A sports (note)book of dreams

by By Jeff MacGregor

A very big American weekend for movies and dreams. Nothing unusual there; the movies have always had a reciprocal relationship with our dreams, each informing the other from the very earliest days of the medium. From George Méliès to Freddy Krueger, and from “Dreamscape” to “Hamlet” and “What Dreams May Come,” movies are the conscious reflection of our collective dream life.

Sports are too, of course.

So the terrific new documentary “Racing Dreams” succeeds not just as a snapshot of sporting life in 21st-century America, but as a trackside dream notebook and Rorschach blot.

The story of three tweens and their NASCAR ambitions, it is a straightforward and unsentimental survey of go-kart hotshoes and young love, of money and sweetness and bad fathers, of broken hearts and soured futures.

Wherever you are, please find it. Already in limited release, it opens this week in Los Angeles.

I’m a sucker for NASCAR, of course, and for racers and racing generally. So I’m not surprised to see NASCAR on the verge of revamping its championship system again. “The Chase,” with its late-season points reset, has never made any sense except as a marketing gimmick. The tour needs to go back to the old Paleolithic system of points won across the grind of an entire season.

I see, too, that they’re trying to phony up some sort of statistics now for the teams and the cars and the drivers. “Quality Passes” is a statistic? Really?

What NASCAR sells is heroes. Folklore. Dreams