At 10 years old, Brayden Koop is driving at speeds above 50 miles per hour - not on the street, but on the racetrack.
Brayden races junior dragsters, and recently earned the title of “Junior Dragster Champion” in his age bracket at a Southern California Drag Racing Association (SCEDA) competition June 16-17. The race was held at the Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, which also hosts NASCAR.
“I was surprised,” Brayden said.
This is the first competition that Brayden won since he began racing three years ago at age 6. He will enter the fifth grade at Immanuel Schools in August.
Brayden races with his grandfather, Gene “Pops” Carter, who got Brayden hooked on the sport. Carter also raced in the SCEDA competition in June, but did not place. He has been racing since the 1970s.
“It was good to see him win,” Carter said of his grandson’s win.
Brayden’s car is a scaled-down version of a top fuel dragster. It travels 1/8 mile in about 12 seconds and hits speeds of up to 52 miles per hour.
At the Southern California competition, Brayden’s car sported a new blue and white wrap that he received for his June birthday.
Brayden won an event on each day of the competition. He took first in the qualifier for Saturday’s race and 4th in Sunday’s race. But, on Sunday, Brayden also beat out the number one qualifier, earning him the championship title. He raced a total of 10 rounds between both days.
“It’s unheard of to win two days in a row, especially in his class,” said Darren Koop, Brayden's proud father.
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