Yep, it’s true Girls Kart Too. When I was 11, my dad took me out to the track in Norway, IL (Concept Haulers). I didn’t know where we were going and he wouldn’t tell me, but when we got there, my eyes lit up.
When you start, you drive a rental cart. And you drive the rental track, which is different than the official track. My times got better and better. My dad let me race 3 times. The third time I begged my dad to race me. I was pretty positive about beating him. When we raced, my time was better by 5 seconds. I guess I’m more competitive than I thought. I knew I wanted to keep driving and on my 11th birthday, I got my own kart; I was stunned!
Three months later, I started racing with the big boys. I didn’t have a lot of time to practice with my new kart. My first race I was so scared, I had butterflies all day long. When we rounded the first corner I was in the lead, but right before the turn, I backed off and everybody passed me. I was so scared; I thought they were going to hit me. My first 2 races were about having fun and not caring what place I got because I just started and some of these guys have been racing since they were 5. My first 3 races I was getting lapped. When I look back on it, I feel so sorry because of how slow I was. Having a slow person in front of you that blocks you all the time is annoying. The boys were intimidated by me on race ten. I started 9th out of 9 the first race, which was okay. I knew I could pass at least 3 people. But I ended up taking 3rd! If you start in the back in the first race, you start pole (1st) the second race. So, I got the green and for 6 laps I kept first place! In the feature, I started 1st again. I was so nervous, I kept telling myself, “don’t spin out, don’t spin out.” On the second to last lap, Christian Ledesma passed me. He has raced indoors for 4 years. He’s really good. I was so mad. The last lap I got back my lead and won the race. Everybody recognized me now. They started calling me, “Danica Morse.” My first trophy is now in my room. This was the best day ever.
My second year I learned that it isn’t just about sitting in the kart. You have to learn how to be a mechanic, have endurance and strength, and be able to run the track even when it is raining. Trust me; it’s harder than it looks. My first rain experience was during Route 66 at Springfield. My great mechanic, Mr. Kelley, set me up a great kart. When I went to go qualify, I had three laps to run a good time to get a good spot. I came off the track, angered, because I felt like I did horrible. When I and a few friends went to go look at the standings, Keith told me I placed second. I didn’t believe him at all, and if I got second he must’ve gotten first. I took a look at the paper and smiled. The guy who beat me, this was his home track. I felt sorry that I had acted the way I did and apologized to my mechanic. The next day was racing. It started to rain; I didn’t have rain tires a rain suit or anything. So I got wrapped up In garbage bags. I had the best rain suit out there. So with no experience, in second I race. Harder and harder it gets. I spin out on turn 2. I tried to get back on the track, but I was in the wrong spot. So I didn’t finish that race. The next race came, I started last, I was thinking, “great, I’m not going to win this one, whatever let’s try.” So when we got the green, before the first turn I passed about 3 people inside. It’s still raining and it’s hard to see without rain-x on my visor. I ended up passing about 9-10 people in 7 laps. And was in 7th. Then once again, in the same spot, I spun. Rain isn’t my thing. But I managed to get back on the track this time. Now in 15th. 3 laps to go. I finished 13th overall. Springfield still haunts me to this day, but next year I plan on ruling that track.