Written by Brittany Eyres
It was a Wednesday night in July, back in 2009, when I first stepped into a junior dragster. I had no idea what to expect. I put on my Uncle’s old racing suit, got in and buckled up. My father pushed me under the control tower and onto the track. He looked at me and said, “Are you ready?” I nodded my head, inside the large white helmet. Then, he placed the starter into the engine and it roared to life. The sound of the engine made me smile, chills running up my spine.
Since that day, I’ve been drag racing. I was 12 years old. Junior Dragster Racing is interesting because it is made specifically for kids ages five through 17. Crazy, letting a five-year-old drag race… right? Well, they’re only allowed to go 25 miles per hour. Something about the speed and adrenaline coursing through my blood had me tremendously excited.
I quit cheerleading, basketball and softball to focus on my new passion. I spent every Sunday of every summer at the racetrack. My family and I started to travel to other racetracks as I got older. I gained a racing family that has watched me grow up and excel, and I have watched them grow up, too. I gained best friends who I spent every possible second with at the track. I even made friends from other tracks.
I remember Father’s Day, 2011. I paid my entrance fee as a “father’s day present” to my crew chief and best friend, my dad. It was a good day… that is until I crashed. I knew I had lost the first round and was angry about it. I continued down the shut off area of the track at an unusually fast speed. As a started to turn, the car went onto the right side wheels, and I flipped my car. I was stuck up against a fence. When someone finally came to rescue me, I got out and took my helmet off, tears streaming down my face.
The medics had me sit on someone’s golf cart while they checked out my bloody hand. “Can you tell us what day it is, Brittany?”
“Sunday. How’s my racecar?”
“Okay, good, who is the president?”
“Obama. How’s my racecar?”
“Okay, good. Your finger is cut pretty deep; do you want us to wrap it?”
“Sure. How’s my racecar?” The medics chuckled at my persistence.
They let me get up to look at it. My front wheel bar and right wheel were bent. The tears started flowing again. It was something that could be fixed, but for a hefty price. Racing is the most expensive sport. So I went online, found a new set of front wheels and ordered them right away, so I could get back on track. I was not going to let this one accident stop me.
2013 was my final year, but my best year. I won multiple times at my track, competed in the “Race of Champions” race at divisionals in Maryland and won, went to the semifinals at the Eastern Conference Finals in Bristol, Tennessee out of 500 cars, and won my age group at the end of the year. I ended Junior Drag Racing on a great note. But I miss it more than anything else.
I am currently working on my new car to race, a 1972 Chevy Vega with a 572 big block engine. I am hoping to have it completely built and ready to go by this summer.