Madison, Ill — MADISON, Ill. – If behind the right wheel, nearly everyone feels the need for speed, especially teenagers.
And Gateway Motorsports Park know that.
“Wait for the lights to drop, basically your heart drops, butterflies, and you just go," said 16-year-old Jonathan Martin.
The Columbia, Illinois native got his driver's license just a few months ago. He immediately started taking his used Mustang to the Madison track.
“It's High school students racing against other high school students. Street legal cars racing against other street legal cars," said John Bisci, spokesperson at Gateway.
The track holds Wide Open Wednesday's presented by AAA insurance throughout the year. It's the second summer in a row they've had a unique high school class of racers.
Each week dozens of area teens show up to race each other in the amateur tournament format. There's a $40 entry fee and winners get paid.
“They went out and got their own sponsors like Chuck-A-Burger. They get cash prizes. They get plaques for the winner and the runners-up," said Bisci.
Abby Mortland is an 18-year-old driver from Bunker Hill, Ill who's racing her 1977 Oldsmobile Omega for the third straight summer.
“Have fun with it. Don’t think about just winning the race. Think about just having fun," she said.
Abby says that driving on the track actually makes her a safer driver on the highway.
"You’re going to want to speed on the road, so it gives you a safer place to do that," she said.
Each driver goes through an initial safety inspection with their car before each race. Drivers under 18 need parental permission before racing at the track.
To see the complete Wednesday schedule, click here.