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Author Topic:   Too Young to race Late Models?
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 107
posted April 01, 2005 02:38 PM  
Ok, I'm 14 yrs old and I currently race karts. Next year, I plan to buy a pretty cheap late model and race it as hard as I can. At another Late Model forum that I used to write at, they said that moving from karts to Late Models is crazy. what do you think? Look at Jeff Gordon, he was winning with USAC sprints when he was 13. Also Chase Austin started to race Dirt LM's at age 14. He won a big race and got Rick Hendrick's attention. Now he's 15 and he has a great ASA late model ride. What do you think? Thanks

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 263
posted April 01, 2005 04:36 PM  
I can't tell ya whether your ready for a late model or not, that's up to you and your parents. But one of the best drivers I've seen was 13 years old. His name was Nathan Rettig from Sikeston, MO. He won several feature races in a late model at several different tracks. If anyone had a God-given talent for driving a race car it was him. Sadly, he is no longer racing due to a 4-wheeler accident that happened last year and took his life way too soon. Everything happens for a reason, right?

So, it just goes to show that sometimes age really doesn't matter when it comes to racing as long as you can do it without being a danger to yourself and others. Hope I've helped.


[This message has been edited by justin (edited April 01, 2005).]

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 107
posted April 01, 2005 06:46 PM  
Thanks Justin. I'm going to see how this year in karts go, and if I'm ready to move up, I'll do it. Thanks.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 934
posted April 01, 2005 09:00 PM  
I started at 16, and I see no problem with 14 as long as you have a good head on your shoulder's (i.e. not prone to temper tantrums when thing's don't go your way, or if you get run over). The 14 and 15 year old kid's that I see doing well listen to advise, follow advise, and do not have a gung-ho attitude that gets their car and everyone around them torn up every week. So if you have a level head, good attitude, and are willing to watch, listen, and learn, then I say go for it. If not, then do everyone a favor and stay in Karts for a few more years.

Good luck,

P.S. That's the same advice I was given when I was your age.

Hendren Racing Engines
Rutherfordton , NC

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 107
posted April 02, 2005 06:46 AM  
Thanks for the advice.

Mr. Badboy
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 29
posted April 04, 2005 06:37 PM  
Some people find it beneficial to race street stocks to get used to full size cars, and learn about setting up the car for a turn, braking, and how to race on the dirt track, and go this route first. My experience has been the fast and impatient cars will root you out of the way while you are learning how to drive and race, its cheaper to fix a street stock while you are learning than a late model.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 296
posted April 06, 2005 06:53 PM  
IMCA mod will teach you a lot about chassis and suspension. There is no replacment for seat time. Good luck

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 92
posted April 07, 2005 12:25 PM  
If it were me, I would go to a modified first, I ran karts and moved into b-mods at 16 then to modfieds, I now race a late model and can tell you that it is a lot diff. to drive then a modified, and would be a huge adjustment, both in how they drive and in the size jumping straight from karts. I also wouldn't jump into a "cheap" late model because its cheap, you could be chasing your tail with less then good equipment, I would get into a class of full size car that you can afford to get some good equipment to start with so hopefully you won't be chasing your tail trying to tune a sick car. Just my opinion. Good Luck

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 21
posted April 10, 2005 10:08 PM  
From personal experience, I ran go-karts on a National level for 7 years. When I was 15 I moved to IMCA mods. We had to forge my birth certificate at Talladega Short Track just so I could race the ICE BOWL. I finished 3rd two years in a row there. 14 or 15 is not too young to start in whatever you want too. I am now in a Late Model and it ,if anything, has hurt my smoothness because ,in my opinion, it is alot easier to drive then the modified. The only difference is the money spent. So the answer to your question is 14 isnt too young to get a start. That only means that whenever you get older you will still be in your prime and also have more experience than the guys who started at 18 or 19 or 20. You will be that much more ahead.

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 13
posted April 11, 2005 08:58 AM  
I also ran go-karts at the age of 7, after racing them for several years when i turned 15 i got into a cheap modified and got some laps under my belt and got the feel for the car, i struggled my first year with very few moments that shined, after my first year i bought a good quality modified and started racing it every week, im turning 19 this year and after 4 years in mods i am running competative and putting my self in position to win races, i know latemodels is a totally different class but ur still working to achieve the same thing, just like everyone has said as long as ur willing to watch, listen and learn then you should be just fine, just remember your more than likely not going to go out their your first time and win, so be patient and have fun doin it. Good luck

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 8
posted April 22, 2005 07:50 AM  
I raced karts from the time I was 8 up until last year and im 24 now. I wouldnt recommend going straight to a big car although im not saying you cant do it. Not to brag but I was a very acomplished kart racer. But when i got in a car i found the similarities were very few. The kart will turn and stop with just a flick of the wrist or foot. A car is nothing like this that is the biggest difference. I would reccommend you try something a little less all out as a late model to get you started in cars. To get you used to the weight difference and get you used to racing with auto racers... and ill tell you right now that they are a totally different breed.. there all business with none of the type junk u will see and hear at the kart races.

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 14
posted April 24, 2005 11:06 AM  
i would have to disagree. while the difference between late models and karts are VERY different. latemodels are about the closest thing to a kart as far as handling goes. if you feel you are ready...then try it. if not..wait a while. i started racing in latemodels period. and i am only 19. the only advise i can really give LISTEN to everyone talking to you. they wil help you more then you will ever realize

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 107
posted April 30, 2005 02:03 PM  
Thanks everybody. I'm going to finsih this year out in my kart, than next year I'm going to jump into a Dirt Sportsman at Accord Speedway. Then, when I'm 16, I'll pilot a late model. Thanks for your help, DJ

Dirt Newbie

Total posts: 1
posted May 10, 2005 03:13 PM  
good luck when you start there. Have you've been to five-mile point yet?

Dirt Newbie

Total posts: 3
posted June 01, 2005 05:35 PM  
dude i hear ya. i plan on starting this summer in pa, and i'm only 15 now. this is all only if i can get a ride to race.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 265
posted June 07, 2005 02:53 PM  
Good luck,

Chase Austin was/is exceptional not only in a kart but pretty much anything he jumped into. He's definately got skills. His second time ever in an asphalt LM he had a top 10 if I recall correctly.

With that said, the ammount of effort his family put into getting him into good equipment, experience against the best racers and exposure to those who could help was also a major factor in where he is today and the great opportunities he'll have ahead.

He did have some issues racing in different series due to his age and insurance at the track. TORA and Lakeside come to mind the year before he signed his deal. Without racing in a series that could potentialy ammount to his discovery, his exposure would of been less. He raced and beat some big names, not saturday night hero's but some house hold names in racing circles.

I guess my point is it can happen, however it takes effort and an enormous ammount of energy to take it to the next level. His support group was very important in his rise to the top.

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