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Remember Stocky’s Fast Track in West Bend?

December 18, 2021 – West Bend, WI – It was May 2017 when Jeff Stockhausen announced he was closing Stocky’s Fast Track in West Bend.

“I was probably thinking about it for a few years,” he said.

Dressed in a button-down green collared shirt with a Stocky’s emblem, Stockhausen sat at a round table in the upper banquet hall reminiscing about the good times at Stocky’s, his 35+ years volunteering with the Newburg Fire Department and how he made the final decision to pull the pin on the go-kart business.

In a letter to employees Stockhausen wrote,

“It is with sincere regret I am announcing after 16 years, Stocky’s Fast Track and Grill is closing as of May 28, 2017.

In 2000, I took the risk of starting this business with a vision to open a family-fun center featuring indoor electric go karting. My goal was to provide positive experiences for the entire community, including families, youths, adults and senior citizens.

Saying goodbye to the business, the people and the physical location is very difficult because I grew up in this area with the family farm in the Town of Trenton.

I am extremely proud of all we have accomplished with opening Wisconsin’s first indoor go-kart track; I had many years of success and appreciate the dedication and commitment of friends, family and employees.  I am even more grateful for the support of the community. It is now time for me to rekindle my career passion as a master plumber in the excavating and grading business my father Vince Stockhausen founded.”

It was 1999 when Jeff Stockhausen and his then-wife Sandy first thought about the go-kart business. In 2001 Stocky’s Grill opened in the building directly north of the current location.

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“We had an arcade with pizzas and soda,” said Stockhausen. “In 2006 we came over here, changed the name to Stocky’s Fast Track and we were able to give adults more to do.”

Stocky's fast track

Stockhausen said they were the only facility in the country to have a full bar/restaurant along with a go-kart track. “There was a go-kart track down on 76th Street in Milwaukee, Johnson Karts, and we got our first set of electric karts from there,” he said.

A unique business, Stock’s Fast Track drew quite a lot of its customers from outside West Bend and Washington County.

“We had people come in from all over the country, especially when they’d be racing at Elkhart Lake,” he said.

While indoor go-karting was really big in Europe, Stocky’s had to create events to stay up to speed.  “This is a tough business to have in this location because there’s not enough foot traffic,” said Sandy Stockhausen. “We’re a destination.”

In 2005 Stocky’s hosted Speedfest, the kickoff for the IRL IndyCar Series at the Milwaukee Mile.

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“We had four drivers here from IndyCar racing,” said Stockhausen. “I remember we had Chasin’ Mason, the band, and they set up on a semi-trailer.”

Stocky’s was famous for its birthday parties, indoor racing and arcade. During the early years the tickets to race came with a final finish time printed on paper and the authentic scoreboard was shipped in from Europe.

Discussion about the difficulty of the decision to close crept into conversation again. “It becomes part of who you are and it’s a part of your life; this is like a death,” said Sandy.

“Today is it,” said Jeff Stockhausen. “I just really want to thank family and friends for all their help and coming in and supporting the business.”

Moving forward, Stockhausen said he’d like to sell the business but since he didn’t get any takers he is opting to lease the space. “We’re going to have an auction on June 20-21, 2017 and everything is going to go,” he said.

What are your memories about Stocky’s Fast Track?

MEMORY: It was January 2016 when Jack Damage held a reunion concert at Stocky’s Fast Track Bar & Grill in West Bend.

Jack Damage Stocky's

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