Georgia youth put the pedal to the metal

Ask 13-year-old Seth Christensen what he likes about auto racing, and you’ll get a quick and honest answer.

"I like to beat other people," he says.  "I’m very competitive."

Christensen and his younger brother Lane are competitors in Quarter Midget racing, which is essentially the "Little League" of auto racing. The sport, sanctioned by the United States Auto Club, features kids from 5 to 16 years old competing in more than a dozen classes.

"It's basically kind of like a go-kart with a roll cage, and they're real race cars," says Metro Atlanta Quarter Midget Association president David Gregory. "So, it's an opportunity for kids to get their foot in the door or be introduced to actual racing opportunities."

Locally, the sport is run by a pair of racing clubs; the Metro Atlanta Quarter Midget Association is based in Braselton, and the North Georgia Quarter Midget Association is based at the Bill Thomas Raceway in Cumming. And while it’s the kids who sit behind the wheel, parents say the sport is very much a family activity.

"Usually, it's one of the parents helping be the crew chief," says Gregory. "And the other parents are usually in the scoring tower or helping do things that are on the track. So, the whole family's involved."  

WATCH: FOX 5 Atlanta live news coverage

NASCAR champs like Joey Logano got their start racing Quarter Midgets; Logano, in fact, raced on the track in Cumming. Following in his well-worn tire tracks, the young racers here in North Georgia know that small cars can lead to big things.

"I started when I was four," says 9-year-old Levi Morrow, "and I soon as I got behind that wheel I knew where I was supposed to be."

For more information on the local racing clubs, follow these links:

Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts

Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.