While NHRA Top Fuel competitor Spencer Massey is experiencing an amazing season thus far, not long ago, he was a kid in a Junior Dragster dreaming of the day he could compete on the professional level.

During this week’s NHRA Junior Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals presented by Viperizer Racing, many young drivers from across the eastern half of the United States no doubt will be dreaming of the same thing.

More than 500 racers from NHRA Divisions 1, 2 and 3, and select tracks in Division 4, are expected to compete in the event, each hoping to use the Jr. Dragsters as a springboard to a professional career.

“This event is one of the biggest youth sporting events that will be held in the Tri-Cities region this year,” said Julie Bennett, Vice-President of Bristol Dragway. “Several high-profile names in NHRA competition got their start in Jr. Dragsters and it is likely some of the racers in this weekend’s event will go on to exciting careers in racing. We encourage fans to come out and see the future stars of our sport.”

Competitors drive half-scale dragsters powered by five-horsepower engines capable of reaching speeds up to 85 mph. Drivers will be racing for team and individual honors, as well as a share of U.S. Savings Bonds valued at nearly $100,000. Final eliminations begin on Friday at 2 p.m., and continue on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Professional competitors Massey, Shawn Langdon and Erica Enders are among the league’s graduates currently competing in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Bristol Dragway officials have planned several events throughout the week for the racers including a cookout, free tours of Bristol Motor Speedway and various games and activities designed to help competitors have fun when not racing.

In addition, the Thompson Metal Monster Truck Madness presented by Beef O’ Brady’s Family Sports Restaurant is scheduled to take place inside BMS on Saturday night, July 30.

This Jr. Dragster event is expected to attract racers from across the East Coast and abroad. Race champions in 2010 represented Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Tennessee, Maryland, Georgia and Florida.

Each NHRA member track may send up to three teams of 10 racers to participate in the race. Team members earn points for their home track, with the top scoring team winning the conference final.

Individual winners in each of the eight age categories—8-9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16-17— receive a $5,000 savings bond and the “Wally” trophy. Each member of the top scoring team will receive a $300 savings bond and a Wally.

Single day spectator passes are available for only $20. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

For more information and a detailed schedule of events for the week, please call (423) 764-DRAG or visit www.bristoldragway.com.