8 Years Old, Going on 60 Miles Per Hour
By BILL KONIGSBERG
Published: May 3, 2009
CONCORD, N.C. — Macy Causey tested Concord Speedway’s quarter-mile track for the first time, flooring the gas pedal in her black-and-pink 30-horsepower racecar and reaching 60 miles per hour on the straightaways.
Her instructor timed the laps and shouted into Macy’s headset: “You’re braking too soon. Stay on the gas longer.”
Minutes later, 8-year-old Macy pulled off the track. Her parents, Rette and Dee Causey, opened the hatch, and Macy’s small, gloved hands grabbed the upper bars of the cage as if the car were a jungle gym. She pulled herself into her father’s arms.
“Great job, honey,” he said.
Macy’s racecar, a used Bandolero that cost $3,000, was a gift from her parents for her birthday last November, and her father taught her to drive it. The 550-pound Bandolero — 34 inches high and 47 inches wide with a 70-inch wheelbase — can reach 75 m.p.h. But speed is restricted on the short tracks where the 8- to 15-year-olds race them.
Many children begin go-karting as early as age 3. Macy, a second grader in Seaford, Va., is starting with Bandolero racing, a series created in 1997 by the sanctioning body INEX (short for inexpensive) for entry-level cars. Drivers need only be 8; they do not have to pass any safety tests or meet any other requirements.
... Because INEX prohibits modifications to the cars, owners need not spend a lot to keep up with other drivers....
But racing involves other expenses. Almost everyone has a hauler; the Causeys’ cost about $300,000. Their rig is like a studio apartment, with a leather couch, a recliner, a flat-screen satellite television, a kitchen, a dining table and a bathroom with an enclosed shower.
Macy's team consists of her parents and her crew chief, Chris Conley, who works on the cars in their garage.