KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Little Kalamazoo Speedway is one of the tracks where the racing stars of tomorrow are born.
"We've gotten to see a lot of local kids we've started with graduate and go to the bigger tracks, Kalamazoo, Springport, Galesburg and beyond," said speedway president, Chris Daniels.
20-year-old Dylan Stovall of Wayland is one of those who started in quarter midget racing and has now made the jump to racing late models at Kalamazoo Speedway.
"It grows into getting into a stock car, getting more competitive and making it a dream and wanting to be full-time," Stovall smiled, "right here is where it starts, the kids love it and get a kick out of it."
And others like Portage native Carson Hocevar have gone all the way from quarter midget racing to NASCAR.
For many, NASCAR is the goal.
"There is that potential," said Adam Dennany, the rookie trainer at Little Kalamazoo Speedway, "there is a lot of NASCAR drivers who have started their careers in quarter midget racing."
The ages of racers this year at the speedway range from five all the way up to fourteen years old and they all have their different reasons for getting into it.
"I wanted to do it because it's a fast sport," chuckled eight-year-old, Amelia Geers.
For others, it may have been because of a movie.
"I wanted to race because of Lightning McQueen," smiled seven-year-old Blake Stevens of St. Joseph.
No matter the age, the first time getting into a quarter midget can be intimidating.
"Many times they're very, very young and they're nervous and scared," Dennany added, "they don't know what they're doing, so the biggest thing is we get them having fun."
Amelia Geers, who has a five-year-old sister named Emersyn who is a rookie in the red division has already won a few reasons at the track.
"I was a little scared because I didn't know what was going to happen but it was nice to do it," Geers added.
It's a great way to teach the kids the rules of racing at a young age and get them used to being at the track.
"We sign in and then we unload the truck and it's pretty much go to the driver's meeting and then start heats and features," the young Stevens explained.
And many of the kids have already gotten that racing fever and now have big dreams down the road.
"I want to be a NASCAR driver," said Trey Zieman, a 10-year-old quarter midget racer.
Geers and Stevens also says they'll continue racing in the future.
While it does cost a few thousand dollars to get a car and get started, there are scholarship programs available as well as trial sessions at the track to get started, just check out the Little Kalamazoo Speedway on Facebook for more information.