A Different Sort of Addiction: Sprint Racing

Melissa Brooks, Reporter

A Different Sort of Addiction: Sprint Racing


They say it’s an addiction.

They’ll spend entire paychecks and convince local sponsors to support them to keep going. They’ll dedicate every second of their free time, putting everything else on the back burner.

It’s the life of a sprint car driver.

North Sophomore Dustin Griffitts is one such sprint driver whose only passion is racing.

“The track is a world of its own,” Griffitts said.

Yells of fans and the jet-engine-like roars fill the air, with the smell of food, dirt, and methanol fumes, is how Griffitts describes a race night.

Griffits and sophomore Caleb Babbs, who also races, said that after doing a few races, stage fright tends to just fade away; for them, stage fright was the feeling of being out on the track with all eyes fixed on them in their sprint cars, which look like jacked-up go-karts with metal sails on the top.

Now, Griffits feels confident.

But racing isn’t just about confidence.  It’s not just a hobby either.

It’s also an escape from reality as you know it.  For a moment, as Babbs described, a new instinct kicks in and suddenly you become more aware of things. While being on the track, your mind is clear, and all the worries and stress in life seem to slip away.

“It’s something you get hooked on and you pretty much get hooked for life,” Griffitts said.  “[But] how willing are you to put your body on the line?”

Those looking for a gasoline-fueled adrenaline rush might consider watching from the sidelines before they join in.

“Seat time is a most,” said Scott Bradley, a small engines instructor, 1016 MMSA points champion, and co-owner of Hoosier Speed. “The more seat time you get, the faster you will get. Race at different tracks and get more experience.”

South senior Cindy Chambers got into the race by growing up around the sport.

“It was always something I wanted to do,” Chambers said. “My dad had been it made it an easier opportunity for me to be able to.”

These individuals’ advice to those who want to start racing is: set goals, practice driving, and take some seat time. Watch and learn from those before you. During off season, try to get sponsors to help pay for racing fees.

“In the summer, in the heart of season, I spend anywhere from 15-20 hours out in the shop for a week,” Chambers said. “And if I crash, it can go up more.”

Passion and ambition play a huge role in how you race. Determination is key.

“Just because you lose a race, it’s just another chance to go back out next week and give it another shot,” Babbs said.