Friday, October 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Who knew Blue Max was such a breeding ground?

By
March 26, 2011 |

The track has what’s called Concrete Corner, a hard, three-turn chicane that — if negotiated well — gives the racer a chance to breathe down a long straightaway before a hairpin takes everything a driver has to stay under control …

The likes of Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Kurt Busch have seen their share of failed navigations at this track, dubbed by many as one of the most technical courses in the west.

Also called “a driver’s track that presents a challenge while enhancing driving skills,” this layout has seen Grand Am giant Memo Gidley earn his stripes while other professionals — Scott Pruett and A.J. Almendinger, for instance — have come away shaking their heads.

So, where is it?

Laguna Seca, Infineon Raceway? No, it’s right here, just outside of Davis on County Road 102 — the Blue Max Go-Kart Track. Those big racing names, while competing in Davis as kids in karts, really have been part of the raceway’s history.

“This track has generated numerous racers,” Blue Max secretary Todd Browne explains. “The majority of racers (like Gordon and Labonte) started in karting.”

And, while he may not be on the same fast track as NASCAR legend Gordon, Davis High speedster Sean Winograd has always been a racing and automotive enthusiast.

When he first arrived in Davis (from Manhattan Beach in 2006), Winograd was looking for “auto-type things” to do in town. He discovered the Blue Max track and its racing club.

“I went into karting with little knowledge about the sport and the mechanics of the karts,” the 16-year-old Winograd continues. “But everyone has been very helpful at Blue Max getting me up to speed, literally.

“Everyone is very friendly and the competition is top-notch. It’s great to share laughs with the other drivers off track, and have a great time racing on the track.”

Winograd and his 10-year-old sister Erica have taken quickly to the track. Both are champions (Sean won the 2009 HPV-2 division and Erica won the Challenger Class for new racers in ’09). Their sponsors are Hanlees Auto Group and Davis Auto Care.

The 4.0 DHS student — Hanlees’ Brandon Flood is his pit crew chief — races for Blue Max in today’s Tour de Harity event at Infineon Raceway.

“As you can see, Blue Max has been a wonderful part of our lives here,” Winograd added.

But, like Browne and his son Grayson, Blue Max members and competitors come from all over Northern California to gather at the half-mile test track, which is built on a former dump site and leased from the city of Davis for $1 a year.

Gordon (Vallejo) and Labonte (Roseville) had snap commutes to Blue Max, compared to the trek the Brownes make from San Jose.

Two years ago, Todd and Grayson Browne — after discovering karting while visiting Laguna Seca — took up the sport together.

Seeing Blue Max as one of the top tracks in the west, they were drawn to compete for the Davis club.

“My son and I have developed a tremendous bond since we began this adventure,” Browne says. “Learning and growing (together) … the younger racers learn many life lessons: teamwork, competition, sportsmanship, responsibility, focus and respect being a just a few.”

Father races a little, but Browne says his son is the talent.

The Blue Max family, as Browne calls it, grows on race days as families come to town on weekends for what can make the track parking lot look like a miniature NASCAR outing.

Barbecues are ablaze. A group from Santa Rosa could be mingling with Davis folks while Browne and his entourage might be mixing with Roseville’s Mike von Quilich.

“During the season, it’s not unusual to see several families camping out,” von Quilich says. “(They’ll) have a group campfire, catching up on all the latest racing scuttlebutt and then racing HARD against each other the next day.”

Von Quilich’s son Jack, 9, is the future Jeff Gordon in this household. But Jack’s mom, Heather, and 4-year-old sister, Natalie, always attend race day.

“Natalie is there for moral support for Jack and NEVER fails to give him instruction (or orders) when he’s on the starting grid,” his dad continues. “For our family, racing is a way of life and everyone is involved.”

Karting as a sport began in the early 1950s. A decade later, the old Davis landfill was dedicated to bicycle motocross, but it evolved in 1972 to become the Blue Max Go-Kart Track and Club.

The track is open daily — except Wednesdays — from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for practice (or weekend races).

President Leo Refsland and his board of directors say safety is first, competition second, camaraderie next.

So how does somebody get involved in karting — and what are the costs?

“For a two-stroke kart, one can pick up a complete, used, competitive kart starting around $2,500,” Browne offers. “There are supporting tools, stand and maintenance items one needs as well.”

Browne says new karts and engines can run $9,000, then there is the trailer and all the support equipment. Racers like Winograd are smart — and lucky in some cases — to have sponsors.

Getting involved is easy. Blue Max and other northland race courses have frequent weekend racing. Although the rain washed out Sunday’s slated event — a club “Backwards Race” — Blue Max next presents a Pre-Outlaw Race on Sunday, April 10.

There are periodic open houses and more information about getting involved is available at http://www.bluemaxkartclub.com.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8047.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

    By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Testimony begins in Winters murder trial

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

     
    Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hong Kong protesters to vote on staying in streets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yoga and chanting workshop planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

     
    Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    ‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Celebrate origami at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

    Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Day of the Dead folk art class set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Flea Market planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Weir honored, a year early

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

    For a good cause

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

     
    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

     
    Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    The magic is long gone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Rights beget responsibilities

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Water returns to its source

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A solution to the drought

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Experience nature’s treasures

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Subs have other concerns

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    What’s next with Ebola?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    More theories on the abstention

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sharks suffer from road woes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

     
    Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

    .

    Obituaries

    Ann Foley Scheuring

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Lewis Melvin Dudman

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B3