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Redondo Beach 9-year-old places 5th in Formula Cart National Championships

A 9-year-old Redondo Beach boy is speeding to great heights after winning fifth place in the Formula Cart National Championships in Mexico and being named rookie of the year.  

In the two short years that young John John McLellan has been racing go-karts, he’s already competing at a high level. 

“Going fast is the one really fun thing and just to race, or well, actually, battling with people,” the 9-year-old racer told KTLA’s Shelby Nelson.  

To keep up the momentum, John John’s family travels at least once a week from Redondo Beach, where they live, to Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside to practice with coach Troy Adams.  

“A typical day for John John, he comes in around two o’clock, warms the car up, goes out on the track for 10-15 minutes, and then we go to a gym. They work out for 15 minutes and we just continually go through that cycle for about four hours,” Adams told KTLA.  

Racing go-karts has turned out to be a better alternative to going fast than where he started at just 4 years old.  

“At first, I liked to do motorcycling. I hit a berm and I go straight under a car. I break my collarbone and my foot and, yeah, so my mom said, ‘Let’s do go karting,’” John John said.  

His mother, Joanne Walker, explained her reasoning for the switch from motorcycles to go-karts.

“I figured it’d be better to just go a bit closer to the ground and a bit safer,” she said.  

The young racer’s parents are dedicated to supporting his passion.  

“COVID came and it closed down; no soccer, no baseball, nothing to do in L.A. County,” his father, John McLellan, told KTLA. “So, we started coming out to Riverside County, at Adams Racetrack.”  

John John McLellan on the track at Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside (KTLA).

John John is now racing in what’s known as the cadet age group, for drivers from 8-12 years old, who are racing at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.  

“John John had the opportunity to run with us in Mexico and stepped it up,” his coach said.  

After his fifth-place placement, the fourth grader is now going full speed ahead in hopes of one day turning pro. 

“Just try to win, focus and don’t get distracted,” the 9-year-old said of his process.  

There are some rules, his parents explained. For him to continue with his passion, he has to get good grades and stay on top of his homework.  

In the meantime, the 9-year-old is looking for sponsors to help with the cost of the sport. Anyone interested can go to his website at

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