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Tearing up the track: Two area girls excel in junior drag racing

Photo provided. Two Wadena girls were honored for their junior drag racing recently. Jaqueline Judd, left, and Lindsey Juers attended the season-ending awards banquet Feb. 12 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo.

Wadena has two young women who are among the most accomplished members of an interesting motor sport: junior drag racing.

The NHRA-sanctioned, Junior Drag Racing League has 40 percent female membership, and is designed to afford youth as young as 8 years old the opportunity to race against their peers in half-scale replicas of the models that the Pros drive.

In basic terms, a drag race is an acceleration contest from a standing start between two vehicles over a measured distance. The accepted standard for junior drag racing is an eighth-mile. These contests are started by means of an electronic device commonly called a "Christmas Tree." Upon leaving the starting line, each contestant's vehicle activates a timer, which is stopped when the same vehicle reaches the finish line. The start-to-finish clocking is the vehicle's elapsed time, which serves to measure performance and determine dial-ins during competition.

Lindsey Juers starting racing at age 13 after attending the NHRA national event at Brainerd. She has competed at three area tracks for the last five years. Her career accomplishments include several perfect lights (reaction time of .000), winning the Junior Dragster Challenge at Brainerd International Raceway in 2009, track points champion at Grove Creek Raceway in Grove City, Minn., in 2010, and track points champion at Top End Dragways at Sabin, Minn., in 2011. This is Juers' last year of competition in the junior league.

Jaqueline Judd started racing at age 10 after her dad purchased Juers' first car, and Judd has raced the last three years.

Her career accomplishments so far include an event win at her first-ever race in Oklahoma, Junior Dragster Challenge winner and number two in points at the Top End Dragways in 2011. Judd has several years yet to compete.

NHRA junior drag racing is restricted to competition in half-scale dragsters over a maximum distance of an eighth-mile. If both vehicles cover the eighth-mile in exactly the predetermined elapsed time, the win will go to the driver who reacted quickest to the starting signal. That reaction to the starting signal is called "reaction time." Both lanes are timed independently of each other, and the clock does not start until the vehicle actually moves. Because of this, a vehicle may sometimes appear to have a mathematical advantage in comparative elapsed times but will actually lose the race. This makes starting-line reflexes extremely important in drag racing.