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Old 06-10-2012, 03:23 AM   #1
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How do you turn into a professional racer?

I know somewhere floating around on our boards there are a few people who race professionaly, and I would like to know how. I want to know how you get to a position where you can actually live off of your winnings and sponsorship dollars.

Do you start by winning all your local races? Should you go to neerby states and race tracks there? Do you contact potential sponsers or do you wait for them? How much does the average brand plastered on your car pay? Is that only parts or cash? And should you plan on doing most of the mechanic work yourself?

I am probably missing a few important questions but thanks for any answers or additions
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:28 AM   #2
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

First I think you would need a license, second something better then a 305, third a sponsor unless you have a fat wallet.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:48 AM   #3
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

what tipe of racing are there? Oval track? dirt race... rally? drift.. formulas? i wish i could do this... idk if i have the skills =[
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:56 AM   #4
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

how to make a small fortune racing: start with a large fortune

there is no get rich quick schemes...get out there and start actually racing and winning events. once you have started to get the attention of locals, you can start to seek sponsorship. it's a lot of work at a sportsman level

here's a good quick read on the subject:
http://www.staginglight.com/guide/sponsors.html
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:00 AM   #5
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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Originally Posted by blue birdy 87 View Post
I know somewhere floating around on our boards there are a few people who race professionaly, and I would like to know how. I want to know how you get to a position where you can actually live off of your winnings and sponsorship dollars.

Do you start by winning all your local races? Should you go to neerby states and race tracks there? Do you contact potential sponsers or do you wait for them? How much does the average brand plastered on your car pay? Is that only parts or cash? And should you plan on doing most of the mechanic work yourself?

I am probably missing a few important questions but thanks for any answers or additions
What exactly type of racing are you talking about???.I can only offer you a answer from our background.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:02 AM   #6
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Know your car as good as if not better than your gal. Have alll safety eqpt needed. Be confident in what you are doing. Get seat time // laps // races under your belt. Wins & top 5 finishes are good to present to potential sponsors.
Then go sponsor hunting- this is where confidence helps. You have to sell your car & yourself to potential sponsors.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:27 AM   #7
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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how to make a small fortune racing: start with a large fortune

there is no get rich quick schemes...get out there and start actually racing and winning events. once you have started to get the attention of locals, you can start to seek sponsorship. it's a lot of work at a sportsman level

here's a good quick read on the subject:
http://www.staginglight.com/guide/sponsors.html
Nant.............Wrong answer.Start out with a never ending commitment that you CAN DO what "the pack" tells you can't do..All too many guys have evolved into racing is a loss.A positive attitude with a business point of view that you can make money unconventionally.It's unhealthy to allow "what everyone else thinks" invade your goals.If before I die If convert just one person in 1,000,I would have done my part.And yes misery loves company,so why the hell would you want to be apart of that group??.

Nova-just disagreeing with ya on this one bud.Once he tells us the type of racing I can either pursue this farther or tell him in that style I don't know.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:49 AM   #8
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Which part is wrong? My sarcasm in the first part of the post? Or the part about actually getting out there and working hard at it? Where in there did I discourage him from doing what he's trying to do?

Did you read my link?
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:57 AM   #9
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

If you're a bracket racer, make about a million passes. Get yourself to get the reaction times down to be .008-.015. A good practice tree that you can adjust roll out on helps a lot here. get a car that's not only consistent but predictable with changes in the weather, then start going to the big money races.

Oh, and learn how to drive the stripe. It's an art form in and of itself.

This would be the cheapest way to get into it and make money. You have to keep the car low maintenance, the cheaper the car is to run, the better your profit will be.
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:34 AM   #10
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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Which part is wrong? My sarcasm in the first part of the post? Or the part about actually getting out there and working hard at it? Where in there did I discourage him from doing what he's trying to do?

Did you read my link?
The racing no get rich quick thingie.I just can't begin to explain the distressed purchases of incomplete good cars we finished out,raced for a yr,and sold at a profit.The amount of money we amassed over the yrs which we still have.That link is good,but only as a stepping stone to a national sponsor.

I think there is a air of a hard sell that first you have to lose money(sure does sell parts) and that anyone can just walk up to a drag car and drive it.(That also sells the sport to sell parts and is total nonsense)There is one hell of a BIG difference from a 9.90 car and the normal daily driver 16 second car.I have seen guys with yrs into the sport step up to something faster and be way,way,over their heads.Certainly I wouldn't want to have them in the lane next to us.I guess I am saying there is a line people cross in speed/et where it takes natural talent that can't be learned.That people need to be brought along in that to find if they are really cut out to go fast enough to warrant good sponsor money.That sponsors can be be had at a number of different levels.From local to national with a number of steps in between.That racing can be two train of thoughts.One is it is a business and the other one a sport needing to lose money.Sorry for this next hash statement guys.In the big picture there are winners and losers and only you get to chose which one your going to be................

Lastly-there are formulas to fund a racing program if your a smart enough businessman to begin with.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:13 PM   #11
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

I've been racing for a long time. The closest thing to a sponsor that I have is a former company president who pays for my alcohol fuel whenever I need it. It's hard to actually get someone to just pay you to race. Drag racing isn't a great visual customer orientated sport. During an entire day of racing, you're only in front of the grandstands for a few minutes. The deeper you can go into the rounds, the more exposure you can get. Oval track racing is different where as long as you're still racing, you're always being seen by the fans. Road course is even worse. It's hard to watch a particular car over the entire course.

Sponsorship is also a co-dependent deal. Get a sponsor to help you out but you also need to display your race car at the business at least once a year so customers can see that they sponsor a car.

Becoming a professional driver may never happen. No matter what professional driver you name, they all started off in entry level classes. If they show enough potential as they move themselves up in the classes, some big name business or sponsor may want them to drive a corporate car or are willing to sponsor your car if it's what they're looking for.

For the average person to want to use their racing as a business, ie. John Smith's Racing, expect to have capital losses for many years. You can't race professionally staying at local tracks. You need to do the circuit. Hit every race you can all year long and try to hit the bigger payout races. The cost of travel will easily eat up any winnings but attending more and more races will get you more exposure. Eventually, someone may offer a big enough sponsorship that covers your operating expenses.

Contingency money. The payouts from racing are never very big however contingency money can be huge. All those decals on the sides of race cars are there for a reason. Using the products and having the proper decals on the car can pay a lot more than the prize money however you also need to make it into the final round to see any of it.

Local contingency sponsors. Like I said above, it's hard to get someone to pay you to race but you might find smaller money in local contingency. Find a local business. Try asking for $500 sponsorship so you can race and you'll probably be laughed at so try to make a deal with them. Have them print up a couple of business decals similar to any other contingency decal for your car. You agree to display them on your car however it costs the business nothing until you make it into the final round. If you win, they pay you $50. If you runner up, it's only $25. Find 10 business like that, win a race and you just earned an extra $500. If you don't get into the final round, it costs the sponsors nothing. If you do start continually making it to the final round, a business may decide that a full sponsorship would be better exposure for them. That's your incentive to hit as many races as possible and go deep into the rounds every time. For oval or road course racing, it means finishing in the top 5 as many times as possible.

Becoming a professional driver doesn't happen overnight. Like any other business. It takes money to make money.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:16 PM   #12
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

1gary, sometimes I think you argue for argument's sake.

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Old 06-10-2012, 02:09 PM   #13
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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I've been racing for a long time. The closest thing to a sponsor that I have is a former company president who pays for my alcohol fuel whenever I need it. It's hard to actually get someone to just pay you to race. Drag racing isn't a great visual customer orientated sport. During an entire day of racing, you're only in front of the grandstands for a few minutes. The deeper you can go into the rounds, the more exposure you can get. Oval track racing is different where as long as you're still racing, you're always being seen by the fans. Road course is even worse. It's hard to watch a particular car over the entire course.

Sponsorship is also a co-dependent deal. Get a sponsor to help you out but you also need to display your race car at the business at least once a year so customers can see that they sponsor a car.

Becoming a professional driver may never happen. No matter what professional driver you name, they all started off in entry level classes. If they show enough potential as they move themselves up in the classes, some big name business or sponsor may want them to drive a corporate car or are willing to sponsor your car if it's what they're looking for.

For the average person to want to use their racing as a business, ie. John Smith's Racing, expect to have capital losses for many years. You can't race professionally staying at local tracks. You need to do the circuit. Hit every race you can all year long and try to hit the bigger payout races. The cost of travel will easily eat up any winnings but attending more and more races will get you more exposure. Eventually, someone may offer a big enough sponsorship that covers your operating expenses.

Contingency money. The payouts from racing are never very big however contingency money can be huge. All those decals on the sides of race cars are there for a reason. Using the products and having the proper decals on the car can pay a lot more than the prize money however you also need to make it into the final round to see any of it.

Local contingency sponsors. Like I said above, it's hard to get someone to pay you to race but you might find smaller money in local contingency. Find a local business. Try asking for $500 sponsorship so you can race and you'll probably be laughed at so try to make a deal with them. Have them print up a couple of business decals similar to any other contingency decal for your car. You agree to display them on your car however it costs the business nothing until you make it into the final round. If you win, they pay you $50. If you runner up, it's only $25. Find 10 business like that, win a race and you just earned an extra $500. If you don't get into the final round, it costs the sponsors nothing. If you do start continually making it to the final round, a business may decide that a full sponsorship would be better exposure for them. That's your incentive to hit as many races as possible and go deep into the rounds every time. For oval or road course racing, it means finishing in the top 5 as many times as possible.

Becoming a professional driver doesn't happen overnight. Like any other business. It takes money to make money.

You in for a big laugh.We have gone total for only three yrs without a sponsor and the first was..................want to guess??.Yepper a bank.Now they aren't going to run out of money.LOL.One yr was we got down to 4 cars at the Empire Nationals.The contingency money paid $1,700 bucks.Not too shabby.Drag racing's pay out for first place is what the 8th place money is for some of the circle track racing is.It takes money to make money??.Well of course it does.But as I said we have compounded the original seed money times 100 never falling in love with any car.It is the single mistake aside from how to obtain a car in the first place.As I said we where for yrs flipping cars every yr for a profit.All too many guys every yr invest more and more into the same car until the resale is such a lost some are forced to even leave racing.Are we obligated to appearances during the wk??.Sure we are doing promotional appearances.Is our sponsorship money based on our finishes are a race??.No it is a yearly deal.BUT we have had such a long history of having sponsors we do have kind of a commanding position.Is our racing operation a business??.Are we professional racers??.The answer to that is we show a profit every yr.So I guess I can say yes.As I said,not everyone is cut out to go fast enough to gain the advantage of a decent sponsorship deal.It takes talent to drive the car,maintain the car,run a race operation,cut the right deal for a sponsorship,build the car in the first place.That is something no one should take lightly.That is huge to find someone that can do all that.Is it hard work to get paid to race??.It is certainly another full time job and a haft.Is this all we do??.Well yes and no.We are known for the used parts we sell too so that is all part of it.You make a plan how to race on other people's dollar and that is your business plan.
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:42 PM   #14
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

making money off a Hobby. can be done. i started off shooting BB guns/rist rockets/bows/knifes/ when i was 6 or 7 years old.
(try stabbing a combat knife into 1/2 inch ply wood) ill show you how to do it, up to the Hilt.

by the time i was 13 years old my mom&dad got my my first .22
paid for my first Colt AR15 sp1 when I was 15.($425) My first M1A1 when i was
16.

joined the U.S.M.C when i was 17. started shooting for them(in comp) when i was 22 years old, by the time i was in my 30's i had every black gun i wanted. from winnings at shooting events even won a HK PSG-1 back in 1988.

I have shot for HK/ SPRINGFIELD ARMORY/CZ/S&W. and for a short time Colt.they dont pay that good. wanted me to spit winning..(im using your gun your clothing your hats..and winning..now you want My money...Get Lost!)

i fell into my hobby when i was a kid..you can make it pay.
it would be fun to make a living off of it...but im ret now 22 years in the U.S.M.C. this car thing was always a 2nd hobby

and in a way i did make a living off of it... But the car thing was always more Fun!

now shooting has gone to TV. ya cant miss the 6"4 280 lb Ex U.S. Marine
with the big tatoo (neck to rist) Shooting well. check out Top shot this summer

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Old 06-10-2012, 03:02 PM   #15
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Well just thought I would add my .02, I race dirt track for most of my life from age 18 to 33. The intial start up cost where huge. To build a car, 2 motors and keep tires on it was a large expense. Getting tore up on Saturday nights really piles the budget up for the year. I had a couple of 500.0 dollars sponsors and that helped. Every year for about the frist 10 years was Loss on the books as far as money goes. I think a person could stand a chance to make Money once everything is a massed (parts, parts and extra parts.) Frist place payed 125.00 and it was 20 dollars a person to get in the pits. So just to start the night off buy the time I got in the gate. My wife and I. I was -40.0 dollars then had to put fuel in the car. Sunoco 110 octane= 15 gallons @ $5.00= 75.00. So i was already at a loss before the green flag droped. Would I do it again---- You bet I would, but with 3 kids and a wife I can't commit to the time factor of weekly dirt track racing. If you want to race then go race its the most fun you can have with your close on. Stay focused and get seat time, the wins will follow. With any luck you get a big money sponsor and who knows where it goes from there.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:32 PM   #16
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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Well just thought I would add my .02, I race dirt track for most of my life from age 18 to 33. The intial start up cost where huge. To build a car, 2 motors and keep tires on it was a large expense. Getting tore up on Saturday nights really piles the budget up for the year. I had a couple of 500.0 dollars sponsors and that helped. Every year for about the frist 10 years was Loss on the books as far as money goes. I think a person could stand a chance to make Money once everything is a massed (parts, parts and extra parts.) Frist place payed 125.00 and it was 20 dollars a person to get in the pits. So just to start the night off buy the time I got in the gate. My wife and I. I was -40.0 dollars then had to put fuel in the car. Sunoco 110 octane= 15 gallons @ $5.00= 75.00. So i was already at a loss before the green flag droped. Would I do it again---- You bet I would, but with 3 kids and a wife I can't commit to the time factor of weekly dirt track racing. If you want to race then go race its the most fun you can have with your close on. Stay focused and get seat time, the wins will follow. With any luck you get a big money sponsor and who knows where it goes from there.
It is the reason why I asked the O/P to tell us what kind of racing he is talking about.Around here circle track racing does pay back 8 places.

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Old 06-10-2012, 06:12 PM   #17
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Thank you for all the responses guys. For the type of racing I would like to go into is road racing. I also think drag racing and dirt track would be good but road racing would be my preference.
Also I know it would require multiple cars and skill sets but is it possible to handle different types in the same season? I was thinking if I ever get the shot to try this I'd run a drag race car, and road race for as long as I could until one started working better for me then the other.

And how does it work by flipping cars? I get that you can profit off of them and that helps pay the bills, but I always thought you wanted to keep the same cars, to know whats been done to it, be familiar with it, and not have to start the building proccess alover. Just to keep refining that car to your purpose.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:17 PM   #18
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Road racing like other forms of racing has different classes. You see a pack of cars driving around the track but they're not all in the same class depending on their performance ability, body style etc.

You start off in an inexpensive car or class. Once you learn a lot more about what you need to do to move up into a faster car and class, you see if you can sell off your slower car to buy or build one for a more competitive class. Depending what you're done to your car or are willing to do, you can probably keep changing your own car to make it better but in just about any form of racing, it's cheaper to buy a car the way you want it than to build one. For the amount of money that I've spent over the last 10+ years changing my car, I could have bought 2 tube chassis cars and my car is still just a modified heavy production car.

Learn the rules for the type of racing you want to do. No sense modifying a street car to find out the modifications are not allowed in a slower class or the modifications barely make it competitive in a higher class. You don't build a car then decide what class it will fit into. You build a car to fit into a specific class.

Driving schools. Everyone thinks they can drive but taking a driving school in the type of racing you want to do is a huge benefit. With the increased knowledge, it may also offer a better chance at getting seat time in somebody else's car.

I took a rookie driving school in a Legends car but got dizzy running around the oval. Sure are fun to drive though.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:33 PM   #19
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

I nothing about road racing.So I am bowing out.
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Old 06-16-2012, 03:42 AM   #20
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Ok so ive done a little bit of research and thinking since my last post and ive come up with (feel free to add your opinion too) this idea.

Turn my firebird into a drag car.To me it seems like there is more drag racing locally in the pacific north west then road racing. Id much prefer road racing but if i could turn a penny in either id be more then happy. How do I find out what drag racing class is most common and profitable locally. I am smart, 17 soon going to community college for cars and buisness,and very low on cash, and this is the only thing that I feel motivated to do.

What class would I do best in? Thank you for any help
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:02 AM   #21
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

have you been down a dragstrip yet?
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:11 AM   #22
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

First things first, get involved in racing, after a few years you won't need to ask that question, you will have your answer.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:18 AM   #23
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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Originally Posted by blue birdy 87 View Post
What class would I do best in?
Unless you build the car to fit into a specific class such as Stock/Superstock, SuperGas, SuperStreet or any other the other specialized classes such as Real Street, True Street, Crate Motor etc, you'll be running in ET brackets which makes up a huge part of all the drag racing. The bracket class depends on how fast you go. In the bracket classes, anything goes so you can do just about whatever you want to the car to make it go faster.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:20 AM   #24
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

No I havent taken it on a track yet because it needs some work before its track ready and that requires money. As soon as its in a little better shape im going to try it
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:46 AM   #25
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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How do you turn into a professional racer?

You need to write your wish on a peice of paper (Perferably purple), put it under you pillow before you go to sleep, and sprinkle some pixy dust on it (make sure you do this on a Thursday night by the way). Then spin around three times with one eye open and finish up with jazz hands. Say Witchdoctor 3 times in the mirror and then go to sleep at EXACTLY 8pm. In the morning look under your pillow and there will be a racing licence and 20 thousand dollars, plus sponsers, and some comon sense.


You need to go to racing school, you need a racing license, you need enough funds to mod your car to where it meets race track rules and regulations, then you need to get experience, you’re going to need savings for expenses (tires, repairs, transportation, gas, accommodations for overnight events, etc..). Your also going to need to get hours on the track and enter in amateur events that reward minimal or no cash.

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Old 06-16-2012, 02:28 PM   #26
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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Originally Posted by SKELITOR117 View Post
You need to write your wish on a peice of paper (Perferably purple), put it under you pillow before you go to sleep, and sprinkle some pixy dust on it (make sure you do this on a Thursday night by the way). Then spin around three times with one eye open and finish up with jazz hands. Say Witchdoctor 3 times in the mirror and then go to sleep at EXACTLY 8pm. In the morning look under your pillow and there will be a racing licence and 20 thousand dollars, plus sponsers, and some comon sense.



Thanks for the "helpful" advice. I know what i'll be doing this thursday
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Old 06-16-2012, 03:50 PM   #27
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

save up 50k to blow on expenses in the first two years and that should be a typical start
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:26 PM   #28
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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save up 50k to blow on expenses in the first two years and that should be a typical start
lmao try going toTAD

avg cost per run is 3k in general maintence and supplys and thats if u dont blow anything up

avg payout to winner a few grand

makes u wonder how that class even exsists anymore we got of it a few years after injected nitro cars were allowed to run in the class so maybe its goten better in the past few years but i highly doubt it
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:02 AM   #29
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

I started many moons ago first in street et and then heavy et as so did my partner.He sold his company and I had some cash and that was the seed money to have what we have now.We both have a knack for making money in businesses that most say you can't.The latest motor is a nitrous mountain motor with costs is about the same as two mortgages for a house.You should be very aware there is a line you cross as far as how fast you go and the increased costs per round.That is dramatic in the costs.

I do have fond memories of those days in the street/heavy ET classes.They where not profitable just training for what was to follow which has been to date very,very,rewarding.

One key is to NEVER fall in love with any of the cars you race.Yearly investments in them will bury you in a hole that most guys NEVER get out of.Your a race car owner that drives the car to sell it making money.Each one is a stepping stone up.And up is the door to sponsorship money to pursue which is helping to build a business.You need to never lose sight of the fact what you are selling is a billboard and maybe not racing in general,a billboard that is cheaper and a more effective ad campaign than anywhere else.It's their I.D. your representing and not your own.

If you own your own business it is a vehicle to advertise your business at a cheaper cost than it would be to advertise it through normal channels.

To be blunt here,winners win and losers don't.You have to be in the big picture in life a winner.I have never met a person who has a successful profitable racing business that wasn't as successful outside of racing.Both being able to stand up on their own.And racing is another full time job and a haft.There isn't much room for "I'll do it tomorrow".
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Old 06-17-2012, 05:14 AM   #30
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

One last thing.The moment you accept someone telling you can't,is the moment you have lost your goals or dreams.There are thousands of NASCAR drivers at various stages in their careers making money racing who haven't let that interfere with what they are doing and the best do raise to the top.Even the bottom part of that make a very good living.
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:41 AM   #31
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

im not even going to read all this. if you want to be a profesional racer, you need to get started kart racing and move up to roundy round pavement racing in a car. hopefully you can land a spot in a cup car.
that is the only way i can see making money and supporting your own deal racing. (with no other job to support yourself)

a good friend of mine has raced in the nmra for quite a few years very successfully. he has lots of sponsors/contingency money/free parts, and guess what.... he had to drop out of the running a couple years ago because he couldnt afford it. -and he worked another job on top of the racing.

a typical race weekend for that truck/trailer/car/motel room/food/etc is $1500. imo, there is not enough money in drag racing. you would have to be running top fuel to get paid, and even then im not so sure how much they actually make off the whole deal. even these big money small tire races that are popping up paying $10,000+ to win.... those guys have well over $100,000 tied up in the car. they would have to win 10 of the big money races just to break even on the car parts. -which will never happen, because parts dont last that long.

roundy round is the only option, imo.

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Old 06-17-2012, 10:21 AM   #32
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Small tire racing for life
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:59 AM   #33
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

The owner of the machine shop where I get my engine work done has a roundy round car. When he races, he has to travel a lot since there isn't enough region oval tracks to support his racing. When I think of tire expenses, I like to get 2 seasons out of my $600 pair of slicks. When he goes racing for a weekend, he takes $1200 worth of tires just for the weekend. He also goes through a barrel of race fuel in a weekend.

Just those kinds of expenses makes running a circuit very difficult for anybody.

For the most of us, we generally race because we love the sport. If we can win enough money to at least cover the operating expenses, that's just a bonus. To become a professional, you always need to start small and work your way up. It won't happen overnight.
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:00 PM   #34
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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The owner of the machine shop where I get my engine work done has a roundy round car. When he races, he has to travel a lot since there isn't enough region oval tracks to support his racing. When I think of tire expenses, I like to get 2 seasons out of my $600 pair of slicks. When he goes racing for a weekend, he takes $1200 worth of tires just for the weekend. He also goes through a barrel of race fuel in a weekend.

Just those kinds of expenses makes running a circuit very difficult for anybody.

For the most of us, we generally race because we love the sport. If we can win enough money to at least cover the operating expenses, that's just a bonus. To become a professional, you always need to start small and work your way up. It won't happen overnight.
gotta get on a cup team, period. i dont know how those guys manage to run the upper level dirt/asphalt cars. its insane money. on top of the $1200 in tires for the weekend, you have the $10+/gal racing fuel, (they use alot!) fuel/tires/wear and tear on the hauler, hotel if they need one, and food.
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:18 PM   #35
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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gotta get on a cup team, period. i dont know how those guys manage to run the upper level dirt/asphalt cars. its insane money. on top of the $1200 in tires for the weekend, you have the $10+/gal racing fuel, (they use alot!) fuel/tires/wear and tear on the hauler, hotel if they need one, and food.
Not to be a jerk,but remember what I said about people that say you can't.

BTW-read my post-it's brief a outline for you to follow.The first car is the hardest and then after that is gets easier.You small tire guys dig your own grave with investments.
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:51 PM   #36
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Not to be a jerk, but let me remind you about the stuff you said about the people who say "you can't". That applies to us small tire racers too. And your way isn't the only way, you don't have to flip cars to be successful, look at Dan Fletcher...
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:55 PM   #37
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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Not to be a jerk,but remember what I said about people that say you can't.

BTW-read my post-it's brief a outline for you to follow.The first car is the hardest and then after that is gets easier.You small tire guys dig your own grave with investments.
if you could break down an actual example with some dollar figures i might start believing. until then, i have never known anyone who was able to run a drag car and it pay for itself. pretty much everyone i know spends thousands and thousands each year just trying to be competetive in whatever class they are running. a win will pay some bills, but the rest of the time you'll be struggling to pay for the gas you spent to get to the race.
the closest thing to a money maker i can imagine would be bracket racing a bone stock honda civic. good on gas, cheap tires, reliable, and consistent enough to possibly win some.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:03 PM   #38
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Digger-I have given you examples and you I suggest need to consider changing who you hang out with.

I knew Dan at one time as well as Westfall/Westburg.Dan would tell you how much smaller the sponsorship money is given the class.

Want to add when you dominate a class it is a game changer.

I am not completely sure,but I think Jeff Gordon came directly from kart racing.

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Old 06-17-2012, 04:11 PM   #39
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

The way you guys talk,you make it sound like the only drag race drivers for hire is nitro/alcohol classes.There are a whole bunch of sportsman drivers for hire out there make a comfortable living.
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:41 PM   #40
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

how much is a sportsman car owner willing to pay for a driver?
how much are the payouts at a typical sportsman race?
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:19 PM   #41
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

I've seen them listed in Racingjunk.com

Also ran into owners on regional and national events looking for a driver.

They pay a base plus a percentage.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:30 PM   #42
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Off the top of my head,Two people I know of that are or where sportsman racers professionals,Jim Oddy who built and sold his business for a tidy sum of money,and sportsman driver for hire Fred Hahn who made a very good living.I watched Jim build that from nothing.Just smart business on and off the track.

And of course us.....................

Look guys,the choices you make are all your own.You can chose to surround yourself with people who are convinced you can't or people who are supportive you can.Hell that's life,right??.

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Old 06-18-2012, 12:28 AM   #43
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

Back on topic.Any good driver knows as much hands on about building a car/engine as the people who did build it.That's very important you just starting out you learn as much as you can as fast as you can.Stay away for comic books like magazines like Hot Rod and stick more closely to trades publications like Enginebuildermag.com.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:17 AM   #44
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

i am a realist, and i can't just "believe" something like that.
i would still like to see some numbers.... other than getting lucky and hooking up with some rich fella who likes to blow money, its hard for me to follow.

i know the nmra isnt quite "bigtime", but my friend does everything himself and his dad helps him. he has gotten a few free transmissions and help with motors, free exhaust, as well as all his contingencies. he was #2 in his class for a few years, and almost won a championship one year. the money just wasnt there for him. maybe things are night and day sportsman racing, but its just hard to get a grasp on that when i've seen someone try it firsthand.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:02 AM   #45
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

i wonder if the contingency program for the NMRA/NMCA type racing is just that much crappier than a sportsman level NHRA/IHRA type deal that the latter can live off of it where as the former cannot...

1gary, i have something else i cannot get my brain around: how did you guys take half built cars every year and turn them into seasonal winners year in and year out? seems like it'd be a lot of 36 hour days and living at the track during the week testing and tweaking to make it work, then only to sell it? just doesn't seem like there is enough hours in the day to do what you're saying...
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:46 AM   #46
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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i wonder if the contingency program for the NMRA/NMCA type racing is just that much crappier than a sportsman level NHRA/IHRA type deal that the latter can live off of it where as the former cannot...

1gary, i have something else i cannot get my brain around: how did you guys take half built cars every year and turn them into seasonal winners year in and year out? seems like it'd be a lot of 36 hour days and living at the track during the week testing and tweaking to make it work, then only to sell it? just doesn't seem like there is enough hours in the day to do what you're saying...
We did bust our butts.But knowing what to look for in a purchase of a car was and is a big part of it.Like a old class alter that we got with Lamb brakes and three adjustable coilovers we stole off a guy who's wife forced him to sell as a roller.Hell he had tears in his eyes when we left.That would hook on ice.60' like a mad man.If I remember that one with a sponsor for the whole season sold at the end of the season for a $10,000 grand profit as a roller.Just needed to add some small stuff like some bars.We picked the brain of a very,very,good engine builder early on and then expanded from there just at first farming out the machine work to build our own and through our used parts swap business built connections direct to manufactures.Used to get blems in really good heads at next to nothing that was just cosmetics,run them for a season and turn them too for good money.

Jeg,Chris Alston,Jen-cen,.......tell me where to stop!!.Look all of them started with nothing.Life,racing included,is what you make of it.Just gets me shaking my head all too many guys convince themselves racing HAS TO BE a losing proposition and loses sight it is a validate industry.Has the economy impacted it??.Yep.But ya know that can be view two ways.Better deals out there to build off of too.More guys getting in wrong over their heads needing to sell very,very,cheap.Their lost is my gain??.Yes-yes it is. Like I said the first one is the hardest and knowing when to move on it key,but +++++++++=======$$$$$$

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Old 06-18-2012, 08:56 AM   #47
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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i am a realist, and i can't just "believe" something like that.
i would still like to see some numbers.... other than getting lucky and hooking up with some rich fella who likes to blow money, its hard for me to follow.

i know the nmra isnt quite "bigtime", but my friend does everything himself and his dad helps him. he has gotten a few free transmissions and help with motors, free exhaust, as well as all his contingencies. he was #2 in his class for a few years, and almost won a championship one year. the money just wasnt there for him. maybe things are night and day sportsman racing, but its just hard to get a grasp on that when i've seen someone try it firsthand.
Digger-you can't believe Jimmy Oddy built his business from nothing to a million dollar business and Fred as a hired driver lived quite nicely off his racing operation??.
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:04 AM   #48
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

But back to the O/P's original question.I suggest you save up some money and attend a driver school for what ever type of racing you think you want to pursue.There are some really good drag racer schools in Florida and to have that in your resume can't hurt.You get to drive some dragsters to see if it is for you or not.Do that before you invest in any car.

This is a top notch school that I highly recommend.

http://www.frankhawley.com/

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Old 06-18-2012, 10:51 AM   #49
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

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Digger-you can't believe Jimmy Oddy built his business from nothing to a million dollar business and Fred as a hired driver lived quite nicely off his racing operation??.
i would say there is usually alot more to it than simply racing a car or driving a car. i would still like to know how much these drivers are getting paid to drive a car. living nicely to one person may mean something completely different to someone else.
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:08 PM   #50
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Re: How do you turn into a professional racer?

IMO(drag racing point-of-view only), a true "professional racer" has to be able to give-up everything for at least 8-10 years of their life. Between gaining the needed experience, promoting/selling yourself, and funding yourself through that period you won't have time for anything outside of your racing.

We spend roughly $300 to go to an evening test session locally, and somewhere around $1000 on a typical local race weekend, $2k+ on anything out-of-state; both numbers being w/o any major breakage and we have a motorhome that does reasonably well mpg wise(dually pick-up wouldn't get nearly enough better to offset a hotel room cost). - That just covers me as the driver & my dad for crew; if any other of the family comes the costs go up.

Takes a long time covering your own expenses & making a name for yourself before anyone would consider giving you a large enough sponsorship to make a reasonable dent in those expenses.
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