Young drivers put pedal to the metal

Bandimere sees more than 100 junior dragsters compete at divisional championships

Posted 6/29/18

The pop-pop-pop of the one-cylinder engines filled the air as young drivers waited to be called to the starting line during the June 23 Junior Dragster Division Championships at Bandimere Speedway in …

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Young drivers put pedal to the metal

Bandimere sees more than 100 junior dragsters compete at divisional championships

Posted

The pop-pop-pop of the one-cylinder engines filled the air as young drivers waited to be called to the starting line during the June 23 Junior Dragster Division Championships at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison.

Jay Everhart sat in the lane waiting his turn to pull to the starting line during time trials.

“I got interested in competing in junior dragsters to follow my dad who used to compete in drag racing,” the Centennial 13-year-old said. “I loved it the first time I pulled to the starting line. Racing relaxes me and I like going fast. ”

The ThunderRidge Middle School student said he felt good and the car was running well so he felt he would do well in the competition.

His dad, Jason, said he is having fun watching his son race.

“I competed in drag racing years ago in the head-up street categories,” he said. “I was a little surprised when Jay wanted to compete in junior dragsters. It is fun for him and I enjoy being here and spending time with Jay, helping him to compete in a sport he enjoys.”

Jason said junior dragster racing isn’t inexpensive. He said the car his son drives cost a little over $10,000 and the most expensive part of the car is the racing engine built for junior dragster competition. He also noted that to compete in the races you need a trailer to haul the car, spare parts and tools as well, as a vehicle that can adequately pull the trailer.

He said the engine generates about 35 horsepower and his son can hit speeds of about 70 mph from a standing start to the finish line of the one-eighth-mile course.

“Most of the cars are very equal,” he said. “So we spend a lot of time tuning the engine so it runs well and then it is all up to Jay to have a good reaction time so he comes off the starting line as quickly as possible after the drivers get the green light. The reaction time to the green light is often what wins races.”

This is the last year of junior dragster racing for 18-year-old Ashley Bostwick.

“I have been racing for four years and I got into the competition to continue a family tradition, because my dad has been drag racing since 1995 and my grandpa has been drag racing since 1976,” the Littleton resident said. “I like the family atmosphere at the junior drag racing events, I like the friendly competition and I like the opportunity to improve my skills doing something I love so much.”

She said she also drag races her 1988 Mustang in the high school class. She said her plans are to make it into a faster drag racing car so she can compete in other divisions.

Junior dragster drivers range in age from 5 to 17 years old. The field is divided into age groups to make the competition as fair as possible. At the June 22-23 races there were three in the division for 6- and 7-year-olds, 19 in the 8- and 9-year-old division, 45 in the 10- and 11-year-old division, 23 in the 13- and 14-year-old division and 21 in the 15- to 17-year-old division.

The races are single-elimination competitions as the cars go head-to-head. The cars leave the starting line based on “dial-in times” determined by best performances in earlier time trials. The car that has a slower dial-in leaves the starting line first. However, a driver may lose the race if he or she runs faster than the dial-in.

Families from Colorado and surrounding states attended the June 22-23 races. The pit area was lined with white vehicle trailers, some pulled by pickups and some by motor homes. Some of the vehicle trailers were large enough to hold two cars as well as the tools, spare parts and equipment.

Sam Wilson, his wife, his son and his daughter drove in from Iowa.

“Both my son and daughter race so we make the events a family outing,” he said as he tuned the engine on his son’s car. “This is our first time at this race so we will be staying to make it like a short vacation. We have tickets for a Colorado Rockies game and we are looking forward to that.”

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