The other day, this was on one of the TV networks. I had completely forgotten about this!! Soon, I recalled the characters, the racing sequences, the storyline of a troubled kid and his dad struggling to connect. The dad, Vic Davies (Randy Quaid), is a former kart racing champ and a top NASCAR mechanic, who wants to forget his racing past. He's an auto mechanic raising his son, Watts (Will Rothhaar) alone, after his wife had passed away. Watts hears about the local kart championship race, which he's dying to enter.
Watts has an intense rivalry with local "bad guy racer" Rodney Wells (Joe Dinicol). Rodney stops at nothing to make Watts look bad; and he and his crew are not above getting Watts arrested (more on that later). A little later, after more trouble, Watts sadly watches as Rodney and his dad buys the kart that he had set his eyes upon. At the same time, Watts develops a friendship (romance?) with Dahlia Stone (Amanda De Martinis), a graffiti artist who is probably as troubled as Watts himself. Could she help Watts to share his feelings and follow his heart?
In an effort to bond with Watts, Vic begins to train him in the fine art of kart racing, in which Watts proves to be a natural. With Vic's help and training, and a newly built kart, Watts enters the race. Watts meets his karting idol, champion racer Scott McKenna (David Gallagher), who it turns out, is very familiar with Vic's legendary karting past. During the race, Rodney plays dirty: he openly bumps and runs other drivers off the course. He runs Watts off the course, and Watts' engine is broken in the process.
During the rain delay, Vic and Watts ponder that may have to drop out, but then Scott saves the day by giving him a new engine. When the race resumes, Rodney tries one final time to take Watts out. He manages to take himself out (karma!). Scott pulls beside Watts and asks "How did you learn to drive like that?" "My dad taught me," Watts said. "He's the best of the best!" Our hero Watts then takes the win!
I don't really understand why Watts has never admitted to Vic, or to the cops, the main reason he keeps getting in trouble: his rivalry with Rodney. (Rodney's catchphrase: "the rules are there ain't no rules!") After all, Rodney was the one who ran Watts off into the pool at the beginning; and it was he and his crew, not Watts, that set off the sprinkler in the arcade bathroom! Later on, during the race, Rodney gains position by openly pushing others off the course. Why hasn't he been disqualified?
Also, the kart racing sequences during the race seemed a little bit exaggerated; I guess it's for the dramatic effect. Nevertheless, it's a pretty good story, with great kart racing action that kids (and kids at heart) would love. True, guys like Michael Schumacher, Jeff Gordon or Juan Pablo Montoya-- auto racing heroes who have cut their teeth on kart racing-- may not approve the racing portrayal. Who knows, maybe even racing pros like them may appreciate Kart Racer for what it is: pure entertainment.