It's a lost cause
I've fought the urge to buy a Wii U specifically for Wind Waker HD for the better part of a year now. After a strong E3 by Nintendo and a convenient Mario Kart 8 promotion, I finally relented. Between flipping through old Zelda titles, I make time for the occasional race or two of Mario Kart.
The problem with Mario Kart 8 is that I haven't yet found a consistent strategy to win. In fact, more often than not, they end in defeat. (If you're not first, you're last; I saw it on a bumpersticker.) These are a few of the techniques that I've tried thus far; I don't recommend any of them.
1. Being in first place the entire time: Look, I know a thing or two about racing games. I've played your Out Runs and your Forzas and your Cruisin' the Worlds. A consistent theme across all those is that you want to be in first place. That's where the winners hang out.
Not so true in Mario Kart 8. "Leading the pack? Cool. Here's some lightning and a blue shell for you two hundred meters from the finish line. Enjoy fourth place." Point taken, Mario Kart Overlord. I'll scratch that obviously flawed strategy.
2. Being in last place the entire time: I didn't have high hopes for this one, but sometimes you need to think outside the box. Turns out, not that far outside the box. I got some better items, and I slung some blue shell shade of my own, but it was little consolation.
3. Always be Toad: Toad's the best character, so why wouldn't I always be him? He doesn't guarantee victory, I guess. But, he's still the most awesome by far, so I'm not switching anytime soon.
4. Have a kid play for you: Okay, Mario Kart 8 has that cartoony kid look about it, maybe it takes some Peter Pan forever child magical bullshit to win. Nope. Kids are dumb and their motor skills are suspect at best. And now my brand new GamePad is all sticky and gross. I returned it to Wal-Mart (The child, not the controller; they'll take anything back).
5. Play The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instead: This might not directly help the cause, but I hate everything a whole lot less than I do when I play Mario Kart, and Ezlo's never a jerk.