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How do I Become a NASCAR Driver?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2016
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If you want to become a NASCAR driver, you need a great deal of talent, a lot of practice on the track and an understanding of how the business works. You should begin racing while you are young, and learn the principles and physics of racing smaller vehicles before moving up to stock cars. Also, you should master the mechanics of a car, from the engine to the suspension to the spoiler angle.

There are a variety of racing schools you can learn from, including NASCAR ones, but there is no substitute for starting at a young age if you want to become a NASCAR driver. Many drivers, such as NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, began their car racing careers with go karts at age 10 or younger. These small, open-wheeled machines offer a learning experience and a proving ground for future success behind the wheel.

To become a NASCAR driver, you can move up the ladder from go karts to quarter midgets and midget racers, which feature higher speeds, a larger race track and often a racer's first experience working with crew members. A young driver's initial experience with stock cars often comes in late model cars, which are considered the next step up from open-wheeled midgets. This provides an opportunity to handle the "big cars" as they are called and understand how they work on paved tracks.

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If you can prove yourself successful on these many levels, you should try to get an offer in a NASCAR-like series, such as ARCA. In many ways, this series functions as a smaller stage for proving yourself, much the same way that minor league baseball is a proving ground for future major league players. Strong finishes and a proven ability to master the various short tracks and super speedways could lead to a seat in a NASCAR race.

On the road you take to become a NASCAR driver, you must master details that are just as important as actually driving. Understanding the mechanics of any car helps you know when something is not right so you can make suggestions to the crew chief. The physics of a spoiler, the settings of a carburetor, the suspension spring stiffness and more are all essential knowledge for a driver. Also, like in business, you must network and meet owners and crew members and drivers in order to move up the ladder.

A lot of patience is required to become a NASCAR driver, because it takes many years to achieve this goal. You need to understand all of the little things, such as networking and mechanics, but you also must prove yourself on the track. If you can do that, you have a chance to keep moving up the ladder until one day you are trading paint with the world's best drivers at Bristol or Talladega.

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