14-year-old Joe Bongiorno is one of Wisconsin's top race car drivers



MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Wisconsin's own Matt Kenseth is one of NASCAR's top drivers, but how do you get there? In most sports, you climb up the ladder in the minors.

At 14 years old, Joe Bongiorno is already one of Wisconsin's top race car drivers. Of his 21 races this year, he has been near the top in more than half, and has won three.

He first got interested in racing at a young age from simply watching NASCAR on TV with his family.

The Bongiornos then decided to go out to a local racetrack for go carts, and Joe was hooked.

Joe excelled at racing go carts, but started to become too big to drive them, so he decided to take his racing to the next level.

"We discovered legend cars and went to a couple races and got to know the guys and we decided to do it," Joe Bongiornos said.

The decision to race legend cars meant traveling to Iowa to get a car, and Bongiorno is not shy when showing it off.

The high school freshman spends a lot of time working on the car with his father Mike, who could not be more proud. His son's trophies are everywhere.

"I just recognized as a kid playing on the floor, if there was a truck or a ball he would choose the truck or the car so I kind of figured he would take to stuff like this. Once we did it we really enjoyed it as a family and he got better and better. We didn't think he would be so competitive so soon in his career," Mike Bongiorno said.

Joe's favorite professional driver is Tony Stewart. Joe explained that Bongiorno has another connection to Tony Stewart that most of his fans don't.

"Actually I race with his dad, Nelson Stewart. He races legend cars and he comes up to Beaver Dam and he races," Joe Bongiorno said.

Joe says his ultimate goal is to make the transition like his idol, Tony Stewart did, and become a well-known NASCAR driver.

Joe Bongiorno doesn't just excel at racing. He is also one rank away from making Eagle Scout and is also on the Honor Roll.