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If you want to be a race car driver, you need to have your driver's license and be eighteen. Then you will need to attend a specialized school. Since there are so many different styles of racing and race cars, you will have to do some homework and decide for yourself what appeals to you. After that, you will sign up for a training course. Once you pass, you will be eligible to take the required road test to get your license.

Many of the schools in America run two- or three-day courses. A typical three-day course covers the following schedule: Day one starts with thirty minutes of classroom instruction in safety. You will then spend an hour or so at a track, learning the operations of a race car. An instructor will walk the track with you, describing how to handle straightaways and turns. After the walk, you will drive the course in a normal car with the instructor. Finally, you will get behind the wheel of a special race car fitted with two seats. The instructor will accompany you. You'll drive a handful of laps to get a feel for the difference between a “street” car and a race car. After lunch, you return to the track, this time to drive several sets of laps on your own. Based on your skill, you will be encouraged to increase your speed.

Day two will begin with a set of laps to refresh yourself with the previous day's lessons. The morning will then be spent on working in teams to practice passing drills. After lunch, you spend the afternoon working on passing skills.

How many kinds of race cars are there?

Most people are familiar with NASCAR's Formula One racers and drivers like Jeff Gordon and the Earnhardt family. These are the vehicles that look like sporty versions of “street” cars, and the races are usually televised, such as the Winston Cup. These cars are also known as stock cars.

Either the Championship Auto Racing Team or the Indy Racing League sanctions Indy cars. A key difference between the organizations is that the former has routes that mix track, ovals, and street routes, while the latter is strictly dedicated to oval courses. An Indy car is an open-wheel vehicle, meaning the wheels are in plain sight, not seen within a wheel well as in street cars. CART offers Indy Lights, aimed at younger racers.

Sprint cars are also open-wheeled vehicles but might be seen with large wings on either side, behind the driver. Sprint cars race on oval tracks in races like the World of Outlaws. Some sponsoring organizations prefer wingless cars and you need to do your homework before competing.

“Funny cars” are used mainly in exhibition auto shows and are not meant to be seen as anything other than entertaining. The same with monster trucks, which are normal flatbed truck chassis atop wheels that can be seven feet high. Monster trucks are also sponsored by corporations for publicity at auto shows, where these vehicles are seen crushing normal cars.

The third and final day begins with the morning in the garage, where a mechanic will instruct you on maintaining the race car. You need to learn what works on different types of tracks and with different cars. After lunch, you will run a final set of laps, this time simulating a race. You might be in a pack of four cars with the instructor in the lead position. The day ends with a graduation ceremony, certifying that you have passed the course.

What follows next is up to the driver.

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