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I'm looking for a short story that I read in the late 1970s or early 1980s, English-language in the US, possibly part of a Scholastic-published offering or anthology.

The plot involves two teenage juvenile delinquent brothers who are unrepentant hovercar thieves and joyriders (I'm pretty sure it was hovercars, though it could have been regular cars).

They have been caught yet again, and the justice system, desperate for a solution to the problem of rampant hovercar joyriding, puts them into a program where they are forced to race hovercars on a track until they lose the desire, or die in the process. (The analogy used is similar to forcing kids caught smoking cigarettes to smoke a box of cigars until they get sick -- a form of aversion therapy.)

In the first race, the older brother chooses a car with a low-profile color for himself, and a high-profile color for his brother so he can keep an eye on him.

As the racing progresses, the brothers face dangers in the form of their fellow racers, as well as deadlier obstacles on the track itself (including at one point, a tank -- though as a barrier, not a weapon).

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The story is "The Speeders" by Arthur Tofte. From Bev Hankins at goodreads:

"The Speeders" by Arthur Tofte: In the world of the future, the government has supposedly ensured that vehicles will be safe--no speeding and no accidents. But there are always the young joyriders who will find their way around the laws and restrictions. These young men find that when thy joyride and manage to break the speeding laws one too many times that they are incarcerated--not in prison, but in Traverse Park. In what seems like a speed-demon's paradise, all bets are off. The speeders can go as fast as they want and drive as recklessly as they want. Is it really the freedom from restrictions that it appears? Or is there a more chilling motive behind the speeder's park?

  • Cool, I'll have to look for the anthology, "The Other Side of Tomorrow" to see if any of the other stories are familiar, or if I saw it from another pub. Thanks! – Joelogon Jun 19 '14 at 3:10

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