How Do Drivers Get A NASCAR Racing License?
The process of obtaining a NASCAR racing license to compete with the best is long and tedious. It all begins when pretty much anything else begins: as very young children. Many NASCAR drivers start as early as the age of four. They begin with go-kart racing and work their way up to cars as they age. Once they get recognition, whether from high-level drivers, racing teams, or companies that want to sponsor them, they can then go to racing school and get a license. Once someone obtains a license and way in, they can become a professional NASCAR driver.
Importance of Education
While some people will say that dropping out of school and focusing solely on racing is an important step to becoming a great racer, today’s racers have been proving that claim wrong. As mentioned before, a key to becoming a NASCAR driver is getting recognized by higher-level people and sponsors in the NASCAR scene. Not only is getting a good education important for knowing how to obtain these sponsors, but it is also important in understanding the business of NASCAR and how to act both on and off the track to keep these sponsors.
Once someone feels they have the recognition and experience it takes to become a NASCAR driver, they can obtain a NASCAR racing license. A driver must fill out and apply for a license, a process for which they have four options. Drivers can scan their application and related waiver forms and email them to NASCAR, or they can mail physical copies to NASCAR headquarters. Drivers can also bring physical applications and forms to their local track and apply in person. Additionally, they can show up at their local track and apply in person–any NASCAR track will have the relevant forms on hand and the ability to file them. Before their application can be approved, a driver must also pass a drug test.
Finding a Team
Once someone obtains a NASCAR racing license, the next step is to get a team to back them financially. Running your own team would be extremely expensive, so the best way to get into the NASCAR scene is to get supported by a wealthy team owner established in NASCAR. The owners help a racer obtain sponsors and make money for themselves and the driver. Many of the most successful drivers have gone on to own their own teams using the money they made while racing.
How To Become A NASCAR Driver
An interesting thing about obtaining a NASCAR racing license is that, according to many NASCAR drivers, there isn’t a definitive way to get into the NASCAR scene as a driver. While getting a license is a must, many paths can be followed to obtain the experience required to get an accepted application. The most straightforward path is gaining racing experience as young as possible and winning important races to add to a resume. With a loaded resume, the racing teams will flock, giving a person the necessary credentials and references to obtain a NASCAR license.
However, other drivers were born into the racing scene and already had the connections the minute they came into this world. A great example is Dale Earnhardt Jr. He was not destined to become a successful driver simply because his father was a spectacular NASCAR racer. However, it did give him a head start on other people seeking to become professional NASCAR drivers. The fact that there is no path to NASCAR through college athletics makes connections in the sport especially important.
While getting a NASCAR racing license is a pretty simple process, it takes a very long time to obtain the credentials and references to qualify for a NASCAR racing license. Obtaining a license and becoming a NASCAR driver isn’t very different from getting credentials to do any other typical job. Prospective drivers must fill out an application form, sign applicable waivers, pay a membership fee, and provide proof of identification. There is no test to get a NASCAR license; drivers are expected to familiarize themselves with the rule book and abide by it during competition.
What is the best way to get exposure in the racing/NASCAR scene?
While many would say the best way to gain exposure is winning go-kart races at a young age, connections are the most important. If someone knows people who are already in the NASCAR scene, they have a huge advantage. That goes back to the idea that there isn’t a college racing pool of drivers for teams to scout. Drivers need to personally put themselves out there just as much as team owners need to find capable drivers.
Do you need to know a lot about cars to get a NASCAR license?
Not necessarily. While having a lot of car knowledge is helpful, racers have teams. Team crews are essential for producing well-running cars before every race and improving performance while in the pits during races. While a racer needs to like the feel of a car, they don’t necessarily need to fully understand every aspect of their car. It is good information to know but isn’t technically necessary for being a good racer.
What is the earliest age someone can get a NASCAR racing license?
While in certain racing series, it is possible to race as soon as someone can legally drive, you must be at least 18 years of age in the biggest NASCAR races. The youngest driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race is Joey Logano at 19. However, since the NASCAR truck series allows younger drivers, the youngest driver to win a race in that series is 17-year-old Erik Jones.
Does someone need a state license to race in NASCAR?
Racers don’t need a state license to race in NASCAR. As long as they have a NASCAR racing license, they can race in a NASCAR race. That rule applies to every track and every NASCAR series. Like in other racing series, NASCAR tracks are on private property, thus neither state licenses nor license plates are required to legally operate cars on the tracks. However, NASCAR drivers operate personal vehicles on public roads as part of their daily lives, so all drivers have state driver’s licenses as a matter of course.