Even though the learning permit is still many years down the road, there are three places in the Puget Sound area where the 10 and under set can put the pedal to the metal, legally! These indoor race tracks have specially designed go-karts for kids (think smaller versions of the adult karts), but give the same adrenaline-pumping rush when they roar to life. If you’ve got a little speed demon in the fam, read on and get ready to start your engines!

k1.speed.track

photo: Helen Walker Green

K1 Speed

If your mini Danica Patrick or junior Jimmie Johnson wants to drift ’round the turns of a race track, then K1 Speed is just the place. The 1/5 mile track has a concrete surface that creates a unique drift style of racing. And K1’s high-performance electric karts have superb handling—giving kiddos a chance to finesse their driving skills as they hit those hairpin corners and drift past the competition reaching speeds of up to 20 mph.

Arrive and Drive
You can drop in any time and sign up for a race. Kids may be racing other junior drivers or if there’s no one else on the track, can get in some time trials. If it’s your first visit, you’ll need to purchase an annual license for $6. It’s good at all K1 Speed locations nationwide and includes free use of their helmets and head socks (helmet liners), online scoring and monthly email offers.

After you’ve signed the waiver, your young racer will go through a briefing session to make sure they know how to operate their kart safely and know the rules of the race track. Each racer will become quite the motorsport expert; learning all about throttle input, braking input, drafting, overtaking and more. Then, it’s time to hit the track for a truly exhilarating experience! Parents can watch the action from a comfortable seating area that has big windows overlooking the track. When the race is over, kids can pick up their race results and compare their time and rank against other young drivers around the country.

k1.speed.seating

photo: Helen Walker Green

Pit Stops
For hungry drivers, the Pit Cafè sells pizza by the slice, pretzels, nachos, hot dogs and other concessions. After you’ve refueled, challenge your pool shark to a game of pool or enjoy a few video games including car racing games. K1 Speed also has cool racing gear available for purchase—from t-shirts and hats to helmets and gloves. Psst! If your family likes to watch professional racing, be sure to look for the K1 Speed logo. They make custom racing gear for many karting and race car drivers.

Junior Kart League 
Many professional drivers started out go-karting and if your lil’ daredevil is keen on karting, he or she might want to consider signing up for K1 Speed’s Junior Kart League. Kids race against the clock, and each other, for 12 laps and receive detailed print-outs of their lap times, position and ranking information after the race. And if the speed bug really gets ’em, there’s a Youth Kart League for when they get older.

k1.speed.racer

photo: Helen Walker Green

Party Time
K-1 Speed offers Mini Junior Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix birthday party packages which include races, medals and trophies as well as podium photos and t-shirts.

Fun Fact
Not only do K1 Speed’s electric karts have maximum torque available instantaneously, they’re also environmentally friendly, producing zero emissions.

Junior Karts
Ages: Under 18
Minimum Height Requirement: 48″
Cost: $19.99/race, plus $6 annual license
Race Time: 14 laps (approximately 10-15 minutes)
Special Offers: $49 for a K1 Speedpass (includes annual license, two races and a t-shirt); $35 for two races and $39 for 3 races (available Mon.-Thurs.); $75 for 5 races and $100 for 8 races (available 7 days a week).

K1 Speed
2207 N.E. Bel-Red Rd.
Redmond, Wa 98052
425-455-9999
Online: k1speed.com/seattle

Junior Karts Hours: Mon.–Thurs., noon-10 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

sykart.suiting.up

photo: Helen Walker Green

Sykart Indoor Racing Center

Sykart Indoor Racing Center opened its doors back in 1999 and has been catering to little speed devils ever since. It has a separate youth track, with a curving course, and gas-powered youth karts that are sized just right for kids to handle and travel at safe speeds. Drivers must be at least 8 years-old and a minimum of 50” tall to drive on the youth track, but there is no maximum age or height limit which means grownups can race their kids on the track!

Arrive and Drive
Families can walk in any time and sign up for a heat on the youth track. When your kiddo is registered and the electronic waiver has been signed, he or she will get a safety briefing where they’ll watch a video explaining how the karts work and the rules of the track—kids will also be quizzed on what the racing flags mean. Racers must have their own reusable head sock, which can be purchased at Sykart for $2, and race fans can watch on the trackside bleachers. After each race, racers’ times and positions are printed out, so they can take home a copy.

sykart.go.karts.racingphoto: Helen Walker Green

Pit Stops
For added fun, or while you’re waiting between races, Sykart has three pool tables and some video games (yes, there are car racing games). There is no food on site, only soda and water for purchase, but you are welcome to bring in your own snacks. Psst! There are several restaurants in the area perfect for a post race pit stop.

Junior Racing
When your little racer is ready for bigger things, kids 8 and older and at least 55” tall can drive on the full-speed adult track. However, racers must first complete Sykart’s Basic Driving School and successfully earn their Sykart driver’s license. The course is $50 with a free re-take included. If kids fail on their first attempt, they’ll get feedback and tips from the coaches to help them pass on their next attempt. Psst! Pre-registration is highly recommended and Basic Driving School is held every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m.

sykart.thumbs.up

photo: Helen Walker Green

Party Time
Sykart has a great trackside party room that includes a cool podium if you want to present your partygoers with awards as well as table tennis for some pre or post race ping pong. Sykart’s two fun party packages give kids the option of alternating races with the public or private rental of the track.

Youth Track
Ages: 8 & older
Minimum Height Requirement: 50″
Cost: $10/race (must have a head sock – available for purchase for $2)
Race Time: 6 minutes

Sykart Indoor Racing Center
17450 W. Valley Hwy.
Tukwila, Wa 98188
425-251-5060
Online: sykart.com/tukwila

Youth Track Hours: Fri.–Sun., noon to 8 p.m.
Adult Track Hours: Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

traxx.electric.karts

photo: Helen Walker Green

Traxx Indoor Raceway

For pint-sized drivers, Traxx Indoor Raceway is the place to go! It’s the only track in Washington that has go-karts sized for kids as young as 3 years-old (they’re electric and kitted out as either Lightning McQueen or Mario!). With a heavily padded L-shaped course, this is a great starter track for tiny racers or new racers (ages 3-10) who want to take it a bit slower. For older racers, Traxx’s Big Track winds both indoors and outdoors and is where kids ages 6-10 can drive gas-powered Kids Karts. Psst! The Kids Karts can be driven on the Kids Track at any time or on the Big Track on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Arrive and Drive
Walk-in racers are welcome, but Traxx recommends calling ahead if you’re planning on hitting the Kids Track (it’s very popular). After registering your racer and filling out the waiver, he or she will get into their race suit and helmet and learn safety and driving tips before heading out on the track. If your pint-sized racer needs some help, grownups are allowed to help their 3-5 year-old racers. Just remember… the electric karts only go 5 mph; the Kids Karts go 10 mph and that’s when you need to stay off the track.

traxx.big.track

photo: Helen Walker Green

Pit Stops
Traxx has an outdoor seating area for warm days and a super-cool dining area with seats cut from classic cars. There’s pizza and hot-dogs on the menu at the Fast Lane Café and espresso and beer for the grownups. For kids looking for extra fun, Traxx offers lots of pre and post racing activities. From pool, air hockey and a bouncy house, to a velcro wall, climbing wall and video games (yes, Daytona and Rally games are included), this place has it all. Psst! Be sure to stop by the Traxx shop and check out their race suits and t-shirts available for purchase.

traxx.bouncy.wall

photo: Helen Walker Green

Party Time
Traxx has a few tricked out party rooms to choose from including NASCAR, Legends and Formula One rooms. Kids parties on the Big Track are available Tues.-Thurs. and parties on the Kids Track are available Fri.-Mon.

Fun Fact
Kids who bring in their current report card will receive a half-price race Mon.-Thurs. with each A or equivalent grade.

Kids Track Electric Karts
Ages: 3-5
Cost: $7/race
Race Time: 6 minutes

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Kids Karts on the Kids Track 
Ages: 6-10
Cost: $9/race
Race Time: 6 minutes

Kids Karts on the Big Track
Ages: 6-10
Cost: $12/race
Race Time: 8 minutes

Traxx Indoor Raceway
4329 Chennault Beach Rd.
Mukilteo, Wa 98275
425-493-8729
Online: traxxracing.com or take a Traxx virtual tour

Kids Track Hours: Fri.-Mon., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Kids Karts on the Big Track Hours: Tues.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

traxx.go.kart

photo: Helen Walker Green

Good to Know
1. If you’ve got older kids, Grand Prix Raceway in Lakewood has an indoor track for kids who are at least 58″.

2. Rain or shine, PGP Motorsports Park in Kent offers a fantastic outdoor track with Italian-designed karts. The minimum age requirement is 15,  but 12-14 year-olds who successfully complete the PGP Junior Racer course are allowed to race too.

3. Kids can ride shotgun at Mike ‘N’ Terry’s Outdoor Fun Park and the Family Fun Center, but they can’t actually drive the karts until they’re 58″ tall and at least 10 years-old at Mike ‘N’ Terry’s.

4. All race tracks require drivers to wear closed toed shoes and tie back long hair.

Have your kids raced on any of these go-kart tracks? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below.

— Helen Walker Green