Culture News

Goodbye, Speedway Raceway; Hello, K1 Speed

The bad news is Phoenicians who feel the need for speed lost a locally-owned business in the Speedway Raceway this year.

The good news is another go-kart track business has moved into the building - K1 Speed.

Off-road racer "Pistol" Pete Sohren had rented the large building on south 21st Street since 2003, where he had both his garage and the Speedway Raceway go-kart track.

The massive yellow brick building can be prominently seen from Interstate 10 in central Phoenix, near Buckeye Road, but Sohren said the traffic needed to sustain the place just wasn't there.

K1 Speed seems to be doing better since opening in Phoenix last month. There are eight other locations of K1 throughout the U.S., and though they kept Speedway's yellow, red, and black color motif on the building, they've completely remodeled the interior.

The race track area, which was dark during Speedway's days, is larger, with tons of lights overhead. The walls are painted white, which gives the place a brighter, more open look. The go-karts are red, shiny, and best of all - electric.

There are several advantages to electric karts; in addition to being better for the environment than gas karts, they're also really quiet. K1's electric karts are 20 horsepower, and can reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour.

​This is already a popular afternoon hangout for families. Kids can compete in "junior races" while their parents can hang in the lounge areas. The lounge area closest to the front door includes arcade games, a pool table, mannequins dressed in full race car suits and helmets, and a series of racing paintings.

The lounge area closest to the track includes race car chairs, end tables made from tires, and pristine leather couches. There's also a race car on display, from professional race car drive (and K1 Speed co-owner) Boris Said.

Said drove this car in the NASCAR Napa Auto Parts 200 and the Circuit Gilles Villenueve in Canada.

Racers at K1 can see their results on one of the track's many flat-screen TVs, and trophies can be purchased in the gift shop so everybody feels like a winner. Races prices start at $20 for a 14-lap, "Arrive & Drive" race, and there are discounts for buying multiple race passes (Monday through Thursday, you can buy three races for $40).

K1 Speed is located at 2425 S. 21st Street. Call 602-275-5278 or visit for more information.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea