The NASCAR Youth Series is Where Young Racers Dream Big

At the age of 5, the typical kindergartener is learning how to ride a bike with training wheels. By age 6, many kids are confidently pedaling on two wheels in their neighborhood with Mom or Dad keeping close tabs on their safety.

Unless you’re a kid like Paxton Cole, who’s been driving quarter midget race cars since he was about 6 1/2 years old. Paxton has big dreams of racing at the top levels of NASCAR someday, so now, as a third grader and seasoned quarter-midget race car driver, he’s paying his dues and having a blast in the NASCAR Youth Series.

The team owner, aka “Dad,” is Bradly Smith. He, along with his wife, Sara, who performs crew chief duties on race days as a member of the Cole Motorsports crew, faithfully travel from their Raleigh home to wherever the race schedule takes them. On most weekends, the destination is Salisbury, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte, where the only quarter-midget race track in the state, North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway, is located.

8-year-old Paxton gets pulled to the starting line by Dad on race day at North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway. – Paxton Cole Motorsports-Facebook

NASCAR Cup Champion Bobby Labonte along with members of the North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association, helped found the 1/20th-mile, concrete surface race track in 2004. At that time, it was the only track of its kind between Atlanta and Pennsylvania. Labonte himself, got his racing start in a quarter midget in 1969, and decades later as a father, Labonte oversaw his own children’s participation in quarter midget racing.

As you’ll hear in our Zero to 60 Podcast episode with Paxton and Bradly (linked below), a quarter midget race car is a quarter-scale version of a midget race car. A midget race car is a very small, open-wheel (no fenders) race car that’s usually powered by a race-prepared 4-cylinder engine.

Quarter midget race cars are a great way for kids to get into motorsports and for those who may be more serious about racing like Paxton, there just might be a driver’s seat open at Daytona for them at some point in the future.

Listen to our podcast interview with Paxton Cole Motorsports for the full story by clicking the play button, below.

Paxton Cole Motorsports at the North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway in Salisbury (left side and bottom) and promoting the NASCAR Youth Series at Raleigh’s Wake County Speedway with (top right). Paxton Cole Motorsports-Facebook

By Mark Arsen,



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