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Boone County boy tearing up the youth go kart racing track

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BOONE COUNTY (WREX) — Right on the edge of Winnebago and Boone County is a neighborhood you'll likely hear before you see.

Sounds of a revving engine and wheel treads hitting the road are common outside the home of Giovanni Sallee.

The 7-year-old is tearing up the track as a go kart racer.

Gio (also known as 'Pup") started racing about a year and a half ago after watching videos on YouTube of another racer out in Las Vegas.

"For months on end, he kept approaching me saying 'I wanna race, I wanna race, I wanna race,'" Gio's mom Justine Sallee said.

"Finally he showed me what he was talking about and within the next few months he was racing at six years old."

Gio won five races last year on the circuit.

A number that pales in comparison to his performance this year.

The young racer has rattled off 18 straight victories on tracks in Wisconsin.

Some of those races are on Gio's YouTube page and he's definitely had some close calls.

However, if he ends up behind, he never wavers in focus behind the wheel.

"They just come back up some times and they pass me and I just cross back and pass them," Giovanni Sallee said.

"I like getting the trophies and the checkered flag."

Gio's favorite part is taking the checkered flag back around the track or "going backwards" as he likes to call it.

Racing has come to him quickly at such a young age.

So young, in fact, that he technically isn't old enough to compete.

"Because of his ability last year they tested him. He had to do a certain lap time and he was then placed in a bracket with 8-12 kids," Justine Sallee said.

Gio hopes one day to be on the NASCAR circuit, grabbing checkered flags on the pro level.

His family is happy to support that dream thanks to everything racing is doing for him outside of the wins and the trophies.

"His dedication. His commitment. His ability to focus before a race is amazing," Justine Sallee said.

"There's nothing like seeing your child win race after race. Just being so proud and just knowing what it does to his little self confidence and to see him way that little checkered flag it's touching."

Gio was supposed to have races this past weekend, but they were cancelled due to rain.

He is now awaiting his next chance to extend his streak to 20 wins.

Click here is you want to follow Gio for every race around the track.

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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