TIGARD, Ore. -- Most parents might not choose race car driving as a hobby for their kids but a Portland Dad has no regrets. His son, 15-year-old Luke Selliken, is about to compete for a world championship in karting.
“It was a hobby we discovered as I was searching for something that would give us time together,” remembered Garron Selliken. "He started riding in a tandem kart with me driving. He gave me a thumbs up and yelled: 'It’s good Dad!”
The hobby took off from there, eventually turning into a competitive sport for Luke.
On November 9 in New Orleans, Luke will drive a 200-pound kart at high speeds in the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.
“It’s so fast for the track. Going 80 miles an hour in a kart is like 120 miles per hour in a normal car,” explained Luke.
He's a student at Portland’s Catlin Gabel and trains at Sykart in Tigard.
Luke said it takes a combination of physical control and mental clarity to succeed in karting.
“It’s the toughest sport I’ve ever tried and it’s 90 percent mental,” he remarked.
“You need tremendous hand-eye coordination and have to be able to strategize,” added his Dad.
Luke has been described as the USA’s best hope at the race in New Orleans next week which will attract drivers from 60 countries. He hopes his success in the kart world will eventually turn into a NASCAR career.
Luke's family hopes to raise some money to help pay for his trip to New Orleans through a crowd- funding campaign on indiegogo.com
“A lot of professional drivers say karting is the hardest thing they’ve ever done,” said the 15-year old who dreams of taking it to the next level before he even has his Oregon drivers license. “Next summer I’ll get it but it takes a different kind of driving skill,” he concluded.