Where Do I
Go To Get Started In Jr. Drag Racing?..........
In today's Jr. Dragster world there are so
many options, how does a person know which option is the
best starting point for their race team? While we can't make
the choices for you, here at Huddleston Performance we try
to make Jr. Racing as easy as possible for our racers. Our
championship winning hardware does its job of taking care of
the veteran Jr. Racer, but what about the newbie who is just
getting into the sport? Here we will go over a number of
options available to new Jr. Racing Families. We will touch
on different aged racers, and offer what we feel to be the
best options available for them to get the most out of their
Jr. Career. Let's start with the younger generation of Jr.
5 Year Olds
The 5 year old division of the Jr. sport is
a fairly simple one, you will need to go with the LO206
engine combination to get your feet wet. This is mandated by
NHRA, and offers options for getting your young driver
slowly adapted to the feel of a racecar.
The motor itself is a sealed over-head valve
starter motor. In its original configuration it is capable
of low 12's in most situations, however different carburetor
slide options let you slow it down much more than this for
new drivers. These motors are what you would picture for a
starter piece: pull start, gas burning, low maintenance
pieces. Here at Huddleston Performance we have handled all
of the small parts needed with this combo with our
Package. You simply need a chassis to install it
on, and for $1,289 you are ready to race!
As for a Chassis for your 5 year old racer,
a nice well built inexpensive car will do the job. When
running in the 12 second and higher range, you are not
asking a lot of the racecar itself therefore you don't need
a shiny brand new car to get started in the sport. Look
through cars to find the one you want, and if you need some
advice about what you find then give us a shout for help
making your choice!
6-7 Year Olds
Starting with a 6-7 year old driver in the
Jr. World is much the same as a 5 year old, however once you
reach this age you can legally go as quick as 13.90. At most
tracks you are still mandated the use of the LO206
combination at this age. A change in the carburetor slide
and adjust the weight of your car and you are ready to go
quicker and step up your Jr. Program.
The biggest change we see when you reach
this age is the desire racers have in the chassis
department. While an inexpensive starter chassis is still
more than enough, some racers like to look to the future
with their 6-7 year olds and go with a newer style chassis.
Many don't step up to a brand new
Assassin Chassis, but will go ahead and spend a
few extra dollars on their used chassis to last them further
into their Jr. Career.
For those of you looking to jump in with
both feet, we do offer our
HP Assassin Turn-Key Cars
LO206 Package. This is a combination that will
serve you many years as you upgrade throughout your Jr.
Career. Our HP Assassin Turn-Key Cars utilize only top of
the line parts regardless if you're going 13.90 or 7.90. For
that reason you don't find yourself having to purchase
multiple cars in a short span of time, you simply upgrade
your engine/clutch and move up in E.T.
8-9 Year Olds
Getting started at the 8-9 age group is the
point where your options open up, and you really have to
watch what you purchase. Your racer can now go as quick as
11.90, and is no longer mandated on the engine combination
they have to run. This opens your world to LO206's, Used
Flathead Engines, and New Flathead Engines.
The LO206 is still a nice option for the
racer who isn't worried about running right on the 11.90
limit. Still the most inexpensive option, this combination
allows your racer to get on the track for the least amount
of money. The 11.90 e.t. limit begins to push the every day
expectations of the LO206 however, so if you're looking to
run 11.90's everywhere you go then this may not be the
option for you.
Next is the Used Flathead Engine option.
While a used
HP 11.90 Pea-Shooter would
be your best option, and one we could probably help you
learn the history on, these engines are not always available
at the time you're ready to purchase. If you can't find one
of these engines then the next best option in the used
market is going to be to find a combination that is racing
local to you with a good history. There are a lot of suspect
pieces in the used market which could make starting your Jr.
Career more difficult than you or your driver wants, so
buyer always beware when dealing in the used engine market.
Another option open to you is to go with a
HP 11.90 Pea-Shooter, or
Pea-Shooter Package. Going this route gets you
the most trusted piece, and the most technical support of
all your options in the early stages of your Jr. Career.
This option also makes the upgrading of your hardware easier
down the road as you can trade it back in toward an
Sniper Jr. if that's the direction you go.
Regardless of the engine direction you
choose, you will obviously still need a racecar to install
it on. A used car will suit you fine, but this is the point
in Jr. Racing where families start to look seriously at a
HP Assassin Chassis so they can get more years of
use out of it. Lets look at the pros and cons of each
The used car option is still a great route
to go to save money at this age, but you need to be more
selective in your purchase. Not because 11.90 puts more
horsepower to the ground, but because you don't want to
purchase a car that isn't going to be good enough for 8.90
racing in just a few short years. A mild steel rigid car
would get the job done for you in 11.90 racing, but you're
probably looking at purchasing another chassis within a year
or 2 for your upgrade to the 8.90 world. For that reason, a
new racer starting at the age of 8 or 9 probably wants to
look into later model used chassis made of chrome moly.
HP Assassin 11.90 Turn-Key Car
is the best option for an 8 or 9 year old racer, but it is
the most expensive upfront. However, the long term cost of
ownership will be cheaper going the brand new route so you
will need to keep that in mind as well. The
HP Assassin 11.90 Turn-Key Car
gets you the top of the line everything: Chassis, Engine,
and Clutch. Your Chassis and Clutch components will be more
than enough to carry you from 11.90 through 8.90 to 7.90,
you simply need to change out the engine on the car as you
upgrade. This option is by far the easiest on a brand new
racer, and long term more than pays off as you can win
rounds and races immediately.
10-12 Year Olds
Starting between the ages of 10-12 is where
you can really let loose and put together some fun packages.
By this age the drivers can now go as quick as 8.90 legally.
While we don't suggest putting a new driver into a car that
quick, you can still own the correct hardware to run these
numbers as your driver develops and shows they're ready.
Engine wise you will find a number of
different options for the 8.90 world. As with all of Jr.
Racing you still have the option of going with a used combo
or a new engine package. Like with any used combo you want
to really do your homework before purchasing. The sport of
Jr. Drag Racing has been around long enough now that some of
the used 8.90 combinations for sale today are old enough
that they constantly need work and will have you spending
money every time you turn around.
The best place to look for quality used
engines is right here on the Huddleston Performance website.
We have a whole section dedicated strictly to motors which
have been traded in by customers as they step up. These
engines are all fresh and ready to put you in the Winner's
Circle the day you get them. The inventory here is
constantly moving though, so if this is the route you'd like
to go be sure to check out the
Used Engine page often to
find an 8.90 combo.
Much like the 11.90 ranks, if you're going
to look in the used market but outside of vendors then you
will want to start at your local track to find combinations
you've watched race. While this still isn't a guaranteed way
to get a good piece, it is much safer than purchasing a
package you've never laid eyes on. If you need some
assistance or guidance on purchasing a used combo, don't
hesitate to call us here at the shop for any help you may
The option many go with when entering the
Jr. World is a new
HP 8.90 Sniper Jr. Engine
or HP 8.90
Sniper Jr. Package. This combo makes the
transition into the Jr. Sport as seamless as possible. There
are a number of benefits to this particular option when
getting into the sport for the first time including: Less
time learning your combination to win, Trust of the hardware
you've purchased, Ability to slow this combo down for new
racers, and Trade-In value at Huddleston Performance when
you're ready to step up to 7.90 racing. If you want to be
competitive immediately and not waste years of your Jr.
Career then this is the option for you.
Once you have established which engine combo
you are going with, it is time to get the correct chassis.
Once you have entered the 8.90 world it is important to get
a high enough quality car to be competitive. The mild steel
rigid chassis simply won't get it done from this level
forward. If you're going to look in the Used Car Market then
you will want to find a chrome moly chassis built by a
reputable vendor. While you may find a chrome moly chassis,
if it is not built by a company you can find today, then
replacement parts may become difficult to find. There are
many high quality mid 2000's chrome moly chassis on the
market for $3,000-$4,500 that will work great in 8.90
The final option for your 8.90 racer is to
put them in the highest quality piece on the market today,
HP 8.90 Assassin Turn-Key Car.
This ensures your driver has all the necessary tools to win
any race they enter, and makes your learning curve in the
Jr. World much less steep than piecing together used items.
While you can get to the track cheaper than this option,
over time the HP 8.90 Assassin Turn-Key Car pays off with
round wins and less unsuccessful trips to the racetrack.
13-17 Year Olds
If you are starting you're Jr. Career
between the ages of 13-17, then you are getting a late jump
on things. This does limit your options if you don't want to
waste the precious little time you have before your driver
ages out. However, there are still a lot of different
options available to you throughout the Jr. World now
because you are opened up to 7.90 racing at the age of 13!
Engine wise you need to choose very
carefully at this age. A bad purchase here can waste years
of your Jr. Career and take away from the overall experience
you should have. If you're purchasing your first combo at
this age, it would be best to stick with trusted used
options or new engine options.
The used option can still save you money and
give you a great piece to race. However, taking chances on
engines you've never seen from someone you've never met is
taking a pretty big risk with the limited time you have in
Jr.'s. For that reason, going with a used option which a
credible source can vouch for is your safest way to get a
good product and save money. Starting in the Huddleston
Used Engine section is a
great way to save money and get a trustworthy piece for your
Jr. Career. If you don't see anything you like or if
inventory is low there when you're ready to purchase, give
us a shout at the shop and we will be happy to look at some
used pieces you've found!
The next engine option, and the best one for
a racer starting at 13 or older, is to go with a new
Sniper Engine Package. We see a lot of different
ideas when the driver is old enough to go any E.T. they
would like. The main thing to remember when starting with a
new driver is that seat time cures most everything. You
don't want to scare them from the beginning by going to
quick, but you don't want to have a slow enough combo that
they loose interest quickly. For this reason we suggest
starting drivers off with an
HP 8.90 Sniper Jr. Package
for their first year. Yes they can go quicker than 8.90's,
but this combo allows us a lot of options to get the most
out of your Jr. Career. First it allows us to slow down
beyond 8.90's with the use of Restrictor Plates, Lead
Weight, and more in order to get your driver use to the feel
of the racecar. Next it allows you as the crew chief to
decide when your driver is ready to go quicker, and make the
necessary changes to pick the car up over time. If your
driver progresses as you'd like then you can see 8.30s-8.50s
with this combination in most situations. The beauty of this
option is, after the first year you can trade it in on an
HP 7.90 Sniper Package and
save some money over the full price.
If you have a 15 or 16 year old driver
you're wanting to get started with, things can be tricky at
this age. We would suggest calling us at the shop and
discussing fully your situation to ensure you get the best
bang for your buck in the engine department!
Once you have reached the age where 7.90's
is a legal e.t., the chassis you purchase really begins to
matter. In order to go 7.90's consistently, your car is
going to see 60 ft's ranging from 1.67-1.72 on a regular
basis. To produce those numbers it takes a good car working
properly every time it leaves the starting line. The used
market has a number of good cars, and the brand new
Assassin Chassis works great for any of our
combinations from 11.90 to 7.90. We're happy to help anyone
try to find a combination that works well for them and saves
money, many times that right combination is an
HP Assassin Turn-Key Car to
get the most out of the short amount of time you have in the
sport. Determining how competitive you want to be right off
the bat will ultimately help you choose the path you take by
Here at Huddleston Performance we are
constantly trying to help our customers have that
competitive edge over other racers. Regardless of the age,
we want to see your team sitting in the Winner's Circle.
While it is nearly impossible to touch on every team's
individual needs, we hope that the above information helps
to inform you of different thoughts when purchasing Jr.
Dragster products for your race team. If you have any
questions from New to Used, don't hesitate to call us at
931-437-2457 to discuss all of your Jr. needs!