Westside Senior Hailey Kirchhevel Ranks in Go-Kart Competitions


Chloe McIntosh

Hailey Kirchhevel celebrates after ranking fifth at Little Sunset Speedway.

Many Westside students take advantage of the athletic opportunities that the school offers, but for senior Hailey Kirchhevel, professional go-karting held more excitement.

Inspired by family friends, Kirchhevel began professionally go-karting during her freshman year.

“We were hanging out at [a family friend’s] house,” Kirchhevel said. “I sat in [his go-kart], and they said, ‘Oh, you fit perfectly’ as a joke. Later, it turned out not to be a joke. We went to watch one of the races, then the next week, I was in the car and racing.”

Kirchhevel has ranked well at many different races, including ranking second in Tuxedo Park Raceway and fifth in Little Sunset Speedway. Rankings are awarded throughout a series of different races. Awards for qualifying complete practice laps are given based on the best time. A race against other participants will be awarded for position, determining where the racer starts for the feature, which is the last race that counts for overall placement. Rankings are given based on the total points received.

Kirchhevel said practicing laps around the racetrack with other drivers helped her to become more confident in her abilities.

“When I first started, I would ask to start in the back to get more experienced,” Kirchhevel said. “I think racing with different experienced drivers has helped me gain experience.”

Kirchhevel mainly races twice a week in the summer to balance her school schedule. Outside of the race track, she also participates in a school-sponsored sport: bowling.

“It’s more costly to do something not in school,” Kirchhevel said. “[In] school events, you have more of a team, and in [go-kart] racing, it’s more individualized.” 

Kirchhevel explained how racers acquire the funds necessary for the activity.

“Typically a racer will get sponsors for various events to help with finances,” Kirchhevel said. “I have gotten sponsors from asking small businesses.”

Kirchhevel’s most recent event was the Blue River Raceway in Crete, Nebraska, where she placed in the top five.

“It was our last [race] of the season, so it was very competitive,” Kirchhevel said. “The track was super bumpy, but we had a good qualifying time.” 

Kirchhevel hopes to continue go-karting and plans to race a full series this summer. 

“It’s a really cool experience,” Kirchhevel said. “It’s something different that a lot of people don’t do, and having a different experience is super cool.”