The Hoosierist: My kid wants to be a racecar driver

Illustration by Ryan Johnson

If he wants to someday kiss the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, take him to your friendly neighborhood go-kart track. Most offer racing leagues where aspiring Speed Racers can learn the ropes. “Any race-car driver you have heard of no doubt has go-karts somewhere in their early history,” says Rick Bisbee, sales director for Racer Media, publisher of Racer. At age 16, your kid can make the jump to actual cars if he’s a standout talent. Future champs also need either a financial backer or rich parents, as the hobby isn’t cheap. It doesn’t hurt to have good looks, the ability to schmooze sponsors, and a solid understanding of the marketing side of racing. But you know what really gives a kid a leg up? A bankable last name like Montoya, Andretti, or Foyt, and a relative who owns a racing team.