Karcher accelerates route to national kart stardom


January 09, 1994|By STAN DILLON

Wayne Karcher of Finksburg recently completed his best year in go-kart racing. Last weekend, he traveled to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the World Karting Association's annual awards banquet.

He finished fourth nationally in the Yamaha Light class in the WKA Briggs & Stratton National Dirt Series. It was quite an accomplishment for the driver who has been racing karts for only three years.

The National Dirt Series is an 11-race series that includes national events throughout the East Coast, including Daytona and Charlotte, N.C. In addition to national competition, Karcher raced regularly at the kart track in Shippensburg, Pa., as well as on dirt and asphalt tracks throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Toward the end of last season, Karcher began to think about moving in another division.

"I plan on moving up to the micro-sprints. I brought a new car before I left for Florida," said Karcher. "I have done all that I can in go-kart racing and now is the time to move on. I originally wanted to race micro-sprints, but wasn't old enough, so I raced go-karts until I could make the move."

Karcher has been involved in auto racing ever since he could walk. His father was a car owner in the late-model division and competed regularly at Lincoln, Williams Grove and Hagerstown speedways. He was always helping to work on the car and did everything from being an errand boy to tire man and gas man.

While attending high school, Karcher worked part-time at W&W Racing Tires in Finksburg. A few buildings away was Jim Wainwright and Westminster Kart Supply.

"I was always going up there after work and fooling around," said Karcher. "Jim kept talking to me about racing go-karts. Finally, my dad bought me one."

Karcher has done well in kart racing. He has raced on asphalt and dirt, but prefers dirt.

When the tracks close for the winter, he competes in indoor events and recently finished fifth in a karting event in the Harrisburg (Pa.) Farm Complex. In three years of racing, Karcher has collected more than 20 feature wins.

Switching divisions in racing always requires a breaking-in period when the driver gets to know the car and become comfortable with it.

Some drivers adapt faster than others, but Karcher doesn't expect any difficulty adapting to the larger and faster car.

"The other drivers who made the switch have said there isn't that much difference," said Karcher, 18. "There is more horsepower, a larger motor [100 cc vs. 250 cc] and suspension to deal with and a wing overhead. Other than that, there shouldn't be much difference."

For Karcher, the step up to micros is a long-awaited one. It is also part of a well-defined plan he has that he hopes some day will take him to his goal of racing professionally. After a couple years in the micro-sprints, he hopes to move on to the super sprints and eventually race full time across the country with the World of Outlaws.

Right now, Karcher plans to sell two of his three karts, keeping one to race when he doesn't have a micro-sprint race.

"It makes no difference to me what and when I race," said Karcher. "I'll race anything, as long as there is a race, I'll race it. I am not picky."

Karcher works as a machinist with M. S. Willet in Timonium during the day and attends Catonsville Community College part time at night. The rest of the time he is preparing the new car.

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