The first all-entertainment option out of the starting gate at newly renamed megamall Destiny USA (remember when it was called Carousel Center way back in. . . last July?) is the indoor go-kart extravaganza Pole Position Raceway. The track is located on the third level where the Regal Cinemas chain holds court, through a new hallway where the former ticket booth existed (it’s been moved to the side) and into the expansion. Just follow the sounds of screaming wheels.
The raceway takes up 43,000 square feet of real estate at the mall, enough to house a quarter-mile blast through hairpin turns and straight-aways. Unlike the go-karts of yesteryear with their heady aromas of fuel exhaust and burning rubber, the 60 low-riding vehicles at Pole Position Raceway are battery-powered for non-toxic emissions, something that was important for the LEED-minded Destiny folks. And battery-powered means that the controller for the races can shut down the action at any time whenever some speed demon has to be expelled for causing havoc on the European-style track.
Up to 10 drivers can take the field for a 14-lap jaunt, but they must wear head socks (which are laundered afterward) and a visored racing helmet, which comes in assorted noggin sizes from small to extra-extra large. Drivers also have to key in some personal statistics, including the name to be used for racing; one recent candidate’s moniker was Frankenstein, after the David Carradine character from the drive-in classic Death Race 2000. Then it’s literally off to the races, as the karters vie for—you guessed it—pole position in a rally that can reach speeds of 45 mph.
Take note of the speedway floor, which has been designed for more tactile grip where the rubber meets the road, as opposed to the gallons of graphite used at a bumper-car facility to keep things greasy. And after the laps are completed, the karts are moved to a pit area where 46 chargers await to refuel the vehicles for another go.
Karen Davis-Farage, the pert president and co-owner of Pole Position Raceway, says the Destiny gang couldn’t have been nicer during the courtship to land the tenant. “They pursued us!” she allows with a wide smile. And despite a late start in construction (the building permit was not issued until July), it was full-speed ahead to make it for the Oct. 1 opening, with 32 employees handling the customers. (Other entertainment Destiny diversions, such as a Regal IMAX screen and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar, are set to debut closer to Thanksgiving.)
Much like an amusement park ride, there are height mandates: 58 inches tall for adults and 48 inches for kids, who get to cruise in their own junior karts. Admission for adults if $23, and $20 for children, and Davis-Farage encourages purchasing two rides in advance so that drivers can hop back onto the track faster and bypass waiting again in the expected long lines. She also reports that leagues of summertime golfers have gotten together at the raceway’s Jersey City location for wintertime action; they’re probably the ones yelling “Fore!” as they zip past each other.
Pole Position Raceway will have operating hours on Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For information, dial 423-7223 or visit PolePositionRaceway.com.