• Young racer at ‘Kidtona’ dreams of Daytona


    Alan “AJ” Dominguez has a dream.

    In the dream, he is racing car “88,” Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet SS.

    “I want to race like Dale Jr.,” AJ said. “It’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m going to get a real car, and when I’m big, I’m going to race that car as fast as I can to win. I know Dale Jr. is strong so I want to drive his No. 88.”

    Before AJ can turn left for 200 laps at the Daytona 500, he first has to get big enough to see over the steering wheel . . . and get a driver’s license.

    For now, the five-year-old will have to settle for racing in the Kidtona.

    The City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department hosts its third Kidtona Power Kar Race today in the parking lot of Eastwood Park, 3001 Parkwood.

    The half-mile course is designed for the three age groups: four-five; six-seven; and eight-nine.

    Last year, AJ won the four-five age group in the modified division.

    “I like to go out and race fast,” he said. “I can go really fast in it. It’s pretty exciting when I race against other kids. It’s always fun winning the races.”

    To a five-year-old, going “really fast” means his plastic Power Wheels replica of Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet SS can reach top speeds of five to eight miles per hour.

    His car came with a 12-volt battery but AJ’s grandfather, Mike Neria, added a six-volt battery to make it go faster.

    “We have to change the batteries a lot because they run out fast,” AJ said. “I wish I could go faster.”

    Enrique Valadez, the coordinator of special events for the El Paso Parks and Recreation Department, said they are expecting up to 60 racers.

    “This is an opportunity for the kids to race their cars in a fun family atmosphere,” he said. “A lot of these kids get those cars for Christmas or their birthdays and don’t have the opportunity to race them against other kids. This gives them that chance.”

    There will be a limited number of participants for each age group. Battery modifications will be allowed for separate modified races.

    All racers wear a helmet. Protective eyewear is optional, but highly recommended.

    “This is the third time we’ve put this event together and it’s been amazing,” Valadez said. “The course is a mile and a half and it’s filled with twists and turns and sharp edges. It makes for a fun race.”



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