Autoweek

Kids go karting with a purpose in new documentary Racing Dreams

By Jake Lingeman

The pressure to succeed in go-kart racing and beyond for three youths and their families is the subject of Racing Dreams.There comes a time in every aspiring race-car driver’s life when he has to make a decision: Commit to driving 100 percent, or lead a normal life. For a race-car driver, that time comes before high school.

Racing Dreams, by director Marshall Curry , is a documentary about three young go-karters who want to become professional NASCAR drivers. The story follows 12-year-old Joshua Hobson, 11-year-old Annabeth Barnes and 13-year-old Brandon Warren as they contend for the World Karting Association National Championship.

Joshua and Annabeth compete in the Junior Division, and Brandon is in the Senior Division. All three are near the point when they need to decide how serious they are about racing. The association is considered by some as the “Little League of NASCAR,” and advancing beyond it involves a new level of monetary commitment.

During the season, Joshua, Annabeth and Brandon battle on the racetrack and in their personal lives as the pressures of adult decisions weigh on them. Joshua commits to practice and study of the drivers in interviews. Annabeth complains about missing a friend’s birthday in one sentence, and then brags about racing more weekends than professionals in the next. Brandon deals with an unstable home life as he tries to control his temper on and off the track.

Racing Dreams is an endearing, sometimes sad tale of three adolescents finding their way in the pre-professional racing world. It provides an inside look at the community surrounding karting and what it takes to make it to the next level. The three subjects are clearly the stars of this documentary. They understand the choices they have and the consequences. If these kids are the future of racing, fans have a lot for which to be hopeful.

Racing Dreams premieres in Charlotte, N.C., on May 18 as part of the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The film will open in regional markets on May 21, then in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and other cities on June 11.