Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and racing can be a way to satisfy the need for speed. And 11-year-old Glen Cove resident Brandon Wonder is taking that concept to the next level.
The young racer answers his call for high-speed racing behind the wheel of a go-kart. He currently competes locally in the Long Island Karting Association (LIKA) as well as nationally in the World Karting Association.
Wonder will continue to show his racing talents on Sunday as a competitor in the LIKA's Island Harvest 1000 Pound Challenge charity event at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.
The association is hosting the race in conjunction with Island Harvest, a Mineola-based hunger relief organization, in an attempt to collect 1,000 pounds of food for the needy. For a free spectator pass to watch the races, which run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a donation of 20 cans of non-perishable food is required.
Continuing a Legacy
Wonder represents the third generation of racers in his family.
"My father races cars, I race cars and he races go-karts," his father James explained.
James introduced his son to kart racing when he was 7, and he noted that Wonder quickly excelled at the sport.
"We took Brandon up to be trained as a carting driver in upstate New York," James said. "Once we felt comfortable that he was OK to drive, then he [competed] in his first race. He started racing four years ago on Long Island and he quickly grew and now he does nationals."
The Next Level
Although Wonder's skills are flourishing quickly like racers twice his age, his youth is apparent when he discusses his love for the sport.
"I like racing because I think it's really fun and the first time I ever tried it, it was really awesome," he said.
His youthful vigor, however, is immediately countered with a far more mature, professional and determined attitude.
"I hope it takes me to Formula One racing," he added.
James believes that go-karts are an intricate part of his son's entrance in Formula 1 racing, which is the highest class of single seater auto racing, according to its website.
"Race cars and go-karts are very important," James said. "All Formula One, NASCAR, indie car drivers recently have all started in go-karts. He wants to be a race car driver, so it holds a lot of importance."
This season, however, will mark the last one for Wonder with the LIKA because he plans to only compete nationally in the future. He has already earned first place this season after he raced in LIKA's Cadet Division in a field of six racers.
For Wonder, taking home top honors is a goal that remains a priority.
"It feels really good and I hope to be in first place my entire racing career," he said.
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