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Getting on Track: How to Begin Your Journey in Dirt Track Speedway Racing

dirt track speedway auto racing josh wise manzanita speedway phoenix az
PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Wise (7c) competes in the USAC Copper on Dirt auto race at the Manzanita Speedway on February 21, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ. Copyright: Christopher Halloran Licenced to Auto.Racing by | 19852232

Dirt track speedway is a great motorsport that can be easy to become involved in, with many different classes available including many that make a great entry level to motorsport. Getting started however does involve some knowledge and considerations, especially in terms of budget and time expenditure. In this article we will take a quick look at the basics to consider before you get started.

Understanding the Costs

One of the hottest topics in all forms of auto racing is how expensive the sport can be. It’s crucial to assess your budget realistically. Mismanagement of finances can strain personal relationships, so it’s important to have a good reserve of cash and avoid taking loans specifically for racing.

When it comes to racing, the more money the better, and it’s always far more expensive than what you expect, if you plan to spend $20,000, you may end up spending upwards of $60,000. Costs are almost always at minimum 3 times higher than expected, and it’s worth remembering there is no maximum, you can easily burn every cent you have saved and earn on any racing endeavour.

To compete at a high level, you will need to invest in good parts and equipment over time. Building up gradually rather than spending all at once can help manage costs more effectively.

Time Commitment

Racing is time-intensive. Significant hours are spent during the week on car maintenance, including washing, bolt checks, repairs, and setup work. Beginners often underestimate the time required for these tasks.

It’s important to manage your time well and be mindful of other commitments. Working with a race team initially before getting started can help you understand the time commitment involved.

Choosing the Right Class

Selecting the appropriate racing class should be influenced by your budget and personal interests, while dirt speedways most entry level friendly racing is in street car based series, if you are aiming for purpose built race car classes, then you will need to ensure you have your budget available and planned.

If you know of anyone already racing they can likely put you in touch with some club members who will assist you in some information on what is needed to join the series, otherwise you could always reach out to the clubs directly for some basic information. Alternatively you could also apply to become a member and go along to a few meetings to make contacts and gather information before you invest.

Safety First

High-quality safety equipment is essential. Spending extra on certified gear, such as a race helmet and fire-resistant suit, is necessary to protect yourself on the track. Even when it comes to certified safety equipment and clothing, you may still want to spend more than the cheapest options.

Some series require different equipment levels, such as the number of layers your racing suit needs to have. Understanding and meeting the safety regulations of your local tracks is crucial to avoid buying unsuitable items. Regulations can include specific ratings for helmets and suits or requirements for head and neck restraints.

New vs. Used Race Car : Budget Considerations

If you plan to race in a street car-based series, then you will need to consider the cost between building a new car or buying a used race car. If you are planning to head towards a dedicated race car series such as Legends cars, Formula 500 (Australia), or Sprint Cars, then the option to buy a brand new race car also becomes available.

Deciding between buying a new race car or obtaining a used race car will depend on your budget and mechanical skills. A new car ensures all parts are in working order but comes at a higher cost.

If you are planning to build a race car from a second-hand road car, it’s important to note that rarely can this be done by oneself alone. You will be paying shops for at least some of the build and fabrication work. Depending on the history of the car you buy to begin with, you may also not have any guarantees in terms of the quality of the stock components and will want to factor in the need for extra mechanical items as spares.

In both cases, a used car can be more affordable but may require significant repairs and upgrades. If opting for a used race car, inspect it thoroughly or consult with someone knowledgeable to avoid costly mistakes. Ensure the car is safe and assess whether needed repairs will keep it within your budget.

Learning Race Procedures

Understanding race procedures and signals is crucial for safety and smooth participation. Familiarize yourself with different flags and track signals to avoid accidents and penalties.

Embracing the Experience

Dirt track racing, especially at lower levels, is often a great sport that mixes both competition and fun. While more expensive series becomes more professional and serious, lower level dirt speedway enjoys a great mix of social camaraderie, competition and of course the enjoyment of the racing experience. It’s important to always keep a positive attitude, make friends at the track, and don’t let pressures overshadow your enjoyment.

More Information

ThreeZero Racing has prepared an excellent beginners guide for dirt speedway on their YouTube Channel, we have embedded their video below. If you prefer to view on YouTube directly, the video link is here: How To Get Started In Dirt Track Racing!

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