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Sprint Car Dirt Track Racing

By Patty Goff

Attending or participating in a race of any kind holds a special attraction for millions of people worldwide. The competitive spirit of people has been apparent since history was first recorded by man. Roman chariot races and numerous types of horse races have been tracked through time by historians throughout the world. Sprint car dirt track racing provides the perfect addition to history's high speed and risky racing record.

This style of race has a wide fan base and spectators often feel the excitement generated by their favorite driver during the race. The cars move at nearly one hundred fifty miles per hour and it is nonstop action on the track. Some race tracks are only an eighth of a mile in distance while others can range up to a mile in length.

Drivers and cars are considered a team and there can be no substitutions of either once the registration for the race has been completed. Should a driver become injured or unable to participate for any reason the team is disqualified from the competition. The same rules apply should the vehicle develop mechanical issues or not conform to specifications required to compete.

In 1958 Jim Cushman designed what he called wings for these cars. This concept was to place scoop shaped wings on the top and rear of the vehicle to create stronger down force, or drafts, for them which helps to keep the cars from becoming air born during the race. This aide in preventing the cars from flipping over while they race. Side wings were then devised to help with steering them during the frequent turns on tracks. These wings became common place during the early 1970s and added extra safety features by protecting a driver should his vehicle actually flip over during the race.

To help alleviate injuries incurred during these races many new safety features have been adopted in the past decade. Drivers are required to wear double fabric fire suits as well as protective gloves in the vehicle. Roll cages have been added to help prevent serious injuries when an accident happens. Seven point harnesses and head and neck restraints have been installed in most cars along with head rests for the left side of the roll cage. Another safety feature uses metal netting on roll cage openings to prevent debris from entering the cage and striking the driver.

NASCAR drivers many times begin their race car careers in Sprint cars. The drivers can many times acquire sponsors and backing to finance the transition to larger tracks by being successful on smaller tracks. Some even continue running small tracks afterwards because it appeals to their taste for excitement and uninhibited speed.

There are several sanctioning bodies for this type of race car. Most require drivers to purchase cards to drive in their races and each race requires a sign up fee to be paid. Drivers compete for cash winnings as well as points for the season that accumulate with each race.

These races can be watched on television by fans who cannot travel to the race locations. Stations that carry them usually cater to sports venues and these races are usually taped in advance of viewing.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Thursday, October 23, 2014

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