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Sports Then and Now

How to Get Started in Motorcycle Racing 2

Posted on November 11, 2020 by Martin Banks

Racing is one of the most exciting pastimes in the world, pitting drivers against each other at high speeds as they fight for first place. It gets even more exciting — and more dangerous — when you remove the roll-cage and put your drivers on motorcycles instead of in race cars. Motorcycle racing is an adrenaline junkie’s dream, but it’s not something to take lightly. What do you need to know to get started in motorcycle racing?

Put Safety First

Before you start following any of the other steps on this list, you need to ensure you’ve got everything you need on hand to stay safe. The exact details may vary depending on your track’s requirements, but whenever you’re riding a motorcycle — on the track or off — you should keep safety in mind at all times. 

Invest in a Department of Transportation (DOT)-certified helmet that will protect your head in the event of an accident. Be sure to always wear appropriate clothing and eye protection if your helmet doesn’t feature a face shield. Not all states require helmets for adult motorcycle riders, but we recommend wearing one regardless of your state’s requirements. 

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How to Get Started in Auto Racing 1

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 1

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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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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How to Get Started in Truck Racing 0

Posted on March 10, 2020 by Martin Banks

Racing isn’t a word that naturally evokes images of trucks in your head. At least, it isn’t for most folks. Trucks do go racing, though! If your interest in motorsports centers on truck racing, you might not know where to get started. 

Like all motorsports, the secret to going truck racing is to get out and take the plunge. Many first-timers feel intimidated if they lack enough information about where to get started. It’s a big leap to start racing, so we’ve gathered a few good suggestions about how you can make your first foray into truck racing. 

Join the SCCA

As the country’s preeminent amateur racing body, the Sports Car Club of America will play a role in your racing career sooner or later. If you want some guidance on where to begin, there’s no better move than to join your local SCCA chapter. From there, you’ll get info about events happening around you and other motorsports-focused groups that you can participate in. You’ll connect with fellow racers, learn where to sign up and find out about the types of events you can participate in locally. 

Go to Rally School

Even if you’re not into truck racing, you might want to do this for fun. Across the country, driving professionals are opening schools on large farms and open spaces where you can learn the basics of rally racing. Will you be in a truck? Perhaps not, but the things you’ll learn about how to accelerate, brake and position the vehicle for corners on dirt will translate to your truck-racing career. In racing, robust fundamentals are everything.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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