NTCC Shelby Automotive team competes in endurance kart race
By: Christopher Hamilton
NTCC Eagle Staff Writer
Go-kart racing is hard work.
That’s what nine representatives from the Northeast Texas Community College Carroll Shelby Automotive Technology Program learned recently as they traveled to Denton to participate in a 500-lap, 250 mile endurance go-kart race. The team won third place in the Chonda division of the event in their racing debut.
The competition was created by the North Texas Karters’ (NTK) and the promoters of Texas Lone Star Grand Prix and was held at their half-mile facility in Denton.
While not the first of it’s kind, endurance events for go-karts are rare and tax even seasoned riders. The grueling race (which involved driving in circles the equivalent distance from Mount Pleasant to Oklahoma City) took over ? hours to complete and took a toll both physically and mentally on the entire team.
“I’m still sore in my ribs. This was my first ever race, but I was able to apply what I had been taught and perform well on the track,” driver Will Horne, said.
The Carroll Shelby Automotive Technology team was composed of four drivers and three mechanics, competing against 16 other professional and amateur teams.
The performance academy purchased two used karts and rebuilt them into one that served as the racing vehicle.
“We were the only college team there, competing with a kart that we spent about $1100 on. We were racing against chassis that were in the $3000 to $4000 price range, just for the chassis, not even the whole kart. For us, to finish third was really awesome,” said Automotive Instructor Tony Whitworth, who has over 40 years of experience in both amateur and professional racing.
The team drivers included two professors; Dr. Kevin Rose and Marcos Sanchez, and two students; Adam Poland and Will Horne. Three student mechanics travelled as the pit crew, Colten Tenery, Matt Johnson, and Anthony Godwin. Instructor Tony Whitworth and Program Director Keith Fennimore also joined the crew and filled in as needed.
The performance of this team, both in the garage and on the track, is experience that the automotive students will take with them into their professional careers.
“Everything we do with a kart will scale up to a full size race car.” said Whitworth, who added that he was glad that the team was afforded this opportunity to put their training into practice in a competitive setting.
“We are intentionally expanding the opportunities for our students to get real life experiences in their time as students here, and this partnership helps us to do that,” said NTCC President Dr. Brad Johnson, who gave the promoter of the race a tour of the college campus and helped to secure an invitation to the race.
The kart that was used in the race had to be modified to meet regulation specifications. The modifications were made by NTCC students under the supervision of Whitworth.
“They only had a month to build the car. That was all the time we had from when we learned we would be racing until we had to be ready, so I did most of the setup to make sure it was safe, but the students did the work.” said Whitworh.
The team had to do a lot of work on the kart before the race, and they ran into unexpected obstacles that they had to address during the competition.
“The rear axle kept moving, the chain kept coming off, they lost the breaks at one point. They had to change the sprocket because the axle moving caused the chain to chew it up,” said Whitworth. However, despite all of the breakdowns, the team pulled together and out-performed many of the professional teams that they faced.
“I have been racing for a few years now,” said Adam Poland. “Everybody has to work together as a team, otherwise everything falls apart. I’ve never had a pit crew that worked together and knew what to do. As the weekend went on we got everything organized and ended up in the top three, it’s a great feeling.”