WELCOME TO RIVER DAVES PLACE

Anybody kids race jr. dragsters before?

ChrisV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
3,515
Reaction score
10,552
As title stated. Was at the track today and saw a bunch of kids racing. Got couple questions.

-what’s a good starting age?
-expensive?
-they race in SoCal? Famoso, irwindale, Carlsbad?
-could I build my own chassis?
Is this a good idea or stupid.

PFA
C9BB4A3F-4A71-4A86-9A45-E948F009F5FD.jpeg
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
I've been at this awhile, so I'll do my best to guide you into this. Starting with your questions.

Kids can start at age 5 making solo practice runs with a Sealed Briggs 206 with the correct throttle stop. At 6 they can compete running 13.90 max e.t with the same 206 platform. at 8 they get to run 11.90 and start using methanol for fuel.. age 8 they run 8.90 and 13 7.90. However IMO each kid is a little different and should start when they are ready. I had one son ready at 7 and another didn't want to start running until he was 8 even though he had grown up with it. My daughters are hungry but they weren't able to start until 8 at that time... Not every 5yr old is ready to drive a race car.

Expense, That's a rabbit hole. You can do it with a reasonable investment. Meaning $10k in stuff you will get the majority of your money back when you sell and move on. Or you can drop $25k on a brand new car with all the bells and whistles, then add a pimp golf cart and a toter home and end up with $150k or more in your race program. I started with a flatbed trailer and a quad as tow vehicle. It's all up to you and how much you're trying to run and travel.

Famoso is great and Butch does cool stuff for the kids. The Sacramento Divisional has been moved there and is in 3 weeks I believe. Barona and Irwindale both run great jr programs. I can put you in touch with the Irwindale jr rep who is a really nice guy and all about the kids. Vegas is also a great track for the kids.

I recommend buying a car. A clean used car can be had depending on age as low as $2500-3k. A 7.90 car is going to be $7k and up for example. This time of year it's hard to find a car as most trade hands the end of the season after the Vegas Finals.

It's a great time spent with your kids while they are young. I have done this with 5 of my kids and had other kids drive my cars. Memories will be made forever. The math and mechanical skills, critical thinking and teamwork. Split second decisions made by the kid win or lose races. They have the crew chief to bring them a car, but they are the driver and it becomes a 1 on 1 competition that is rare in todays world. 95% of the jr families are great people. You will meet a soccer mom or baseball dad occasionally. Don't let it ruin the experience. Most people will loan you a part to race them in the final rather than beat them in the pits. It becomes large family. You will meet 2 types of parents. Those racing with their kids and those racing through their kids.

Now, my turn. How old is your kid and what track is closest to you? I can probably put you in touch with someone you can shadow and learn from.

Is your kid in other sports? Baseball will wreck a jr season and you have $ tied up in a race program that sits.

IMG_4425.jpg
IMG_4407.jpg
IMG_6383.jpg
IMG_1732.jpg
 
Last edited:

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
100% sarcasm. My cousins deep into his sons race program. I’m staying out of it, my pockets aren’t deep enough. Bmx is enough and we don’t have engines to build!


Ok I get it. 🤣 Gotta get your cousins to let your kids run a car. That's the best way! We have a wall of broken parts collected for the gods of speed. Windowing a block and doing a motor swap between rounds,,,, Yeah great times.
 

GNEnsrud

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2024
Messages
79
Reaction score
304
It’s not cheap, but probably not too much more expensive than club sports like softball, baseball or volleyball. Don’t build the chassis, unless you REALLY know exactly what you’re doing. Since kids grow up, there are tons of Jr’s for sale all the time.
I’ve seen kids start as young as 5.
its a great family hobby for parents that are into racing.
 

ChrisV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
3,515
Reaction score
10,552
T
I've been at this awhile, so I'll do my best to guide you into this. Starting with your questions.

Kids can start at age 5 making solo practice runs with a Sealed Briggs 206 with the correct throttle stop. At 6 they can compete running 13.90 max e.t with the same 206 platform. at 8 they get to run 11.90 and start using methanol for fuel.. age 8 they run 8.90 and 13 7.90. However IMO each kid is a little different and should start when hey are ready. I had one son ready at 7 and another didn't want to start running until he was 8 even though he had grown up with it. My daughters are hungry but they weren't able to start until 8 at that time... Not every 5yr old is ready to drive a race car.

Expense, That's a rabbit hole. You can do it with a reasonable investment. Meaning $10k in stuff you will get the majority of your money back when you sell and move on. Or you can drop $25k on a brand new car with all the bells and whistles, then add a pimp golf cart and a toter home and end up with $150k or more in your race program. I started with a flatbed trailer and a quad as tow vehicle. It's all up to you and how much you're trying to run and travel.

Famoso is great and Butch does cool stuff for the kids. The Sacramento Divisional has been moved there and is in 3 weeks I believe. Barona and Irwindale both run great jr programs. I can put you in touch with the Irwindale jr rep who is a really nice guy and all about the kids. Vegas is also a great track for the kids.

I recommend buying a car. A clean used car can be had depending on age as low as $2500-3k. A 7.90 car is going to be $7k and up for example. This time of year it's hard to find a car as most trade hands the end of the season after the Vegas Finals.

It's a great time spent with your kids while they are young. I have done this with 5 of my kids and had other kids drive my cars. Memories will be made forever. The math and mechanical skills, critical thinking and teamwork. Split second decisions made by the kid win or lose races. They have the crew chief to bring them a car, but they are the driver and it becomes a 1 on 1 competition that is rare in todays world. 95% of the jr families are great people. You will meet a soccer mom or baseball dad occasionally. Don't let it ruin the experience. Most people will loan you a part to race them in the final rather than beat them in the pits. It becomes large family. You will meet 2 types of parents. Those racing with their kids and those racing through their kids.

Now, my turn. How old is your kid and what track is closest to you? I can probably put you in touch with someone you can shadow and learn from.

Is your kid in other sports? Baseball will wreck a jr season and you have $ tied up in a race program that sits.

View attachment 1333885 View attachment 1333886 View attachment 1333887 View attachment 1333888
Thank you for taking your time and explaining it!!

I totally get the rabbit hole of drag racing. I already have an enclosed trailer, and golf kart so that kind of helps out. Vegas and Famoso is my home track and where I usually race my car.

As for my kid, he's only 3 right now but this was something I've been wanting to do for a long time. Drag racing is a competitive sport and something I want to teach my kid and hopefully he will like it.

Why I ask about building a chassis is because I'm and idiot and just want a winter project. I'm a light fabricator and think I could build a chassis. Just need the spec book on it. Seems like once you have everything, its not expensive to maintain like a typical drag car. Motor doesn't really blow or you go through tires often. I could be wrong.
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
T

Thank you for taking your time and explaining it!!

I totally get the rabbit hole of drag racing. I already have an enclosed trailer, and golf kart so that kind of helps out. Vegas and Famoso is my home track and where I usually race my car.

As for my kid, he's only 3 right now but this was something I've been wanting to do for a long time. Drag racing is a competitive sport and something I want to teach my kid and hopefully he will like it.

Why I ask about building a chassis is because I'm and idiot and just want a winter project. I'm a light fabricator and think I could build a chassis. Just need the spec book on it. Seems like once you have everything, its not expensive to maintain like a typical drag car. Motor doesn't really blow or you go through tires often. I could be wrong.

I refresh my motors every 100 passes regardless. A hot 7.90 car will go through drive belts every 30 passes or so. I put calipers on the belt after every run to check wear. Rear tires are 2 seasons tops in a 7.90 car. They'll last 5 years in 11.90 or slower and dry rot before they wear through. Belts get recent every 2 years. Hans device every 3. Clutch maintenance is huge.

There are plans online for a chassis and it would be a fun build for a starter car. The hardware will add up and you can easily end up over the cost of a turn key car however. I'd shadow a kid at the track and get your son used to it. The end of the year is a great time to pick up a car with a 206 platform. I have a solid setup with clutch and gearing that worked really well I can give as a baseline. Gas is nowhere as consistent as alcohol and you will look forward to the change when you move up.

Cool thing about drag racing. There may be 30 kids at the start of the race. There is only 1 winner. Great for teaching life lessons.
 

ChrisV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
3,515
Reaction score
10,552
It’s not cheap, but probably not too much more expensive than club sports like softball, baseball or volleyball. Don’t build the chassis, unless you REALLY know exactly what you’re doing. Since kids grow up, there are tons of Jr’s for sale all the time.
I’ve seen kids start as young as 5.
its a great family hobby for parents that are into racing.
How hard could it be. Just a bunch of tubes that needs to be cut and glued together. At least that's what my wife tells people I do. haha


IMG_3541.jpg
IMG_3137.jpg
IMG_3139.jpg
 

ChrisV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
3,515
Reaction score
10,552
I refresh my motors every 100 passes regardless. A hot 7.90 car will go through drive belts every 30 passes or so. I put calipers on the belt after every run to check wear. Rear tires are 2 seasons tops in a 7.90 car. They'll last 5 years in 11.90 or slower and dry rot before they wear through. Belts get recent every 2 years. Hans device every 3. Clutch maintenance is huge.

There are plans online for a chassis and it would be a fun build for a starter car. The hardware will add up and you can easily end up over the cost of a turn key car however. I'd shadow a kid at the track and get your son used to it. The end of the year is a great time to pick up a car with a 206 platform. I have a solid setup with clutch and gearing that worked really well I can give as a baseline. Gas is nowhere as consistent as alcohol and you will look forward to the change when you move up.

Cool thing about drag racing. There may be 30 kids at the start of the race. There is only 1 winner. Great for teaching life lessons.
Yeah I'll take him to my next test and tune to see how he likes it. There was a good amount of jr.dragsters today but didn't have a chance to talk to any of the parents.
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
Yeah I'll take him to my next test and tune to see how he likes it. There was a good amount of jr.dragsters today but didn't have a chance to talk to any of the parents.


What track?
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
I'll contact you next time i go.

Really, thank you for explaining all this.

Anytime. I've been at it 13 years I think? Still love it. It's harder to travel for us as we're at the top of the state behind the redwood curtain and it's 6+ hours to Sacramento. I'm down to my 16 and 8yr old racing now. Running 2 cars will seem like a cakewalk. 😂 When I got into it I didn't know shit and spent twice as much as I should on not great equipment. I try to help people spend wisely so they have more $ to race and enjoy the experience when they start. I've lost count of the amount of kids I've helped license. Their smiles at the top end are only bested by the smile of their first win.
 

WAAZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2016
Messages
464
Reaction score
1,162
How long is the track for a jr.?
 

JFMFG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
5,270
T

Thank you for taking your time and explaining it!!

I totally get the rabbit hole of drag racing. I already have an enclosed trailer, and golf kart so that kind of helps out. Vegas and Famoso is my home track and where I usually race my car.

As for my kid, he's only 3 right now but this was something I've been wanting to do for a long time. Drag racing is a competitive sport and something I want to teach my kid and hopefully he will like it.

Why I ask about building a chassis is because I'm and idiot and just want a winter project. I'm a light fabricator and think I could build a chassis. Just need the spec book on it. Seems like once you have everything, its not expensive to maintain like a typical drag car. Motor doesn't really blow or you go through tires often. I could be wrong.
Chris this is something I’d be down to potentially get into with you. My son is 3 also but he is very BOY. Rides dirt bikes, stacyc, etc. id be down when the 5 year old mark approaches
 

ChrisV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
3,515
Reaction score
10,552
Chris this is something I’d be down to potentially get into with you. My son is 3 also but he is very BOY. Rides dirt bikes, stacyc, etc. id be down when the 5 year old mark approaches
Yeah hopefully our boys will be interested. Beginning of last year he loves getting rides in my gtr (1000hp) then he got bored. Last week I gave him a ride in a customers car (1600whp) and got him excited. So there’s potential 🤣
 

JFMFG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
5,270
Yeah hopefully our boys will be interested. Beginning of last year he loves getting rides in my gtr (1000hp) then he got bored. Last week I gave him a ride in a customers car (1600whp) and got him excited. So there’s potential 🤣
sounds like you better start stacking cash lol.
 

Havasu blue label

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Messages
5,152
Reaction score
2,994
there a guy out In Pasadena that might have his kids cars parked they out grew the sport pretty sure everyone knows Tim from chevron
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
Something to consider. Most kids will go through 3 cars in their career. First car is the starter car to see if they're interested. Smaller cage etc. They should make it to age 10 in that car if you're lucky. Then you'll need a larger cage/car as well as a better chassis cause now you will need to think about traction and how the car works. Then they will get bigger and usually need another car sometime around 13-14.

Very few run rear suspension on their cars. It was attempted by several, but most lock it out if they still have a suspended chassis. The slip joint adjustment in the front end becomes crucial to consistent 60' times when they get into 8.90 and faster.
 
Last edited:

JFMFG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
5,270
Something to consider. Most kids will go through 3 cars in their career. First car is the starter car to see if they're interested. Smaller cage etc. They should make it to age 10 in that car if you're lucky. Then you'll need a larger cage/car as well as a better chassis cause now you will need to think about traction and how the car works. Then they will get bigger and usually need another car sometime around 13-14.

Very few run rear suspension on their cars. It was attempted by several, but most lock it out if they still have a suspended chassis. The slip joint adjustment in the front end becomes crucial to consistent 60' times when they get into 8.90 and faster.
Realistically what is the yearly expense here high side scenerio? 10-15k?
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
Realistically what is the yearly expense here high side scenerio? 10-15k?

Most will be on travel. Entry fees are $15-30 for most local races and $50-250 for divisionals. Fuel is relatively inexpensive as they burn half a quart per pass average. Oil is 12ounces per day of quality oil like Lucas or LAT. Drive belts are $35-40 and you start going through them at age 10. I'll order 6 per kid per season usually and adjust for how many we go through when I order the following. Fuel pumps are $20-40. Little shit mostly.. A motor refresh will be $6-1200 depending on how much needs to be done, what motor and who does it.

So racing locally, maybe $30-50 a day depending on how many crew members come to watch. To do a full division 7 series we would set $10k aside for travel and hotels and usually stay in budget. But,,, I spend a shitload on fuel just to get to So-Cal,, I am also running 2-3 kids. One kid and car will be less obviously.
 
Last edited:

JFMFG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
5,270
Most will be on travel. Entry fees are $15-30 for most local races and $50-250 for divisionals. Fuel is relatively inexpensive as they burn half a quart per pass average. Oil is 12ounces per day of quality oil like Lucas or LAT. Drive belts are $35-40 and you start going through them at age 10. I'll order 6 per kid per season usually and adjust for how many we go through when I order the following. Fuel pumps are $20-40. Little shit mostly.. A motor refresh will be $6-1200 depending on how much needs to be done, what motor and who does it.

So racing locally, maybe $30-50 a day depending on how many crew members come to watch. To do a full division 7 series we would set $10k aside for travel and hotels and usually stay in budget. But,,, I spend a shitload on fuel just to get to So-Cal,, I am also running 2-3 kids. One kid and car will be less obviously.
Did you travel all over U.S. or just local? I’m in SoCal about 30 mins from irwindale.
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
Did you travel all over U.S. or just local? I’m in SoCal about 30 mins from irwindale.

I've run some tracks in Oregon. Medford and Coos Bay, which is a hella fun little track. Samoa, Redding, Sonoma and Sacramento were my usual "local" tracks.

The Division 7 series is excellent. None of the other divisions have a series like we have. 12 race series. Famoso, Phoenix, Irwindale, Tuscon, Fallon Nv, Barona and then the finals in Vegas.

The western Finals move around and can be in Colorado to Oklahoma. The Eastern Finals are always in Bristol.
 

JFMFG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
5,270
I've run some tracks in Oregon. Medford and Coos Bay, which is a hella fun little track. Samoa, Redding, Sonoma and Sacramento were my usual "local" tracks.

The Division 7 series is excellent. None of the other divisions have a series like we have. 12 race series. Famoso, Phoenix, Irwindale, Tuscon, Fallon Nv, Barona and then the finals in Vegas.

The western Finals move around and can be in Colorado to Oklahoma. The Eastern Finals are always in Bristol.
It honestly sounds like a fun program
 

ChrisV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
3,515
Reaction score
10,552
Realistically what is the yearly expense here high side scenerio? 10-15k?
I was looking at the cars yesterday and didn’t seem expensive to maintain. Like @dread Pirate said, how ballin you wanna go with trailer and motorhome.

We blew the trans on my customers car yesterday. Gonna be 15k to fix it. So this jr dragster seems fun to me haha
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
It honestly sounds like a fun program

It really is. Vegas will have 200+ car counts.

Irwindale is great for the kids, but the turn off can be tricky for beginners in fast cars. I've seen 7.90 cars roll trying to make the turn. Usually associated with newer drivers. People complain about Barona being a short shutdown, but my kids never had an issue at all.
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
I was looking at the cars yesterday and didn’t seem expensive to maintain. Like @dread Pirate said, how ballin you wanna go with trailer and motorhome.

We blew the trans on my customers car yesterday. Gonna be 15k to fix it. So this jr dragster seems fun to me haha

Motors and clutches are the most expensive failures. Other than that it's pretty affordable to keep running.
 

JFMFG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
5,270
I was looking at the cars yesterday and didn’t seem expensive to maintain. Like @dread Pirate said, how ballin you wanna go with trailer and motorhome.

We blew the trans on my customers car yesterday. Gonna be 15k to fix it. So this jr dragster seems fun to me haha
Honestly I have a fresh 24 ft enclosed I use for desert season and a class a pusher so I’m set in that department already lol.
 

JFMFG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
5,270
It really is. Vegas will have 200+ car counts.

Irwindale is great for the kids, but the turn off can be tricky for beginners in fast cars. I've seen 7.90 cars roll trying to make the turn. Usually associated with newer drivers. People complain about Barona being a short shutdown, but my kids never had an issue at all.
I will have to see where my kid is at 5 years old and if he seems ready. I think he will be no problem
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
Honestly I have a fresh 24 ft enclosed I use for desert season and a class a pusher so I’m set in that department already lol.
I will have to see where my kid is at 5 years old and if he seems ready. I think he will be no problem


You'll want a gas golf cart. Dealing with charging at the track sucks!!

At 5 they can only practice solo runs and run 20.00 1/8 mile or slower. Don't rush for the 5yr old date. You can take your time and let him drive around the block or a parking lot just the same. Staging takes patience. When they get it they get it, then they get comfortable and screw it up and you have to start over. 😂

The cars turn like shit with 150" wheelbase and that takes a little getting used to.
 

92562

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
2,002
Reaction score
4,746
I was hesitant to put my kids in juniors because in the 90's they would do exhibition runs at big car events and the atmosphere was not great. When I realized that they have their own dedicated events, we attended one in 2004 and we were hooked. Both kids drove from age 8-18 and made lifelong friends and great memories. We had quite a bit of success and I really loved the fact that we would spend Friday-Sunday with likeminded families in a safe environment. I did most of my own work and was able to get sponsor money from Lucas oil so it wasn't too expensive. I compared notes with my neighbor who's kids did softball and he spent almost 10X per year more than I did. I would highly recommend Jr. Drag Racing.
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
Something else to consider. These things are loud! After all these years of standing on the right side of the car starting and staging them, my left ear is done,,,,, I can't hear shit. I suggest wearing hearing protection especially when you get into 8.90 and faster.
 

ChrisV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
3,515
Reaction score
10,552
That is dope! Any of your kids drive a regular car yet? Do they show interest in building a hot rod or something?
 

dread Pirate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
10,980
That is dope! Any of your kids drive a regular car yet? Do they show interest in building a hot rod or something?

My youngest daughter has her Mini and loves it. She has dreams of a 68 Mustang notchback, but with her horses and college that's a down the road deal. she's about to take her 2005 JCW Mini on a helluva road trip to celebrate college graduation. Mini Takes the States. Starts in Albuquerque and finishes in Seattle. Considering she's starting from Davis that's a helluva run for her car. She does the majority of the work on her car. I have to help with some things like clutch jobs, but it's all her.


IMG_3728.PNG


My oldest son works on a CIFCA funny car and is probably helping with a Heritage Series Top Fuel car for a couple races. Has a 72 Vega panel he's going to do a pro touring style build. He's chasing welding and fabrication skills pretty heavily. His daily is a slammed Honda CR-V.

IMG_6504.jpg
 

PRORACER7474

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2016
Messages
167
Reaction score
419
Been doing it awhile. The first picture is my grandsons new car (also in the 1st pictures is one of my sons current COPO racecars}. The 2nd picture is his old car and the one hanging on the wall is my grandsons dad 1st junior from 1994
 

Attachments

  • KIMG3871.JPG
    KIMG3871.JPG
    1.1 MB · Views: 73
  • KIMG3584.JPG
    KIMG3584.JPG
    1.9 MB · Views: 66
  • KIMG0738.JPG
    KIMG0738.JPG
    1.1 MB · Views: 64
Last edited:

PRORACER7474

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2016
Messages
167
Reaction score
419
When our kids were little people would asked us why we spend so much on the kids racing my wife would tell them "it is much more fun spending the money now keeping them busy than spending even more on rehab"
 
Top