Zoom Zoom for Junior

Is it just me, or does this close-up of a photo from the front page of the Washington Post make you cringe? I see a kid barely old enough to run, straining to turn the wheel of a high powered go-kart.

Are we such a car-addicted city that we want little Junior to be hooked on speed at 5 years old? To be zoom zomming around at 30 mph with only a helmet and a prayer? I guess so.

To quote the WashPost story about the kid:

Christopher Hammett slammed into a pole this year, knocking the wind out of himself, bringing out emergency medical technicians and giving pause to his father, Jerry. “It made me think, ‘Am I doing this for him or am I doing this for me?’ ” the father said. “I asked him and he looked at me like I was crazy. He said, ‘I want to race.’ “

1 Comment so far

  1. Xian (unregistered) on August 6th, 2005 @ 7:52 pm

    As a longtime fan on Formula 1, I can tell you that the current World Champion and his brother (Michael and Ralf Schumacher – Michael’s the highest paid athlete in the world, BTW) both raced carts in Germany when they were about this age. In fact Michael opened up a track in his hometown to encourage young kids to get involved with the sport. He visits and races regularly. It’s not at all uncommon even in the states. I also had a friend in college who raced carts as a kid.

    In fact many of the 20 drivers currently driving in F1 as well as those in the CART and IRL leagues began racing carts at a surprisingly young age. A number of kids who show some talent wind up over in Europe racing in the lower formulae in hopes of advancing to the leagues I already mentioned. A good example of this is Scott Speed, who is reportedly on the short list to work as a test driver for the Red Bull F1 team next year.

    As for safety, generally the cart racing at that age is pretty heavily regulated in what you can and can’t do. For most racing leagues, they’re pretty rabid about safety.

    I can see how it’s disturbing to see someone that young racing a cart. It’s almost surreal really, and I’m still fascinated to see pictures of my favorite driver (a Finn named Kimi Raikkonen) standing on podiums at age 9.

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