As this racing season comes to an end, we wanted to acknowledge the racers that are getting in their cars for the last time as a junior. It is a very emotional time for not only the racers, but also their parents. Kids start racing as early as 5 years old and some are even raised at the racetrack. It is definitely a family sport that is enjoyed for years until the bittersweet time of aging out. We asked racers and their parents about their time spent in junior drag racing and what they would say to those just starting out.
About the Racers and Crew
Breanna Bemister is 17 years old and has been racing for 4 years. She lives in South Bloomfield, Missouri and races in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and Oklahoma. We have had the pleasure of getting to know Breanna through our sponsorship program this year.
Lilly Warner is another one of our sponsored drivers from Maple Plain, Minnesota. She is 18 years old and has been racing for 9 years. We were lucky enough to work with the whole Warner crew this season. Her parents, Tom and Tamara, still have Simone and Katie who will continue to race juniors next season.
We met the Estevez crew recently, as one of our employees is marrying into their family next fall. We spoke to Gina about her racing family in Maryland. The Estevez crew has two racers who have aged out and two that are entering their final years as juniors.
We had the pleasure of talking to Paul on JuniorDragsterPlus.com (if you haven’t checked out this site, you definitely should!). He has a daughter who has aged out of juniors, two children who are currently racing, and one that is too young to race. It is safe to say that he will have many more years of racing in his future.
What was your fondest memory of racing juniors?
“I will miss the closeness of families in juniors. Everybody is one big family” -Breanna
“The camaraderie of all the racers and how well they get to know one another in a season” -Lilly
“We all love it at the track and enjoy just being there together. It is a way for us to support the kids, spend time together, and work as a team” -Gina
“Seeing the look on each of my kids faces when they got their first win. Nothing but that first race win compares to the first round win” -Paul
What is one thing you will miss about juniors?
“My fondest memory would have to be racing in Hardinsburg, KY for the Mid-American Bracket Finals with a torn ACL and having to postpone all my surgeries” -Breanna
“One of her fondest memories of racing is when after a race, one family would project a movie onto the side of their trailer for all of the racers to watch, and they'd just all sit and watch it together, 8-18 year olds” -Tom Warner
“I'm very lucky that I still have 2 kids in it, but I miss having my oldest there, as well as the families we've become friends with over the years who have aged out as well. We've seen families come and go, and it's great to watch kids grow, but when the time comes for them to move on, it takes a part of you with it” -Paul
What are your future plans?
“My plans after aging out, is to attend Arkansas State University & major in Physical Therapy. I have already purchased a big dragster for the 2017 racing season” -Breanna
“After aging out, Lilly will continue to race, but is unsure of what she will be racing in the future. It may be a car or it may be a motorcycle. She also plans to go to college to study Anthropology” -Tom
“Maria’s new race car is in the works as she loves the thrill of racing and says there is nothing like it. She is going to college to be a teacher and continue to race. Adriana has aged out of Juniors and is now racing a Mustang. She is going to college to be a Sports Therapist and will continue to race” -Gina
“Luckily I still have many, many more years left in this sport between 2 kids that are young, and one that's still a few years from getting into a car. I can't fully answer this question for another 16 years or so, and maybe by then I'll have grandchildren into it and not have to leave?” -Paul
What is one piece of advice that you would give to a racer who is just beginning juniors?
“Take the turn off slowly. Do not flip like I did” -Breanna
“Enjoy your time racing and to try to make friends with the other racers, so that you have something to do when the races are over for the day. Also, pay attention to maintenance because what you learn in a junior is still applicable when you learn to drive a full size car” -Tom and Lilly
“Don't get discouraged, you'll only be able to do this for so long, enjoy the time you have with it, and everything will fall into place” -Paul
“Have Fun... This is a great experience like no other. Appreciate the opportunity your parents have given you. There is a lot to be learned from racing a junior. Oh and wear your safety equipment in your car it is there for a reason and obey the rules of the track. For the families starting to race Juniors. Take the time to spend with your kids. It is great family time to spend time with the kids, teach them new things and work as a team (family) and having fun together” -Gina
Whether you are a kid who is just starting to race or a parent who has been racing for years, we can all agree that junior dragster racing is a sport that creates memories that last a lifetime. Times flies by, so remember to take it all in and have the time of your life.