This is exciting racing at the top levels, with the drivers residing in the cars in a lying-down position, just like an Indy Car. The speeds are in the 100-plus-mph category. Imagine the thrill of moving at that speed with your body about an inch off the ground.

Don't get the idea that you can jump immediately into such a kart. You start at the beginning and move up through the ranks as your skills improve.

Kart Governing

There are two major karting organizations, and they don't normally compete against each other. The World Karting Association (WKA) basically controls racing in the eastern United States, while the International Karting Federation (IKF) oversees Kart racing in the western part of this country.

A majority of the time, the groups, which are comprised mostly of volunteers, don't run big races against each other. There are an estimated 75,000 Karters in the United States alone. The rules of the WKA and IKF are similar, allowing drivers to compete with both groups. The groups sponsor both state, regional, and national competitions. But there is also a large amount of unsanctioned competition at hundreds of kart tracks in both the United States and Canada. Karting is an international motorsport, with heavy activity in Australia and Europe. To find your nearest kart track, just type your state along with "Kart Tracks" on your computer browser.

The Family Racing Team

The teams that race karts come in all sizes and shapes, but for the most part, there is one similarity between them. This is a family sport of the first order. It's not surprising to see two or three generations involved in a team, including mom, dad, brothers and sisters, and even grandma and grandpa rolling into the race site. No paid crewmembers here--dad is usually the crewchief, and everybody helps out.

It's amazing how much responsibility child drivers can learn from the sport. For example, many are involved in setup of the kart. And, since mom and dad usually foot the bills, they often require their children to maintain a high level of performance in the classroom in order to continue competing. That certainly gets these young drivers' attention.