Drag racing is family affair

Junior Kaiser started tradition more than a half-century ago

Posted 7/10/16

Troy Kaiser smiled and said the love of drag racing must be inherited, since just about every member of his family is involved in the sport.

The Littleton man talked about the Kaiser family's love of drag racing as he prepared his car to compete …

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Drag racing is family affair

Junior Kaiser started tradition more than a half-century ago

Posted

Troy Kaiser smiled and said the love of drag racing must be inherited, since just about every member of his family is involved in the sport.

The Littleton man talked about the Kaiser family's love of drag racing as he prepared his car to compete in the July 2 Jet Car Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

“I guess the family involvement in the sport began with Junior Kaiser, who is my dad,” he said. “He raced, his brother raced and I got into it too. The family tradition also has been passed to both my sons, who are driving junior dragsters.”

Junior Kaiser said he started drag racing in 1959 at Continental Divide Raceway.

“I raced pretty regularly and the whole family came to the track with me so we could spend time together,” he said.

Junior Kaiser raced in the top classification of the sport, top fuel dragsters. Unlike most drivers in that classification, he didn't have major sponsors and paid the high costs of racing with help from family and friends.

An example of the expenses include the fact a set of rear tires for a top fuel dragster cost more than $600 and just the base engine for the car is $25,000. The supercharger costs another $15,000.

“My help came from friends and supporters,” the Lakewood resident said. “A friend would buy me a barrel of fuel for a race and another might buy me tires. That is how we kept going for almost 40 years.”

He said his son Troy has been around drag racing since he was a toddler. He said as Troy got older he became the crew chief for his dad's top fuel dragster.

Troy said being the crew chief was an easy transition since he had been turning wrenches for many years working in his dad's shop, Hi Pro Engines in Denver. He continues turning wrenches because when Junior retired from the shop, Troy bought the business.

“Dad stopped racing in top fuel in '95 or '96,” Troy said. “We took a year off as my Uncle Tom helped us change Dad's car over to a super comp dragster so we could just come to the track and have some fun. I got into driving a little later than many in the sport, as I got my license in 1997 when I was 29. When they brought the fast 16 class to Bandimere in 1998 we felt it was something we wanted to do. So we beefed up the engine, put a supercharger on it and started competing in the class.”

Drag racing also played a role in Troy's personal life. He met his wife Rachelle and they started dating at a drag race in 1991, and a year later they planned their wedding at the same drag race where they met.

He drove for Randy Meyer out of Spring Hill, Kansas, in 2004. He competed in several divisional races and a couple of national events in an A-fuel car.

“I loved it and would like to have continued, but while it was fun it is expensive and eats up a lot of time, so we just decided to do our drag racing in at Bandimere,” he said. “Of course, another factor in that decision was the fact my boys were growing and they wanted to race.”

He said the boys sort of took over all his spare time as both 13-year-old Landon and 11-year-old Branson are involved in a football, basketball and drag racing. The boys take priority so, until they get grown and move on, he said his focus is his sons, but he will continue to make trips to Bandimere when possible just to have fun competing in drag racing.

“My most fun at this time in my life is being with my kids and supporting them in all they do,” he said. “I am glad they like drag racing. It is a great sport and, like the other sports, it helps the boys learn life lessons about winning, losing and good sportsmanship.”

He said Landon is an eighth-grader at Goddard and a good athlete who plans to attend Heritage High School.

“I told him to pursue what is right in his heart,” Troy said. “Of course, the rule is academics come first, and if the grades aren't good there will be no sports, and that includes drag racing.”

Landon said he loves all sports, and while drag racing is No. 1, football is like a No. 1A in his list of favorites.

“Drag racing is No. 1 because it is impossible to describe how much fun it is to be part of the sport, to get behind the wheel and go fast,” he said. “It is also special because I am able to be with my family as we all take part and share in the love of drag racing.”

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