Get Your Engines Ready! Advice for an Aspiring Drag Racer

Drag Racer

Ready for the races!

Author: LiveOctane

You have the desire. You have the car. All you need now is direction as to where to run your vehicle and fulfill your dream!

Taking your car onto a professional drag strip is the way to go for those with the “need for speed.” After all, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) was founded over 50 years ago because street racing had become so deadly … and illegal.

Around the time of World War II, people began meeting in dried up lakebeds in southern California to satisfy their hunger for racing, and the NHRA was created in 1951 to “create order from chaos.” The NHRA focused, and is still focused, on trying to eliminate the recklessness of street racing. In fact, their motto continues to be “Dedicated to Safety.”

Young tuners and hot rodders today have great opportunities in the drag racing community. Tuning exams are the easiest method to get into the drag racing scene. These are safe, inexpensive, and entertaining, and the typical test events cost about $15-20 to enter. That’s right – for less than $20, you can work on a professionally prepared surface and meet many racers and people with similar interests. There are not many other sports where amateurs are able to compete on the same playing surfaces as the professionals. Thursday night softball players do not get to play games in Fenway Park, and weekend dirt racers don’t get to run the big track at Talladega … but drag racers can compete on the same surfaces as the people they see on ESPN2 on Sunday afternoons.

One of the things that makes NHRA so accessible to new drivers is the fact that there are more than 200 classes of vehicles in competition. These classes are grouped into 12 categories based on vehicle type and size, engine size, modifications, etc. There is also a formal handicap starting system to equalize competition in some classes, making it even easier for a new driver to begin a drag racing career.

Bringing your car to a track the first time is an extremely exciting experience. Cruising from the pits, making runs, and displaying your car to fellow racers and fans is both rewarding and fun. NHRA-sanctioned drag strips follow strict, yet reasonable, technical specifications for competing vehicles. So, before you get lost in your dreams of racing, make sure that your car is set up to be legit. NHRA members can download an online copy of the NHRA rulebook for free. However, don’t fret if you aren’t an NHRA member yet – you can order your copy of the latest rulebook for $10 at

So what are you waiting for? Get your engine started and make your dreams come true!

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