Kart racing turns out to be the way to go for Finksburg's Brittain Drag racing became 'too expensive' for him

MOTOR SPORTS

January 24, 1993|By STAN DILLON

Finksburg's Charles Brittain always has enjoyed the fast lane.

He has been involved in racing for more than 18 years and was a regular at Dorsey Speedway as a crew member on a championship late-model team. He raced a couple of times in the daring Figure-8 division.

After Dorsey closed, Brittain turned to drag racing, where a lot of his friends were competing. He found it less exciting and more expensive than oval racing. Three years ago, he discovered an affordable way to race -- go-karts.

"Racing cars was becoming too expensive," said Brittain. "I was into drag racing until three years ago. I had a 1972 Chevelle that ran the quarter-mile in 12.84 seconds."

Even though he ran in Class II, it still cost money.

"Fuel, tires, there were too many things that could happen to the car and it was my only car. So I got out of it," he said.

With racing in his blood, Brittain began his search for a less expensive way of racing. He raced a couple of enduro events at Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa. Although enduros are designed to be an inexpensive way for amateur drivers to enjoy the thrill of racing, it can turn into an expensive outing in no time at all.

One race can wipe out an old car and a $500 or more investment. This happened to Brittain in one race when he was rammed from behind before any laps were completed. If he wanted to race again it meant he had to start all over again.

Brittain's search took him to a racer's auction three years ago. He never had given kart racing any consideration. But that night changed his mind.

"There was a kart for sale," Brittain recalled. "I said what the heck, I'll try it."

Kart racing was completely new to Brittain. He turned to Jim Wainwright for assistance.

"He helped me to get started," Brittain said. "I don't know what I would have done without him. He set the kart up for me and I have been going ever since."

Although Brittain's past experience with stock cars proved helpful once he got started, he still had a lot to learn.

"It is totally different, it's quite a change," said the 37-year-old. "The first year I had the problem going through the turns. I use to slide around them rather than driving through them."

Race by race, Brittain learned fast.

"There are a lot of trick stuff to learn with karts," Brittain said. "You just don't go out in one and drive. You have to get the gear right, many times twice in one night. If you have just the wrong air pressure in the tires, it can send you out to lunch."

Last December, Brittain put it all together as he won the indoor event at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in the super stock light class.

It was also a good way to end the season.

Brittain has an impressive list of sponsors. Chartley Mobil in Reisterstown, where Brittain works as service manager, is his major sponsor. Other sponsors include NAPA Auto Parts of Reisterstown, Mike Gifford Snap-On-Tools, Gary's Radiator of Westminster, Rowland Excavating of Reisterstown, WesBen Body & Fender of Baltimore, Jim Wainwright of Westminster and Chris Larkins.

Now Brittain is looking forward to the new year. He plans to continue racing on the dirt tracks in Hunterstown and Shippensburg, Pa., and will be doing more asphalt racing at Monrovia Raceway.

"I like to move up to the faster two-stroke Yamaha karts next, I am seriously thinking about that. Then maybe on to enduro karts down Daytona. Then go on to micro sprints," he said.

Brittain has two karts and four motors and plans to do as much racing as he can in the new season. He has found an affordable way to go fast.

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