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Young driver gets a thrill from drag racing

Littleton boy competes in junior races at Bandimere Speedway


Ryder Olsen Jarman tightened his safety straps as he prepared to guide his car down the track during the National Hot Rod Association Division 5 Junior Dragster races at Bandimere Speedway.

“My brother started racing, it looked like fun, so I wanted to do it too,” the 6-year-old Littleton resident said June 23. “Drag racing is very, very fun. The most fun is racing and trying to beat other kids to the finish line so you can get to the finals and win the trophy.”

The junior dragsters race from a standing start to the finish line an eighth of a mile down the track. Of course the idea is get to push the car at top speed to get to the finish line as fast as possible, and Jarman said he likes going fast.

“It is exciting to be going fast,” the boy said. “I go faster this year than I did last year. This year I can be going about 40 miles an hour when I cross the finish line. That is exciting and it is really fun to go that fast. It is even more fun if my car goes across the finish line ahead of the other racer.”

The junior drag racing event at Bandimere lasted three days, with each day using a different racing format. All races use a single-elimination format which means the winner advances and the racing is over for the other driver.

Jarman got his wish to go fast and win races the first day of competition as he won four of five races to earn runner-up honors in the 6- and 7-year-old age division.

He had a good day June 24 in the divisional championship races. He ended the race day for three opponents to get to the finals where he raced Lily Vehar of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Wyoming driver won the race.

Jarman was among about 150 drivers competing in the three-day National Hot Rod Association Division 5 Junior Drag Racing Series held June 23-25 at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison.

Racers from five states took part in the three-day event and each driver got to race each day.

Junior dragster is a program created by the National Hot Rod Association in 1992 to provide a way for boys and girls to experience drag racing.

The cars kids drive are half-scale models of the NHRA top fuel dragsters. The youth’s cars are powered by single-cylinder engines.

The program is divided into five age divisions to accommodate drivers 5 to 18 years old.

The 5-year-olds don’t race. They make test runs down the eighth-mile dragstrips. The racing divisions are 6- to 7 -year-olds, 8- to 9-year-olds, 10- to 12-year-0lds and 13- to 17-year-olds.

The cars driven by the youngest competitors must use an out-of-the-crate Briggs and Stratton lawn mower engine. The cars launch off the starting line and if a car is going faster than 40 mph crossing the finish line an eighth of a mile away, the driver is disqualified.

The rules allow older age division cars to use larger engines but the engines must be single-cylinder so those junior dragsters are powered by motorcycle or personal watercraft engines. The rules also set maximum speeds for each age group and the speed limit increases for older drivers. The fastest speed allowed in junior dragster racing is 85 mph for the 16- and 17-year-old drivers.


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