The Pressure’s On for Pre-Teen Speed Racers in Racing Dreams


With a title designed to recall Steve James’s classic sports aspiration doc Hoop Dreams, and an understanding of what’s at stake in its characters’ endeavors, Marshall Curry’s Racing Dreams follows three pre-teen racers through a make-it-or-break-it year in their impending NASCAR careers. Alternating lucid, easy-to-follow footage of the five races that make up the national karting championship (the kids are all at least a year away from racing stock cars) with scenes of the subjects’ home lives, Curry documents the huge pressure placed on these children not only to succeed on the track, but to raise the money needed to continue. While Annabeth comes from a relatively stable middle-class family who makes the necessary sacrifices to advance her career, Brandon lacks the funds—and the charisma to attract them. Fundraising’s no problem for 12-year-old Josh, who eerily turns corporate shill, thanking the race’s sponsors after a victory in a bid to win some of his own. No less than for the black inner-city teens of Hoop Dreams, cash is the name of the game in Curry’s fascinating doc, even as the kids’ motivation remains a pure love of the sport.