It’s been described as Talladega Nights meets Catcher in the Rye. And it’s E3 Spark Plug’s latest must-see film pick. Racing Dreams is a highly acclaimed documentary co-executive produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson chronicling the efforts of three tweens as they pave the way to their NASCAR dreams.
This coming-of-age story follows Annabeth Barnes (11), Josh Hobson (12) and Brandon Warren (13) as they compete for the World Karting Association’s National Series championship – widely regarded as the Little League of professional racing. These kids are still several years away from being old enough to get their learner’s licenses. But they’re regularly booking it at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour on the go-cart tracks.
Barnes of Hiddenite, North Carolina is the daughter of retired pro racecar driver Darren Barnes. It’s clear that racing is in her blood. She’s the youngest person ever selected for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity and spends nearly every weekend at the track. But she struggles to balance her love and natural talent for racing with her desires to be a regular kid.
Hobson, who lives in Birch Run, Michigan, first revved his racing engines at age five and spends his off-time studying the driving styles and interview techniques of NASCAR drivers in a years-long bid to become the consummate racing professional.
For Creedmore, North Carolina’s Brandon Warren, racing isn’t just a passion. It’s also an escape and an outlet for coping with a difficult home life. Warren lives with his grandparents and is a charismatic comic one minute, an angry young man with a fiery temper the next. He’s in the running to win the same championship that he lost the year before when he was disqualified for rough driving.
Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Marshall Curry, Racing Dreams is as much about young love, family struggles and the pressures of growing up as it is about racing. Both humorous and heartbreaking, it has racked up multiple awards on the film festival circuit including Best Documentary awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival and Jacksonville Film Festival; Audience Award props at the Florida Film Festival and the Indianapolis Film Festival; and the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago Film Festival. The film made its television debut this week on PBS’ POV and can be seen in its entirety on the POV website through March 24. DVDs are available on the Racing Dreams website.
E3 Spark Plugs sends props and best wishes to Annabeth, Josh, Brandon and all the other young drivers chasing their pro racing dreams.