Drivers pursue go-cart glory

- Inside a warehouse in Jersey City, 10 men, only one wearing driving gloves, all adults with jobs they work by day to survive, spend their Tuesday nights racing go-carts.

Before Michael Delavan and the other nine gentlemen in RPM Raceway's Go-Cart Racing League started — or at least engaged — their electric engines Tuesday, Delavan sat third in the league's points standings.

"It's a battle," Delavan said. "Eh, I'd like to be first,"

"It's a lot different than coming here on a normal day because you're dealing with guys who are very fast and they're kind of pushing it instead of just fooling around," automotive engineer Brian Spatz said.

He lined up before the first of Tuesday's three races in the sixth position. he hoped finally finished adjusting to the league's heightened speeds and intensity to make his move toward its points leaders.

"Aggressive—aggressive and focused," Delavan said.

"Anybody who comes in with the racing jacket and leather gloves, they got to be the best," said Jose Santos, the race controller.

RPM trusts Santos, 21, to supervise these drivers handing him the remote capable of controlling the speed for all carts, some carts, or just one rogue cart.

"I feel like I'm the boss of the whole race. Someone's not listening, I slow them down," he said. "You're following directions I let you continue at the top speed."

These carts top out at 45 mph on straightaways. The league's final week concludes with a 30-minute endurance race.

"We've got some carts that are better than others, for sure," Delavan said.

"I think sometimes we all kind of exaggerate it because we don't feel good about a run," Spatz said.

Scoreboards at various positions around the track list average speeds, split times, and the positions of these 10 men racing only for — and likely in some cases against — their egos the thrill of competition that intoxicating sensation of speed and the feeling of climate-controlled wind against their visor-ed faces on a dark rainy January school-night in a competition with spectators numbering in the single digits.

But fueling them all with some whisper of accomplishment motivation and electric-powered rear-brake glory with which to survive the monotony of winter.

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