How to Become a Street Racer

by James Rutter
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If the movie “The Fast and the Furious” seemed like a career training film, it’s probably because you enjoyed the intense street racing scenes. Street racing originated in Southern California in the 1950s, where teens and young adults raced modified cars down quarter-mile stretches or on roadways. Because of the danger of accidents, most states have outlawed street racing. In an effort to discourage illegal racing, a number of municipalities in California, Florida, Arizona and elsewhere permit legal street races, held at specific locations. These venues host competitions, certify times and provide pits for repairs before and after races.

Step 1

Locate a race that you may wish to enter. In an effort to keep drivers from hosting illegal street races, a number of municipalities have started organizing legal street races along closed stretches of road or on the closed tracks of racing venues. The first resource below provides an example of legal street racing. Check with your state attorney general's office, your local sheriff's office or your local chief law enforcement officer's department to inquire about a schedule and venue of some legal street racing events.

Step 2

Fulfill any pre-licensing requirements of the race organizers or organization. For instance, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) requires any prospective racers to join the organization and obtain a NHRA Competition License if a racer plans to drive a car capable of passing the quarter-mile in a time of less than 9.99 seconds.

Step 3

Call the event organizers or venue to receive a race registration or download the registration from the event’s website, where applicable.

Step 4

Choose the type of race you wish to enter. Venues offer different types of race events. “Heads-up” style races pit one driver against another in a single or double-elimination, timed drag race down a set length, such as a quarter or 1/8-mile. “Handicap” races challenge a driver to set a time that his car will pass a certain distance and the race winner is the driver that best meets that preset time.

Step 5

Fill out the registration and mail it to the organization or venue, along with any entry fees.

Step 6

Verify that your car meets the standards or limits set forth by the racing organization or venue operator. For instance, Qualcomm Drags in San Diego sets a 93-decibel limit on the sound emanating from your car’s exhaust. The National Association of Legal Street Racing (NALSR) requires that a car’s door open from the inside and outside, and it does not permit the racing of any car with a rotary or air-cooled engine.

Step 7

Make any alterations to your vehicle to fulfill the standards or limits of the racing organization. Some events permit nitrous-oxide systems while others require that a driver disable these systems or provide a cut-off switch.

Step 8

Take your driver’s license, registration, car, and where applicable, proof of insurance to the track on race day. If you are under the age of 18 your parent or guardian may need to either accompany you to the track and sign a form, or mail in a notarized, pre-signed form. Please note that some venues require a race entrant to drive her car to the track, while other venues or organizations permit a driver to tow her car to the raceway.

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