BOONVILLE - While watching his 9-year-old son Hunter race, David Hutchens says he sees a “spitting image” of himself when he was a kid.
The elder Hutchens, an 18-year racing veteran, introduced Hunter to the phenomenon of racing last October, and he immediately became captivated by the sport.
“Hunter was born a racer,” David explained. “Racing is in his blood. I loved it when I was a kid, and now I get to watch him love it.”
Hunter races out of the North Carolina Quarter Midget Association (NCQMA) in Salisbury, competing in events nearly every other Saturday. That number will increase to weekly during the summer months.
With the frequency of races and the amount of hours spent in the shop, at the track or traveling to the next event, David says he gets to spend 40-60 hours a week with his son, something that is invaluable.
“We get to spend so much time together a week, a lot more than if he played baseball,” the Boonville native said. “That’s what makes racing such a family-oriented sport.”
Family members serve as pit crews, chief mechanics, scorers, time keepers and judges.
Along with spending time with family, the sport teaches children the meaning of sportsmanship, self-reliance and responsibility, while fostering the spirit of competition, according to the United States Auto Club (USAC).
Racers also get involved in other aspects of the sport, including charity events and even the business side of the sport in attracting sponsors for their cars.
At the time of publication, Hunter has received sponsorship from Scott Racing Engines, Carolina Lawns, Amsoil, Boca Bearings, Triad Hose & Hyd and others, while looking for more.
The Hutchens have created their own racing company - H3 Motorsports - to help generate more endorsements as Hunter’s career grows.
Quarter midget racing is divided into 16 classes and divisions with ages ranging from 5-16. The car is a scaled down version of a midget racing car that is built around a tubular frame, fully suspended with springs and shocks.
The bodies are made from fiberglass and outfitted with roll cages and seat harnesses to fully protect the drivers.
Safety is the main focus, according to the USAC. Drivers wear flame-retardant bodysuits and full-faced helmets, while fitting tightly into their car to prevent injuries.
The cars, racing on oval tracks approximately 1/20 of a mile, can reach speeds upwards of 30 mph on straights and can complete a full lap in about six seconds. Races generally consist of 30-40 laps.
NCQMA will be hosting a promotional day on September 8 to allow kids, ages 5-16, interesting in driving a race car to try it out. The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the NCQMA Speedway in Salisbury.
For more information on the promotional day or quarter midget racing, please visit www.ncqma.com.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.