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How to Get Started in Auto Racing 0

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Martin Banks

Watching motorsport events can be exhilarating, but nothing beats being behind the wheel. If you’ve never dipped your toes into the world of racing, though, you may not know where to start. Thankfully, auto racing may be more accessible than you realize.

You can join many entry-level racing events with the car you drive daily, not needing any modifications. If you want to get serious about racing, you should get another vehicle, but you don’t need one to start. All you need to begin with is a working car and an event you like.

This late race accident by Jimmie Johnson helped give his teammate, Jeff Gordon, a chance to pass many of the race leaders and remain within contention for the Chase.

Choosing an Event

You have some options when it comes to amateur racing, each offering a different experience. Perhaps the most popular event is a track day, where racetracks open up to the general public. You won’t race door-to-door in these events but can compare lap times and get a feel for the track experience.

The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) hosts track days across the country you can look for. On top of letting you drive freely on a professional course, these will also give you some track driving tips and instruction. All in all, it’s an excellent first step in auto racing.

If you want a more competitive experience, you may want to check out autocross. Like track days, you can use your daily road car and won’t engage in any door-to-door races. Unlike track days, though, they take place on temporary courses and are more competitive, offering tournaments and prizes.

Autocross is typically cheaper than a track day event and is an excellent way to hone your skills. The SCAA hosts a range of autocross competitions, too, from racing schools to national championships. 

If you’re after something closer to the NASCAR experience, you should look into club racing. These are door-to-door races on professional tracks that racing organizations hold for amateurs. You’ll need a racing-ready car and some good insurance given the extra risk, but these events are surprisingly accessible.

Club racing will be more expensive than other options but is the closest thing to professional racing. You can find nearby events from the SCAA, National Auto Sport Association and other organizations.

Taking Care of Your Car

If you’re going to make a habit out of racing, you’ll need to perform some extra maintenance. Make sure you follow all the standard steps, like changing your oil every 7,500 miles or so. The new pressure from racing will require some extra care, too.

You may want to buy a set of track tires, so your racing doesn’t affect your daily drive. If you race frequently, you’ll also need to change your brake pads more often. You may also need brake fluid with a higher boiling point since you’ll brake harder on the track.

If you’re not already familiar with doing basic repairs and maintenance yourself, you should learn. Going to a mechanic for routine procedures will get expensive quickly when you’re racing. Knowing how to do it by yourself will save you a lot of money.

Anyone Can Get Into Racing

As long as you have a functioning car and a track within driving range, you can start racing. Depending on where you live and your budget, your options may be limited, but they’re still accessible. After you get started, you’ll meet new people and expand your connections in the racing world.

Whether you want to become a pro or just want to drive a few laps, there’s something for you. The world of motorsport is right at your fingertips.

How to Get Started in Auto Racing 0

Posted on August 27, 2020 by Martin Banks

Whether you grew up watching NASCAR or Formula 1, there is something exhilarating about the sport of racing. The only thing more exciting is getting behind the wheel of your own racecar and taking to the track. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as submitting a job application or showing up to a career fair. Here’s how to get started in auto racing.

Make a Plan

Before you start showing up at racetracks with your daily driver and getting laughed off the course, you need to make a plan. Wanting to get into racing is a noble goal that’s too broad to be realistically achievable. You need to make a plan and break it down into smaller pieces so you know what you’re working toward. 

Do you want to drive for NASCAR or just make a name for yourself in local circuits? Do you want to drive someone else’s car or build your own from the ground up? Once you have a clearer picture of the kind of career you want to have in auto racing, it becomes easier to achieve your goals 

Get a Car

Next, unless you get really lucky and land a NASCAR or Formula 1 contract, you’re going to need a racecar. The exact details of your vehicle will depend on a lot of different variables, from the type of race to the rules of the track. You may need a regular car with no modifications or you may have free reign to alter it as you like to get the most out of it. 

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How to Get Involved in Auto Racing 1

Posted on June 08, 2020 by Martin Banks

Racing is one of our nation’s most popular past times. However, if you’re watching Formula One or NASCAR, getting behind the wheel of one of those automotive marvels might seem entirely out of reach — especially if you’re just an average fan of the sport. While you might not find a place on the NASCAR track, there are still plenty of ways to get your fix and get involved in auto racing. Here are a few tips and tricks to start. 

Start Small

Don’t head into your nearest NASCAR track and demand to sit behind the wheel of one of their multi-million dollar race cars. At best, you’ll get laughed out of the stadium, and at worst, they’ll have you arrested for trespassing. Instead, consider starting small. Nearly anyone can do go-kart racing with a little time, effort and a small investment. Plus, before you buy your first kart, you can head to a go-kart track and try out the sport to get a feel for it. 

If you decide you don’t want to invest in a go-kart, or it just doesn’t scratch your racing itch, move on to our next suggestion. 

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A Close Look at Big Rig Racing 0

Posted on June 05, 2020 by Martin Banks

When we start talking about racing, we usually think of sleek cars that hug the ground as they tear around the track. We don’t normally picture massive big rigs in their place. What does big rig racing look like, and why is it becoming so popular with race fans around the country?

The History of Big Rig Racing

Big rig racing might not have the history that NASCAR or Formula One has, but it’s been around since 1979. This racing style was featured in the opening of the movie “Smokey and the Bandit II.” Three years later, it became a sanctioned sport, dubbed the Great American Truck Racing circuit or GATR. These GATR races continued from 1982 until the sport closed its doors in 1993.

Some drivers tried to revive the sport in the form of the ChampTruck World Series, but found it shuttered after just a season and a half, starting in 2015 and ending the next year. The race series founder claimed they would work on reorganizing it, but truck racing as we knew it was over. 

In 2017, the Bandit Big Rig Series made its debut, which was the first officially sanctioned big rig race in the United States since GATR closed its doors in 1993. It’s become so popular that at one event, the line to enter the stadium to watch these behemoths race was over a mile long. 

Building a Racing Rig

What does it take to turn one of these massive haulers into a rig worthy of the racetrack?

According to race promoters, you can build a racing semi for around $25,000 if you’re willing to make the investment. Unlike Formula One or NASCAR, reaching a top speed isn’t the goal for these races. These racing rigs are restricted to a top speed of 100 mph for safety reasons. Beyond that, there isn’t a lot of modification allowed before these behemoths hit the track. 

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The 6 Best Cars for Drag Racing 0

Posted on May 19, 2020 by Martin Banks

Drag racing is a unique sport. Instead of focusing on things like handling, a dragster’s sole purpose is to generate as much torque and speed as possible. These aren’t the kind of cars you take to the track on the weekend and use for your daily driving during the week. If you’re looking to break into the world of drag racing, the first thing you’ll need is an automobile. What are the best vehicles to use on the drag strip?

1. Ford Mustang Cobra Jet

You can’t go wrong with the car Ford designed for the drag strip. The Mustang Cobra Jet debuted on racetracks in 1968 and then appeared again for its 40th and 50th anniversaries. Each of these incarnations saw a limited run. However, you might still get your hands on one if you’re looking for something made for the strip. Ford is even working on a new all-electric prototype — the Cobra Jet 1400 — that should debut sometime later this year.

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The History of Monster Truck Racing 0

Posted on April 16, 2020 by Martin Banks

There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a high-powered piece of automotive engineering tearing its way around the track — unless that engineering marvel happens to be a monster truck. These massive trucks are designed with their own look, personality and even their own theme songs, but where did the practice of monster truck racing begin? Let’s explore the history of monster truck racing and see where it might go from here.

In the Beginning

While we’ve always had the need for speed when it comes to racing, we didn’t start using massive trucks to do it until the early 1980s. In 1982, Bob Chandler created the world’s first monster truck out of a Ford F-250. With massive tires and a suspension that lifted the vehicle so high off the ground you needed a ladder to get in, it was barely recognizable as a Ford. 

That year, in the Silverdome — located in Pontiac, Michigan — Chandler used his heavily modded F-250, which he renamed Bigfoot, to demolish a pair of cars. 

The reaction was astounding. Suddenly everyone wanted to create a massive monster truck that could crush as many cars as possible, and these modded trucks started popping up at fairs and shows around the country. While these exhibitions were great fun to watch, they weren’t races. It wasn’t until 1987 that the United States Hot Rod Association stepped in to create competitive contests.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

      Read more »

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