. I love the squealing of the little tires, the feeling of wind in my face, and the sound of my front bumper smashing into an unsuspecting competitor’s car. It just doesn’t get any better than that. It’s pure childhood pleasure.

Since I love go-karts so much, any opportunity I have to take my kids to a go-kart track for some good clean all-American fun, we are there. I’ve taken my kids to nearly every go-kart track in California, and shamefully, due to some rough driving, I have been thrown out of most of them.

Supposedly, go-karting is a non-contact sport. But I have proven over and over again, damaging many a go-kart, that there is plenty of contact. I have also proven that I am a very fast driver, winning races at plenty of tracks. Sure, most of my competitors were 8-year-old kids, but regardless of those little insignificant details, I won those races fair and square. Yes, the tears streaming down the faces of some 8-year-old boys may disagree with my interpretation of “fair and square.” I’ll admit, there may have been some “rubbing” or “bumping” or you could say, “smashing.” I don’t dispute these allegations. Go-karting is real racing. There are no trophies for second place.

My “win at all costs” go-karting policy has occasionally affected my own children, bless their little souls. I do understand that as a father playing games with a child, it is oftentimes the case where the dad will lose on purpose to build up the feeling of success for a child and boost a kid’s self-esteem. That is good parenting 101. Raising two children I have done this sort of thing thousands of times with games like checkers, tag, or baseball. But at the go-kart track … yeah, that isn’t going to happen. This is a race, not a pre-school lesson.

Recently I had the opportunity to either do the “right thing” at a go-kart track or ... win the race. We were in Anaheim, and I decided it would be fun to go to the local K1 Speed. Yes, I know, when you’re in Anaheim with your kids, you should probably take them to the Magic Kingdom to see Mickey Mouse. I like Mickey as much as the next guy, but let’s be honest: Go-karts trump teacups any day of the week. Because no matter how long you’re on the ride, those teacups never crash into each other.

While we were at K1 Speed, I tried to impart as much racing wisdom as possible to my children: “The pedal on the right is the gas pedal. Mash that one flat to the floor. There is another pedal on the left. I have heard people refer to it as a ‘brake pedal’ but you don’t need that. If you want to slow down, just use the rear bumper of the car in front of you. Oh, don’t forget to win. Any questions?”

At the front desk, I told the employees at K1 Speed I wanted my whole family, the four of us, to get a session to race. My wife, whom I love, immediately backed out, “I’m not going out on that track with you. You’re a menace to society in a go-kart. Will K1 Speed even let you race here? I thought you were kicked out of K1 Speed.”

I quickly hushed my wife, “Honey, shhhhh! That was the San Diego K1 Speed.” I smiled at the girl at the front counter and told my wife, “These good people have never met me before.” Before we could race we had to register our personal information on a computer. Because I was worried that K1 Speed locations may share information about “unsavory customers,” I registered to race under an alias: God of Speed.

For our session on the track it would be God of Speed, my son, my daughter, and two unsuspecting teenage boys who looked a little too cocky in my opinion. I strapped on my helmet and waited for the green flag. My wife stood on the side of the track and gave me a look of “Please don’t embarrass us.” I flipped down my visor and ignored her. It was race time. The flag dropped and instantly the red mist of racing filled my brain with adrenaline. All rational thought was gone. I was a machine, hell bent
on winning.

I started ripping through the course, learning the unfamiliar track, finding my lines, and reeling in my competitors. The first one I found was my daughter. I came up on her fast, she hit her brakes way too early for a turn (I told her not to do that) and my front bumper drilled her in the side with a horrendous noise. Her go-kart spun violently out of the way and then crashed into a wall. Obviously it upset me that I crashed into my daughter. Hitting her slowed me down considerably, which ruined my lap time. After the impact she was backwards on the track, so the K1 Speed employees had to come out and turn her around by hand to get her going again. They asked if she was OK. She said, “Yes, that was my own father who did that to me!”

Regardless of family politics or good parenting, I, more importantly, still had a race to win. I drove by the part of the track where I could see my wife, standing and watching and judging. For obvious reasons she didn’t look very happy with me. Who could blame her? I had just smashed her youngest child into a wall. It wasn’t like I flipped our daughter onto her roof. I knew our little girl would live. Since I knew I was already in trouble with the missus I figured I might as well win the race. I continued on, possessed, and raced the go-kart as hard as possible, passing the now-shamed teenage boys, bumping past my own son (quite roughly), and then came across the finish line first. As I crossed the line I saw my name, God of Speed, listed on the top of the video screen as the winner. Victory!


Rob knows he’s a bad dad at the racetrack, and honestly, he feels shame. If you enjoy his storytelling check out his novel Cadet Blues available in print or eBook on

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