Racers Zooming Along At Hurricane Speedway

By  //  April 13, 2012

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BREVARD COUNTY • CANAVERAL GROVES, FLORIDA – With a new racing season underway at the Hurricane Speedway in Canaveral Groves, it promises to be an exciting one for the young and young at heart go kart enthusiasts.

Then 2012 season kicked off in January with the first of more than 18 point competitions and other award events throughout the year, drivers donned their protective gear and pit crews fine-tuned their karts as they anxiously awaited the call to the starting line.

Celebrating its 20th year of operation at the Space Coast Communities Sports Complex, the Hurricane Speedway has delighted hundreds of go-kart racers over the years with competition in more than eight classes, including kid karts, go-karts, Box Stock, Side Winders, Flat Karts and Sling Shots.

New Surface

The speedway is fast and smooth, with the  one-sixth mile banked clay oval track recently undergoing a resurfasing.

Darrell Legg, celebrating his 20th year as president of Hurricane Speedway, sets up the day’s schedule for the first of more than 18 racing competitions scheduled for the 2012 season. Photos by John Egan

Payton Gibney of Merritt Island, 7, is in her second year of racing and was last year’s point leader in the rookies division of racing at the speedway.

A first-grade student at Lewis Carroll Elementary School, Payton has moved up in the competition to a new class and car this year.

“This is a whole new car for her,” said Payton’s father, Chad Gibney. “It is lower to the ground, faster and more of a race car than the previous one, which was more of a learning car. Now she can progress. We are very proud of her.”

Andrew Mattheus, 12, is a sixth-grade student at Coquina Elementary School and his sister, Rachel Mattheus, 18 is  home-schooled.

“We are very competitive when we’re on the track,” Andrew said. “If I see my sister come along the side, I just want to go faster and win.”

His sister says everyone should try racing at least once.

“Racing makes me feel by being a girl anyone one can do it,” Rachel saidl. “If you have never raced before you can do it. Racing is fun, competitive and it is something, I really like doing.”

Box Stock Class

First-year racer Collin Baker of Titusville, 8, is competing in the Box Stock class at Hurricane Speedway this season.

He is s second-grader at Edgewater Public School and said he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“I am here with my sister, Kalee, 10, and my cousin Robert, 10, and my mom,” said Collin. “It is great having fun with my family.”

Having fun is not limited to children at the Hurricane Speedway.

“It is so exciting watching my children compete,” said Courtney Baker, Collin’s mom. “There are times I have had some fear for them, but I’ve learned to calm down. My husband Craig and the children have been racing for some time and now it is my turn. The kids got me into it. I signed up for the women’s box stock class and I can’t wait to race.”

Mike Phelps of Palm Bay, 58, shows his stuff in the Sidewinder class competition on opening day of the Hurricane Speedway in Canaveral Groves.

‘2012 Is Going To Be Memorable Year

With a legacy of being a starting point for many racing dreams, Hurricane Speedway’s owner says 2012 is going to be a memorable year for the track.

“We had a great start this year with more than 40 competitors on opening day,” said Darrell Legg, president of Hurricane Speedway. “I have been here since the first race in June1992 and over the years I have seen this sport progress. Our goal here is to continue to have this sport progress to family, friends and fans. It is an exciting sport for everyone.”

The Hurricane Speedway is at 662 Canaveral Groves Blvd, at the Space Coast Community Sports Complex in Cocoa.

Last year’s rookie points leader Payton Gibney of Merritt Island, 7, puts her new box stock class car through the turns at the Hurricane Speedway in Canaveral Groves.

For information and race schedules log on to HurricaneKartinginc.com