HARTFORD, Wis. — The future of a sport depends on the interest level of youth. Recently, the Southeastern Wisconsin Short Track Hall of Fame in Hartford held a young racers special to hook the next generation.
"Everybody's super nice at the track, so you can talk to anybody and they'll answer all your questions and give you any advice you need," Faith Zellmer says.
Zellmer and her dad Tim are encouraging other young people to join the sport of speed.
"Just ask questions. We help out a lot of teams starting out in (go-karting). We give them help getting their kart set up and help them at the track. If you have a questions, just come and ask, we'll help you out," Tim says.
Zellmer's brother, Adam, loves to see the excitement in future drivers.
"All the little kids come up, they want to come sit in your car, and then hopefully, they eventually get into a car like this some day," Adam says.
We've featured the up and coming Rob Radmann before and now he's a mentor.
"It's a lifelong sport, racing, once you get into it, that's the other thing, once you get into racing, you can't really get out of it. You're stuck in racing once you get in. It may sound like a bad thing, but trust me, it's not. The friendships you form in racing are unparalleled to anything else," Radmann says.
Encouragement is key.
"Don't give up. Try your hardest and if you just feel like your kart or car, whatever you're driving, is just super slow, just work on what you're doing first," Ethan Alexander says.
"Actually, just had a kid that stopped by who said he saw me at Plymouth last year, so it's really cool to see these kids and see how much they look up to us racers and enjoy seeing us race. Hopefully it gets them into the sport and get them started in whatever that path may be," Derek Doerr says. "Now it's about getting this next generation into racing and seeing them get into a go-kart or something like that and get started and climb through the ranks. I like seeing the passion on young kids faces, getting autographed cards and talking to me about how they like going to the races."
Young racers and drivers told me gas prices and inflation costs for parts will limit their racing schedules this summer or cause them to think twice about what events they compete in. Hopefully these young people get the chance and break they need.