Brandon Schmidt is no stranger to racing and is now enjoying the challenges of sprint kart racing at PKRA.
I met Brandon months ago when he was researching kart racing. Few people outside the sport have an understanding of the physical and mental demands of any form of racing. And even people involved with other forms of racing sometimes assume kart racing is “easier” than the reality of it. So, I was glad when Brandon asked all the right questions and showed a healthy respect for the challenges.
Brandon carefully studied the various classes and chose one that fit his objectives. It wasn’t long before he was on-track in his Tonykart/Leopard TaG kart.
His experience and approach netted him his first win in just his 3rd kart race. I asked Brandon about that race and… well, I’ll let him describe it in his own words:
Race day is not just another day full of high pumping adrenaline and speed!! Every driver can tell you that while the day provides excitement and high anticipation it also comes with a moderate amount of stress…at least this is true for me. Nothing gets me more excited and pumped than the sound and smell of revved up two stroke engines and the rush to get everything in order before your main event. Karting is a new hobby for me..but racing is in my blood. I have raced for years – starting out in street stock cars then moving into dirt track modifieds. I wanted to race something that provided the same enjoyment but of course less of a hassle and upkeep of the actual equipment. For me Karting was going to be it!!
I started a few months ago in Karting at PKRA and immediately became hooked! I had underestimated how labor intensive racing one of these bad boys could be. It was great..racing was racing..but the handling was entirely different and something I knew I had to quickly adapt to. I was encouraged to get on the track to prove that I could be competitive and was not a Rookie so to speak.
Everyone always keeps an eye on the competition…which was exactly what I did frequently checking out the driver stats and lap times on the PKRA website. Immediately I knew who the best drivers were in this class. Something new always has some type of intimidation in some way shape or form. My sanity in all this crazy high pumping action is my wife. She continues to tell me that in order to be the best I must compete with the best and beat the best. So this race – although only being my second race with the Tag Master class and third race in Karting overall I knew I had to “go hard or go home.”
Qualifying ended up better than expected and I immediately knew Peter and Eric would give me a run for my money. I was already drained from the night before and there was not enough Red Bull in the world to kick it into gear for me. My only hope was to get in gear when that green flag was dropped. I qualified second but of course with every high there is a low. My coil decided to go out on me—and the last thing I had in my tool box and back up parts was a spare coil. This was it I thought!!! Normally Curtis (Innovative Karting) is the man that saves the day for me but this time it would be Mike Hathcox.
Finally we are up for the main event.. My strategy—ha!! Wouldn’t you like to know. That I will not say..but as soon as that green flag dropped I knew what to do..I had the opportunity to gauge my competition and was able to capitalize on it. After turn 1 I had taken the lead…heart pumping, hands sweaty, and ready to take this baby home!! Being in first is more stressful than being in last..you gotta watch the person or people behind you real close and at the same time make sure you don’t make a mistake. Peter was stuck to me like glue – so much that I felt any slight error would lose my position. Like any driver in first there was no way I was going to give that up easy. The laps seemed longer and longer as we circled the track and three quarters of the way through I was praying to God that the white flag would drop indicating that I’d have one more lap to run. The flag did not drop for what appeared to be eternity—and my exhaustion started to become so unbearable I could barely hold on. So much for stamina! LOL Right when the white flag finally came down I could feel Peter advancing even more and closing in on my lead. All I could hope for was that I wouldn’t screw up or fall out of my Kart from exhaustion – whichever came first; and hopefully keep this baby in line for the checkered flag. I finally was approaching the finish line and the checkered flag was in sight. This win for me was the high I needed and now I want to keep coming back for more!! Thanks to everyone at the track who helped me out that day and to my wife who continues to support me. Without you guys I could not have made this happen so soon!
pictures courtesy of Decker Photography