By Kevin Wilson
Like methanol flowing through the engine of his go-cart, racing flows in the blood of Troy Trudo.
What began as a hobby years ago is now a character trait for the 11-year-old, who has chosen one-eighth of a mile of dirt over a 94-foot basketball court or a 200-foot baseball field.
“This is a lot funner than going out and chasing a baseball,” said Trudo, who plans to compete in the Speedway Karters of America (SKA) nationals July 20-23 in Amarillo.
Trudo first got into competitive racing in 1999, when he saw a brief in the newspaper about a race at Ned Houk Park. He won the first race he entered, and the rest was history.
Years later, Troy’s hobby has taken over the mobile home where he and his parents live. The entertainment center has the standard television and VCR, but includes a Rusty Wallace bobblehead doll and more than 90 trophies.
His parents have embrace Troy’s racing.
Father Kevin spends most of his time prepping the cart for race day, while mother Sherry was able to get her employer (GM Hamilton) to be one of Troy’s three sponsors.
The sponsors have been able to help with what has been an expensive sport. The Trudos are on their fourth trailer for the go-cart, and Kevin said that no part, “not even the bolts,” can be bought in Portales.
The only local merchant the Trudos use for racing is C&S, which sells methanol. Methanol is the same type of fuel that Indy cars use, and Kevin estimated that a 55-gallon drum costs $125 and lasts for roughly one year.
Kevin wasn’t willing to admit just how much money is invested in the go-cart, but he doesn’t mind spending it.
“We only have kids once, so they get it,” Kevin said.” We’ll have plenty of time for our stuff later.”
For now, the family tries to go to at least one race a week — provided it doesn’t interrupt with Sherry’s work schedule or Troy’s school.
Troy races in the Junior-1 division of SKA, but said he will compete in Junior-2 when he turns 12.
Troy, who describes himself at 4-foot-9, 115 pounds with gear, will compete in both the light and heavy divisions. To qualify for each race, Troy and his vehicle must weigh at least either 260 pounds (light) or 285 (heavy). Kevin said that Troy is running at 286 pounds right now, but they have a two-pound weight to add to the go-cart if necessary.
The go-cart has 8.6 horsepower, according to Kevin. While it could go at speeds above 100 mph, restrictions on the engine and other parts keep Troy’s go-cart to a more reasonable 55 mph.
The average track for go-cart races is one-eighth of a mile. Normal races are about 10 laps, but Kevin said the nationals will likely require 15-20 laps.
Troy isn’t afraid of the competition from across the country, nor is he afraid of the thought of a high-speed accident. His main fear, one of heights, would only be realized if he pursues his non-racing dream.
“I’d like to do something with NASA, as long as it’s not in the shuttle going up,” Troy joked. “I don’t care — they could give me a broom, so long as I’m not in the shuttle.”