Legends Car Racing is a Gateway Drug — to Fun

Bobby Chalmers and VP Business Operations at US Legend Cars International Graham Smith stand with the spoils of war (and spin out -- don't worry, they put it all back together).

At 5/8 the size of their NASCAR modified inspirations, the fiberglass-framed Legends car is the ultimate definition of adorable.  But don’t be fooled, the miniature spec series race car packs a powerful, and powerfully fun punch, something that RacingJunk found out first hand at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring on Thursday, November 2nd following an invitation from the US Legends International folks to drive them on the short track during the 2023 SEMA Show.

With four different classes of racing, the series is perfect for new racers, young racers, seasoned vets and those getting right back into the field, like RacingJunk’s own Bobby Chalmers, whose time behind the wheel as a former racer with both dirt and asphalt experience made him the perfect candidate to test the little powerhouses.

“Being able to run a Legends car is something I’ve wanted to do for some time but never got the chance to. The way the cars handle and accelerate has always fascinated me. Thanks to Graham (Smith) and the people at US Legends Cars International, I got to do something I never thought I would and to be perfectly honest, it was probably a bad thing. Now, the juices are back to get behind the wheel again.”

Legends cars make 125 HP via a Yamaha fx09 (sealed) engine tuned to driver specs on a coil-over suspension with Bilstein Shocks on 13 inch race tires.  Basically, they dropped a motorcycle engine into the tubeframe and said “have a ball.” They can race on dirt and asphalt in the short oval and are a natural stepping stone for young racers and those who just want the thrill of racing.

The vehicles were the brainchild of Speedway Motorsports, LLC which launched U.S. Legend Cars in 1992 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after noticing a need for an affordable class of spec racing.

US Legends Cars brought media out to the LVMS track to give them a real taste of Legends racing, complete with a safety team and SIM Racing to practice, and it’s safe to say they were hooked. Chalmers first took the training car out onto the short track on a gorgeous fall morning with military jets training overhead, in and out of the surrounding canyons. After a few laps in the training car, Chalmers switched to the second vehicle the team had brought out, one tuned for a young racer.

“I was amazed at how much better the second car ran compared to the first. There was an actual set-up in the red car plus I had gotten some advice from the drivers who were actually there about how to run the bullring. They told me where to brake, where to gas up and how to attack the corners.”

Having a car that was set up for the track gave me confidence to drive harder than I probably should have. It allowed me to feel comfortable in knowing that the car was better than the driver and that I’d get faster with each lap.”

And run it he actually did, until the final lap when force and acceleration met other elements of physics and Chalmers learned what spinning out in a Legends car felt like.

“I actually was planning on pulling in on that lap. However, I had such a great turns one and two that I wanted to complete the lap and see how quick I could be. Unfortunately, I just touched the apron between three and four and it upset the car. I tried to correct it but as it started to come around I couldn’t feather the throttle enough and it spun completely.”

Bobby Chalmers and VP Business Operations at US Legend Cars International Graham Smith stand with the spoils of war (and spin out — don’t worry, they put it all back together).

 

The US Legends Cars crew were swift to check in first on Chalmers, then the vehicle and pronounce both fine, and fixable.  (We can’t lie, the RacingJunk crew took no such mercy on one of their own and has been mercilessly punning on “spinning out” since then).  Despite the surprise spin out, Chalmers is hooked on the series and the vehicles.

“I am truly thankful for the chance to run a Legends car,” says Chalmers. “The people at US Legends Cars were awesome to work with and it truly peaked my interest even more to get back behind the wheel. I also have to thank everyone at RacingJunk for the chance as well. There’s no way I get to experience something as cool as this without them and that just proves what an awesome place to work RJ is.”

We will be keeping an eye out for this series, as well as the racers coming out of it. And we’d all bet that before too long, one of RacingJunk’s own may be back behind that 5/8-scale wheel.

About Andreanna Ditton 311 Articles
Andreanna Ditton is the Editorial Director and Editor-in-Chief for the Internet Brands Automotive Classifieds Group, of which RacingJunk is the flagship site. She has worked in the automotive publishing industry since 2007, focusing on racing and performance issues.

1 Comment on Legends Car Racing is a Gateway Drug — to Fun

  1. Cool to see this.
    I roadraced a Legends car for 10 years. What a blast.
    They really are a serious little race car, and nothing else gives that level of performance and fun for the money.
    They’re relatively cheap to buy, and running costs are about as low as you can get.

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