Junior Comp is the newest category being offered by NHRA. The Junior Comp category is for drivers 14 - 20 years of age. This exciting new category is designed to compliment the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League (JDRL) by giving competitors a faster class with all of the standard "big car" safety features. The cars are designed to run the 1/8 mile in 6.90 seconds at 110 MPH. As such, it provides a natural progression from a Jr. Dragster to the much faster 1/4-mile super categories. The Junior Comp category is envisioned as being a 6.90 heads-up category on a Pro Tree. This will serve as a stepping-stone between the dial-in (bracket) racing in the JDRL to the heads-up racing in the Super categories.
What is unique about the Junior Comp Dragster is that once a driver earns a valid state driver's license, he or she can also drive the Junior Comp Dragster as an E.T. bracket car against drivers of any age. Drivers 16 years or older can also use this car to compete in NHRA Summit E.T. action. This means a 16 year-old can win a Junior Comp event in the morning and win an E.T. bracket race that same afternoon. Additionally, it means that a driver can continue to compete in this one car for many years - even decades. Other than licensing, there is no reason why parents can't run this car in the 1/4 mile classes either!
Since 2005, the Junior Comp class has competed at the Western Conference Finals in Denver, CO, as an official national championship. The winner is awarded a "Wally", NHRA Gold Card and prize money. There was a Division 5 Junior Comp series in 2008 and both Divisions 6 and 7 have added a Junior Comp series for 2009. Car counts continue to grow as more events are held.
The roll-cage, cockpit portion of the chassis is certified to the same specifications as a Super Comp dragster. The same safety equipment including 3" safety harnesses and 2-layer fire suits is required. Drivers in Junior Comp also have to do the standard licensing procedure. The wheelbase may be from 150 inches to 190 inches, which in most cases allows a team to use the same trailer that is used to haul their Jr. Dragster.
Competitors can use a variety of motorcycle engines as power plants. The most common engines used today are the GSXR 1000 Suzuki, the Hyabusa, Harley Davidson, and Yamaha snowmobile engines. All of these engines are very economical to maintain.