Movie Review: 'Racing Dreams' Worth Seeing For Any NASCAR Fan

Brandon Warren's grandfather is speaking to the aspiring driver.

"Life ain't all real smooth," the grandfather says. "There are lots of hills and bumps in it."

That's made clear in the new documentary film Racing Dreams, which spends a season following three up-and-coming kart racers who hope someday to be NASCAR stars.

But the road to the big time is fraught with obstacles: Lack of money, questions of motivation and politics. Racing Dreams allows us to watch as the young drivers and their families try and navigate their way to the finish line.

It's a fascinating study in what it really takes to reach the top levels of stock car racing.

NASCAR fans often hear drivers allude to how they got their start in racing or came up through the ranks. But for those of us who didn't grow up around the track, it's difficult to picture what truly goes into it.

Racing Dreams, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Marshall Curry, follows the 13-year-old Warren, 11-year-old Annabeth Barnes and Josh Hobson, 12.

Like their adult counterparts, each of the young drivers has their own personality.

Warren is wild and aggressive with a Tony Stewart-like temper (his words); Barnes struggles with balancing her desire to be a normal girl while striving to be the first woman to win the Daytona 500; Hobson tries to channel Jeff Gordon in his sponsor-speak and polite nature.

But when driving in the World Karting Association, racing's version of Little League, can cost as much as $5,000 per race (because of equipment and travel), there isn't always enough money for the families to chase their dreams.

And as Hobson's father notes, by the time these young drivers are 12 or 13 years old, it's time to decide whether it's just a hobby or worth pursuing as a professional career.

So even though they're still just kids, Racing Dreams shows us how much is at stake for everyone in a make-or-break point in their careers.

All of it makes for an enjoyable, well-done film that any race fan would enjoy. It's eye-opening how much goes into the development of young drivers, and it will make you appreciate watching your favorite Sprint Cup drivers even more.

Racing Dreams is now playing in select theaters, but is expanding to more throughout the summer. Click here to see if the film is playing near you.

The Verdict: 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

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