NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

NHRA’s Become a Racer program the ideal way to jump into drag racing

NHRA’s Become a Racer program provides a great opportunity for those interested to become a participant at NHRA member tracks across North America.
06 May 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Become A Racer

NHRA’s Become a Racer program provides a great opportunity for those interested to become a participant at NHRA member tracks across North America. Through the Street Legal program, everyone can take their car from the street to the track, get licensed, and race in a legal and controlled environment where racers of all skill levels can enjoy the sport of NHRA Drag Racing.
Since its formation in 1951, NHRA has worked to combat and eliminate the dangerous and illegal practice of street racing. It remains one of the key missions for NHRA to this day, and the Street Legal events, held regularly at the 100-plus NHRA member tracks, offer the perfect setting to not only fight illegal street racing but also feature an ideal setting for competitors of all levels of experience to participate.
For just $65, a participant can sign up to earn their NHRA License and break into the Street Legal club, driving anything from a daily driver to high-performance street-driven cars.
Participants also get to enjoy all the perks of being an NHRA Member, which include:

  • An Official NHRA Competition License Card
  • Exclusive nine-second and five-second decals for NHRA Level & Street Legal Racers recognizing your performance
  • Exclusive discounts with NHRA partners, like Summit Racing Equipment and others
  • A 25% off NHRA.tv, which streams live championship drag racing action at NHRA national events and divisional events across the country
  • Excess medical insurance coverage of $575,000 at your NHRA member track
  • NHRA National Dragster magazine online

“For me, going out to the local track is the ultimate,” Top Fuel star Clay Millican said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in a minivan or tricked-out hot rod, it’s a chance to stomp on the loud pedal and not get in trouble. That’s the beauty of going to the track, and getting this license is so inexpensive. It’s so easy to do it, and if you really want to go racing, you can do it in a minivan or whatever you want.
“I love the racetrack, so when I’m home, I find my way to the track. I’ve got a hot rod, and I don’t want to get after it on the street, so I go to the track. It becomes a lifestyle. It may not become your profession, but it becomes your passion and something you can enjoy with your friends and family. You can go the track, bring your buddies along, and make all the laps you want. The whole process is very easy and inexpensive, and then you end up with an NHRA license, and that’s pretty cool.”

Entering into the Street Legal program to "Become a Racer" is also a way for a spectator or fan to jump into the sport and then eventually become a competitor in one of the many classes or series run by the NHRA. The Street Legal program has proven to be an ideal proving grounds for future racers, with several top performers in the NHRA coming from the sport’s introductory level, including Millican, Top Fuel’s Antron Brown, and many, many more. Even the likes of legendary icon Don “The Snake” Prudhomme is among those in the process of receiving their NHRA Street Legal license.
In the Become a Racer program, NHRA will also recognize racers at an NHRA member track for their on-track performance with unique Street Legal decals. Street Legal decals will be available for racers at a quarter-mile facility who break the 13-, 12-, 11-, and 10-second benchmarks and at an eighth-mile facility who break the nine-, eight-, seven-, and six-second benchmarks.
Racers who break into the nines in a quarter-mile or fives in an eighth-mile at an NHRA member track and submit a license application to NHRA will receive an exclusive decal, only available with the Street Legal NHRA competition license, to recognize their achievement.
Vehicles participating in the Street Legal events must be able to pass all state highway safety requirements for the state in which the vehicle is registered and retains all OEM safety features. Only legitimate street-legal machines are permitted to participate at designated Street Legal events. Although the competition structure can vary from track to track, a strong emphasis is placed on fun and providing a welcoming environment for first-time new racers. Many Street Legal events feature open time trials and grudge racing only, which typically allows each participant an opportunity to make as many passes down the dragstrip as possible.
The grudge racing element allows participants to choose their competition instead of participating in an organized eliminator. Win or lose, a grudge-racing participant may return to the staging lanes for more time trials or more grudge runs. Street Legal events provide a legal and controlled environment where racers of all skill levels enjoy the sport of NHRA Drag Racing.
“The Become a Racer program really encapsulates the Speed for All motto when it comes to NHRA Drag Racing,” said Evan Jonat, NHRA Vice President of Live Events. “We’re proud to offer the opportunity for potential drivers of any skill level and at a small cost to race and compete in safe matter and have fun at our venues. Our NHRA member tracks are so welcoming and open to bringing in anyone interested in competing or just making laps down the track in the Street Legal category. From going 330 mph at the highest level of the sport to taking your daily driver down the track in our Street Legal category, there’s tremendous opportunities to get involved at the dragstrip, and it’s truly special to see the amount of involvement at all the different levels.”
To become involved in the Street Legal program, click here. To locate an NHRA member track, please click here.