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Gift shopping for your favorite racer

Roger Diez
For the Nevada Appeal

There are just two more weeks until Christmas, and it’s time to start thinking about what to get the racer or race fan in your life.

To help you out, here’s my annual Christmas gift guide with some suggestions on what to get and where to get it.

Do you have a race fan on your list who would like to find out what it’s like out on the track? You need go no farther than Desert Park Raceway in Lemmon Valley, just north of Reno.

Race Karts Inc. will put them into a racing kart for a half -day of instruction in the same type of high-horsepower kart that most of today’s professional racers started in. Sparks native and current NASCAR driver T.J. Bell got his start in karts at Desert Park Raceway. The half-day program is just $395, but if you act today you can get it for $195 from LivingSocial.com. It’s the last day for this special offer, so jump on your computer and go to http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/172/deals/186304 to get the deal. For more information on Race Karts! Inc. and all their programs, check out http://www.racekartsinc.com or call them at 800-981-5278.

For the stock car fan who wants a taste of big-track oval racing, there’s the Dale Jarrett Driving Adventure, the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience, and the granddaddy of them all, the Richard Petty Driving Experience. You might want to include an airplane ticket in the gift envelope, since none of them are located near here. There also are formula car and sports car schools galore, with the Jim Russell School at Sears Point the closest one to us. If your race fan is into dirt track cars, the Jimmy Sills School of Open Wheel Racing for sprint cars and midgets is in nearby Marysville, Calif. A good source for racing schools is http://www.racingschools.com.

If you have a lady racer on your list, you might want to consider a new safety item that has just been developed. It is a special fireproof sports bra, and it was worn by IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro and drag racer Melanie Troxel this past season. It is now in production and available from Stand 21, a supplier of racing apparel and equipment. Go to http://www.stand21ca.com/

?country=US&iso=US-NV to order this and a variety of other racing safety gear.

Another safety item that is being required by more and more sanctioning bodies is the head and neck support system that prevents the type of injury that caused Dale Earnhardt’s death. The HANS Device has been in use for many years, but a new alternative developed by Simpson Racing Products has recently been approved by NASCAR for use in its touring series. It is the Simpson Hybrid Pro head restraint, and is available at http://simpsonraceproducts.com. The list price is $545, $100 less than the HANS.

For that gearhead who is building a race car or a street rod, Summit Racing in Sparks has everything he or she will need. From crate engines to lifter kits to suspension pieces to Aeroquip tubing, Summit has it all. To outfit your shop or pit, they also have racing jacks, air compressors, impact wrenches, tool boxes, tubing benders and cutters, and other specialty tools to keep your hot rod running. Summit also carries a complete line of racing apparel, including helmets from Bell, Simpson, and other approved manufacturers. Fire-retardant driving suits, racing seats and other safety items also are available. Whether the person on your list is a drag racer, dirt-tracker, off-roader, or road-racer, Summit can outfit them with gear that is approved by their sanctioning body. Summit is located at 960 East Glendale Ave. in Sparks, or you can shop on the web at http://www.summitracing.com.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to racing schools, engines, or safety gear, consider a racing calendar, a book, or a diecast model. If you’re considering a racing-related collectible item that has special meaning to someone, get a copy of the Auto Racing and Memorabilia Price Guide to help you find the best item at the best price. It’s available at Amazon.com.

Happy shopping.