The first turn comes quickly on High Voltage Indoor Karting's 1/4-mile track as you accelerate down the long straightaway. Streaks of rubber paint an unwelcome trail into the plastic barrier snaking around the tight hairpin and beyond the damaged garage door patched with plywood.
"We nicknamed it Dead Man's Curve," says co-owner Steve Madden. "If you don't use the brakes, you are going to do what you see there."
Experienced racers drift to the middle of the track approaching it, slow into the corner and punch the electric OTL Storm Series ProKart at the apex.
Madden, who has a background in information technology and racing, opened the Medina racetrack in March with his business partner Greg Cordray. All the tech and tinkering — you sign in via iPad to a live tracking system and race on a track made of a special concrete mixture for added grip — makes for a thrilling ride that attracts autocross and NASCAR racers looking to get their speed fix.
The course's technical north end tests your nerve and skill. Pull hard on the Formula One-style oblong steering wheel (round versions caused too much hand fatigue, Madden says) through a series of four turns. Then it's back across the timeline and down the straightaway at up to 45 mph.
Housed in a late 1800s former casting plant, the 40,000-square-foot space feels like a mini Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A bridge — a popular hangout on busy Saturdays — takes racers over the track and into a staging area. Four TVs placed throughout the track provide a quick glimpse at live lap times.
The second go-round feels smoother with fewer screeching of tires and more momentum through the turns. Most racers can get in 10 to 16 laps during an eight-person heat.
Out of our three-person group of first-timers, one of us turned in a respectable best lap of 27.390. But for those thrill-seekers looking for really good times (24 or 25 seconds is Jeff Gordon level), Madden insists on slowing down at the right times and nimbly transitioning back on the accelerator.
"If you really want to go fast, use your brakes," he cautions. "The really fast guys get it."
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