A Waterloo High School graduate recently received a distinguished honor for achievements on the racetrack.
Derek Allen, a 2010 WHS grad, was awarded ET Racer of the Year during the recent Gateway Motorsports Park Racer Awards Banquet.
Allen was voted for this honor by fellow racers at Gateway for his stellar 2013 campaign. He finished second overall in the Pro ET class point standings, winning a handful of big races during the year.
ET Racing, also known as bracket racing, is the “grassroots” level of drag racing. This variety of the sport places more emphasis on the driver than the car itself. It has become a highly competitive form of drag racing.Pictured is the 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Allen races.
At a race, the driver is given several time trials for practice and to see what times the car runs. In eliminations, which are single elimination tournament style, it’s driver against driver.
The racer selects a time he thinks his car will run, which is referred to as a “dial-in.” When two cars compete, they subtract the dial-ins, and the slower car gets that much of a head start. If a driver runs quicker than his dial-in, he loses.
Allen, the son of Don and Robbie Allen, races a 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and it reaches speeds of 115 to 120 miles per hour on a quarter-mile drag strip.
“The car I race is my older brother Dane’s high school car from 2000,” Allen said. “He and my dad wanted to start racing it, so they started building it up.”
Allen said he started racing at Gateway at age 9.
“It’s almost like a second home to me,” Allen said.
He started in the junior dragster circuit and worked his way up the ranks. Allen won the high school points championship a few years ago.
“My dad has really helped me through it all, and I wouldn’t be doing this without him,” Allen said. “We usually share the car and run two classes, but last year he didn’t want to race so I took full advantage of it.”