Hinds goes from go-karts to midget racing


Sam Hinds comes by his love of racing naturally.

His grandfather, Don Reed, was a Top Fuel drag racer, and Hinds’ father, Steve Hinds, worked on Reed’s and later Steve Torrence’s Top Fuel crew. Steve is technician at an auto dealership.

“We made a monster out of him, unfortunately,” Steve Hinds said jokingly of his son.

Sam, a Westfield High School sophomore, has raced go-karts on sprint courses since he was 5 years old.

“Whenever I close my visor, I just feel I’m away from all the drama in the world, I can go out there and have fun and go as fast as I can,” Sam said.

This year, Sam is running in the Kenyon Midget Series, which is named for sibling Midget car racing legends Don and Mel Kenyon.

“It’s a cross between a common day midget and a sprint car. It’s a little bigger than a common midget,” Steve said.

Sam, 15, ran four races in the Kenyon Midget Series in 2019 to see if it was something he wanted to do. Not surprisingly, he loved it.

“We bought a car and he’s racing the full series,” Steve said.

Sam said there has been a lot of learning in the series,

“I have to shift gears,” Sam said. “The racing is a lot more intense. We’re all within a tenth of a second versus in carting where you can be off the pace a second or half a lap. The environment is a lot different. I’m used to out-racing families and friends (in carting). At the end of these races, you see little kids cheering for you. It definitely puts a smile on my face.”

Sam won the first race he competed in June 6 at Anderson Speedway.

“It’s probably one of the best drives I think I’ve ever done,” he said. “I led every lap. I won the pole. I qualified for the pole. I won by 8 seconds.”

Sam finished 10th in the Don and Mel Kenyon Classic race July 11 at Anderson. He was running fifth when he was involved in a crash.

Sam also has raced at Jeffersonville and plans to compete at the Indianapolis Speedrome in August and at Logansport on the dirt track.

“One of my goals is to ride in the Little 500, and our series has provided USAC (U.S. Auto Cub) with a lot of good drivers in the Silver Crown Series, so one of my goals is to try to get a Silver Crown ride in the next couple of years,” he said.