You would be forgiven for having never heard of Racing Dreams before – despite it being critically lauded and winning several film festival awards across the pond – because it never received a proper release here in the UK.
Well that’s no longer the case, as this coming-of-age story of three kids who aspire to be professional racing drivers is now available to buy on DVD, thanks to the purveyors of all things watchable – Spirit Level Film.
In essence, Racing Dreams documents the progress of Annabeth Barnes, 11; Josh Hobson, 12; and Brandon Warren, 13, as they compete in the World Karting Association’s National Pavement Series, where speeds reach 80mph and successful drivers can find themselves launched towards a NASCAR career.
But there’s more to Racing Dreams than just watching three kids zooming around ovals for 90-odd minutes. No film, no matter how good, would win so many plaudits if that were the case.
No, Racing Dreams focuses its attention more on the lives of the children as they take their first steps towards adulthood, their different backgrounds in working-class America, and the enormous pressure – financially and emotionally – placed upon their parents’ shoulders.
As the yearlong series in which they compete in unfolds, the three young chargers discover romance for the first time, question their relationships with their parents and glimpse into the series obstacles that may threaten their ability to realise their NASCAR ambitions.
Their ability to cast aside any off-track distractions is therefore ridiculously impressive to witness, and coupled with their youthful optimism when it comes to racing, it is nigh on impossible not to have some rooting interest in their on-track success.
Crafted from around 500 hours of footage, director Marshall Curry has somehow managed to condense their formative year into just 96 minutes. An impressive feat, especially as the narrative doesn’t suffer as a consequence, but I would have preferred the experience to last that little bit longer – out of pure indulgence, if nothing else.
But even if you consider oval racing and NASCAR to be a bit of a bore – or motorsport in general, for that matter – I can guarantee that you will find Racing Dreams to be a surprisingly emotional and compulsively watchable film.
Racing Dreams special readers’ offer
Spirit Level Film are offering Motorsport Musings readers a £5.00 discount throughout September. To redeem, simply enter the code MSMUSINGS when you order through their website: www.spiritlevelfilm.com