Joe Morrison knows a little bit about going fast at Island Dragway in Great Meadows, New Jersey. The NHRA Top Fuel driver cut his teeth at that strip in the 1980s, and now he’s working to bring that same experience to young aspiring racers and their families by hosting a crop of teenagers for an NHRA Jr. Street instructional and licensing event on Saturday, May 7th, 2022.
In 2015, the NHRA launched its Jr. Street youth racing program for 13-16-year-olds, following the momentum established by their Jr. Drag Racing League, to let teenagers the opportunity race against their peers in full-body street vehicles with an adult co-driver as their teammate. The program both encourage people to enter the sport, and provides a more economical way to do it by licensing them in daily drivers instead of specialty sports cars.
This Jr. Street instructional and licensing event is a collaboration between Island Dragway track operator Melissa Milano, Morrison and EJK Insurance founder Ed Krajewski and aims to be a full-scale introduction to NHRA Drag Racing by guiding the students and their parents through all phases of competing at an NHRA sanctioned racetrack.
The day will start with a tech inspection emphasizing safety before hitting the racetrack before Morrison takes them to the starting line to teach the basics of bracket racing, track protocol and etiquette, from the benefit of his expertise.
Everyone who successfully meets the license requirements will also receive an entry to compete in the Jr Street division at the tracks Summit Racing ET Series event later that day.
“As a Jersey guy, I was raised to embrace the importance of never forgetting where you came from and to share your passion with anyone who will listen,” noted Morrison, who cut his teeth in drag racing at Island Dragway in the late 1980s and currently holds the Alcohol Nostalgia Funny Car top speed record at 215 mph. “The NHRA Jr Street program is the perfect way for parents and kids to enjoy time together while bringing in new drivers to our great sport. To run this program at my home track of Island Dragway is just perfect.”
The event will cost $50 per entry, and is co-sponsored by EJK Insurance, MyRacePass, Hagerty, Summit Racing Equipment, RacingJunk, PennGrade1 Racing Oil, and AmericanaGlobal.com to help offset the cost of entry and participation for racers and their families.
“Our goal is to raise the bar for awareness and growth of the NHRA Jr Street program – in fact, we want to turn the knobs to 11,” a smirking Morrison concluded in reference to one of his favorite movies, This is Spinal Tap. “I’m lucky to work with such amazing partners who understand that it takes financial investment to seed an opportunity like this. We’ve gathered inspiration from other NHRA tracks like Maple Grove, Tucson, and New England Dragway, who have established exceptional grass-roots Jr. Street programs. But like any other competitive racer – I’m looking to follow in Big Daddy’s footsteps of breaking barriers here at Island Dragway. The fact that our partners were immediately on board with this program shows their dedication to the future of our sport.”
For more information, as well as to register, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jr-street-licensing-day-tickets-321399312997
To learn more about the NHRA for JR Street program, go here: https://www.nhra.com/jr-street