Armed with a few laps in a go-kart and a perplexing amount of self-confidence, my 9-year-old fancies himself an exceptionally talented driver.
Anytime we go to Pigeon Forge, he wants to race.
And not only does he want to race, he wants to prove himself in the fastest go-karts around.
There are at least three major challenges that will prevent him from proving himself in the fastest go-karts:
- He’s trash: We let him ride the regular karts, but he refuses to use the brake. He just crashes full speed into the kart in front of him, even in the pits. It’s why I don’t let him do it anymore. He needs a HANS device.
- He’s fairly little: He doesn’t typically meet the height and age requirements for the truly fast karts.
- Nobody knows for sure which karts are the fastest in Pigeon Forge. Even if a little man was allowed in the karts, and even if I could convince him that braking is not just an abstract idea, I couldn’t put him in the fastest karts in Pigeon Forge because I don’t know for sure which ones are the fastest.
Go-kart tracks are a time-honored tradition in Pigeon Forge
Every year – sometimes twice a year – my uncles would come down from Indiana and we’d hit the Slick Track, a small oval where the karts were quick enough and the employees were lax enough that we could get out there and push a boundary or two. It seems my son JP comes by it naturally.
Back then, we didn’t care about the fastest kart. As long as they were suitably quick and competitive, we could get in there and race a little.
The trick was watching the races prior to yours, to scout out the karts that were running a little hot that day.
The idea was the karts were essentially the same, with the same governor settings to keep wannabes like us from getting out there and getting hurt, or worse, breaking one of the karts.
But through the course of the day, a few karts would separate themselves from the pack whether through an employee fiddling with the settings or just getting knocked around.
The track would always have a few hot karts and a few duds, and often the best race would be to see who got to the good karts first.
Still, the fascination for thrill-seekers with which track has the fastest karts remains.
There seem to be two clear leaders, each claiming to have the fastest karts in town. And yet, neither location would provide an actual MPH and seemed generally cagey about the whole thing when I inquired.
Regardless, I think either will get the job done.
1. Xtreme Racing Center (Speed: “Fastest in town”)
If I was betting on it, I’d say these are the fastest karts in town.
The Xtreme Racing Center features three tracks, two of which run Sodi go-karts with Honda GX270cc engines.
In the wild, off the showroom floor, these style karts can run 60 to 80 miles per hour.
In the past, Xtreme has promoted its karts as running up to 40 mph, but when I tried to confirm speeds, a spokesperson for the facility would only say that speeds depend on the talent level (and the size) of the driver.
To run one of the two pro-style courses, you must be at least 11 years old and 56 inches tall. To race the “Xtreme” course, you must first qualify on the “pro” course.
At the time of this writing, the price is $29.99, which essentially covers two races. Additional races are $12.99.
Xtreme also offers an elevated course, which is a 1,500-foot high track. You must be at least 56 inches tall to ride solo or must be 16 years old to drive a partner in one of the double karts.
Currently, single riders are $10.99 and double karts are $12.99. However, attraction pricing is subject to change. Always call ahead to confirm when in doubt.
The Xtreme Racing Center is located at 3144 Parkway in Pigeon Forge between lights #5 & #6.
2. Blake Jones Racing Center (Speed: “Fastest in town”)
Also advertising the fastest go-karts in town is the Blake Jones Racing Center, which features a covered, open-air, figure 8 slick track and an indoor, eco-friendly electric kart track with various speed settings for different skilled drivers.
The electric karts are not a serious contender for the fastest karts in town but do offer a good option for racers of all ages to test things out.
I presume, the figure 8 slick track is where Blake Jones can claim the fastest go-karts in town. I can’t tell you which is faster, Blake Jones or Xtreme, but the karts here are very fast.
At the time of this writing, prices are $10 for a single and $14 for a double.
Blake Jones Racing is located at 2891 Parkway in Pigeon Forge between lights #4 & #5.
After Blake Jones and Xtreme, there is a drop-off in speed for other tracks, most of which do not even try to claim the fastest kart title.
However, it’s important to note speed isn’t everything.
Interesting tracks and competitive racing more than makeup for any perceived lack of speed. Here are some other tracks where your family can have some fun.
3. The Track (Speed: Not the fastest in town)
Yet another attraction that declined to comment on actual speed is The Track.
The Track is my family’s favorite destination for racing. The facility includes several track options including a family track and kiddie karts that allow even our smallest to try her hand at racing.
In addition to multiple tracks, there’s mini golf, blaster boats, an arcade and a decent number of small carnival-type rides for the kids.
The only downside is, The Track uses a confusing points system instead of simply setting an amount for the ride. You buy points and then use the points to “pay” for go-karts or other activities.
It reminds me of the time I went to the Netherlands in the pre-European Union days. The exchange rate between the Dutch Guilder and the American Dollar was so confusing, I’m pretty sure I paid $75 for an open-faced ham sandwich and a warm Fanta.
Can we just pay with money, please?
The Track is located at 2575 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near traffic light #3.
4. SpeedZone Fun Park & LazerPort (Speed: Not the fastest in town)
Both owned by Dubby’s Attractions, the same company that owns Xtreme Racing, SpeedZone and LazerPort lay no claims to the fastest karts, but both offer interesting racing experiences.
SpeedZone offers four tracks including the Tennessee Twister, a wild wooden coaster track that offers twists and tight turns and tons of fun.
LazerPort offers a 50-foot spiral track that drops, twists and turns riders as they race to the bottom. The course includes a breathtaking 40-foot hill.
At the time of this writing, prices for a single rider are $9.99 and $11.99 for a double.
You must be 4 feet, 8 inches tall to drive alone and at least 16 years old to drive double.
Kids must be at least 3 years old to ride double.
SpeedZone is located at 3315 S River Road in Pigeon Forge. LazerPort is located at 2782 Parkway in Pigeon Forge.
5. Fast Tracks (Speed: Not the fastest in town)
Offering three different courses, including an elevated track that uses a little help from gravity to get you up to “lightning” speeds.
There is also a pro and a junior track.
The elevated and pro tracks are $13 each. The junior track is $8.
Fast Tracks is located at 2879 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, between traffic lights #4 & #5.
6. NASCAR SpeedPark (Speed: Not the fastest in town)
Another entrant in serious consideration for best racing in the area, the NASCAR SpeedPark offers a wide array of karts and tracks to fit all levels of drivers and skills.
The park also features an arcade, a mini golf course and other rides.
At the time of this writing, an unlimited ride wristband is $29 while a rookie wristband is $24. NASCAR is located at Nascar Dr. in Sevierville.
Who do YOU think has the fastest go-karts in town? Let us know in the comments below.