A Day at the Track

Gates Open at 7am If you’re new to NHKA, we suggest getting there a few minutes early to maximize your set-up time. Or you can arrive the night before (typically 6-9pm) and camp… that way you can have your pit area ready to go in the morning.

Get Your Pit Pass Before you enter the paddock you and anyone with you needs to buy a pit pass. At Canaan Motor Club they’ll be sold just inside the gate at the shed. Sign the waivers and get your pit pass wristband ($15). Drivers who are minors must have a parent or guardian present.

Go to the Race Track Paddock At Canaan, the paddock is impossible to miss. At NHMS, drive straight through the gate and pass the grandstands. You’ll find the Hill Course just up the hill on the left after you go by the tunnel to the speedway infield.

Set Up Your Pit Area An NHKA Official will direct you to the best available pit spot. Now it’s time to unpack and get ready for a day of racing.

Do You Need Fuel? Most racers run VP MS93 or MS98 race fuel, while shifters typically run either 110 or C-12. You can buy these from an NHKA Authorized Dealer.

Put Your Transponder on Your Kart Now is the perfect time to secure your scoring transponder onto the back of your kart’s seat. Everybody forgets at some point… and there’s nothing worse than getting scored in last place. Don’t own one? No problem, they are available for rent at registration.

Stop by Registration If you’re an NHKA Racing Series member you’ll just need to sign the waiver and pay for your race entry. If you’re not a member, we’ll need you to also complete an entry form. While you’re at it, you can become a member right on the spot. You’ll get a wristband to attach to your steering wheel as proof of payment.

Get a Pre-Race Safety Inspection Every kart and helmet, at every event, needs a pre-race safety inspection before going out on track. Push your kart on its stand to a designated area where an NHKA official will make sure your kart meets our safety requirements. If you pass you’ll be given yet another wristband for your steering wheel. If you don’t, you will be beaten. No, you’ll be be given all the help you need to make your kart safe.

Go to the Mandatory Drivers’ Meeting You’ll hear the latest info on the day’s schedule and procedures, as well as special announcements about the Series.

Practice Finally, it’s time for some fun! There are three practice sessions, each typically about ten minutes long. The first is the NHKA members warm up. It is all ages and classes, so no hot laps. Sometimes this members warm up happens as early as 8:15am (before the drivers’ meeting.) The second and third practice sessions are full speed, for members and non-members with kart classes split up into groups.

Check Your Practice Group There will be a sign posted near the pre-grid* indicating the order of practice groups (NOTE: This is for practice only. Expect the race groups to be different starting with qualifying.) Classes are grouped by kart speed and driver age. Unfortunately, track noise concerns prohibit public address systems. It’s up to you to pay attention to on-track activities and get to the pre-grid as soon as the group before yours goes out onto the track. You’ll catch on to the rhythm of the day, but if unsure just ask an official or fellow racer. *The pre-grid is the staging area in the pits from where karts enter onto the actual racing surface.

Check Your Race Group As you head back to the pits after your last practice session, check the sign for the order of race groups for the rest of the day starting with qualifying. This will likely be different than the practice order, so be sure to look.

Qualifying Your fourth session of the day will be five minutes of timed qualifying to set the grid for the heat race/pre-final. This part of the day blasts along very quickly, so pay close attention to who is out on track so you can get to the pre-grid as soon as the group before yours heads out onto the track. TIP: This is not a race, try to get a bit of track to yourself for a flying lap. After you get the checkered flag, pull up to (but not on to) the scales. An NHKA official will weigh you and your kart together.

Lunch Break Time to give our corner workers a break. We suggest you do the same. At both Canaan and NHMS there are food options at the track and very close by.

Inspect Your Kart You’ve put some laps on your kart, so it’s wise to use part of your lunch break to look it over to make sure nothing came loose or broke.

“Oh $%#+! It’s Broken!” Don’t panic. There are kart shops at the track with the parts and expertise to get you back out there racing. You can also ask another more experienced racer for advice. Everyone is eager help you have a great experience so you become an NHKA regular.

Heat Race/Pre-Final Head up to the pre-grid as soon as the group before yours goes out onto the track. An NHKA official will grid everyone based upon qualifying times. There will be one “out lap” before you get the green flag. Typically drivers run the first 2/3 of the out lap at about 80% of racing speed to put some heat in the tires, then grid back up nice and tight and slow the last 1/3 of the lap to take the green. Make sure you go to the scales when it’s over. And don’t worry, those butterflies will disappear the instant you put the hammer down.

Mind Your Racing Manners This is racing, it’s pretty much every driver for him or herself, but there are some unwritten rules:
BE PREDICTABLE: Everyone is out there going as fast as they can, they aren’t expecting to fly up on someone going slow or drifting around while they do whatever.
DON’T HOLD UP FASTER KARTS: This is especially true if the leaders are lapping you during a race. It’s up to them to get by you safely. Just hold your line, and point to where and when you want them to go by, and remember 2nd and 3rd might be coming through with the leader. Then try to keep up with them to learn.
BE AWARE OF WHO IS AROUND YOU: Unless you have the peripheral vision of an owl, you’re gonna need to turn your head every now and then. For example, if you flub a corner take a look before you jump back onto the racing line… you might be surprised to find somebody right there!
IF SOMETHING BREAKS, PUT A HAND IN THE AIR: And keep it there until you’ve made your way to safety.
RACE HARD BUT NOT OVER YOUR HEAD: It’s okay to push your limits and make mistakes. But if you take out another racer, don’t expect them to be very happy about it. And if you repeatedly run off the track and hit cones and stuff, plan on a word from the race director.

Final Race This race is the only on-track session that counts for NHKA championship points. The procedure is exactly the same as the heat race, the only difference is that the final will be a few laps longer. Don’t forget to cross the scales when it’s over.

Trophy Ceremony Usually within 30 minutes of the last race of the day crossing the scales, folks will gather around the podium for the presentation of the event’s awards. It sounds boring, but our racers are pretty comical. Often Mike, the Race Director, will kick things off with a few words (usually including “knock it off”) about what he saw on track. All in all, it’s an entertaining way to end a fun day.

Consider Helping to Take Apart the Track Gathering up the barriers and cones at the end of the day is done mostly by volunteers. It is never expected, but always appreciated! It’s also a great way to connect with the core NHKA community.

Clean Up Your Pit Area and Beyond This is super important! We need to leave the paddock in better condition than we found it. Start with your pit area and branch out into shared areas. Please take all trash home with you, most especially tires and fuel cans. Leave nothing on the ground: cigarette butts, bits of paper, clipped wire ties, nothing. And if you see trash that isn’t yours, please pick that up too because we don’t want the actions of a slob to tarnish the reputation of our entire club. We positively must show our respect and gratitude to the tracks who make grassroots motorsports possible and affordable.

Hit the Showers This racing is a sweaty, greasy business. If we’re at NHMS, and you’d like to wash up before hitting the road, stop by the new building across from the speedway tunnel for a free shower. Hopefully, Canaan Motor Club will have showers in the not too distant future.

While at the Track…
QUIET TIME: No starting race engines before 8:05am.
KART PARTS AND SERVICE: There is always at least one kart shop at every race.
RESTROOMS & FREE SHOWERS: At NHMS there are port-a-johns in the paddock, and a bathhouse with showers across from the tunnel. Canaan will have brand new facilities in the future.
SKATEBOARDS, BIKES AND SCOOTERS: Only when there are no on-track activities.
OVERNIGHT CAMPING: At NHMS and Canaan, it is $25 payable to track when you get your pit pass. Grills and small fires are permitted. There are no RV hookups at either track. Friday night entry is typically 6-9pm.
ELECTRICITY: Very limited, so a small generator is suggested. Preferably not a dirt-cheap, super-noisy one.
FOOD SERVICE: Breakfast, lunch and ice are available at the infield restaurant at NHMS. The hours can vary, so ask at the gate. Sometimes they open a stand nearby. There are also a couple well-stocked convenience stores right outside the track to the south, and a number of restaurants a bit farther in either direction. At Canaan, there is often food for sale in the big red building, plus the track is right near a small retail district.
GARAGES: There are no garages to rent at either track.
PETS: Leashed pets are allowed.
ALCOHOL: Consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted when all on-track activities are completed for the day.
TRANSPONDER RENTAL: You bet! Ask at registration.