COVID 19 takes out indoor kart racing in Maine

Episode 317

May 24, 2020

MIK closes doors, no more indoor kart racing in Maine

After seventeen years of hosting thousands of kart races and associated events, Maine Indoor Karting (MIK) located in Scarborough, Maine has closed its doors and is selling all of their assets. The announcement caught this writer by surprise. The Snow family, since 2015, has been one of the sponsors of  the #10 HTF Motorsports kart which I raced at Spud Speedway in Caribou.

HTF Motorsports #10 with the sponsor line at front. MIK was a sponsor for five years. I had over 150 races at the Scarborough track. This is my Spud Speedway race kart. (Stephanie Ball photo)

At Maine Indoor Karting in Scarborough with Cumberland Motor Club members. Front left to right Ben Spatafora,Portland, Dan Morency, Freeport, and Rachael Clukey, Portland. Back row left to right Fernando Stelser, Brunswick, Mark Danielle, Pownal, yours truly, Michael from Freeport, Christian Banker, Scarborough, and Scott Guimond, Standish. Many times members of the Club would sharpen their skills at the facility when foul weather prevented them from holding outdoor autocross events. MIK was also the official repository of Cumberland Motor Club records. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The official announcement posted Friday on social media follows:

“To all our Maine Indoor Karting Race Fans,

What a ride it’s been! Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and the Covid-19 situation has just been one mountain that M.I.K. can’t quite climb.

So it is with great sadness but many fond memories that we are announcing that Maine Indoor Karting is closing its doors. M.I.K. is officially for sale.

Scarborough has been our home for seventeen years. Our kids who were babies when we opened in 2003 are now on our staff and two of them will be high school graduates next year. In between we have hosted thousands and thousands of race enthusiasts of all ages. So many of you we have gotten to know as friends and we will miss your laughter and friendly jeering as you come off the track with the adrenaline pumping.

So many highlights when we look back over the years – M.I.K. Memories will definitely be something that we can all share in the coming months, but for now, we remember that where doors are closed, windows open up. We are looking forward to what the next chapter holds…

Peace, love, and don’t forget to GO FAST & Have FUN!

Rick & Lori and the M.I.K. Staff

To contact us, please use the following e-mail:”

The sale

The nuts and bolts of the sale include a listing in Certified Business Brokers with Steve Strand the broker. The building has been sold and MIK would have needed to move out by July 2020.

The MIK listing on the site has the price which includes inventory, 27 karts, and business name. Anyone needing more information can email Rick and Lori Snow at the email listed above.

The MIK inside

After losing his job at Morgan Stanley brokerage, Rick Snow and his wife Lori decided to begin a business entirely outside the normal type of venture, indoor kart races in Maine. One of the keys to the start of MIK was the friendship they developed with an Elder of their church, John Muehleisen. Muehleisen and Snow were also retired Navy which gave them another common denominator.

Rick asked John to maintain the karts for MIK, a job which he held since the launch in 2003. Snow mentioned that John would be the last employee before closing the business for good.

Muehleisen has done a great job considering the large number of karts in the MIK fleet. I have been to many kart racing facilities with rentals. I always felt MIK karts were well maintained and safe. Very few issues in the more than 100 races I have run at the track.

Snow said, “One of the keys to a good start at MIK was the hiring of Air Force retiree Dan Darnstadt as track manager. Darnstadt and I were longtime Cumberland Motor Club members. With the maturity of the management team we were able to get a great start. Dan would commute from his home in New Hampshire every evening until closing.”

“Unfortunately Darnstadt died from lung cancer after two years as the track manager. The policies and procedures put in place by him guided us as the track owners and our employees for the next fifteen years.”

Snow estimated over 250 part time employees worked at MIK over the years. For many it was their first job. Many experienced the thrill of racing for the first time as employees.

One of the first was my son-in-law Marc Cole. After graduating from Norwich University in Vermont, he went to work at MIK evenings in 2003-04. He often speaks of the job and the owners Rick and Lori Snow. Cole remembers the positive influence they and Dan Darnstadt had on him and the business.

Evan Beaulieu, Durham, captures first in the mid-weight class at the Ninth Annual Dave Thomas 100 Make a Wish Foundation fundraiser in 2017. (Lindsay Ellison photo)

Super Late Model driver at Beech Ridge Speedway, Evan Beaulieu, commented on Facebook, “This is incredibly sad to see. I was 11 years old when I first got into a gokart, and that was at Maine Indoor Karting. We didn’t know anyone or anything about racing, and this place opened up and dad figured we’d give it a try. Turns out I was pretty competitive, and it was on from there.”

“I first learned to race there, I went to a summer school there, I did my first TV interview there, I won a few charity events there, they even helped my little business and I wrapped a few karts for them and most importantly, met many great people and made friends there.”

“Thank you Rick and Lori for your years of dedication to racing at MIK, wishing you both nothing but the best in the future, thank you for the memories!”

One major fundraiser at MIK was the ten year run of the Dave Thomas 100 for the Make A Wish Foundation. Rick Snow estimated that around $300,000 was raised for the charity. Overall he estimated that nearly $500,000 was raised for a multitude of charitable causes. Many free passes helped make a memorable unique corporate team building event.

Saco, Maine’s Kevin Girard Junior, owner/driver G.O. Motorsports, said this about MIK, “Thankful for the 4 years I was employed there. Best job a kid in high school could ever ask for! I still credit a lot of my racing ability to the thousands of laps I ran around that track! Good luck to you Rick and Lori on your future endeavors!”

Jason Phillips, “I’m sorry to hear this news, there is a lot of good racing and good memories there, raced there plenty of times with so many friends go up for the whole day and get a lot of racing in . But the great racing was I ran 9 DT100 making all the features. My last one was my best finish of 2nd. I will miss it but hopefully it will be back soon.”

Bob Barth, Buxton, whose sons Spencer and Nathan, race kart drivers and repeat kart champions said, “Sorry to hear this. The memories and and the thousands of laps Barth Brothers Racing have turned there will not soon be forgotten. We want to thank you guys personally for the support you gave our race team through out our karting career. Lots of friends and good times at MIK .Thanks for Everything!”

Teacher at Loring Job Corp, Kevin Cyr, Caribou,”I just wanted to say that MIK is a great place to have speedy fun. I love the feel and sound of the engine revving 4000 + RPMs on the straight aways. This a sad day to hear about closing.”

Alex Lacognata & Ryan Dyer

March 2018 Tenth Annual DT 100 Lightweight class winner Alex Lacognata (left) Ryan Dyer second (center) and 3rd place Charlie Buxton. (Lindsay Ellison photo)

Alex Lacognata, working at GMS Racing and living in Troutman, North Carolina, “I’ve been struggling to find words for this. Maine Indoor Karting was my home for so long. My grandfather used to drop me off there after school, and I’d bum a ride off of anyone and everyone to get home.

It’s where I got my “start”.

It’s where I won my first big race, the DT100 for Make-A-Wish.

It’s where I discovered my love for racing.

It feels like a death in the family. So many memories made here with countless friends.

Richard and Lori Snow. You don’t know how much this place molded my life. Thank you both so so much from the bottom of my heart.”

One of the most memorable MIK employees that I got to know was Ryan Dyer. Ryan and I spent much time together debriefing after I would turn laps at MIK. He would suggest a line and I would go out and attempt to follow his instructions.

His comments about MIK:

” I’m pretty bummed out about MIK closing. It opened so many doors for me over the last 7 years. I made great relationships, met some amazing people, and learned alot about business. If it weren’t for the track I would have never developed the passion that I have over the years for racing.”

“Huge loss, Rick and Lori are great people and I owe them so much for my time there!”

He heard about a Guiness World record set by an Australian Cam Wilson who ran 324 miles in 24 hours solo on an indoor closed course. Dyer talked it over with the Snows and they gave him the green light.

His first 24 hour solo stint, April 2014, de-throned the Australian after Dyer eclipsed the record pace driving 424 miles. American Trey Shannon in November 2014 upped the ante by 31 miles, 455 total miles in 24 hours .

Dyer was not through yet! He performed his second solo 24 hour attempt May 2015. He surpassed the mark of Shannon, however, some clerical errors were made and the result was not recognized.  Guinness still has the Trey Shannon record as the current titleholder. Both the men are good friends now and each lauds the accomplishments of the other.

Memories and Family

Lori’s favorite memory came three or four years after opening. A tour guide from California called and told Lori that some ladies in their 60’s and 70’s had asked to make MIK a destination when they toured Maine.

When they got to the track, some needed a little assistance to get in and out of the karts. They may have been a little slow, however everyone had a blast. So much so, that their designated time had run over and they had to be whisked off the track to get to their next appointment.

Rick was returning from a Chamber of Commerce meeting one day and noticed that a lady had jammed her kart under the fence, a nearly impossible thing to happen. He rushed to where she was and asked if she was okay and if she needed to go to the hospital.

She replied that she was alright just a little shook up.

Rick next noticed that she was in the parking lot crying. He once again asked if she was hurt when she replied, “No I am mad at my boyfriend! He put me into the wall.”

The Snows have twin sons, Alexander and Nathaniel, who literally grew up at MIK. They worked at MIK the last few years and will be graduating in 2021.

Their sister, Mira, is the miracle baby born in 2004 after the doctors told the Snows that due to problems with the twins delivery, no more children would be born. When Lori got pregnant, she called the OBGYN who ordered a sonogram which showed no heartbeat.

As she was listening to praise and worship music, Lori heard a heartbeat within her. Sure enough, a heartbeat was found and her daughter was okay. She lived up to her name Mira Faith Snow.

The Snows both commented during the interview that they had no doubt that when God closes one door He opens another and they will be okay. They also mentioned how the many friendships developed through the 17 years of ownership were a cherished part of their lives.

Best wishes to them.

The tradition of WAR helmet art

I found this video from Wyatt Alexander of Wyatt Alexander Racing that intrigued me. I remember the helmet worn by his grandfather Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame member Bob Alexander. And our radio station, WFST has utilized the hand painted signs of Mr Bob Collins mentioned in Wyatt’s short video clip. Enjoy:

What is going on here??? Photo of the week

On Friday May 22, 2020 at the Irving Truck Stop in Houlton, I saw this car transporter. The Volvo cars were all “wrapped” in these white covers. Does anyone know what and why this is done?The license plates said something about China. Email me your thoughts (HTF Motorsports photo)

Let’s Go Racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)












Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine