Messenger photos by Pat Donahue
Shawn Pitts, a youngster from London, speeds to victory in a junior dragster racing series.
London resident Shawn Pitts claimed the track championship in the Junior Dragster 2 class for the 2007 racing season at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio.
The Junior Dragster 2 class is part of the JEG’s E.T. Points Series that encompasses 12 races held from April through October. In the JEG’s E.T. Series, juniors compete for championships in three age classes ranging from 8 to 17 years old, while the adults do the same in the faster cars.
This season was Pitts’ fourth. He competed in the 10- to 12-year-old class, which covers the 1/8 mile in 8.90 seconds at 73 to 74 mph. Next year, Pitts will move up to the JD3 class, which runs a second quicker and 10 mph faster. In Junior Dragster competition, speeds are restricted and closely monitored. Many of the cars are capable of the maximum speed, which means drivers must rely on their concentration and reaction time at the line to make a difference.
In the past two seasons, Pitts was in the chase for the JD2 championship but settled for the runner-up slot. In 2007, he claimed the championship in the 12th race, winning three races along the way. The three JEG’s E.T. Points Series wins were just a fraction of the 25 or more victories the 13-year-old Pitts claimed this year.
Pitts and his parents, Steve and Becky Pitts, not only put in a full season at National Trail Raceway, but also raced for points at Kil-Kare Raceway, Marion County Raceway (where he finished fourth this year and claimed a championship last year), and Pacemakers Dragway Park (where he finished second was named “2007 King of the Juniors”).
The Pitts family racing team, with the help of their sponsor, Amends Racing Engines, traveled to six states this season. They claimed “Best Appearing Crew” honors, representing National Trail Raceway, at the Division 3 Race of Champions in Terre Haute, Ind. Additionally, Pitts’ semi-final round appearance at the Eastern Conference Finals for the national championship landed him airtime on ESPN 2.
Pitts is eligible to race in the Junior ranks for five more years. So far in his racing career, he has collected nearly 100 trophies and honors.
When he’s not on the racetrack, the home-schooled eighth-grader likes to collect football cards, go bowling, play baseball, and ride his dirt bike. For more about Pitts and his drag racing career, visit his Web site at www.pittsdragracing.com.