The Summit SuperSeries Top class champ will win a turnkey racecar, built with parts and expertise from many of the IHRA's top partners. And if that isn't enough – the Junior Dragster champion wins a new car, too.
This is the first of a series of profiles on those companies that partner with the IHRA for the twin dragster giveaway – JR Race Car, manufacturer of Junior Dragsters and parts, and title sponsor of the IHRA JR Race Car Junior Dragster program.
It's no coincidence that when the Junior Dragster became accepted for competition in 1992, JR Race Car set up shop that first year to serve what the company hoped would be a market for cars, engines and parts.
Few would have imagined how the class, and the company, took off, as Junior Dragsters not only provide safe, sanctioned competition for kids, and an opportunity for the whole family to get involved, but it has been proven that racers who come through the Junior Dragster program will lead IHRA drag racing into the future.
JR Race Car began in a two-car garage in Fort Collins, Colo., and now works from a professional facility in nearby Greely. This is JR Race Car's third straight year to provide the custom-built car that will be awarded to the 2016 Summit SuperSeries Junior Dragster National Champion.
"The exposure we've received from the program has been great," says JR Race Car's Kevin Horner. "It's been really good for our company."
JR Race Car dove into the deep end of the pool in 1992, committing to becoming a full-service facility for the fledgling market. They've always offered components such as a full chassis, engines, clutches and chassis components, manufactured in-house from the beginning.
The company has gone from machining a large portion of the CNC parts for other vendors in the market, to designing and machining its own ZR, Titan, and ZR-4 Engines, and setting market standards with the Shockwave and Shockwave OD CVT (centrifugally variable transmission) clutches, and the thoroughly modern Hercules chassis.
The Junior Dragster market, like virtually every other type of recreational business, suffered a dip during the 2008 economic recession, but Horner says it has made a solid comeback.
It's critical for those involved in racing Junior Dragsters to have an outlet like JR Race Cars to depend on – to many in the crowd, all of the Juniors may look alike, but there are three different levels of competition, each with its own set of rules.
Next season, JR Race Car – as well as the Junior Dragster class itself – turns 25 years old. And though a Junior Dragster from 1992 may look a lot like one from today, current cars are quite different. More than once Horner says he has seen a parent buy a used Junior Dragster for a child, only to learn that after something breaks in the engine, for example, that particular engine is no longer manufactured, and parts are all but impossible to come by. Horner stresses that he and his staff are available to answer questions and to help, both pre- and post-purchase.
Horner realizes that it is important for drag racing in general and the IHRA in particular for families to have a positive experience racing Junior Dragsters. Plenty of times he's been at the track, and seen graduates from the Junior Dragster program racing full-sized cars.
Horner guesses that a quarter of those who outgrow the Junior Dragster experience move on to the regular IHRA competition right away, with plenty more gravitating back to drag racing later on, maybe after they finish school and start their own families. There are plenty of second-generation Juniors out there now, and it won't be that long before we greet a third generation.
There's little doubt that when that third generation does arrive, they'll be competing in JR Race Car products. For more information on the company, log onto JRRacecar.com.
Article courtesy of Steven Cole Smith, Racer.com - http://www.racer.com/ihra/item/134542-ihra-superseries-dragster-giveaway-jr-race-car