Winged Outlaw Dirt Karts- The Road to Knoxville

Winged Outlaw Dirt Karts- The Road to Knoxville
Monday, August 04, 2014
Winged Outlaw Dirt Karts- The Road to Knoxville

by Joanne Cram

With over thirteen current Knoxville sprint car drivers to date climbing the ranks from English Creek Speedway to Knoxville Raceway, the Winged Outlaw Dirt Kart may be the place to start if your dreams include racing the Sprint Car Capitol of the World. The great thing about Winged Outlaw Dirt Karts, is that you can start working towards your dreams at almost any age!

A Winged Outlaw Dirt Kart is different than a standard “flat style” go kart. The differences between the two are pretty dynamic; the Winged Outlaw Dirt Kart has a sprint car-style cage, making it look like a winged sprint car. Traditional go karts have a flat look, and do not resemble a winged sprint car in the least. In addition to the appearance of the two styles of karts, the tires differ as well. The flat go kart tires are fully enclosed, comparable to NASCAR style racing where drivers might be prone to bumping and rubbing wheels during the race with little in the way of vicious crashes. The Winged Outlaw Dirt Kart is an open wheeled kart, where that style of racing is just futile, and will lead to most certain carnage.

The karts begin in a AKRA Clone Motor, at just 6.5 horse power, reaching speeds of 45-55 miles per hour. This is a speed most suited for kids as young as four and five years old. As a driver becomes more skillful and heavier, the horsepower increases as well to a 125 cc motor which can pilot the driver to speeds of 55-65 mph. As the drivers move up into the most powerful of the karts, the 500 cc/100 horse power engine, the weight to horsepower most closely resembles a sprint car compared to any kart that is available to race. This kart can reach speeds of up to 80 mph around a 1/6 mile track. This provides the upcoming driver to be a little more prepared when making the switch between Winged Outlaw Dirt Kart to a 305, 360, or 410 ci sprint car.

With so many Winged Outlaw Dirt Kart drivers mastering karts and moving over to dirt track sprint cars, one would wonder where just such karting experience is found. Here is where Dan Ebright comes into the picture. Ten years ago this summer, he and Rick Shilling (Tony and Casie Shilling’s father- 305 and 360 drivers at Knoxville) began work on the dream of building a facility that could do just as described above: be a platform for young and old drivers to explore their dreams and get some laps in a more affordable way. Dan moved from the west coast where dirt track racing is

having a difficult time staying afloat with all of the urban sprawl eating up valuable dirt track land. Dan envisioned a smaller Knoxville style dirt track that was not too far from the famed half mile. He settled on a piece of ground just outside of Melcher, about 15 minutes south of Knoxville off of highway 14. The track is a 1/6, short 5th mile dirt track. They race every Friday night from April through August. This is a family friendly track; all kids under 17 are free, and adult tickets are just $5. Complete with a concession stand, there’s not a cheaper way to spend a Friday night in Marion County! Even the pit admission is reasonable, at $15 per person. Due to the nature of the racing venue at English Creek Speedway, there is no age restriction in the pits, but each person must sign the waiver and pay the pit pass.

After the track was established, English Creek Speedway decided to host the Knoxville Outlaw Dirt Kart Nationals. The first running of this event ran during the day, the same weekend of the Knoxville Nationals. When Knoxville Raceway donated lights to English Creek, the venue was able to be hosted at night, and so as to not conflict with the sprint car Nationals, the event moved to the Monday and Tuesday of the Nationals week. Growing in popularity over the years, the event has drawn drivers from all over the country, past and present karters alike; including Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne, JJ Yeley, Robby and Doug Wolfgang, and the Haudenschilds. You never know who you might see behind the wheel of an Outlaw Kart at the English Creek Speedway Knoxville Outlaw Dirt Kart Nationals.

This year’s event is Monday, August 4th and 5th. Gates open at 5:30, and racing starts at 7:00. Each competitor pays a $50 entry fee, and 100% of that money goes back into the purse. The winner of the 500 cc class takes home $2,000.

You never know, you might be watching the next Knoxville Nationals race winner in an Outlaw Dirt Kart at English Creek Speedway! You can visit their website for upcoming events and information on how to get started in kart racing at