NHRA announces new racing program for 13 to 16 year olds

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The National Hot Rod Association this week announced a new program that combines car safety and racing that’s sure to get wheels spinning for youngsters 13 to 16.

Called NHRA Youth Racing, the program “will give teenage boys and girls the opportunity to race against their peers in full-bodied street vehicles with an adult co-driver as their teammate,” according to an NHRA press release.

“Competitors will go through an orientation/licensing procedure on an eighth-mile dragstrip in their vehicles, which must meet program requirements. Approved vehicles must be registered, insured, street-legal vehicles with mufflers and street tires and limited to 10 seconds and slower.”

That’s right, if you can convince mom and dad to sit beside you while you put the pedal to the metal of the family car, you can take the first step towards potentially becoming the next John Force or Alexis DeJoria.

“This is an inexpensive program but, best of all, it’s a way for families to use drag racing as a learning tool and a conduit for family bonding,” said Josh Peterson, NHRA vice president of racing administration.

The program will be available at participating NHRA member racetracks (member track locator is at NHRA.com). Program rules are at NHRARacer.com.

NHRA Youth Racing is the latest member of the youth racing family that also includes the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League, NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style and the NHRA Summit Racing Series.

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Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.