If you asked freshman John Kotyk which was more important to him, school or go-karting, he would have no hesitation when answering. The past three years of his life have been filled with traveling the U.S., racing in over 300 competitions, and making a name for himself in the go-karting industry. He has even found a way to tie in racing with school. His major? Mechanical engineering. Something he hopes to use in the future to work on cars.
Q: How did your career in go-karting start?
A: My Dad actually wanted me to start when I was little, but for some reason, I think I was scared and cautious because it can be a dangerous sport, so I didn’t do it. But then a few years ago, we decided to go for it and we bought a cart and it just started from there. Now, when I look back on it, I get mad at him for not starting me when I was younger.
Q: How did you become sponsored?
A: I had been racing about two years when Ocala Gran Prix approached me to be a part of their team. It’s great because I’m one of the few kids who are fully sponsored, which means that the company pays for everything. And when I’m not racing, I’m always there on the weekends practicing.
Q: Why do you love go-karting?
A: It’s just a really exciting sport. Indy racecar driver Dan Wheldon once said, “It’s the purest form of motor sports.” I actually got a chance to race with him before he passed as well as race some other NASCAR racers.
Q: What is your favorite race and best award?
A: I actually just got back from Rotax Grand Nationals in Indiana. I was there for about a week and a half and I placed 8th out of 50 racers. It’s about 30 laps for 20 minutes. They actually send the top three winners to world finals–this year it was in Spain–all expenses paid. I hope to try again next year and one year win it.
My best award would have to be the regional champion for TAG, a series done in Florida with racers from all over the states.
Q: What is your ultimate goal?
A: I really want to get into professional racecar driving. It’s really big in Europe, but not as much here. NASCAR or Indy racing would be the dream. Go-karting is really physical because it’s so demanding, but from what I hear, racecar driving is not as quick moving as go-karts. I’m hoping that by working hard and just getting my name out there that I will be approached and asked to drive for someone.