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Issue 74 February/March 2013 $5.95


Alexis D JORIA E




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The Carbon Devil Ray packs serious protection into 2.9 pounds of super light carbon fiber durability. As part of the Simpson Snell SA 2010 collection, we’ve spared no detail to design. It’s engineered for dominating a variety of tracks, pre-drilled for head and neck restraint devices, and available with top air and side pipe options. The Carbon Devil Ray, as versatile as it is innovative.

Visit TEAMSIMPSON.COM to see the full line of helmets or call 800.654.7223 February/March 2013

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DRAG RACING’S 10 HOTTEST WOMEN Every weekend, from Top Fuel to bracket racing, there are hundreds—probably thousands—of women making their marks on the drag strips of America. Each year, DRAG ILLUSTRATED sticks its collective neck out by naming 10 of the hottest female performers in the land. By Wes Buck and Ian Tocher

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“The SR 20 is going to change the sportsman racing market; it already is.” -Tracy Dennis Sunset RaceCraft Racing Engines

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86 The DI Interview: Alexis DeJoria

“All the Track Will Hold” Brittany Force: Ready to make a scene in NHRA Top Fuel. Page 98

With her rookie nitro Funny Car season in the books, Alexis DeJoria is ready to join the elite of the fuel flopper world and see where this 300-mph ride is going to take her. By Wes Buck

106 Behind Every Good Man

Perhaps the most popular comment by drivers after accepting congratulations for a race well run is a reminder that it’s a team sport and no man stands alone. More often than not, that team is anchored by the woman in his life. By Ian Tocher

112 Close-Up: Shannon Glidden

Like his famous father did before him, Billy Glidden works tirelessly to race and win with just one person almost constantly by his side, his wife Shannon. By Ian Tocher

116 Close-Up: Denise Tutterow

They married as high-school sweethearts, and 26 years later Denise and Todd Tutterow remain as one of the power couples in the fast doorslammer world. By Ian Tocher

122 The Details: Susan Roush McClenaghan

With liquid propane flowing through its fuel lines and one of racing’s most famous names behind the wheel, this 2010 Mustang commands attention on and off the track. By Ian Tocher


58 Deda Prock

The “better half ” to tuner Jeff Prock of Applied Nitrous Technologies describes her role in the company and what it’s like to work in a male-dominated industry. By Ian Tocher

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Susan Roush McClenaghan has propane power. Page 122

Pat Musi’s new 905ci mountain motor is seriously juiced. Page 124

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BUILT TO MEET YOUR DEMANDS. Winning Sportsman Racers choose Moser Engineering. If you want to win with USA manufactured products then talk to us. The only choice for the best quality with the fastest turn around in the industry. We design, prototype, build, test and race all of our products to ensure your getting the best product for your sportsman car and not wasting your hard earned money." Luke Bogacki-Win S/G Britt Cummings - Win S/C Michelle Furr - Win S/C NHRA O’Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston NHRA O’Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte


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DRAG ILLUSTRATED Wesley R. Buck Editor in ChiEf

Dave Haldin ChiEf ExECutivE offiCEr

Wyatt Haldin PrEsidEnt


Scott Dorman PuBLishEr



onsidering the feminine theme of this month’s special issue and the fact I’m just days removed from my New Year’s Eve wedding, it’s impossible not to think about how critical of a role my new wife, Alisha, plays in my life. Looking around the racing industry, it’s safe to say that I’m not alone in my thinking. Matter of fact, in a sport that’s as nitty-gritty as drag racing, it’s surprising so many women have taken interest, but it’s not just the women that strap into these hot rods or lend a hand between rounds in the pits that make a difference. There’s women like my Alisha that don’t have any working knowledge or predisposition to drag racing (outside of growing up with a dad who dragged her around to car shows all over the Midwest for most of her childhood and creating a life-long fascination with ’55 Chevys in the process), but have a tremendous impact on someone deeply involved in the sport. Surely, I’m not the only man who’s been encouraged to continue on – either in the face of great adversity or when throwing in the towel made the most sense, but wasn’t what I wanted – by the woman in my life because, personally, that’s been the case on more than one occasion. No different than fielding a competitive race car, running a successful business, as many a self-employed drag racer would attest, is a daunting task. There’s no telling whether or not I would have crashed and burned though any of the twists-and-turns that entrepreneurship has presented me over the years if I didn’t have someone to lend an ear, offer encouragement and, ultimately, demand that I keep doing what I love. Like many racer’s wives, Alisha probably couldn’t give me a good read on the race track, service the clutch, or back me into the groove without someone standing behind the car telling her which way to wave her arm, but I can tell you one thing: If I asked her to, she’d sure as hell try. What’s been so cool, at least to me, is that all I had to do was ask her to come with me to a 12 | D r a g

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race and the rest kind of happened on its own. One of the first “dates” I asked Alisha on when we reconnected after high school was to attend ADRL Dragpalooza IV in Houston, Texas – a mere 15-hour, nearly 1,000-mile trip. Qualifying started on Friday and, of course, I needed to stay home and work as long as possible, so we didn’t leave until well into the day on Thursday and drove straight through the night to make sure we were at the track for the first car to roll through the water box. Even though we’d hardly slept, went straight from the seats of a Toyota to the staging lanes of a drag strip, Alisha never wavered, and she’s jumped at every chance she’s had to join me at the races. Incredibly, she figured it out on that very first day. She realized that going to the drag strip is as much about socializing and being around like-minded people as it is about smoking tires, revving engines and side-by-side competition. She realized that cars and the need-for-speed are just what initially brought the racing together; that the people are what keep us coming back. No further rambling is necessary, I suppose, to make it clear that what they say is true – behind every good man is a good woman. I may be assuming that I qualify for the title of a “good man”, but I know for a fact that my wife qualifies for that of “good woman.” As far as I’m concerned, like many of the women featured on the pages of this magazine, she qualifies number-one. P.S. My sincerest thanks to everyone who braved the weather and celebrated the New Year with Alisha, Max and I at our wedding. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Mike Carpenter dirECtor of art & dEsign


Ian Tocher sEnior Editor


Will Mandell sEnior saLEs rEPrEsEntativE


Van Abernethy staff WritEr & fiELd suBsCriPtion saLEs


Courtney Anctil CustoMEr sErviCE & dataBasE ManagEr





van abernethy, John fore iii, Paul grant, Chris graves, ron Lewis, James g. Paul, Mark J. rebilas, roger richards, Jason sharp & ian tocher


Publication Printers, denver, Co

Work hard & race easy, ADDRESS: P.O. Box 2020, Fort Dodge, IA 50501 TELE: 800-954-1320

FAX: 515-576-2035


Wesley R. Buck Editor-in-Chief

aLL ContEnts

©2013 imagePro Multimedia, inc.

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Feedback, Friendly Notes, & Hate Mail

Photos Galore

Is that possibly true? Dean Hudson, Carthage, Illinois

Thanks for another glorious photo annual [DI 73]. It’s my favorite issue every year and it seems like every year you are able to step it up a notch. Keep up the good work. Charlie Bell, via the Internet

Issue 73 >> January 2013 >> $5.95

DI did a fantastic job yet again with the 2012 photo annual. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and if that’s the case, you guys said a mouthful with the last issue. My only input: make it bigger! I’d love to see even more, and I know you’ve got it! Let us have it! Mike Creter, Cookeville, TN


I think it’s safe to say you could put pictures on every page of this magazine and nobody would complain. Thank you for the great photos in DI 73. We can’t get enough of this stuff! Steve Helkin, via Facebook Being an older racer – just fixing to turn 67 – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the coverage you give to the nostalgia cars. You guys really did a number on me with all the vintage fuel stuff in the Photo Annual. Good work! I’m hoping to see some more coverage of nostalgia racing in the coming year. I like the Pro Mods, but I was a little bummed when this past year’s nostalgia special issue was all doorslammers. Let’s get some nostalgia nitro going! D. Stover, An Old School Nitro Junkie, St. Louis, Missouri

[EDITOR REPLIES: Your guess is as good as ours, friend. We’re just

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Is there any update on what Richie Stevens is going to do with the ex-Ron Krisher NHRA Pro Stock operation he reportedly purchased late last year? Love to see another young guy in Pro Stock. Doug Morton, via the Internet [EDITOR REPLIES: To the best of our knowledge, Doug, Richie hasn’t been able to secure the necessary sponsorship to run the car in 2013 and is actively pursuing selling the operation.]

Wyatt’s Word

glad to know a great Top Fuel team won’t be dismantled or sitting on the sidelines this season. Everybody deserves a second chance and the Massey, Shuler, Okuhara team has been a perennial contender – we’re happy they’re still racing.]

Massey Out, In Can anyone explain what exactly happened with Spencer Massey? The things that were said on the internet make it hard to believe that he’d get his job back hardly a month after he was canned. None of it makes any sense to me, so I was hoping ya’ll could make it make sense. Mike F., via the Internet

[EDITOR REPLIES: We’ve not had a lot of luck confirming a number like that, but we think it’s certainly believable. Not long ago it was commonplace to drop $50k a race or $1.2 million a season on an engine-leasing program.]

Pro Stock Landscape Now that it looks like Jeg Coughlin, Jr. will be in a car that can qualify well and go rounds, I wonder how long it will be before he’s winning races and contending for a championship? He’s the kind of guy that will thrive under the pressure created by the Countdown. Gary Kramer, via the Internet

Hell must be freezing over: This is the first time I’ve read his column and not felt motivated to march on Washington. Everybody has an opinion and Wyatt is entitled to his. Let’s hear more about this horrific situation we find ourselves in with our government. Charlie Olson, Tennessee Pass, Colorado Out of personal principle I canceled my subscription based on Mr. Wyatt Haldin’s clearly slanted political column in every issue. I guess I did it just in time for him to change the subject. I already sent my money back in. Let’s keep the pages of Drag Illustrated focused on drag racing, OK? Daniel Lemmon, via the Internet

Contact Us Spencer Massey should not be back in the Top Fuel pits. I don’t think Don Schumacher fully appreciates the negative sentiment that exists out there in the wake of Spencer’s behavior at the NHRA awards banquet. Jon Mathis, via the Internet

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What does it cost to get a Pro Stock motor program these days? At one point in time, I was hearing that it cost some $80,000 a race.

LETTERS to DRAG ILLUSTRATED, P.O. Box 2020, Fort Dodge, IA 50501. Letters become the property of DRAG ILLUSTRATED and may be edited for publication. E-MAIL SUBSCRIBER SERVICES Go to • Subscribe • Renew • Cancel • Missing Issues • Give a Gift • Pay Bill • Change of Address

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The Better Half of Drag Racing


rom the very beginning of the automotive age, fast cars and females have gone together like hot dogs, baseball and apple pie, and as you can see, this month Drag Illustrated is highlighting the accomplishments of women in the sport of drag racing. We’re not falling prey to the politically correct crap that trumpets “diversity” at all costs; it’s just that there are some amazing women who happen to be damn good race car drivers and crew members. Some estrogen mixed into this testosterone-driven sport livens up the drama that naturally surrounds these over-the-top, fixed-distance acceleration contests. For anyone who thinks a woman getting a driving or wrenching role in drag racing is the extension of some kind of affirmative action program, forget it. Women have had to overcome many obstacles that men never dreamed of encountering. I recall a memorable scene from the great motion picture, “Heart Like A Wheel,” in which a young Shirley Muldowney has to find three fellow racers to sign off on her competition license application. After hearing “no” for what seemed like a hundred times, she finally gets “Big Daddy” Don Garlits to be the first to give her his signature. With a little coaxing from Garlits, other signers are found and the rest is history. A few years ago I had the honor and pleasure of having supper with Ron Leek and Don Garlits at a restaurant in Rockford, Illinois, and wanted to ask Garlits about that incident, but with all the tales being told I wasn’t able to steer the conversation in that direction. Regardless, history shows that Shirley went on to enjoy a stellar career in Top Fuel and Funny Car racing, crowned by a then-unprecedented three NHRA and one AHRA world championships. Not too shabby for a lady that almost couldn’t get a competition license because she was a “girl.” Or consider Alexis DeJoria, who is gracing our cover this month, as a prime example of the class act the women of drag racing are currently putting forward. Shirley Muldowney paved the way for a woman like Alexis to do things right from the get go. Being financially capable of starting at the top of the mountain does not mean it’s always a smart thing to do and Alexis, the heiress to the Paul Mitchell and Tequila Patron fortunes and currently driving the Tequila Patron Funny Car, started her drag racing career at the wheel of a Super Comp dragster and advanced up through the Alcohol Funny Car ranks before landing in the driver’s seat of a nitro-burning 16 | D r a g

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flopper. I’ve never driven a fuel Funny Car, of course, but I imagine it’s not the type of vehicle you want to cut your racing teeth in and I applaud Alexis for demonstrating wisdom and patience in her approach. When we were planning the women in racing theme for this issue, the idea was unanimously supported by everyone and anyone who was asked and ultimately is slated to become an annual installment of Drag Illustrated. Unfortunately, no matter the topic, in this business for every up side there are usually an equal number of pitfalls to avoid. Number one on this list is not an easy fix; no matter how exhaustive the list of stories, some people are going to be left out and there are going to be some hurt feelings. We’ve agonized over this in the past and have come to the conclusion that we simply can’t please everyone every time. We do our best to let the merits of each person’s accomplishments be the deciding factor on whether a story sees the light of day, or not. It would be very easy to let petty differences, perceived offenses and advertising influences dictate who goes into an issue and who stays out, but that would also be a very poor way to serve our reading audience. The fact remains, there is a finite number of pages and an almost infinite number of options, and I think our editor, Wes Buck, and his capable editorial staff does a remarkable job in making some tough choices for each and every issue of this publication.

In the long run, what Drag Illustrated does is make racers feel good about what they do; feel good about putting a deposit down on that new car; feel good about ordering that new motor; feel good about picking up that new enclosed trailer. All racers, male and female, love to see themselves and their cars on the pages of a magazine and deserve every drop of ink they get. A lot of sacrifices are made to go fast and drag racing has been described by many as an incurable disease. Once a person gets a taste of going fast, quickly, it’s awfully hard not to want to do it again and again. So, we hope you enjoy this issue and the enclosed articles on some of the fastest women on the planet. From the fuel-burning Funny Car of Alexis DeJoria to the thundering jet dragster of Jill “Queen Of Diamonds” Canuso to Jackie Alley and her Super Stock Camaro and everything in between, we’ve done our best to bring you a wide cross-section of the women of drag racing in 2013. We say it a lot around here, but this job truly is a labor of love.

Wyatt Haldin President I ss u e 74

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LIFETIME COMMITMENT One of the true up-through-the-ranks success stories in drag racing is Ashley Bart, who started in Jr. Dragster and Super Comp competition before taking over her father’s Top Alcohol Dragster ride in 2005. Since then the Canadian-born driver has invested herself entirely in drag racing, hoping to continue her forward progress with a move into the pro-ranks. Photograph by

Paul Grant Mission Raceway Park Mission, British Columbia, Canada Saturday, May 28 th, 2011

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Staging Lanes PRESENTED BY 800-327-9402

PAY ATTENTION It couldn’t be easy for Bebo Chandler to back his nitro-burning Chevy Impala Pro Mod into the groove while staring at his knee-high boot and blue jean short-wearing wife, Kathy. Photograph by

Chris Graves Ardmore Dragway Springer, Oklahoma Saturday, September 1 st, 2012

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Paul Grant Auto Club Famoso Raceway Bakersfield, California Friday, October 19 th, 2012

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LOOKS GOOD NHRA Nitro Funny Car’s Jeff Diehl waits for the go-ahead from his wife, the Nitro Go-Go girl herself, Leeza, who crafts her own racing-inspired handbags, before he turns on the top bulb and the second fuel pump. Photograph by

Roger Richards The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas, Nevada Friday, October 26 th, 2012 February/March 2013

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Ashley Sanford Debuts in Gelish A/Fueler By Nate Van Wagnen


hen the first Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying session of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series began at the Winternationals in February, 19-year-old Ashley Sanford was making her first start in the series. The accomplished sand drag

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Dirt ASHLEY SANFORD racer and her family had spent the last few months making sure everything was in order to make that happen. Sanford raced on the sand for 10 years, starting with a quad at age 8 and most recently her father’s supercharged Top Alcohol Dragster. She experienced success early, winning her first race in the kids’ quad class and as she moved up through the ranks, she set several female racing records in her “Free Bird” TAD, covering the 300-foot sand strip in less than 2.5 seconds at 150-plus mph. But she wanted to go faster, so Sanford moved up to the ultra-competitive NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster class, trading her blown alcohol motor for a nitro-injected powerplant and paddle tires for big Goodyear slicks. It wasn’t just an overnight decision to move up to the sport’s quickest and fastest Sportsman class, however. “It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do. It’s been like a dream of mine,” Sanford said. “We got an opportunity last year to buy a car. I said, ‘Alright, this is going to happen. I’m going to make this happen.’ Since then we’ve been full-force with it. We got our car and we’re ready to go.” Her car’s former owner and driver, Larry Miersch, handled the tuning during Sanford’s licensing procedures just a week before the Winternats at The Strip at Las Vegas. Sanford will receive primary support from Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish, a popular brand of nail polish. “Gelish is a line of nail polish that has been really popular the last few years. It’s not like regular nail polish. It’s made of a gel material that makes it last longer. In a way we fit

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continue its relationship with the young Californian as she makes the transition to asphalt drag racing. Las Vegas hotels The D and the Golden Gate will join as associate sponsors, too, along with Fullerton, Calif. restaurants Roscoe’s Famous Deli and Heroes Bar & Grill.


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Massey is Back; Will Pilot Schumacher Electric Top Fueler By Jeff Wolf


n addition to reigning world champion Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel team and Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team, which finished seven points behind Brown last season, DSR will field a third team with crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler and driver Spencer Massey when the season begins Feb. 14-17 with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries in Pomona. The dragster that finished last season ranked third in points with four event titles will carry the banner of Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher, the next-generation battery charger that provides advanced charging technology and cutting-edge design. The status of DSR’s third-ranked team from last year was left in limbo for 2013 when longtime NHRA and DSR sponsor FRAM/Prestone opted last summer to not continue motorsports sponsorships upon the conclusion of the 2012 season. “I committed last summer to running this team in 2013 after Honeywell sold the FRAM/Prestone business to an investor and the decision of the new owner was to eliminate motorsports sponsorship,” team owner Schumacher said. “I committed to run that car in 2013 and will do what I committed to

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doing. And I want to keep that team together because it has contended for the championship down to the last two races the past two years.” Schumacher said Schumacher Electric will fully fund the DSR team while he continues to search for another major sponsor. “Were we not to field that team, it also would have cost about 10 guys their jobs, and I didn’t want that to happen,” said Schumacher, whose teams have won 11 NHRA world championships and 196 NHRA event titles.

Although the team did not join the other six DSR teams at the Florida test sessions last month, Okuhara and Shuler tested the dragster last December, and it proved to be in midseason form with a best run of 3.75 seconds at 325 mph. Massey, 30, will compete in his fourth fulltime Professional season and third straight with DSR. At the end of last season, Schumacher and Massey decided in late November to go separate ways at a time when adequate funding had not been secured.

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Includes integral naca ducts #018519


Includes .063 aluminum wing, with naca ducts, spill plates, hinge, four adjusting rods, chromoly bumper brackets, quick-release pins, all necessary hardware and instructions.

LADDER BAR SYSTEM II PACKAGES Includes double adjustable ladder bars, bolt-on diagonal link, crossmember and brackets, choice of coilover shocks & springs with mounting kits. Pro Street with non-adjustable steel shocks #018518 $674.95 Above with 2 x 3 crossmember #018606 $722.95 Sportsman with Strange 10-way adjustable shocks #019328 $777.95 Above with 2 x 3 crossmember #019344 $825.95 Pro with 18-way adjustable Proma Star AL shocks #018519 $814.95 Above with 2 x 3 crossmember #018607 $864.95


4-LINK SYSTEM II PACKAGES Pro Street System II with non-adjustable steel shocks & coilover kit #018523 $569.95 Sportsman System II with Strange shocks, 10-way adjustable #019333 $644.95 Pro 4-link System II with Proma Star AL shocks, 18 way adjustable #018524 $664.95 With 8 heavy duty mild steel rod ends add $228.00 With 8 chromoly rod ends add $364.00


Kit features superior needle-bearing design to eliminate bind and provide greater longevity. 1-1/2" machined tube, adjustable from 16" to 24" in width, features 8-1/4" fully assembled arms with chromoly rod ends, grade 8 hardware and mounting brackets. With 24" Tube #018951 $299.95


Features mild steel construction with billet hold-down and Grade 8 hardware. Designed for Group #24 batteries. #017330 $64.95


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14" x 60" #011554 $274.95 Upgrade to chrome wing adjusting rods add $115.00.


Single Adjustable $159.95 each 6" stroke #018994 7" stroke #018608 Special A.R.T. package price: 2 shocks with springs $372.95 Double Adjustable $285.95 each 6" stroke #019921 7" stroke #019262 Special A.R.T. package price: 2 shocks with springs and Torrington bearings $616.95



HEDMAN WELD-UP KITS 2" SBC #018572 $304.95 21/8" BBC #018569 $224.95 #018570 $234.95 21/4" BBC 21/4" BBC slip-on collectors #019754 $319.95 23/8" BBC #018571 $268.95 23/8" BBC slip-on collectors #019755 $330.95 #019893 $269.95 21/2" BBC 21/2" BBC slip-on collectors #019894 $349.95 Other sizes and applications available, please call.

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Main body features radiused trailing edge, 16" at center and 13" at sides. Includes spill plates with mounts, hinge and hardware. 16" x 63" overall, can be trimmed to fit your application. Without strut rods #017166 $399.95 With four zinc-plated adjustable strut rods, mounting plates, pins and hardware #017167 $549.95

ADJUSTABLE LOWER SHOCK MOUNTING KITS Up to 7" ride height adjustment. Includes 2 weld-on housing brackets, 2 pair “R” and “L” brackets, bolts, nylocks & alignment bushings (pair). Housing Mounting Kit #018328 $54.95 Rear Brace Mount Kit #019655 $64.95


Formed for your specific body style and NHRA accepted. Roll bars feature 1-3/4” x .134 wall mild steel or 1-3/4” x .083 wall chromoly tubing, and roll cages feature 1- 5/8” x .134 wall mild steel or 1-5/8” x .083 wall 4130 chromoly tubing. All kits include 6” x 6” steel plates. Roll Bars - Mild Steel 4-Point #011454 $129.95 6-Point #011456 $174.95 8-Point #011458 $184.95 Roll Bars - 4130 Chromoly 4-Point #019995 $259.95 6-Point #019996 $319.95 8-Point #019997 $349.95 Roll Cages - Mild Steel 8-Point #011468 $279.95 10-Point #011470 $309.95 12-Point #011472 $354.95 12-Point Plus #019713 $508.95 Roll Cages - 4130 Chromoly 8-Point #018520 $454.95 10-Point #018530 $504.95 12-Point #018531 $564.95 12-Point Plus #019714 $787.95




Super Comp $269.95 Black #019279 Red #019280 Blue #019281 Super Gas $299.95 Black #019282 Red #019283 Blue #019284 Pro Stock $359.95 Black #019276 Red #019277 Blue #019278


Includes 6061-T6 aluminum release handle, quick release ball joint, cable clamp, mounting bracket, 11-foot cable with end cap, and all necessary hardware. #019192 $89.95




Thread, Tube O.D. & Wall Left Hand Right Hand 1/4" x 28, 1/2" x .058" #019767L $4.75 #019767R $4.75 5/16" x 24, 1/2" x .058" #019768L $4.75 #019768R $4.75 3/8" x 24, 3/4" x .058" #002902L $5.45 #002902R $5.45 3/8" x 24, 7/8" x .058" #015000L $5.70 #015000R $5.70 7/16" x 20, 7/8" x .058" #002903L $5.70 #002903R $5.70 1/2" x 20, 7/8" x .058" #002904L $5.70 #002904R $5.70 1/2" x 20, 1" x .058" #002905L $7.95 #002905R $7.95 1/2" x 20, 1-1/8" x .058" #019230L $8.95 #019230R $8.95 1/2" x 20, 1-1/8" x .083" #019228L $8.95 #019228R $8.95 5/8" x 18, 1-1/8" x .083" #002908L $8.95 #002908R $8.95 5/8" x 18, 1-1/4" x .095"* #017312L $13.25 #017312R $10.45 3/4" x 16, 1-1/8" x .083" #002909L $8.95 #002909R $8.95 #002911L $13.25 #002911R $10.45 3/4" x 16, 1-1/4" x .095"* 3/4" x 16, 1-3/8" x .095"* #019058L $13.95 #019058R $11.75 NOTE: Tube end adapters * Indicates left-hand must be Tig welded. includes machined hex nut.



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Cleans Lexan, polycarbonate, glass and fiberglass. 18 oz. #017327 $12.95 Ships UPS Ground Only

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Chromoly panel features roll bar mount provision and black powder-coated finish. Includes heavy duty push-button starter switch with cap and six 20-amp toggle switches. Unique twopiece design utilizes Dzus fasteners allowing easy opening of front panel for maintenance. Includes control panel wiring and lead cable only, additional component wiring must be purchased separately. #019949 $159.00



9" HOUSING PACKAGES These unwelded packages include Strange 9" housing with 3-1/4" axle tubes, rear brace, small weld bung & fill cap with rear end drain kit. 40" Strange housing #017353 $424.95 50" Strange housing #017354 $434.95 60" Strange housing #017355 $444.95

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Dote Racing Names Pruett New TF Driver By Slade Tyree


HRA Top Fuel team Dote Racing announced Jan. 4, that former Hot Rod Heritage Series Champion and multiple NHRA Pro Mod national event winner Leah Pruett will drive the Dote family-owned dragster in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, with the team’s partial schedule beginning in February at Pomona, California. Pruett, 24, who began obtaining her Top Fuel crossover license in late 2012 with Dote Racing, completed her licensing requirements later in January at the Pro Winter Warmup at Palm Beach (FL) International Raceway. Based in Monroe, Ohio, the Dote Racing Team is led by veteran crew chief Doug Kuch who tuned the team to two semi-final finishes with Hilary Will behind the wheel in 2012, in addition to qualifying the car in the ultracompetitive field at all 11 NHRA national events the Dote Racing Top Fueler entered. Past NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Larry Dixon also drove in three races for the Dote team last year. The opportunity for Pruett comes on the heels of a two-year stretch as a Pro Mod pilot for R2B2 Racing. While at R2B2 for nearly two seasons, Pruett kept her Nitro Funny Car license active by driving the team’s Nitro Funny Car tuned by Aaron Brooks and John

Medlen at multiple test sessions throughout 2011 and competed in Funny Car at the US Auto Plus Nationals in Maple Grove, PA. Most recently, Pruett scored three national event titles in the NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by ProCare Rx. She is also the 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Champion in Nostalgia Funny Car with wins including the famed March Meet and Hot Rod Reunion while driving for legendary tuner and chassis builder, Steve Plueger. The 2013 season will mark Pruett’s 17th consecutive year competing in the NHRA, while also making her eligible for the Rookieof-the-Year honors in the NHRA Mello Yello Series. Dote Racing has expanded their limited schedule to include the Winternationals, Arizona Nationals and New England Nationals, in addition to the 10 regularly scheduled East Coast and Midwest-based national events. “I’m beyond thrilled,” said Pruett. “I truly enjoyed testing the Dote Top Fuel Dragster in St. Louis last season and am very anxious to complete my cross over license, and lay down some fast times at PBIR, not to mention competing in the most prestigious class in all of drag racing. “I’m sure everyone can’t wait to get nitro back in their veins, but I assure you, no one is more ready and hungry for it than me.” she

added. “I have the utmost appreciation for the opportunity the Dotes are giving me to expand my driving capabilities into Top Fuel, and I intend on making crew chief Doug Kuch and the entire Dote Racing team proud of their decision to hire me.”

JONES REJOINING NHRA PRO STOCK RANKS Rickie Jones, backed by Mark Stockseth and in partnership with Elite Performance, has committed to a 10-race schedule for the upcoming NHRA Pro Stock (PS) season. Jones will be utilizing Elite Performance’s equipment leasing program for the hauler and car, as well as taking advantage of Elite’s newly revamped engine program headed by Nick Ferri. As expected, Jones will be driving an RJ Race Cars 2013 Camaro. Mark Stockseth, who also sponsors Matt Smith’s Pro Stock Bike, is the main backer. However, Jones’ relationship with Summit Racing Equipment will continue on in an associate role. Safety Kleen, RJ Race Cars and Quarter-Max will also be on board with Jones for the 10-race deal. Backed fully by Summit in 2012, Jones competed in Pro Nitrous with the American Drag Racing League, where he made his first visit to a pro class winner’s circle. “I’m really excited about this deal,” Jones said.

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“I’m looking forward to getting back to NHRA Pro Stock. I drove for Richard at a few races last year and it was great to see our fans again. Pro Stock is an exciting and tough class. It’s one of the most prestigious classes in all of drag racing, so to be able to compete there again is an honor. “We should do well with the team we have,” he continued. “With the new RJ Camaro, Nick Ferri working his magic on the engines and Mark Stockseth supporting the team, we have all the facets needed to do well. “After scoring my first win with the ADRL last year, I am really hoping for a Wally. Winning an NHRA Pro Stock event has always been a dream of mine. Many thanks to Mark Stockseth and the Elite Performance program for giving me a chance at that dream.” Jones and team will start their season off Mar. 8-11, with the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. LISA COLLIER

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Texas Pro Mod vs. Fuel Altered Showdown Resumes By Chris Graves


he quickest and fastest outlaws of the Southwest are going to reunite their battle as the Texas Outlaw Pro Mods (TOPMA) will take on the Outlaw Fuel Altereds (OFA) in a special head-to-head, two-day event July 5-6, at North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas. This event will be held in conjunction with the North Star Dragway Anniversary Celebration and 4th of July weekend and also will feature the Southwest Heritage Racing Association (SHRA), as well as Top Gas and Pro Mod Motorcycles, with more feature attractions to be announced. Almost a decade ago, when a 4.10 to 4.20 eighth-mile pass was good for the top spot, the Texas Outlaw Pro Mods and Outlaw Fuel Altereds lined up side by side at Lone Star Raceway Park in Sealy, Texas. This rivalry ignited a friendly battle between the associations as to who was the baddest outlaw of all. Frankie “Mad Man” Taylor and his Pro Mod took home the win in both 2002 and 2003 over Mitch King and Larry Reep in their Fuel Altereds. Unfortunately, the event did not continue in 2004 and until now, no one was sure if it would ever return. Gene Nicodemus, owner of North Star

Dragway, has stepped up bring the rivalry back to reality. The level of performance these series are now showcasing will literally bring the best of the best to this event in a shootout to see who is top dog of the Southwest outlaw racing scene. “TOPMA and OFAA put on a great show and have for years, we are lucky to have such attractions here in our backyard. I want to bring our fans the best show we can possibly have, so we are lining the two top attractions up side by side. It’s a show that can be found nowhere else besides North Star Dragway,” Nicodemus said. “We are going to allow spectators to camp for free at the track and offer discounted tickets online, plus much, much more to be announced soon. This will be the first annual Pro Mod vs. Fuel Altered Showdown at NSD every 4th of July weekend to celebrate our anniversary, so mark your calendars now and we’ll see you at the show.” The event will feature three qualifying sessions (two Friday and one Saturday), with the quickest eight Pro mods and quickest eight Altereds qualifying for the 16-car show. All qualifying rounds will be paired with a Pro Mod against an Altered and in the first round of eliminations, the quickest Pro Mod and the quickest Fuel Altered will run each

other and vice versa down through the eighth qualifying spot. The two quickest winning Pro Mods and the two quickest winning Altereds from the first round of eliminations will advance to the semi-finals, where they will run head to head, Pro Mod vs. Pro Mod and Altered vs. Altered, to ensure a true Fuel Altered vs. Pro Mod final round.

NEW NITRO ‘RATTLER’ ON THE WAY Foolish Pleasure Racing announced in December, the introduction of a new 1970 Carbon Fiber Mustang Nitro Funny Car under the renowned “Howard Cams Rattler” name. The group consists of former NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Champion Troy Green, Champion Crew Chief Brett Johansen whose famous Howards family has been winning for decades, Joe Monden, a former Top Fuel driver and respected A/fuel tuner & chassis builder, and Bill Morando, former Top Fuel Flat Bottom Boat owner as well as Fuel Altered racer. This past summer the group finally came together, the time was right and parts and pieces fell into place. “I am beyond grateful and excited to have the opportunity to work with Brett again, and also with Joe Monden and Bill Morando. I am really looking forward to being able to race in front of some of my home crowds in the super competitive DRO AA/FC series. I want to thank the individuals and the wonderful companies

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who have stepped forward to help us achieve our goals of fielding a firstclass funny car operation,” said Green, who will handle the driving duties The Howard Cams Rattler ran in the late 1960s and early ‘70s with Larry Dixon Sr. behind the butterflies while Jerry Johansen, Brett’s Father, handled the tuning duties for owner Danny Porche. The Original Rattler won the Hot Rod Cup in 1969, which landed them on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine. They also went on to win the 1969 PDA Meet along with several other races across the country. The restored “Rattler” now sits in the NHRA Museum for all to admire.

The car will be based in Oklahoma and run in the Midwest at various DRO races & match races and may make the trip out west for some NHRA Heritage Series events as well. ROB KING

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3/4/13 9:59 AM


Nowling Reacquires ADRL


Releases 2013 schedule with Speedtech Nitrous as title sponsor By Wes Buck


midst great speculation in the days leading up to the 2012 Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando, Florida, news finally broke that Kenny Nowling, the ADRL co-founder and former president who had previously sold his stake in the premiere eighth-mile sanctioning body in 2010, had reacquired the organization from Sheikh Khalid Al-Thani of Qatar. “The last two years have been an exciting yet difficult time for our family,” said Nowling’s wife, Jessica, in a prepared statement. “We have enjoyed the challenge of building a new company have met a lot of great people, but there has definitely been something missing. Drag racing has been a part of our entire life together and we had no idea that we would miss it so much.” Kenny continued, saying, “First and foremost I want to thank Sheikh Khalid for everything that he has done, not just for the ADRL, but for the entire sport of drag racing. I also want to thank Tim and Diane McAmis for their tireless efforts in running the ADRL for the past two years. No one knows better than Jessica and I the immense amount of time and sacrifice that is required to run the ADRL. Every member of the ADRL family owes them and their staff a debt of gratitude.” In the following weeks, Nowling released the ADRL’s 2013 schedule which included stops at some of the tracks that helped the fledging eighth-mile series make its mark on the sport like Rockingham, Valdosta, Memphis, Richmond and Houston, as well as a first-time visit to Cordova. Drawing insight from an interview Nowling did with would suggest 36 | D r a g

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AMALIE OIL TITLE SPONSOR FOR NHRA GATORNATIONALS NHRA officials announced Jan. 23, that Amalie Oil Company has agreed to a multi-year title rights sponsorship of the prestigious NHRA Gatornationals at AutoPlus Raceway at Gainesville. The Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals is scheduled for March 14-17, and is the third event in the 24-race 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

that the ADRL intends to return to its roots, focusing heavily on a close working relationship with racers. With eight events slated for 2013, the ADRL will see two less events than in years past, but Nowling feels that’s not far from where he wants the series to be. “I don’t see us holding more than 10 events in the very near future, the next three to five years,” Nowling told “We hope to get back to ten events for 2014, though it may be only nine. One of the most difficult things we do each year is narrow it down to ten events. In this case it was very difficult ending up with only eight. We were in lengthy discussions with both Bill Bader Jr. at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, and Lex Dudas at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania. Both reached out to us and we did everything in our power to put

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dates on those two calendars. “Any time we make a Facebook post, the response includes a racetrack with a question mark. In other words, why aren’t we coming back to Bristol, why aren’t we coming back to Charlotte, to Dallas? There are lots of factors that go into where we hold these events.” Then on Feb. 1, ADRL officials made the major announcement that nitrous oxide company Speedtech had secured presenting sponsorship rights to the 2013 ADRL Tour. By way of the partnership with Speedtech, the ADRL will pay out in excess of $1-million in prize monies and contingencies to its competitors. “This is a landmark move for the entire ADRL, our race teams and our loyal fans,” said Nowling. “Speedtech has been a loyal marketing partner since the 2005 season and they, like us, are virtually re-launching their company with the same people who founded it. This is an ideal partnership that will allow both of our competitors to re-establish ourselves as industry leaders.” The 2013 ADRL Tour presented by Speedtech will kick off Mar. 8, with Dragpalooza IX at historic Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.

NHRA ALTERS TF/FC MODIFICATIONS RULES NHRA announced Feb. 1, changes to sections 17 and 18 of its 2013 rulebook regarding prohibitions on modifying Funny Car and Top Fuel components. Only safety-enhancing modifications will be considered for approval and implementation during 2013. Performance-enhancing modifications may be submitted for approval; however, even if approved for future use, it is NHRA’s plan that no performance-enhancing modifications will be implemented during 2013 in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories. The rule change is intended to maintain parity and reduce the escalating costs of racing. Only items or components currently approved by NHRA may be used in competition. If a vehicle is found to be using any item or component that is different from that which is approved, including an item or component that has been modified or altered from the approved configuration, then the driver will be penalized with a minimum $25,000 fine and deduction of 75 points. Multiple violations and/or flagrant disregard for this policy may result in additional penalties as determined by NHRA in its sole and absolute discretion. Such additional penalties may include disqualification, suspension or loss of season points. Among items and components I ss u e 74

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X-DRL Doorslammer Racing Series Formed By Wes Buck


n the wake of the major announcement coming out of the American Drag Racing League involving its change of ownership at the end of 2012, a group of racing businessmen out of Texas and their newly formed MPH Motorsports, LLC announced the formation of a new drag racing series dubbed the X-treme Drag Racing League or X-DRL. The X-DRL followed up the news of its creation with the release of a nine-race schedule, including stops in Tulsa, Bristol, Belle Rose, St. Louis, Budd’s Creek, Dallas, Indianapolis, Montgomery, and Charlotte. Along with the series schedule, X-DRL officials unveiled a class line-up consisting of nine categories: Pro X-treme, Pro Nitrous, X-treme Pro Stock, Pro Turbo, X-treme Pro Mod, Top Dragster, Top Sportsman, Pro Junior Dragster and Supercar Showdown. “The driving force behind the X-DRL was to create a highquality association that will bring plenty of excitement,” says Jeff Mitchell, who along with David Hubbard and Larry Pearce comprises MPH Motorsports. “We all have a strong understanding of the sport and we’re all about the racing and putting on a spectacular show and we believe that’s what the X-DRL will provide.” Partnering with a number of the biggest tracks in the country, the X-DRL business model consists of a co-op with each facility, allowing the organization to share in the promotional duties and returns. “We’re forming a co-op with every track. With our business model, we are basically a booked-in show and the track will help promote it,” explains Mitchell. “We believe this is the best way to build strong fan bases in every market. It’s important to form partnerships across the board, and that starts with the race tracks. We’re bringing in a 38 | D r a g

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fantastic show and they are go- doorslammer racing.” ing to help promote – creating Through commitments from a a great buzz in anticipation of multitude of high performance each event.” manufacturers and suppliers, Working with the MPH Mo- the X-DRL will payout some torsports organization to operate $101,000 in prize money at each the X-DRL will be Keith Goolsby, of its nine events. Payouts for the Chris Bell, David Cook and Trev- Pro X-treme, Pro Nitrous, Pro or Wilson, amongst others. Turbo and X-treme Pro Stock “We’re going to run events pro- class will be $17,000 at each fessionally and with integrity,” event, with the winner earning says Mitchell. “Every racer that $6,000 at every race in those we’ve heard from has been very classes. Winners in the X-treme positive. The enthusiasm from Pro Mod will earn $5,000, while sponsors to tracks to teams is the victors in Top Dragster and truly above and beyond what we Top Sportsman classes will all be expected, and that really has us awarded $2,500 at each actionexcited.” packed X-DRL race. The winner Looking to ensure top-tier rac- in both the Supercar Showdown ing surfaces for their competi- and Pro Junior Dragster is set tors, the X-DRL announced in to earn $1,250 at every event. early 2013 they had purchased More information is available at an entire fleet of state-of-the-art track prep equipment. “This is another exciting step 2013 X-DRL SCHEDULE: for the X-DRL as we head to- April 6-7 – X-DRL Spring Nationals – wards our first race,” says Chris Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park Bell, Director of Operations for April 26-27 – X-DRL Thunder Valley the upstart promotion. “The Madness – Bristol Dragway purchase of this track prep May 17-18 – Bash on the Bayou – No equipment ensures that we will Problem Raceway provide the best racing surface possible for all of our racers. June 14-15 – X-Treme Gateway Showdown – Gateway Motorsports We’re already going to be racing Park at many of the best tracks in the nation and this purchase guar- July 26-27 – Mayhem at the Creek – antees that our teams will be rac- Maryland International Raceway ing on some of the best surfaces August 16-17 – Hot Texas Nights – in the sport. This equipment Dallas Raceway is already proven and reliable, September 20-21 – To Be Named by and that incredible preparation Facebook Fans – Lucas Oil Raceway and traction will give racers the October 4-5 – Southern Slam – most consistent racing surface Montgomery Motorsports Park from event to event. It also gives October 25-26 – X-DRL World Finals drivers reassurance that they’re racing on the safest surfaces in – zMAX Dragway

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IN THE PITS (CONT.) that are subject to inspection and penalty if found to be different, altered, modified or otherwise not the same as the item or component that is approved, are the following: injector hats; supercharger cases (excluding end plates); supercharger inserts; supercharger rotors; cylinder heads (intake valve sizes may be increased to 2.470” max.); engine blocks; magnetos; ignition systems; data acquisition systems; safety shutoff system; event data recorder; front wings; rear wings; tires; and nitromethane.

NHRA ADDS 3 MEMBER TRACKS NHRA announced in January, the addition of three new facilities to the NHRA Member Track network: Northland Dodge Motorsports Park in Prince George, British Columbia; Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey, Alberta; and Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah.

NHRA CHANGES OILDOWN POLICY NHRA officials announced Jan. 18, changes to the 2013 NHRA Oildown Policy for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, most significantly the elimination of points penalties during the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Participants qualifying for the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship begin the playoffs with one credit and points penalties will be waived during those final six events. Monetary fines will remain in effect for the entire 24-race season. Additionally, NHRA has increased the monetary fines associated with oildowns. The fine for a first violation at an event will increase to $1,500 in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, with subsequent violations at the same event doubling to $3,000. Monetary fines for Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will remain the same as 2012: $1,000 for firsttime offenders and $2,000 for all subsequent violations at the same event. In addition to the monetary fines, teams will also lose NHRA Mello Yello championship points except, as mentioned earlier, at I ss u e 74

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Reher-Morrison Always Looking to Improve By Bobby Bennett /


f it’s a normal day, the talented team at ReherMorrison Racing Engines is tinkering. On any given day the team could be brainstorming on possible engine modifications, assembling a race enigne or working on the dyno, but the highly respected group behind ReherMorrison Racing Engines is always working. Their latest development, a new 872-cubic inch nitrous engine, may be the next big power swing on the nitrous scene. David Reher says the changes, not a massive radical departure from previous nitrous engines which have proven to be so incredibly successful in recent years, are significant in the world of drag racing. “These engines are already well-developed, but we’re hoping to see some small gains,” Reher said. “Our whole deal is to try to make something run as good as it can. We like to develop engines. We enjoy working on this stuff and finding out the small points, and we’re making small, subtle differences. “We’ve got a lot of guys working hard on this stuff and there’s a lot going on. It’s definitely a team effort, but the better you make an engine run, the better it’s going to run with a power adder.” Reher-Morrison certainly seems to have that covered, es40 | D r a g

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pecially considering the massive advancements in the nitrous world over the past few years. Always considered one of the most difficult classes to run, nitrous-powered cars have made huge improvements, emphasized two weeks ago when Mike Castellana, a two-time ADRL world champion, went 3.72 at more than 200 mph in the Arabian Drag Racing League at Qatar Racing Club for the quickest and fastest run in nitrous history. Runs in the 3.70s are now almost the norm for Reher-Morrison customers, and Castellana’s mad dash in Qatar showed that a run in the 3.60s isn’t that far off. While it may have seemed unfathomable just a few years ago, the work done by people like Reher, Brad Morgan – who is heading up the current program on the new engine – and the entire Reher-Morrison team have helped make improvements occur in a rapid progression. The new nitrous engine has already drawn interest and been purchased by the likes of Shannon Jenkins (which means Cas-

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tellana as well), Jim Laurita and many others. The company, which has been in business for 40 years, had 11 new nitrous engines to finish earlier this month, a sign race teams are on board with the new developments, no matter how minor. “Did I know that many engines would be ordered? No, but I’m very pleased. I’m pleased that the Pro Mod scene looks healthy. I think it looks real healthy,” Reher exclaimed. That’s good news for ReherMorrison, as the group continues to tinker on the dyno with the new engine and continues to find improvements to make. The 872 cubic-inches is slightly bigger than the 855 cubic-inch version campaigned by customers last year. Other modifications include a new valve train and cylinder heads, valves in different locations, improvements in air flow and different sizing in the heads. “It’s not an easy class to run. It’s very hard to run a nitrous car, in fact. I’ve run a lot of things personally and the nitrous car is a hard car to run,” Reher said. “We’re constantly working on it and I’m glad we found some of the improvements we did. The guys really have done a tremendous job. “One of the things about a nitrous engine is that it’s a naturally-aspirated engine and you can only do so much with it. A lot of people have the misguided idea of simply putting more nitrous in it, but that’s not the case. You need an engine that can ingest more nitrous.” The class also continues to make significant strides, and it has certainly impressed Reher, who admires the significant work teams put in to make their nitrous car click. “There’s been some pretty big gains in the class the last few years. It’s really gotten competitive,” Reher said. “We are finding incremental gains in performance, but I would say these power levels are pretty high. The biggest difference we see at the track from one team to the next is how well they have their car working.”

IN THE PITS (CONT.) the final six events of the season. Points penalties remain the same as 2012: first violations result in a loss of five points during qualifying, and first violations during eliminations result in a loss of 10 points. Subsequent violations at the same event will result in each team losing 10 points during qualifying and 20 points during eliminations. Also, NHRA announced the in-season testing policy, initially implemented at the request of Top Fuel and Funny Car teams in 2009, has been discontinued. Last year, Top Fuel and Funny Car teams were only allowed six test days during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. During the off-season, team owners asked NHRA to reconsider the limitations, and as a result and beginning in 2013, there will be no in-season testing policy.

NHRA ALLOWS NEW B&S JR. DRAGSTER ENGINE NHRA officials announced Jan. 18, a new engine program for the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League with the acceptance of the Briggs & Stratton 206 engine beginning in 2013. Briggs & Stratton launched the 206 crate engine program in 2008 to give racers a simple out-of-thebox, cost-effective, performance solution. Building from the proven reliability of the Animal racing engine, the 206 crate engine maintains a level playing field by isolating the performance variables commonly found in standard, mainstream manufacturing. The accepted 206 crate engine must be factory sealed and is approved for all NHRA age groups: 8-9 year old class (12.90-seconds & slower), 10-12 year old (8.90 & slower) and 13-17 year old class (7.90 & slower). No alterations or modifications are permitted except for installation of exhaust header and air filter.

LUCAS OIL BACKING STANFIELD Veteran NHRA Pro Stock driver Greg Stanfield joined the Lucas Oil racing family for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. “We’re excited,” Stanfield said. “We’re going to go out and run the I ss u e 74

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Summit Motorsports Park Revels in Providing New Life to Proven Shakedown


By Carol Harper


any racers and race fans know of the legendary Shakedown, a heads-up race that grew in ten years from having just a dozen cars, to hundreds of the country’s best “outlaw” racers. It was a race that sadly, didn’t look like it would continue beyond its tenth year. But, to paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of its death were greatly exaggerated. For numerous reasons it looked like the Shakedown was over for good after the 2012 race, but an eleventh hour agreement gave it a second lease on life. It is coming to Summit Motorsports Park as the inaugural Summit Racing Equipment Shakedown at the Summit presented by Mickey Thompson Tires, October 4-6, 2013. The Shakedown at the Summit will be one of the events to cap off the track’s 50th anniversary season. The Summit Racing Equipment Shakedown at the Summit presented by Mickey Thompson Tires will bring in several hundred of the top racers from across the country as well as Canada, the Caribbean, and as far away as the Middle East. Classes will include Pro Modified, Top Sportsman, Outlaw 10.5, Limited Street, X275, Heavy Street, 8.50 Index, Pro Import, and Pro

Championship Winning!

first eight races of the year and see where we stand and where we are performance-wise at that point. The plan right now is to run a minimum of 15 or 16 races.” Stanfield finished runner-up in the Pro Stock standings in 2009 and has three career wins in the class.

Street Motorcycle. “We have been amazed with the interest in this event,” said Bill Bader, Jr., president of Summit Motorsports Park. “The phones have been ringing since rumors of the Shakedown moving to our track started surfacing. I honestly think there is more ‘buzz’ in the racing community for this year’s Shakedown at the Summit than any other announcement we’ve ever made. It’s a great announcement to start 2013, our 50th anniversary year. “We’re also surprised with the interest from sponsors,” Bader continued. “It’s unusual to have sponsors call us and ask how they can support an event, but that’s exactly what has happened. The Shakedown at the Summit will have a purse in excess of $130,000.00.” One thing making the Shakedown at the Summit more amazing is the way it came about.

New York promoter Dave Hance, originator of the race, offered to let Summit Motorsports Park continue his event while refusing any compensation for it. Although Bader offered to pay him, Hance was more interested in having the event continue into the future and said he trusted Summit Motorsports Park to host an event worthy of his decade-long efforts. Hance, an accomplished racer, plans to continue his involvement with the race he created as a participant. The Shakedown at the Summit is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 4-6, 2013, with a test and tune session on Thursday, Oct. 3. More news on the Shakedown at the Summit presented by Mickey Thompson Tires will be posted in the coming months on the track’s website at SummitMotorsportsPark. com.

SONNY’S SUPPORTS X-DRL Sonny’s Racing Engines will be heavily involved with the X-DRL’s inaugural season, offering a number of incentives and programs, including contingency sponsorship in a number of X-DRL professional classes, as well as a No. 1 qualifier bonus in X-treme Pro Stock if the driver uses a Sonny’s engine. In all, Sonny’s will post nearly $50,000 in for drivers who use the company’s engines or cylinder heads. Additionally, Sonny’s Racing Engines will introduce the “Sonny’s 3-Second Club,” which will honor the first five X-treme Pro Stock drivers to reach the prestigious

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EOPM Reveals $10K Points Fund By Mike Carpenter

3-second mark. Leonard is confident the first 3-second place will take place in 2013. “I’m sure this spring that someone will run a 3.99 and I would say there’s five to six people capable of doing it, and that’s what makes it really good,” Leonard said. “Everyone in this class is so good and there’s so many teams who want to be the first to do it. I think it’s going to be a really neat deal in 2013.”


xtreme Outlaw Pro Mod, the nation’s fastest-growing regional Pro Modified racing association, revealed several major advancements for the 2013 season during its inaugural awards banquet on Saturday, February 2 at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center. Scheduled in conjunction with the 11th annual Shriner’s Drag Racing & Hot Rod Expo and the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the banquet was attended by 160-plus EOPM teams and sponsors. The major news of the evening was the announcement of a $10,000 points championship bonus to be awarded to the 2013 Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod series champion. “This is something we’re extremely proud to announce, and something we feel takes EOPM to the next level,” said series founder and Race Director Stuart Williams. “This is something we only dreamed would be possible just a few short years ago, but our outstanding supporters and race teams made it happen.” The championship bonus comes on the heels of the recent unveiling of EOPM’s impressive 2013 race schedule, which includes stops at venues such as Atlanta Dragway, zMax Dragway, Virginia Motorsports Park, and Rockingham Dragway along its 14-race tour. The awards banquet was coordinated by EOPM Competition Director Rick Moore, who has also helped spearhead the organization’s dramatic growth efforts. “As Stuart said, none of this would be possible without the sup-


port of our series sponsors, and we have several new additions for 2013,” said Moore. “Dart Machinery is on board with us this year, along with CV Products. We’re thrilled to be working with those guys. We’re also very fortunate to have many existing series sponsors back again this year, including Carolina Precision Machining, Buck Racing Engines, Hank Thomas Performance, Beal Racing Engines, Robert Hayes Motorsports, WS Construction, and many more.” The awards ceremony also featured the crowning of 2012 series champion Danny Perry, who took home Driver of the Year honors as well. Being an inaugural event, Moore announced the creation of several special honors that will be awarded annually. Among them are the Top Sponsor award, this year given to series racer and sponsor Steve Vick of Carolina Precision Machining, and the EOPM Iron Man, awarded to team owner Bob Blasi for his perseverance on the track and in the pits during the 2012 season. The final and most prestigious honor, the Don

Plemmons Man of the Year award, was presented to Plemmons himself amid a loud standing ovation. Plemmons was the founder and director of the Don Plemmons Quick 8 Racers Association for over twenty years, and guided its success as the longest-running regional heads-up racing association in the country until his retirement in 2010. “The Don Plemmons award was created not only to honor Don, a Southern Pro Modified legend, but also to symbolize that EOPM hopes to embody many of the principles of Don’s association,” Moore said. “We want to keep the Quick 8 tradition alive.” Emceed by the Voice of EOPM, Alvin Dildine, the banquet had something for everyone, including door prizes furnished by CV Products and Hank Thomas Performance that were prepared by Greensboro-based gift company If It’s Baskets. “The banquet was a huge success, and it was the perfect way to kick off what promises to be Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod’s finest season to date,” Williams concluded.

CARSAFE BECOMES IHRA NITRO JAM SPONSOR CarSafe, an agency that provides Vehicle Breakdown Protection, or what most people know as “extended warranties,” announced Jan. 2, it is the new presenting sponsor of the 2013 IHRA Nitro Jam U.S. Tour. Based in Oklahoma City, CarSafe previously partnered with Nitro Jam during last year’s Northern Nitro Jam at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park. “We have enjoyed a very successful relationship with IHRA and Nitro Jam over the past year. Nitro Jam’s commitment to fast, thrilling, family entertainment is unrivaled in the industry and they continue to impress us on all counts,” CarSafe Owner Mark Eckman said.

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NEOPMA Unveils 10-Race Schedule


have their own challenges and EOPMA has released the 2013 Pro excitement. If you haven’t been to one of the NEOPMA Mod Warriors schedule, which will feature ten quarter mile Pro Mod events you are missing out on some events at six world-class fagreat side-by-side six-second, cilities during the coming year. These pro mod focused events 250 mph Pro Mod runs. You will not be disappointed. The will showcase the talents of racers in the NEOPMA Drag events are a lot of fun for the whole family.” Racing Series and will be held The year kicks off April at Maryland International Raceway, Capitol Raceway, 19th-20th at Maryland InterMaple Grove Raceway, Atco national Raceway’s Door Warz, where it will not only be Pro Mods, but also Raceway, Virginia Motorsports Park and will a slew of other great heads up classes. Piedmont Dragway. “We are really excited about the 2013 Also this year NEOPMA will be returning to NEOPMA season. Ten events at six great the Super Chevy Show at Maple Grove. This venues are incredible in this state of econo- event will showcase “Chevy vs. the World my. We also increased our payouts and year – Pro Mod Wars”. It will pit Fords, Dodges, end championship fund,” said John Maz- Pontiacs, Buicks and Chevrolets against one another in a battle for Pro Mod Supremacy. zorana, Association President. “All ten events

IHRA CHANGES OWNERSHIP IHRA Entertainment, LLC, a newly formed corporation held by the ownership group of Palm Beach International Raceway and Memphis International Raceway, announced Jan. 29, its acquisition of the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), which was majorityowned by Feld Motor Sports, a division of Feld Entertainment, Inc. The new ownership group immediately took over management of the 43-year-old organization and operate as IHRA Motorsports. The acquisition includes 100 percent of the IHRA assets, including the sanctioning body, the Nitro Jam series, the Thunder Jam series, the Summit Pro Am series, the Summit Super Series program and the in-house Drag Review Magazine. The ownership group is led by managing

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partners, Michael Dezer of Dezer Properties and Joseph Lubeck of Landmark Apartment Trust of America, Inc., Edward Kobel of DeBartolo Development, and Jason Rittenberry, President & CEO of the parent company. “Today is a landmark day for our company, the ownership group and the IHRA,” Rittenberry said. “IHRA has shown that their entertainment business model is viable and the company can grow. We want to build on the foundation that IHRA has built over the past 40 years and provide the structure and resources it needs to be successful long term in this new motorsports environment.” In 2008, the group purchased the former Moroso Motorsports Park and have since invested over $30 million in the redevelopment of the multi-track venue in Jupiter, Florida. In 2011, they acquired the former Memphis Motorsports Park

By Vito Micciolo

2013 NEOPMA Pro Mod Warrior Series Schedule: April 19-20 – Maryland International Raceway – Door Warz May 10-11 – Maryland International Raceway – Mountain Motor Nationals June 1 – Capitol Raceway – Pro Mod Warz June 15 – Atco Raceway – Pro Mod Warz June 29 – Maple Grove Raceway – Rumble in the Grove July 19-21 – Maple Grove Raceway – Super Chevy - Chevy vs. World August 17 – Capitol Raceway – Pro Mod Warz September 20-21 – Maryland International Raceway – Supercharger Nationals October 12 – Virginia Motorsports Park – Pro Mod Warz November 2-3 – Piedmont Dragway – Pro Mod Invitational

from Dover Motorsports, Inc.. Rittenberry will serve as CEO of IHRA Motorsports, while Aaron Polburn will remain as president and general manager, and Skooter Peaco will continue as VP of race operations. IHRA Motorsports will continue operations at its Norwalk, Ohio, headquarters, and maintain the management team, sponsor partners and sanctioned track partners. The 2013 IHRA schedule previously announced will remain in place with the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals for all IHRA categories being held at the company’s Memphis International Raceway. Several events will be added to the Nitro Jam schedule, including a return to Palm Beach International Raceway. LARRY CRUM

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WINNING RESULTS ARE NOT BUILT ON OLD TECHNOLOGY COMP CAMS® AGGRESSIVELY INVESTS IN PRODUCT ENGINEERING & TESTING SO OUR CUSTOMERS NEVER RACE WITH LESS THAN THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY Ever wonder why it seems that most every reputable engine builder and professional racer utilizes COMP Cams® camshafts and components? One reason is our modern “systems” approach to engineering and manufacturing. This unique design philosophy is much more complex than single component engineering and production. It may take more effort, but the results derived are what allow COMP Cams® to rewrite the racing record books, year after year. COMP Cams® engineers are able to pull more horsepower from your engine for a number of reasons. First, our engineers’ criteria for designing camshafts and valve train is about more than when valves open and close, and the rate at which they do so. We are consumed by the notion of controlled movement. That means throughout the operational RPM of the engine, each component must be in absolute control. Designing and manufacturing valve train systems must include not only the individual parts’ movement, but how each component affects another. Because of the precise and critical nature of measuring valve train movement, we’ve invested millions of dollars in test equipment: dynos, Spintrons, thermal couplers, laser measurement tools, electronics, analysis scopes, computer simulation programs, etc. We measure everything: movement, thermal dynamics, fatigue, wear, “bounce” – every single action that takes place from the cam to the valve is carefully measured and analyzed. Secondly, COMP Cams® matches measured movement to corresponding horsepower and torque curves and evaluates the relationship between components and outputs. That analysis leads to the most difficult part – our engineers painstakingly adjust one parameter at a time in the vast matrix of design and component variables – literally thousands of combinations – to arrive at the optimal balance of product performance. Finally, COMP Cams® engineers don’t stop in the R&D lab, they take it to the track. They’re out there with the drivers, teams and engine builders making sure what worked on the computer simulation and dyno is working at the racetrack. And if it’s not quite right, they go back and work on things until they are. That’s total dedication to performance. It may not be the fastest or easiest way, but it’s the COMP Cams® way and it’s the reason we always outperform the competition.

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Flying the ‘War Bird’ Jason Harris soars with EFI Pro Mod Firebird By Van Abernethy


mong the many impressive new car constructions of 2012, the ‘68 Pro Modified Firebird of Jason Harris ranks high on the list, never failing to draw a crowd every time he unloads the car from its transporter. The car—completed last February after a five-month fabrication by Robert Hayes Motorports and coated with Chevrolet Victory Red paint applied by Wytheville, Virginia’s Terry Davis—made its debut during the winter test session at South Georgia Motorsports Park and later was entered in the Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod season opener, where it won the Best Engineered award. Harris’ relationship with car builder Robert Hayes actually began several seasons ago when Jason was struggling on the combination with his old Pro Mod car and Hayes came along at the perfect time with the per48 | D r a g

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fect tune-up, the result of which earned the When Harris was ready for a new ride last team a win in Piedmont Dragway’s Big Dog year, he obviously didn’t have to look any further than the car builder who now operated a shootout shortly afterward. thriving business right in their own backyard “We’d be off somewhere in a ditch with this car without Robert’s help,” Jason’s father, and with the following Hayes developed in Bob, stated moments after his son radial racing and also a noted reliance for crash repair work, Jason hoisted the trophy representing felt that a brand-new Pro Mod the newly-formed team’s first vic- “The name construction would be a great way tory together. kinda’ fit So, with their car running fast for Hayes’ true talent to be more anyway and consistent, and with much widely circulated. because after As the Harrises closely obappreciation being extended in we’re done served the daily progress of their the direction of Hayes, the Harris with a car it new Firebird, Jason admits to duo gave the green light to launch being somewhat mesmerized by Robert Hayes Motorsports out of looks like its their Pittsboro, North Carolina his friend Robert’s understanding been to war!” shop, considering, of course, that of what he’s doing, from working with metals to building race cars Hayes would be their full-time crew chief from then on. in general. “You can come in and watch Robert work “We have a large shop at our house and we weren’t using all of it so we struck an ar- and you’ll see that he does things in the rangement with Robert for him to move in crudest manner you’ll ever see, and by that and set up shop and it’s worked out great ever I mean he does everything entirely by touch and by feel and doesn’t rely on a computer to since,” Jason says. I ss u e 74

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Dirt JASON HARRIS show him where to bend the metal,” Harris explains. Of the 10 or so heads-up cars that Jason Harris has ever steered down the track, the latest Firebird, which was built onsite right outside his house, is a car that he describes as the “most predictable” he’s ever been buckled down in. “You want a very predictable, gooddriving car, especially when you’re dealing with the caliber of cars that are being raced today.” Shortly after its completion, the new car was named “War Bird” after Bob Harris saw the catchy words written across a Calloway golf ball. “The name kinda’ fit anyway because after we’re done with a car it looks like its been to war!” laughs Jason. “To make matters worse, every time the car gets the slightest paint stress fracture or ding, dad always puts those stupid little bullet hole stickers on it, so at the end of the season the car looks like it was shot with a machine gun!” Though Bob can take credit for the car’s name, his influence fell short when trying to convince Jason not to outfit the car with electronic fuel injection. “Dad is an old carburetor guy and he was very disappointed when I decided to go with fuel injection, but I still I believe it’s the way of the future,” Jason says. “Carburetors were the one thing that we still let dad tinker with on the car and so nowadays he’s kind of lost, so we just give him a box of jets and let him sit in the corner and go through them!” Motivated by a 903 ci, Pat Musi-built EFI engine, Harris relies on an ATI lock-up converter behind a Bruno-Lenco transmission to transfer the power to the rear wheels. Although they struggled initially with the brand-new engine set-up and transmission combo (not to mention new car) the team made considerable strides by mid-season of 2012, clocking a best of 3.85 at 195 mph while at the outlaw weight of 2,300 pounds. The car has been as quick as 3.90 at last year’s Big Dog legal weight of 2,475 pounds. “Our long time engine builder, Billy Albert, performs all the maintenance on the engine, while Pat Musi helps us with the EFI, so it’s great to be able to use their combined knowledge to our advantage,” Jason says. The “War Bird” saw a lot of action in 2012,

competing in roughly 30 events that included Big Dog and Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod, as well several ADRL races. “My best memory from 2012 was probably turning a corner at the ADRL Virginia race,” says Jason, who put together a couple wicked holeshots that advanced him to the semi-finals before falling to eventual winner, Doug Riesterer. Harris then found continued success upon returning to Virginia Motorsports Park in September, winning an Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod event. “We had a good year with the new car and we simply couldn’t do this without the crew of Robert Hayes, Jayme Thompson, Paul

POWER TRIO Team owner Bob Harris, driver Jason Harris and chassis builder Robert Hayes (from left) Paraskevas and Jacob Saad,” Jason says. Back in the old days, before the arena of heads-up racing became so complicated and demanding; the team was much smaller and often was comprised of Jason, his dad and his uncle. After Jason’s future wife, Crystal, started coming to the track, he then had someone to pack the parachutes for him. Occasionally though, Jason would enlist Crystal to pull double duty...sorta’ like the time at Virginia’s Motor Mile Dragway when he coaxed her into crawling under the car and pulling the transmission for him. Although racing is a definite bright spot of satisfaction in the lives of this longtime father-and-son team, you sometimes wouldn’t know it to watch them thrash on a car between rounds. Bob and Jason often argue, curse and sometimes go down-right ballistic in the most heated disagreements at the track.

“Some people look at us and wonder if it’s gonna’ come to blows or something, but that’s just how we communicate!” laughs Jason. “Rickie Smith came and hung out with us at the last Big Dog race and even he couldn’t believe how we act!” All joking aside, the racing pedigree that Jason received from Bob would be impossible to buy at any price. “My dad won a lot a money and pretty much made a living from bracket racing back in the day.” With a career spanning decades and countless cars—not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money won— Bob eventually reached a point where he enjoyed watching Jason drive more so than doing it himself. “We did have some great times back when dad was still racing Top Sportsman and I had one of my dragsters in Quick Rod or Top Dragster,” says Jason, who was 15-years old when Bob first partnered with Jim Turner in 1995 to purchase Piedmont Dragway, roughly 30 minutes from their hometown of Pittsboro. “Dad has been a longtime car dealer and he found me this 5.0 Mustang with an automatic transmission and I used to race it at Piedmont in the 10.00 index class before I even had a driver’s license.” Down through the years, Bob and Jason have not only raced together, they’ve never moved further than 400 yards from each other and spend a lot of evenings talking about drag racing. “We do everything together and I feel as though drag racing has kept our family tighter as a result,” Jason says. “My earliest memories in life are all from area drag strips like Sanford, Piedmont and Roxboro...before I was even racing myself I was digging in the dirt as a kid at these places.” With the 2013 season rapidly approaching, Jason Harris has big dreams of making a successful run on several different stages, with fans likely to catch his “War Bird” in action at any stop along the ADRL circuit this season. More locally, he plans to compete in every Big Dog event at Piedmont that he can, as well as stops along the Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod circuit. As always, Jason’s dreams are big and his goals far-reaching. “I’ve got my sights set on an ADRL Minuteman trophy and as far as performance, I’m convinced this car’s got 3.70s in it...we’ve just DI DI DI got to get it there!” DI DI DI DI

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Control! Controlling valve motion and optimizing valve train geometry are important areas of focus when building hi-performance engines. At Manley Performance, we provide the components to make that happen. Manley’s NexTek® valve springs have become the choice of many leading engine builders and race teams in drag racing, oval track and road racing. And for good reason—there’s not a valve spring on the market that maintains its load better than a Manley NexTek®. You’ll find many drag racing engine builders using our new series of lightweight dual springs

that replace similarly rated triple spring setups. There are many advantages to this including a significant reduction in active mass, a higher natural frequency, improved valve control and higher RPM potential. The dual spring design also reduces friction, which translates to less heat and greatly reduced load loss. The smaller diameter springs also allow use of more compact retainers for additional weight savings. When it comes to retainers Manley has the field covered. New TensileMax™ steel retainers are comparable in weight to titanium but have far superior wear characteristics. Lightweight H-13 Tool Steel retainers are also a great alternative to titanium and help solve wear issues or comply with “no titanium” rules. Of course, Manley offers a full range of titanium retainers in both Super 7 and 10 degree configurations. They’re also available in through-

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“I thought I was through with school when I got my Bachelor’s degree, but there really was a lot to learn to get ready for my first season in the Castrol Edge Top Fuel dragster.” - BRITTANY FORCE


Cheering Section It only makes sense to bring your own cheerleaders to the drag race with you, as does nostalgia Funny Car competitor Corey Sekura, whose squad is led by Nanette James and Cherry Sekura.

TWO PEAS IN A POD Quain Stott’s girlfriend of more than 20 years, Cynthia Phillips, serves as the glue that holds the entire Lee Boy Racing Pro Extreme team together.

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KING TUT’S LOVELY LADIES One of the most beloved women at the drag strip, Denise Tutterow, wife of Pro Mod driving and tuning phenomenon, Todd, poses for a picture with her daughter, Tia – an up and coming Jr. Dragster driver in her own right.

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MOVERS & SHAKERS THE FIRST LADY OF RACING Easily one of the most recognizable names in all of motorsports as well as a lovely lady, Linda Vaughn cracks a smile alongside the quarter-mile in 1977.

Nothing Strange About It

Eily Stafford, who wheels the “Strange Brew” AA/Comp Coupe owned by Gruzen Racing, poses in the pits during the California Hot Rod Reunion. A graduate of Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School that has made quarter-mile pulls in the sixsecond range at nearly 200mph, Stafford is hoping to parlay her success on the track into a nitro ride in the coming years, but is fully embracing the opportunity she’s been presented by Gruzen Racing. A CHAMPION’S TRUE TROPHY They say behind every good man is a great woman, and the reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion, Allen Johnson, would likely agree. Providing support in any way that she can, Allen’s wife, Pam, is an integral part of one of the true drag racing families.




It would be hard to identify a more involved wife in all of drag racing than Cindy Taylor, wife of one of the Pro Mod world’s biggest personalities, Frankie “Mad Man” Taylor.

An internet sensation by way of her opinionated and honest posts on, Amanda Long should also be credited for her ability on the drag strip – namely wheeling a 200mph drag radial car.

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Dina Parise, one-half of the northeast Pro Mod team consisting of her and her husband, Andrew, announced in late 2012 that she would be taking the reigns of the team, serving as owner and driver of Dina Parise Racing.

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PLAYING THE PART Rose Gruzen, wife of Fuel Altered racer, Dave Gruzen, hangs out in the staging lanes in Bakersfield prior to eliminations when she’ll once again back her husband into his tracks, much to the delight of the crowd in attendance.

GETTING IT DONE Tera Wendland had a career year in 2012 posting a Top 10 finish in the Southwest Junior Fuel Association and winning the Holley Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky on a holeshot with a .003 reaction time and .007 margin of victory.

Nitro Kitty Though currently on the sidelines after a two-year stint as the pilot of Mike Fuller’s “Forever Young” nostalgia Front Engine Dragster came to an end, nostalgia nitro icon Mendy Fry is looking to put together a ride and get back on track at some point in 2013. Fry is perhaps best known for becoming the first female to eclipse 250mph in the quarter-mile, but has grown her reputation dodging parts and paying her dues sitting behind the engine of some of drag racing’s most volatile hot rods.

GIRL TROUBLE Alberta, Canada’s Courtney Mageau, daughter of Nostalgia Nitro Funny car driver, Jay, is making her presence known in the pits of IHRA and NHRA divisional events behind the wheel of her Super Comp dragster.

SISTERS IN ARMS Sue Tocher (left), wife of DRAG ILLUSTRATED Sr. Editor Ian Tocher, and her sister, Brenda Nelson, brace themselves as ADRL Pro Extreme star Jason Scruggs performed a burnout at the Texas Motorplex toward the end of his 2008 championship-winning season.

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Q &A By Ian Tocher


hen three-year-old Deborah Dahlberg had a little trouble pronouncing her name correctly, she invented a unique version that’s stuck with her through adulthood. “I came up with Deda,” she explains. “I demanded that everybody call me that back then and now it’s with me for good.” Together with her husband, Jeff Prock of Applied Nitrous Technology (ANT) in Mooresville, North Carolina, Deda Prock now puts in long hours at drag strips nationwide to help clients get the most out of their race cars and motorcycles. Ironically, the company name also represents a holdover from years past. “When Jeff and I got married and I first came on board, I did want to change the name because we do so much more than just nitrous, but he said no, he wanted to stay with Applied Nitrous,” Deda says. “Now it’s too late, we are branded, but honestly a lot of the people just know us by Jeff ’s name. They know us as Jeff Prock and that’s all that matters.” Coming from a background of photography and writing about boat racing and NASCAR, in 2003 Deda was introduced to drag racing when she began working as a PR specialist at Embee

Performance, a high-performance powder coating company that sponsored nitrous Pro Mod legend Charles Carpenter for several years. It was during that time she met her husband and they married in 2006. Deda recently spent a few minutes with Drag Illustrated discussing Applied Nitrous Technology and outlining her role within the company.

than the name implies. Jeff is also in demand as a hired tuner, which can be a very competitive business, right? Yes, but I think one of the things we have going for us is that Jeff has done this obviously for a very, very long time. He started when he was 10-years old, going out on tour with his dad (Tom Prock). And we have it very unusual in that Jeff has worked on everything from Top Fuel and Funny Cars to motorcycles to nitrous Pro Mods and everything in between. We have X275 customers and we have bracket racers, so he’s gone the whole spectrum. He’s even worked as a manufacturer; he actually manufactured cranks when he was in high school. And then I’ve been in racing for a few years myself without Jeff, so we each bring some skills and experience that I think makes us kind of wide and deep in our experience and our options. So, what is your role at the track? I go with him probably 90 percent of the time and I am definitely Jeff ’s helper when I’m there. I do the weather and the filming and a lot of the time we have mul-

Deda Prock

How would you describe Applied Nitrous Technology to someone with no prior knowledge of it? Like I said, I think our company name is a little limiting, since we are not just a nitrous company. We currently build engines for customers or freshen them up; we even do them from the ground up. And Jeff has worked in many facets of racing, so we are working with supercharged cars, nitro, nitrous, naturally aspirated, and of course turbos. We’ve even done some Bonneville land speed work; not a lot, but a little. So we do work a lot with nitrous, but we do engines and we sell Racepak and then help customers learn how to work with their Racepak and diagnose things. We’re a little bit more of a one-stop shop

Applied Nitrous Technology

tiple customers at an event, so if he’s in one pit I’m maybe going to another one to check in and make sure the plugs are out for him to look at or the Racepak data is ready, things like that. With multiple customers, often in the same class, you must have to be discreet in dealing with each one. Yeah, we really work hard at that; we don’t share that kind of stuff at all. We don’t want our customers blabbing the nitrous information that we give them, and we want to respect that going the other way also and thankfully, that’s always worked for us. Of course, a lot of our customers are at different levels of completeness in their program, even in the same class. A lot of them come to us because they’re struggling and we help get things straightened out and then there are others that are maybe a little bit more advanced and they just want to make sure they stay on the right track. Is it still difficult to be a woman working in a predominantly man’s world? Well, there’s always going to be some sexism, but I don’t have it nearly as bad as women like Shirley Muldowney or Etta Glidden did. I’d say almost all the time if I say something our customers know it’s okay and that Jeff has said it, or if I don’t know the answer I’ll ask him and the customers do just fine. They know we’re a mom-and-pop shop; that we have to divide and conquer to get the job done. And I think really there are so many women helping their husbands run the businesses in racing now that it’s become a really common thing. We’re just another husband and wife running the business and getting the job DI DI done.



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Beware Of TTY! For Improved Engine Reliability, You Need To Replace OEM Torque-To-Yield (TTY) Head Bolts With Premium Quality ARP® Fasteners

LS Engine Fasteners Shown

Most engines manufactured in the EFI era (1987 to date) are assembled using TTY head bolts. Here are some important factors to consider:

n Typically, TTY bolts are robotically installed, using the torque angle method, at 100-120% of the fastener’s rated yield strength. n High volume manufacturing processes are employed (not precision) with batch heat treatment performed after machining processes to obtain a tensile strength only sufficient for a stock engine. n There is no “safety” margin, any Increase in combustion pressure from engine modifications and power adders can easily lead to head gasket failure.

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TTY Head Bolt

n TTY bolts can only be torqued one time before replacement is mandatory. The answer, of course, is to replace factory TTY head bolts before problems occur:

n ARP’s head studs and bolts are made from premium grade 8740 chrome moly steel at 200,000 psi, proprietary ARP2000 material at 220,000 psi. n Threads are formed after heat treat to significantly improve fatigue strength. n ARP’s 8740 studs are torqued at 75% of yield and exceed the clamping force of factory TTY bolts torqued to yield. n Studs are hex-broached for easy installation and removal n All product is precision manufactured in house per stringent ISO 9001 and AS 9100 quality standards. n Kits come complete with appropriate precision manufactured hex or 12-point nuts (or bolt heads) and parallel ground hardened washers plus a packet of ARP Ultra-Torque™ fastener lube to ensure you have the correct clamping preload on the first torque “pull” and all subsequent cycles.

There Are TTY Rod & Main Bolts Too Yes, the factories also employ TTY (Torque To Yield) bolts to secure main caps and connecting rods. This can lead to severe consequences if OEM fasteners are retained when modifying or rebuilding most late model engines. Find out more about the cure for TTY fasteners by going to or scan the QR code with your smart phone.


Contact us for a free copy of the ARP ® catalog.

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BODY LANGUAGE A drag racing superstar that never even made a pass down the track, “Jungle” Pam Hardy, girlfriend and side kick of the infamous Funny Car racer, “Jungle” Jim Liberman, whom he enlisted to help back him into his tracks prior to every pass he made in his wildly popular fuel floppers. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLES GILCHRIST Dragway 42 West Salem, Ohio May 1973

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RECORD SETTING PERFORMANCE RACE WINNING RELIABILITY A few of our top performing customers in 2012 :






573.636.4136 February/March 2013

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Straight Toch By Ian Tocher


ake no mistake about it; major changes are in store for drag racing in this country right now, with ramifications likely to be felt to varying degrees for years to come. Practically no significant aspect of the sport will be left untouched in 2013, from sanctioning bodies to race teams to media coverage; it’s all on the table. Of course, as goes NHRA so goes drag racing, and the most significant development this year for the gang from Glendora has to be the coming on board of Coca-Cola’s Mello Yello brand as their pro series title sponsor. This scenario was last played out by Coke’s marketers in 2008 when Full Throttle took over from Powerade, which in ’02 replaced Winston as the series’ marquee sponsor. And each time, promises flowed from Coke execs that the NHRA and its stars would be prominently featured in advertising and promoted through their products. Their record in this respect, however, has been underwhelming, to put it kindly. Heck, I live in Atlanta, worldwide headquarters for Coca-Cola and home to a longstanding NHRA national event, but I never saw any “activation” of the Powerade or Full Throttle sponsorships beyond anything I’d come across through my regular drag racing haunts. Still, I remember feeling so encouraged five years back; after all, what could be better for NHRA from a marketing standpoint than going Full Throttle? Well, apparently, getting “mello” is the answer. NHRA corporate speak claims Mello Yello “is a much larger brand” than its predecessor, with “tremendous resources” available to promote NHRA and by proxy drag racing overall. Third time’s a charm? Seriously, let’s hope so. The NHRA also implemented a major shakeup this season for

the way its product is delivered, electronically, live and in print. Gone from the ESPN2 broadcast booth for national events is Paul Page, with veteran pit reporter Dave Rieff taking over the anchor position alongside returning analyst Mike Dunn. Better story formats for presenting the races have been promised, too, so watching NHRA on TV should provide a different viewing experience if nothing else. It’ll be a new experience for national-event fans at the track this year, too, as longtime PA announcer and walking NHRA encyclopedia Bob Frey retired when the 2012 season came to a close. In his place will be not one, but four announcers sharing time in the tower, as Alan Reinhart, Bill Stephens, Joe Castello and Nathan Hirschi will take a team approach to keeping trackside fans informed. The move is not without precedent, as the ADRL did something similar in recent years with the distinctly different stylings of announcers Al Tucci and Brian Olsen complementing one another in the booth. Additionally, reflecting the tough atmosphere that exists for all print publications nowadays, National Dragster has cut its delivery rate from weekly to biweekly, hoping a new membersonly Web site will suffice to take up the slack. The NHRA house organ also sports a new (but incredibly familiar) look this year meant to get away from straight race reporting and concentrate

more on the people and issues that make up the sport. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Meanwhile, over on the IHRA side of things, the circus masters have left the building and some veteran racing execs are back in control of the 43-year-old sanctioning body. Late in January, the ownership group of Palm Beach International Raceway and Memphis International Raceway, featuring longtime drag racing professional Jason Rittenberry as president and CEO of the parent company, purchased IHRA outright from Feld Entertainment, which owns and operates the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, as well as Disney on Ice, among other entertainment properties. Granted, it’s not as if the new ownership group has nothing but IHRA on its corporate plate, but according to Rittenberry the IHRA acquisition is just one more step toward building a much larger drag racing empire. “Our goal from day one was to be an all-encompassing company,” he said. “We want to find quality tracks to acquire and to have our own quality content to put at those tracks. We also want to take some of the ideas that we have as a company and implement those through an established brand and the IHRA was the brand that we chose to really go after.” So far, with this year’s IHRA schedule already set, the only significant change has been the addition of the Palm Beach venue to the 2013 Nitro Jam tour, but it’s easy to imagine with more acquisition announcements to come, next year’s IHRA might offer quite a departure from the old. How it will affect professional and sportsman racers remains to be seen, but it looks like change is in the works, regardless. Speaking of change, is there any other way to describe the

eighth-mile doorslammer world, where since 2005 ADRL has reigned supreme, but for 2013 an upstart challenger has arisen? First there was the unexpected ownership change for the ADRL at season’s end. Now, it was no secret that Sheikh Khalid AlThani was ready to unload the money loser he’d purchased late in 2010 or that acting series president Tim McAmis was more than ready to get out of the race promoting game and go back to running his chassis shop, but who ended up with the keys to the ADRL was more than a little surprise to many. Kenny Nowling, unceremoniously ousted from the ADRL president’s chair not long after the Sheik’s purchase, emerged as the organization’s new owner—despite apparently not being the highest bidder. Undaunted, his rival bidding group led by Jeff Mitchell, Larry Pearce and David Hubbard (MPH Motorsports), promptly formed the Xtreme Drag Racing League (XDRL) with several former ADRL employees in key management positions. Now, both series are on the cusp of their 2013 seasons, with Nowling intent on proving he can recreate the magic of the ADRL’s early years and the XDRL group determined to upset the incumbent as the country’s premier eighth-mile racing organization. But as I’ve written here before, I fear these options are not necessarily beneficial to the overall doorslammer racing community as sponsors and racers will be pressed to choose which they will provide with long-term support and leading perhaps to either organization— or both—failing in the end. No doubt there will be a lot to watch in 2013 as change takes its course through all the national organizations and many regional series, too. The question is, will it be change for the better, or DI DI DI worse? DI DI DI DI

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On the Road with Van Abernethy


very now and then someone will ask what I do during my “off season” from following drag racing all across this great land of ours. Well, let’s see, during my most recent off season I put up a Christmas tree, went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for our family Christmas trip, came home and took down said tree. That’s pretty much my entire off season activities  in a nutshell...and it lasted a total of three weeks from start to finish. Typically, my last race of any given season is the ultra-fun Snowbird Nationals, held in Bradenton, Florida, on the first weekend of December, but this year I found myself still on the road during the second weekend of December as well. The weather was so  beautiful down in South Carolina that the tracks in Darlington and Orangeburg were still testing, tuning and grudge racing right on into mid-December, so how could I pass that up? But after one final grudge event at Orangeburg came my “off season,” which passed in the blink of an eye, as you may have guessed. I hit the road again the very first weekend of January, traveling to the 26th annual Winterfest at Kinston Dragway in eastern North Carolina. Despite the success of this legendary bracket race—which  attracts well over 200 cars during decent weather— Winterfest is a tricky ordeal to pull off because of January’s unpredictable nature. The first Winterfest I tried to attend was in 2011 and the event was ultimately canceled due to rain, sleet and a legitimate threat of snow. Last year, however, Winterfest couldn’t possibly have been any better and the weekend was greeted with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. It was a complete reversal from a year earlier, but hey, when it’s the first week of January the weather

could do almost anything! Up until last year’s running of Winterfest Kinston was a track I had never been to, even though it’s in my home state, which has a total of 20 active tracks. Regardless, when I was finally able to make it down there, I enjoyed the opportunity to sit down and visit with longtime Kinston Dragway owner Bobby Smith, who has seen all kinds of eras come and go since taking over in 1977. Most notably, he spoke of contracts struck by way of a man’s good word and deals sealed with a handshake. He’s also seen many different economic environments over the last 36 years, including the boom of 1999 when 440 cars somehow squeezed into the Kinston pits for Winterfest. So it had been exactly one year since I had come this way and heard the entertaining stories that only  Bobby could give justice, so I felt it was only fitting to make Winterfest  my first race of 2013. The weather was rather dicey, however, with Saturday being a bit chilly, while an unexpected rain shower canceled the event on Sunday,  thus  reducing Winterfest 2013 to just a single day of racing.  The following week, I was right back on the road, this time for an indoor/outdoor  gathering called the Southern Racing Expo at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds in Crossville, Tennessee. I learned of the expo largely by accident when I visited the web site of I-40 Dragway (also in Crossville) to find out  when the track was  opening for 2013. In addition to the racing schedule  I was seeking, the site also invited everyone out to the expo at the  fairgrounds.  As it turns out, the event was started four years ago by the Howe family; who has owned I-40 Dragway since 1992. The expo features a swap meet and car corral, as well as hosts the yearly racers’ awards banquet for I-40 Dragway points winners. But the expo is not limited to drag racing, stresses Jim Howe. It incorporates all forms of motorsports and Jim expects it to con-

tinue growing in popularity and size. This year’s event brought out many racers and fans looking to pick up a few hard-to-find parts at the swap meet, or wanting simply to mingle and talk a little racing during the cold days of the year’s first month. I have to admit; by the third weekend of January I was ready to head into the deep south of Florida to experience the nitroburning excitement of Palm Beach Raceway’s Pro Winter Warm-up. If ever there was an event that’s truly caught fire in a short amount of time the Pro Winter Warm-up would certainly qualify. What began four years ago as a private winter test session for the NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car stars, was opened up to the public the following year after Palm Beach Raceway officials recognized a huge marketing opportunity  to  serve up  a laid-back, 300-mph event package  to NHRA-starved fans in south Florida. After all, with the exception of Gainesville’s national event, the Pro Winter Warm-up at Palm Beach is the only opportunity to witness nitro-burning machines in the entire state,  so it’s no wonder the event has completely exploded in popularity. For me, just visiting the state of Florida in January is something

to celebrate—even without the Pro Winter Warm-up—but hey, what an awesome  bonus! Much like Kinston’s most recent running of Winterfest, however, day one of the Pro Winter Warm-up went off without a hitch, only to be rained out on day two. The south Florida fans came out in large numbers—even during Saturday’s washout—but the weather simply wouldn’t cooperate for two straight days.  So, with my third event of 2013 officially, yet prematurely over, I aimed the Drag Illustrated Sprinter north on Sunday afternoon, making a quick stop  at Daytona Beach before leaving the Sunshine State.  After walking  beside the ocean for awhile  and snapping  a few scenic  photos, I then cruised for a few miles  up the coastal highway as the sun slipped out of sight. It’s probably my favorite stretch of road on earth, and since I don’t make it to Florida but a few times a year, it’s hard to pass up the experience. As I write this  first column of 2013 it’s easy to see this year will be flying by as quickly as any I’ve seen. After only a month, already I feel as though I could use a vacation; which is not all that surprising, I guess,  since my “off season” was only three weeks long! DI DI DI DI DI DI DI

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The Real Deal

With Tommy D'Aprile


can remember it like it was yesterday— the anticipation of going to my first really big national event. All of my heroes were going to be there and it was at my home track. As a young boy you can only imagine the excitement I felt that day. Rolling up to the track I could see all the huge trucks and trailers that had made their ways from all across the country just to be there. All the cars and stars were there and I was ready to make my rounds and get some autographs. So I got my ticket, went through the gate, and I was off. The day was every bit as exciting as I’d hoped and anticipated it would be and the action on the track was just as intense. Then it was autograph time, so with pen and pad in hand I made my rounds. Many drivers were eager to sign my note pad, but unfortunately many others were not; in fact, a few were downright rude. I remember one driver even telling me, “Get lost kid!” Are you serious, I thought? Here this guy had my dream job and all he could say was get lost? Maybe I annoyed him or something, but that still didn’t give him the right to treat me like that. I’ve never forgotten that moment and it was his actions that day that gave me passion to write this column. Are you a big shot in the sport of drag racing? Do you have more trophies than there are days in a year? When you pull up to the staging lanes do people fear racing you? Is your racing rig the biggest and the baddest in the pits, or maybe you even have multiple trucks and trailers to your name? If so, may I say, wow, that is so amazing, but really, with all due respect, I couldn’t care less. Here is what I am interested in: what kind of example are you? All the wins and championships in the world mean absolutely nothing if those accomplishments are only for your own, selfish gain. Some racers may be feared, but I promise you, I would much rather be respected. Because, you see, respect is earned and valued and thus lasts longer than any race win or series title. The man that told me to get lost so long ago was a great race car driver, but to be blunt, his character stunk. Even as a young boy I could see that. His success on the race track led to a cocky attitude. Guess what? His success eventually ended and what he left behind was the legacy of a bad attitude. That’s what people remembered of him, and how sad that is when you really think about it. So how do you act? Do you bring a positive, sharing attitude to the track, or is your race car not the only thing needing adjustment? Big shot and local racer alike, your attitude should reflect that of a gracious person; of being someone who sees that he or she is absolutely blessed to be doing what they are doing. I ask that you take a good, long look at yourself and be honest with yourself if you see a need to change. Realize that your crew chief can adjust your race car, but only you can adjust your attitude. Think about how you are treating others. What kinds of actions and behavior are you putting out there? Keep in mind that other people get a lesson on your character by observing you in action. I’m reminded of a quote: “For I may not understand you and the high advice you give; but there’s no misunderstanding, how you act and live.” That pretty much sums it up. Each one of us can be a great example to others and even if you have messed up in the past, it’s okay. Use your old, bad behavior as a guide for how you don’t want to be and make the change. Not only will others be blessed by the new you, but the person who will be most affected in a positive way will be you. As always, the choice is yours to make.




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Tommy D’Aprile February/March 2013

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ow, how time flies when you’re having fun! I’m sure you, along with everyone else, have heard that saying before. Well, that seems to be the case every day now for me and my wife, Nicole. We are very blessed with great health and a great family, as well as business partners and companies that enable us to be involved with the racing industry and do one of the things we love the most, and that’s to be able to race on a regular basis. Drag racing can be a humbling, yet rewarding sport and if you are like me you strive to be as competitive as possible. And if you can take this competitiveness and apply it to your personal, business and family lives, it can make everything that much more rewarding. Yes, it’s stressful at times also, but it is going to be that way at times no matter what. Personally, I’ll trade a little stress for success all day long if that’s what it’s going to take. That said, I recently asked Drag Illustrated Editor Wes Buck to relieve me of the duties for this “Dialed In” column presented by JEGS that I have so much enjoyed over the past year and a half. Along with allowing me to express my opinions about racing to Drag Illustrated readers, Wes allowed me to write about my businesses, DragRaceResults. com and, along with my family and personal racing experiences and I truly appreciate it. But the racing season is just about to start again and as much as I love this column and being able to write about pretty much whatever I want, I feel it’s time to move on. Like what seems to be every year, this will be a very important year to me in that both of my kids will be racing full-size cars. My daughter Megan, who got her competition license towards the end of last year, and my son Sheldon, who turns 16 this March, will both be amassing seat time on a regular basis this year. Combine that with my Big Bucks Bracket Racing schedule and commitments to attend to with, family reunions, my daughter preparing to go away to college and everything else life can throw at a family man and business owner and I’m sure there will be no lack of excitement for Nicole and myself. I’m sure Wes will find a fine replacement to take over this great sportsman racing column and hopefully he will allow me to pop back in every now and then to bring you up to speed on our racing season, things that are going on with and life in general for the Lemen family. This month’s issue is all about women in racing and I’m sure there will be some great articles about women racers and their competitiveness, marketability and success. But I want to focus on the support and dedication provided by so many mothers, wives and daughters to the men in our sport. I know mine have all sacrificed greatly and wholeheartedly support the lifestyle I lead. While I was growing up, my parents owned an auto parts store and machine shop. My mother worked there every day running the automotive paint department and taking care of the accounting. She put in long hours and I’m sure sacrificed much finan-

cially for me to race as much as I did growing up. Combine that with holidays, birthdays and vacations I did not attend because of either working on race cars, traveling to and from races or racing in general and you get the point. I met my wife Nicole in the middle of a full-fledged racing career and the same was implemented on her. We now own an assortment of businesses, two wonderful children and have raced “a lot!” since we met. To say she has sacrificed is certainly an understatement. When I am attending a race, she runs the businesses, takes care of the kids and pretty much does everything else. Vacations? We never took ‘em! Holidays? They weren’t that important to me. Extra Income? It all went to racing. Well, you probably see where I’m coming from by now. There are a lot of important women in this sport who help make it happen just by supporting the men and the toys it takes to stay involved in the sport. As I have grown older and wiser, I’ve realized that my family members— especially the women—have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice greatly. And now I’m trying to provide a little more balance and fairness to them, along with a little less selfishness. Family Vacations? We take them now. Extra Income? I actually think about what we should do with it now before I start thinking about a new engine. With that being said I hope you enjoy the upcoming season, enjoy this issue of Drag Illustrated, and enjoy the women in your life as they are certainly a huge part of your racing. And remember, Drag Illustrated will help keep you “Dialed In” each and every month. Good luck this season! DI DI DI

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SPOTLIGHT with special guest Scott “Lucky” Hudson


ynamite! It’s explosive, it’s dangerous and it packs a lot of power into a small package. Dynamite always brings to mind an image of devastating power, much like a drag car. Setting the charge is like staging the car in the beams, lighting the fuse is like engaging the transbrake button, and the explosion itself is not all that unlike a car leaving the line with the front tires clawing the air as it rockets down track. So when a girl named Diana calls herself Diana-Mite, you’re right to suspect you’re gonna’ be in for a wild ride! Diana-Mite is a co-host on the Speed Scene Live TV show, as well as a racer sponsored by Currie Rearends and M&H Tires. She competes in a beautiful 10-second ‘66 Nova SS powered by a 383 stroker motor and backed up course, by a Currie 9-inch rearend and M&H Racemaster tires. While you can see her on Speed Scene Live TV all the time, you also can see her at the local track going rounds. She may be petite and pretty, but don’t let her size and good looks fool you; she can drive a race car and has won her fair share of races. She even took out every competitor

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at the Pomona Goodguys event to win in the final round. Growing up in Oregon, DianaMite credits her dad, Jim Miller, for planting the love of cars in her at an early age. Jim was wellknown among all the local car show guys and hot rodders. He built his own rides, drove his cars everywhere and anywhere, and inspired in his daughter a deep love of all things automotive. And while he built everything from ‘32 Fords to ‘57 Cadillacs, it was always the muscle cars he owned that Diana really loved. In fact, that love got her into a little trouble early in life. She started driving just a few months before getting her license (without her dad knowing), and one night had to confess she had wrecked his 1970 Chevelle SS396 while out cruisin’ the local streets. Still, she learned a lot about cars in those early years; how to work on them and how to drive them. Oregon often has slick road conditions in the winter, and that winter driving experience came in handy once back in the days before we used motor diapers, when the connecting rods in her little Chevy decided to exit the block while going down track. The oil went everywhere and of course her back

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tires drove right into it. But driving on all those icy, snow-covered roads had taught Diana how to react. First the car headed toward the guardrail, so she pulled it in the other direction. The other car was right next to her, though, so close that she could see the wide-open eyes of the driver, so she got it going the other way and ended up getting the Nova straightened out and managed to stop without hitting anything at all. To top things off after blowing up her motor, she jumped into a friend’s race car that day and went four rounds of eliminations! Now, she competes in the Nova every chance she gets. Diana-Mite loves the competition and the good friends at the track, but more than anything else she loves to win. When asked what her favorite part of racing is,

she replies, “When I beat some guy that has a big ego and I pull my helmet off and all this blond curly hair comes out, my favorite part is the look on his face! Racing doesn’t care if you are a girl or a guy; it’s the best car and the best driver that wins. But it is fun to be able to tell them they just got beat by a girl!” So when you see the Currie Rearends booth at your favorite track stop by and visit with Diana-Mite and check out her car while you’re at it. And don’t miss going to every Tuesday night to watch Diana-Mite talk about racing and help interview some of the biggest names in drag racing today. Diana-Mite is the real deal; a car girl through and through. Just like her classic ‘66 Chevy nova, they just don’t make girls like this anymore.

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PRODUCTS & PRESS CRANE CAMS TURNS 60 There are a handful of pioneers that established the speed industry in the United States and they all shared a common goal-going faster than the other guy. They were first, and foremost, racers; they became businessmen almost by accident, by following their dream of going faster. Harvey Crane, Jr. was one of those individuals. Experimenting with camshafts to “soup-up” his flathead Ford hot rod, he found his designs and quality would outperform any that were available at the time. When other hot rodders found this out they wanted to buy his cams. These early successes lead Harvey to go into business in 1953, starting in the corner of his father’s machine shop, under the name Crane Engineering Company. The company was founded on the desire to produce a superior performing, quality camshaft with a high level for workmanship and repeatable tolerances. This was the foundation of Crane Cams reputation and remains so today. From these humble beginnings, one of the speed industry’s iconic companies was born. During the following years Crane Cams would make great strides, patenting mechanical roller lifter technology and introducing the original Gold Race™ roller tip, needle bearing, alumi-

num rocker arms. In 1965 Crane Cams pioneered the science of using computers for designing camshaft profiles with the eventual introduction of the CompuCam® series of lobes. The “dual/ split pattern” cam designs were produced in the 1950’s, and the “four pattern” camshaft designs in 1966. In 1994 Crane Cams was first to release the fully digital ignition to the speed industry. Our Just to put things into innovative optical trigger dis- perspective, in 1953: tributor line, which was first Dwight D. Eisenhower was introduced in 1997, has gone on to win many national cham- President. pionships, later being upgraded Other than the moon, there were to the industry’s only fiber optic trigger signal distributor device, no other satellites circling the again winning championships. earth. Sputnik didn’t go into orbit for four more years. Crane Cams was also the first to offer a full line of Retrofit Hydraulic Roller lifters and cam- The NHRA was just two years shafts for early model engines. old. Today we offer a complete line of components for today’s modern It would take another decade for the 200 MPH barrier to be engines, including LS Series and broken in drag racing, and four Ford Modular cams. After 60 years Crane Cams re- decades to go 300 MPH. mains a leader in the industry it helped to found. The manufac- Ralph Lee Earnhardt just became a full time professional turing facility in Daytona Beach driver, running the Carolina is still producing the quality cam oval tracks. His son Ralph and valve train products that it is famous for. Including the -Made “Dale” Earnhardt (who would in the U.S.A.- Crane Cams Igni- eventually become a seven time NASCAR Cup Champion) was tion product line. just two years old. We are still pursuing the dream of going faster. Bill Blair won the astonishing

purse of $6,755 in his 1953 Oldsmobile on the sands of Daytona Beach. The Daytona International Speedway wasn’t built yet. The Flat Head Ford V-8 was the racers choice of engines. There were tons of them available as WWII surplus. The first Corvette was manufactured in June of 1953; it came with a 235 cu/in Blue Flame straight six engine. Chevrolet wouldn’t have a V8 for two more years, when it offered the 265 cu/in engine in the 1955 Corvette and Bel Air. SEMA wouldn’t be founded for 10 more years. In 1953 the roots to the speed industry, as we know it today, were just beginning to grow.

S&W’S NEW BOLT-ON FRONT FRAME KIT S&W Race Cars unveiled their member for Powerglide, Turbo 1st Gen. Camaro /68-74 Nova 350 or Turbo 400, Tubular Bolt-In Front Frame, at the Per- A-Arms, Mustang II Spindles, formance Racing Industry Show Mustang II Rack & Pinion - Orlando Florida. (Nov. 29th – Mounts, Coil Over Shocks and Dec. 1st, 2012) 2”X 3”X .120” Wall Frame Rails. The stout bolt-in front frame Note: Dynatech brand headers kit will easily install into any must be used with this kit to 1st Gen. Camaro or 68-74 Nova. achieve proper clearance. Features include: Body Mounts, “The demand for bolt-on perRadiator Support Mounts, Big formance components continues & Small Block Chevy Front Mo- to grow,” said S&W’s Jill Canuso. tor Plate Mounts, OEM Motor “Our bolt-on race and rod parts Mounts, Transmission Cross- are designed for the ‘Do-It-Your72 | D r a g

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selfer’ who desires weld-on performance without the weld-on challenges. Currently, we offer a very extensive line of high performance bolt-on components for Camaro’s to Mustang’s, and everything in between. Look for more to be released, in 2013, including a line of Gen. 5 Camaro components.” The S&W booth also featured their newly redesigned Dragster Cockpit, a video tour of their Spring City, PA facility (pro-

duced by Connecticut School of Broadcasting) and many other new and popular Race and Rod Parts. PLUS, they will be giving away (3) Top Comp Total Benefits Program Gold Cards, (1) per show day (a $99.95 value.) Also, remember to pick up your FREE copy of their new catalog Vol.31, because it’s stuffed with over 80 NEW Products. I ss u e 74

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PRODUCTS & PRESS MSD INTRODUCES WIRELESS EFI FOR LS-SERIES ENGINES MSD Performance is driving is simple to program with no PC innovation again with its next required! Performance is delivgeneration of Atomic EFI - the ered through advanced control all new Atomic LS platform. of the fuel and ignition, just as Where last year’s Atomic TBI you’d expect from MSD. consolidated electronics and What makes the Atomic LS sensors into the throttle body truly innovative is the integraitself, the Atomic LS platform tion of the ECU into the fuel incorporates the electronics rail assemblies. With the ECU into the fuel rails. There’s no integral on the engine, there is bulky ECU or wiring harness to no need to run over 100 wires mount and therefore no mess of around the engine and back to wires to route around the engine. an external ECU! The electronic -The Atomic LS wiredless design fuel rails each have only the conmounts simply and cleanly  on nectors required for each bank the engine, greatly improving of the engine. You’re spared exthe overall aesthetics under the cessive wiring to save time, ease hood. installation and improve the aesMSD Atomic EFI systems were thetics of your engine. designed with two major goals; to simplify EFI and deliver bet- - Integrated fuel rails and ECU ter overall performance to your significantly reduces the amount engine.  Simplicity is achieved of wire through wiredless technology to -Improves the aesthetics of the ease installation plus the Atomic engine bay with less wires and

WELD RACING BEAD-LOC & BLACK WHEEL CONVERSIONS WELD Racing’s Bead-Loc conversion service has expanded to include a black anodizing process. Send in your 15 inch and 16 inch polished WELD Racing drag wheels and you can convert your wheel to a genuine WELD Bead-Loc, with knurled bead seat on single BeadLocs, and even black anodize the wheel shells for the dual Bead-Loc conversions. WELD’s Bead-Loc and anodizing service includes a complete wheel rebuild and restoration. Each wheel is inspected and rebuilt with new hardware as part of the Bead-Loc service. Each wheel is cleaned and polished as part of the service. WELD’s unique ability and high quality materials means that this is the only Bead-Loc conversion that will allow you to retain your SFI certification. Trust your wheels to the company that built them. WELD Racing’s conversion service will add a single or dual Bead-Loc, rebuild the entire wheel, polish it to like-new standard, and now even change polished wheel shells black, all while retaining any SFI certifications. Details of WELD Racing’s Bead-Loc conversion service can be found at or by calling 800-788-9353. Please allow up to two weeks for processing. For more information, visit 74 | D r a g

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-NO ECU to mount -NO PC required, each system is supplied with a handheld monitor -Self-learning technology eases the setup and initial tuning -Compatible with return or returnless fuel systems -Supports up to 1000 horsepower, nitrous and boosted applications -Complete kits for specific LS engines Two master kits are being launched, PN 2950 for LS2/LS3 engines, and PN 2960 for the LS7. These kits are designed for factory style intake manifolds and injectors. There are two supporting installation kits offered to cover the LS1/LS6, PN 2955, and for the LQ9 truck engine, PN 2956. More Atomic LS components and kits will be coming throughout 2013.

Founded in 1970, MSD Performance (long known as MSD Ignition) has been the most recognized name in performance ignition systems for more than 40 years. Now, MSD Performance is driving innovation and leading the industry in vehicle performance integration systems for street and racing use. The company designs, develops, tests and manufactures its entire line of ignition controls, coils, electronic fuel injection systems, timing accessories and spark plug wires and accessories from its headquarters in El Paso, Texas.

TIM MCAMIS PERFORMANCE PARTS TITANIUM BOTTLE MOUNT In response to customer requests, Tim McAmis Performance Parts is now offering a light-weight single nitrous bottle mount constructed of titanium. Based off of the popular TMR1091 mount, the new titanium version is for racers who run one nitrous bottle and are still looking to save a bit of weight. This precision crafted piece features billet knobs, a lightweight aluminum top ring, trimlock to protect against bottle scratches, and weighs in at a mere 1.9 pounds which includes its mounting hardware. Additionally, the mount can be constructed to contain a ten or fifteen pound bottle. Tim McAmis Performance Parts is a division of Tim McAmis Race Cars, Inc. Dedicated to quality and excellence, TMPP provides customers with the same parts and components used on their championship and

award winning race cars. From simple items like spark plugs and fittings to superior chassis kits and composites, Tim McAmis Performance Parts has everything you need to build and maintain your race car. I ss u e 74

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Lingenfelter Performance * Closed loop bottle warmer control via nitrous pressure sensor Engineering (LPE) introduces input the NCC-001 Nitrous Control Center - a two-stage progressive * Connects to the Lingenfelter nitrous controller with on-board LNC-2000 two-step adjustable display, programming and data RPM limiter with timing retard for LS engines and allows for logging along with USB-based programmable timing retard PC connectivity capabilities. based on nitrous level. The NCC-001 Nitrous Control      Center (part # L460150000) can store three nitrous configurations on-board, allowing users to switch between the programs using the controller buttons, and an unlimited number of configurations on users’ PCs.  Featuring independent progressive nitrous and fuel control for each stage of nitrous, the NCC-001 Nitrous Control Center allows for userThe NCC-001 Nitrous Control adjustable delays on nitrous enCenter’s inputs include engine able versus fuel enable times. Lingenfelter’s NCC-001 Ni- speed, vehicle speed, TPS, air trous Control Center gives us- fuel ratio, fuel pressure sensor, nitrous bottle pressure and more.  ers the ability to modify nitrous Outputs include nitrous, fuel, based on time, RPM, vehicle relay 1 & 2 and shift light/LED.  speed and throttle position.  It also has programmable fuel For additional information on Lingenfelter’s NCC-001 Nitrous pressure and AFR safety nitrous Control Center, which retails for overrides.  Lingenfelter designed the controller to simplify wir- $649.95, visit www.lingenfelter. com. ing and reduce the number of For more than 32 years, Linmodules needed, combining genfelter Performance Engineerthe functions of a two-stage nitrous controller, data logger, ing has created a matchless heritage of bringing astounding new RPM window switch, shift light capabilities to the world’s most controller, fuel pressure safety sought-after sports cars.  This switch, programmable TPS switch and bottle heat controller. legendary record of precision engineering continues today, as the    highly skilled Lingenfelter proAdditional features include: duction team continues to tar* On-board data logging * On-board programming of set- get design excellence in engine packages, superchargers and tings via controller buttons high-performance aftermarket * 128x64 screen to view settings components that refine power, * USB-based programming of settings via PC interface and in- speed and control.  For more information, visit www.lingencluded software, contact Lingenfelter * USB software updates for new Performance Engineering at features 1557 Winchester Road, Decatur, * USB interface to retrieve and IN 46733, or call 260.724.2552. view logged data I ss u e 74

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PRODUCTS & PRESS MICKEY THOMPSON PERFORMANCE TIRES & WHEELS CELEBRATES 50 YEARS Founded by the legendary Mickey Thompson and friend Gene McMannis in 1963, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels (Mickey Thompson) announced on February 5th it is celebrating 50 years of innovation and product excellence in 2013. Thompson and McMannis started with a visionary way to design, manufacture and test high performance tires – a legacy that remains the backbone of the company today. “This is an incredible milestone for our company,” stated Ken Warner, VP Sales & Marketing, Mickey Thompson. “We want to celebrate this achievement and commemorate this anniversary by honoring both our history and the future of our company.” A Brief History of Innovation In 1963, the company began with the development of a new open-wheel racing tire that had a softer compound and a lower profile giving racers a lower center of gravity and greater stability, and then offered a 12-inch wheel to complement the tire. The following year, a 15-inch tire and wheel combination was added and Mickey Thompson became the first tire company to offer 50-, 60- and 70-series “Indy Profile” tires.   In the ‘70s, the legendary ET Drag tires for the strip were introduced and the company expanded research and development efforts to include tires for the Thompson-founded SCORE off-road and Mickey Thompson stadium short-course racing series. Thompson used the specially designed truck tires in 1982 to win the Baja 1000 and set a new record time for the event.   The company introduced the Sportsman tire in 1982, the widest high-performance street legal tire ever made, and in 1991, the Sportsman Pro tire was launched. With its specially designed tread, unique “hot and 78 | D r a g

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sticky” drag tire compound and flexible wrinkle wall construction, the Sportsman Pro provided Pro Street racers with a street legal tire that could be used for drag racing. The tire was inducted into the Hot Rod Magazine Speed Parts Hall of Fame in 2011. In the early 2000s, product development continued with the introduction of a diverse group of truck and off-road radial tires, as well as a full range of wheels. In 2008, the company introduced the Pro-5 Drag wheel offering the lightest practical weight and the greatest strength available from any aluminum wheel today. In the past several years alone, Mickey Thompson has introduced numerous new tires and wheels for street, strip, truck, off-road and motorcycle including several award winners. Mickey Thompson Today and in The Future A recognized leader in high performance tires and wheels, Mickey Thompson has product distributors in more than 60 countries and thousands of dealer locations worldwide. The company also supports dozens of racing sanctioning bodies representing drag racing, shortcourse off-road racing, vintage funny car and motorcycle drag racing categories. The Mickey Thompson brand is known in every sportsman drag racing class for helping racers earn countless records and world championships. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company’s purchase of the company in 2003 has enhanced

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product innovation and growth opportunities. Today, Mickey Thompson innovation is reflected in products like the new Baja Pro shortcourse racing tire, as well as award-winning products like the new Street Comp ultra-high performance street tire and the allterrain and off-road Baja ATZP3 Radial. The company’s vision for the future extends to the development of complete solutions like the new Enhanced Stance System (ESS), combining tires and wheels for specific applications. “Our company continues to focus on product development to meet the changing needs of the vehicle and racing landscape,” stated Ken Warner, VP Sales & Marketing, Mickey Thompson. “Today’s drag racing vehicles are faster, higher horsepower and lighter weight than ever before, and short-course, off-road vehicles are custom built for unique track conditions and course demands. Every vehicle and racing application requires specialized tire and wheel designs, and we remain dedicated to providing excellent products to meet those needs.” About Mickey Thompson the Man Mickey Thompson was born Dec. 7, 1928. He bought his first car at age 14, and rebuilt several cars before he was old enough to drive. Thompson’s racing experience began on the streets, but he quickly took his love of racing to the dry lakebeds nearby, and

later to the Bonneville Salt Flats. In 1954, Thompson was the first to develop what is now known as a “sling-shot” dragster - a racing chassis that placed the driver behind the rear axle and coupled the engine and transmission directly to the differential of the vehicle. In the 1960s, Thompson focused his racing and vehicle design on open-wheel racing. He also built the Challenger I Streamliner and was the first American to go over 400 miles per hour earning him a new nickname – The Speed King. In 1968, Thompson and a team of fabricators built the Challenger II with the goal of exceeding the existing land speed record. Thompson devoted himself to building and racing funny cars and expanded to off-road racing in the 1970s. He later founded SCORE International and began building his own versions of offroad sprint cars for his indoor stadium off-road racing series. Tragically, in 1988, Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy were killed. An innovative racecar driver, designer and promoter, Mickey Thompson held 485 national and international speed and endurance records at the time of his passing. Today, his son Danny Thompson is rebuilding the Challenger 2 to create the Challenger 2.5 in hopes of exceeding his father’s existing land speed record. His family and the company he founded remain dedicated to his legacy. About Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels Max-Trac Tire Co., Inc., dba Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, markets racing and high-performance tires and wheels for street, strip, truck, and off-road applications. The company was founded in 1963 by racing legend Mickey Thompson and is headquartered in Stow, Ohio, USA.   For more information, visit I ss u e 74

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The new SR 20 from BRODIX is at the cutting edge of conventional big block Chevy compatible technology. This new offering raises the bar to a level that is unreachable by the competition! Inspired by TPSA technology, the SR 20 surpasses any other head in its class by leaps and bounds. Utilizing a .500” raised 440 cc intake port with a 2.400 intake valve, this head flows an unheard of 507 cfm. The exhaust port flows an amazing 335 cfm through only a 1.800 valve. To allow for the newly designed

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PRO-ATF - HEAT’S NEW WORST ENEMY LAT’s PRO Automatic Transmission fluid was developed specifically for today’s high performance, converter equipped Pro Mod cars, LAT PRO-ATF provides an extremely high level of protection in addressing high temperature issues. Working closely with professional race teams LAT has been able produce a one of a kind fluid blend made up of multiple synthetic base oils and a aggressive additive package which have proven to reduce heat and provide more consistent pressure readings than has been realized in the past. Available in 1 gallon jugs and 5 gallon pales the, new fluid can be purchased directly from LAT by calling 714-585-3247 or on their Web Site at

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PRODUCTS & PRESS CDS ALTERNATOR & ACCESSORY DRIVES Component Drive Systems (CDS) continues to expand their selection of gear- and belt-drive systems with the addition of a new alternator drive and modular accessory drive arm. The alternator mount is an assembly of lightweight aluminum brackets and spacers, driven by a high-strength, 21mm, Poly Chain GT carbon belt. The modular accessory drive arm eliminates extraneous brackets with clever use of a billetaluminum arm structure that shields a 12mm, Poly Chain GT carbon belt. Driven accessories are available through CDS and include fuel pumps, magnetos, vacuum pumps, distributors, water pumps, and power steering pumps. Any combination of which can be driven off the front or rear of the drive arm. Mount adapters accommodate various accessory brands, ranging from direct bolt-on mounts to rotatable V-band clamps for the greatest flexibility with plumbing and wiring. CDS, a Chris Alston’s Chassisworks brand, is focused on offering the highest quality, direct bolt-on, supercharger- and accessorydrive systems for popular racing and street-performance engines. Current applications include ProCharger, Vortech, and Paxton superchargers on Chevy small-block, big-block, or LS-series engines, Ford small-block and modular motors, aftermarket Pontiac blocks, Mopar small-block and big-block, Hemi Gen III, and Olds motors. For complete details email or call direct to (800) 722-2269.

KPE RACING SHIPPING 2,000 HORSEPOWER BLOWN CRATE ENGINE Geared towards Top Sportsman and Top Dragster racers looking for a ready-to-race package that will provide the horsepower necessary to be competitive along with the consistency required to win, Keeter Performance Engineering has launched a supercharged 532ci big block crate engine program for 2013 and beyond. While there are optional upgrades, the standard unit includes a BDS 14-71 supercharger, which will produce in excess of 2,000 horsepower, on top of an aluminum block with Crower crankshaft, JE pistons, GRP rods, Moroso oil pan, KPE-spec camshaft and Jesel belt drive. The top end of the engine consists of Brodix BB3x 380 cylinder heads, T&D rockers and Professional Performance Products intake manifold. Fuel and spark are provided by Enderle and MSD, respectively. The starting price for such a piece is in the neighborhood of $45,000. Upgrades in supercharger, injector hat or block are available at an additional cost. “We have three of these on the shelf right now at our shop here

QUICK FUEL TECHNOLOGY INTRODUCES BLACK DIAMOND SERIES CARBS Your engine compartment is a hostile environment for you carburetor. Carburetors can reach a peak under-hood temperature of between 180° to 200° F., and the chemicals in the fuel, oil and coolant can literally bake onto your carburetor and become corrosive over a period of time. While an unsightly looking carb won’t usually affect performance, under-hood heat will. For years racers and tuners have increased performance by lowering fuel 82 | D r a g

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For t he t h i rd st ra i g ht yea r, D rag Illu s t rated h a s accepted t he d au nt i n g a nd of ten m iscon st r ued ta sk of si n g l i n g out 10 fem a le r acer s f rom a l l a venues of t he va st d r a g r aci n g m ap w ho best exempl i f y hot on-t rack per for m a nces. T he l ist is not r a n ked i n a ny order, nor i ntended i n a ny way to pa ss j ud g ment on appea ra nce—t hou g h i f you f i nd d r a g r aci n g to feat u re t he hot test l ad ies e ver to f i l l a f i re su it, wel l , w ho a re we to a rg ue? b y Wes Buc k & I a n Toc her

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n every life, things change. When Alexis DeJoria first appeared on the cover of Drag Illustrated during her debut season in 2007, she was focused entirely on getting her feet wet and making steady progress as she continued her climb into the upper echelons of drag racing. Her accent to that point had been the polar opposite of what most would expect out of someone like DeJoria – daughter of iconic entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria and heir to his billion-dollar business empire. Rather than simply buy a seat in one of Don Schumacher’s front-running fuel Funny Cars or Top Fuelers, which she most assuredly could have, DeJoria committed herself to doing it the right way; attending Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School, starting out in a Super Gas roadster and then a Super Comp dragster before taking the leap into Top Alcohol Funny Car. Five years later – another big move, another Drag Illustrated cover – DeJoria is still taking her racing career one step at a time. Rolling into her sophomore year behind the wheel of the Patrón Tequila Nitro Funny Car under the Kalitta Motorsports umbrella, she’s finally beyond the hoopla and built-in anxiety that came with her rookie season. “Last year was my first year and there was a lot of publicity and interviews all the time,” says DeJoria, looking back on her first season as a member of the NHRA pro ranks. “Coming out this year, we’re hoping we can keep things somewhat calm.” For a single mother who spends 23 weekends a year manhandling a 10,000-horsepower Nitro Funny Car, calm isn’t easy to come by. Add to that the celebrity status that comes with her family’s namesake, the fan following attached to being a touring pro on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit and the buzz surrounding her late 2012 engagement to motorcycle-building television bad boy Jesse James, and it’s hard to imagine DeJoria will experience anything close to calm in 2013. That doesn’t mean the Del Worsham protégé isn’t settling into her role this year, having become acclimated to the nasty nature of drag racing’s most dangerous hot rods, made some mistakes and had some close calls. “Being that we were a new team, there was a lot of learning going on in our first year together,” explains DeJoria. “Not only was it my

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first year as a full-time Funny Car driver, but we had rookie crew members and Del [Worsham] as a first-time crew chief as well, so it was a learning experience for all of us.” Admittedly, there may not come a lot of glory with struggling through your first season in the pros, but the knowledge and experience gained while driving a race car that doesn’t always go down the track is invaluable. From DeJoria’s vantage point, she may


a n d thi ngs we re n’t goi ng to ju s t be ha n d ed to u s.”

have done more towards furthering her career and growing as a driver shaking, smoking and pedaling last year than she would have if she won every race. “Driving a car that doesn’t always make it down, you definitely have a lot of learning opportunities,” she says. “You have to get better at pedaling the car and things like that. It’s easy to drive these cars when they go right down every time. It’s when they don’t go down the track, when they’re all over the place, that you get to brush up on your skills.” Though DeJoria recognizes the learning process isn’t yet behind her, she’s taking an entirely different outlook with her into this race season. Her natural competitive fire has her ready to win; ready to feel like a contender, and it’s looking like the pieces are in place for that to become a reality. ive years have passed since our first conversation and, clearly, a lot has happened since then. Back in 2007, we knew nitro racing was likely on the horizon for you, but you were content to earn your stripes in the sportsman ranks. Still today, I can’t say enough about your humble approach. We all know it didn’t have to be that way. To me, there was never really any other choice. That’s the only way I could see it really working; that’s the only way I could see doing it. My father raised us with very good work ethic; that you have to work hard for something you want to achieve and things weren’t going to just be handed to us. He struggled when he grew up. He had a really hard life and things weren’t given to him. He’s instilled that in his children and I’m forever grateful for everything he’s taught me and my sisters and brothers. But, honestly, I really thought the only way that I could really, truly appreciate and understand drag racing in every way possible was to start out just like anyone else would. Mainly because I had no history out there, no family that had ever raced or anything like that. I knew nothing about it – clean slate, starting from scratch – and I really wanted to do it the right way. Once you get into a nitro car – that’s it. There’s nothing better than that, so I really wanted to appreciate the ride. Well, it’s certainly honorable, and I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s only going to help you in the long run. You’re starting your second full season in NHRA Nitro Funny Car, but you’re going on a decade in the sport. That said, was there ever a time – even as recently as your rookie season last

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year – when you felt like an outsider because you didn’t necessarily have a racing pedigree? I wouldn’t say an outsider, but I definitely feel like I’m in kind of a different place, I guess. When you’re going up against teams that have tons of experience in racing – the John Force’s and the Don Schumacher’s – it feels like an uphill battle for sure. But working with the Kalitta family, who have a ton of history in this sport, and being a part of what they’re trying to accomplish and build is so exciting. There were some major moves within the Kalitta camp during the offseason – Del Worsham moved from crew chief on your Patron Toyota to the driver of the DHL Toyota and Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar were brought in to tune for you. What’s your take on everything? To be honest, it was a surprise to all of us. We didn’t expect it. There were talks about Tommy and Glen coming over, but more of a consulting deal to work on both cars. But then a few conversations happened between the big dogs and it just seemed to them that this was the best idea. They put Del in the DHL Toyota and Tommy and Glen working on my car. They’ll all work together on the tune-ups. The two-car team, utilizing identical chassis, clutches, etc., seems to be the only way to really make a run at a championship in the fuel categories, right? We’ve got both cars riding on the same chassis now. Last year, we tried to do some of it, but there wasn’t a lot of crossover – one being a slip-tube chassis and the other rigid, which, obviously, changes everything. We were also running two different clutch setups. This year we’re trying to get both cars to be just exactly the same. Testing went really well in both cars, so we’re pretty excited about this season. It seemed like a perfect storm type situation last year when Del was brought on as your crew chief. He’d tuned his own car for years alongside his dad and is one of the best Funny Car drivers of our time – seems like a pretty good guy to have in your corner as a brand-new driver. It was amazing, especially since I started with Del – it was his car that I got my license in, and he was there guiding me through the whole experience. So to have him as my crew chief in my rookie season, the comfort level was just immeasurable. All the experience he had to offer me after all his years driving that Nitro Funny Car, it was really awesome to be able to bounce things off him since he’d already been through all of it. He has been a

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mentor, a crew chief and a confidant for me. I can tell him things, and I can trust him with everything. I’m so glad I get to work with him and I’m really appreciative of everything he brought to the table. Now he’s going to be your teammate. What’s that going to be like? I have to say that I’m pretty excited. I never thought I’d be racing against him. Moving forward, it’s got to feel like everything is coming together and you’re poised to be a serious contender in Nitro Funny Car, but I have to ask what the big takeaway from 2012 was. Do you feel like you accomplished what you set out to?

In the beginning, I tried to be fair to myself and say, ‘I just hope to qualify at every race, maybe go some rounds.’ If I were to win a race, that’d just be amazing, but I tried not to put too much pressure on myself, or have too high of expectations for the whole deal. I just wanted to do everything right. No one will remember the great things you do, but they sure as hell remember the wrong things you do. I learned that from Bob Newberry way back. He said, ‘You make a mistake out there and everyone’s going to remember it, so choose your steps wisely.’ That’s been the deal for me since the beginning. Once we got to Bristol and went to the

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final, it was like, ‘Wow, maybe this can happen; maybe we can win this year.’ So, once I made it to the final, that’s all I wanted and I had pretty high expectations after that. Then we ran fast in Englishtown; ran great num-

confident that you’re going to be contending for a championship? Yeah, we’re out to win. I hope to get the car in the top ten and then we’ll go from there. Last year, even if it was my first or fifth race,



As the second chapter of DeJoria’s Nitro Funny Car career begins, she’s making it clear that simply being a part of the show won’t satisfy her. “Yeah, we’re out to win,” she says. “Get the car in the top then and go from there.”

bers – 4.0s – but the consistency just wasn’t there, and that was something that brought us down and bummed us out. Then there were a few races where we didn’t qualify, and that was definitely upsetting. Some people would say there’s nothing to be ashamed about or bummed out about and that we did great. Nothing catastrophic happened and I learned a lot, so I’d say it’s about 50/50. I’m pleased, but at the same time, I wouldn’t say it was a great year. It was good, but not great. There’s no shame in the kind of rookie year you had, but I have to say it’s admirable that you’re not satisfied. Going into 2013 – new teammate, crew chief and all – are you feeling

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every time I pulled up to that starting line I was planning on winning. That was my mind frame every time, and that definitely carries over. At this level, honestly, it takes that kind of confidence to win. You have to expect to win; though it is easy to be misconstrued. You don’t want to be cocky, running around talking about winning every race. Growing up through the ranks, I raced against Frank Manzo, and I remember him saying that all these young guns come in and they boast and talk big about how they’re going to come in and get that Wally and blah. He said, ‘You know what I do? I sneak in the back door and

I snatch it.’ He’s the type of guy that doesn’t say a damn thing and he goes out there and gets the Wally. I like that. I like that perspective. It’s pretty awesome. That’s a great way to look at it, and you can’t really argue with a guy like Frank Manzo. He’s got that quiet confidence. He’s super humble and I really look up to him. Speaking of people you look up to – now that you’re over a year into this whole nitro thing, what’s been your father’s reaction to his daughter becoming a star in the sport of drag racing? I think it’s every young girl’s dream to make her daddy proud at the end of the day, and I sure feel like I have. He absolutely loves NHRA drag racing. He’s a huge fan of the sport. He’s still kind of learning and he’s got a ways to go, but he’s very enthusiastic about it. He’s made a lot of friends out there and it’s cool. He’s come to the ropes a couple of times and signed autographs. It feels good. He’s a huge inspiration for so many people. He inspires me as well. He’s definitely my hero in life. Dads always seem to have that one story they tell; the one story that really taught them a lesson or whatever. Over the course of the last year or so, driving this, what, 10,000-horsepower Funny Car, what’s been the one story you know you’ll tell when all this is behind you? Something you’ll be forever grateful for or won’t soon forget? Let’s see… I’m a pretty patient person, but patience truly is a virtue in drag racing. I know that sounds kind of crazy – it’s the fastest sport in the world – but it’s so important to be patient. When you’re in these cars, four seconds doesn’t feel like four seconds. It’s like an eternity in there. When you see us pedal the cars, for us it’s like forever taking your foot all the way off the throttle – it literally feels like an eternity. Just learning and having the patience required to let the car settle before you get back on the throttle is a challenge – it’s a lot different between the alcohol car and the nitro car. In the alcohol car you can get off and on it pretty quickly. In this nitro car you have to kind of roll back into the throttle, and that’s been a big learning curve for me, but I think I’ve done pretty well. I definitely could have been a little more patient out in Brainerd last year against John Force when he red-lit in the first round against me. I had no idea what he was doing over there, and I sure as hell didn’t know he red-lit – I just knew he was out in front of me. I was trying to get my car down to the end as fast as possible and about mid-track I was already in a sideways back-end drift toward

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the centerline when I heard over the radio my crew go, ‘Off! Off!’ but I’d already pedaled it and crossed the centerline. So, I get down there and I’m like, ‘What happened?’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, he red-lit.’ I was like, ‘I am so sorry, I didn’t know.’ I was just trying to get down there and the thing was a bucking bronco. That’s definitely one of the mistakes that I’ve learned from. Hey, at least you’re trying hard, right? [Laughs]. Yeah, I’ll always put the most pressure on myself, more than anyone else ever could. The learning experiences for you probably haven’t all been confined to the drag strip have they? Has having fans taken some getting used to? Yeah. In Top Alcohol, if you did have fans, they couldn’t find you – you’re way out there on the other side. I’d hear people say, ‘We’ve been all over trying to find you, and we didn’t see any of your merchandise on the midway.’ Back then, that’s just how it was; if you had people come and find you for an autograph you were very thankful. So, I’ve been trying to get used to it. Last year, I was kind of thrown into the fire. Being a rookie is always going to be kind of wild and pretty packed. I’m very appreciative any time anyone wants my autograph or to take a picture. I’m in awe because I’m out here doing what I love and to get that support from the fans is amazing. I just try to be personable because they come all this way to watch you race. Does being a parent of a child who’s probably old enough to be a fan of different things or people make you think differently about your position? Absolutely. I’ve been kind of blown away by this, maybe just because I’m a mom of a 10-year-old girl, but I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from young girls saying that I’ve been an inspiration to them. That in itself is so huge to me. In this day and age, in this society, where girls are led to believe all the hoopla and stuff about their image and everything like that, I definitely feel like it’s an accomplishment when you’re opening the eyes of our newer generations, especially the young girls. For girls like Courtney, Erica, and myself, that’s a huge deal right there. You always wonder what kind of person you’ll be to your kids, what kind of role model you’ll be. I feel pretty good at night when I go to bed. Maybe I’ve inspired some little girl out there to do something more for herself and to be a go-getter and work for something that’s going to make her feel accomplished. You’re a natural and it’s probably as evident by your social media presence as it is

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a n d wo rk fo r somethi ng that ’s goi ng to make he r feel accomplished .” anywhere. Was that something you took upon yourself to do? It started with Facebook. They’re like, ‘You should have a Facebook page.’ I didn’t really think I’d do much with that, and then I started finding people that I used to go to school with and I thought that was pretty awesome and started going on that a lot more. Then it was Twitter and they wanted me to open up a Twitter account. I didn’t know what to say; what do you say? Then it started flowing. Since then I’ve just kind of ran with it. I’ve always tried to keep it pretty real, too. I

don’t want to make it seem like I’m someone I’m not. I think that’s pretty critical to the success of that kind of stuff. Just because I’m driving a Nitro Funny Car, I wanted to make it clear that doesn’t change who I am; that I’m still me and I can still be rough around the edges. Yeah, I’m a single mom and I’m out here going over 300 miles an hour, but I’m not ashamed to say that I’m just hanging out at home with my kids and making them dinner. There are so many facets of life. I’ve tried to be pretty open in that sense. There was a time when being a female drag racer was more unique than it is now. Women are still certainly in the minority, but it’s more common now than ever. I’ve heard it said that it’s not near the advantage to be a woman in racing that it once was, in terms of media or sponsor attention, now that the biggest name in the sport, John Force, has two daughters in the pro ranks. Well, it’s got to be expected. Their father is so well known in this sport. You mention drag racing to people that don’t know much, if anything, about it and they’re still probably going to know John Force. I get that, too, but in a completely different profession – the beauty world. I get it, and I can definitely relate to them on that level. I’m friends with Courtney and Brittany and I totally support them. I thought Courtney did an excellent job last year. Having experienced the red carpet-type affairs with your father and Patrón having been involved with other forms of motorsports on a large scale, do you feel at all like there’s more the sport of drag racing can accomplish? For sure. My God, I think there can be so much more. There’s great sponsors out here, including Patron, and I think they can leverage that so much more. I think there were times when NHRA could have gone to that next level and for whatever reason, I don’t know why, it just didn’t happen. I think they could definitely experiment and try to get some new media attention, and hopefully the Mello Yello relationship will shine some new light on the drag racing world. There’s some things that need to be changed, but I don’t really want to say what they are. I’ve got to be at least a little politically correct. [Laughs]. One thing that got a lot of attention late last year was your engagement to Jesse James.

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Having gone from the Top Alcohol pits where fans didn’t know her or couldn’t find her to Nitro Alley alongside the John Forces and Tony Schumachers of the world, Alexis DeJoria has seen the sport of drag racing from a multitude of angles, and that’s something she’s extremely proud of. “I really thought the only way that I could really, truly appreciate and understand drag racing was to start out just like anyone else would.”

I have to ask, how did that come to be? Oh, funny. Actually, he came out to a race in Dallas. It was the day before my birthday. He’s been friends with my dad for awhile, and he’s sponsored Scott Kalitta’s Top Fuel dragster in the past, and he just came out to see my dad, see the Kalittas and hang out at the races. That’s how we met. So drag racing brought you two together – pretty cool. He’s a gear head, so he’s got to dig seeing you drive that car. Yeah, for sure. I keep thinking maybe one of these days he’ll make a blast in it. He loves the drag races, but he’s more into off-road racing. He has a trophy truck that he races, the desert races and Baja stuff. Will he be attending a lot of races with you? I can’t help but feel like that’s going to have some positive effect on the sport; get drag racing some attention in the mainstream media, perhaps. Oh, yeah, he’ll probably come to all of them. For me, more than anything, it’s just been really cool to have a relationship with your other half, who can really relate. He goes out and he can talk to the guys on my

team and they can share stories about whatever. They respect him; he respects them. And there’s a huge comfort level there, just to know that he’s good with all of it. You don’t feel like you have to babysit. He can hold his own, and that’s a relief. I can’t remember where we were, but my steering wheel needed to be welded and it was like the second race he’d come out to and the guys were kind of nervous to ask him, but no one else there could have done it as good as him. When they asked he was like, ‘Yeah, definitely.’ He went in the trailer, welding mask and all, and fixed it for me. Everybody got a kick out of it. They’re like, ‘He’s a keeper.’ On the topic of relationships, how difficult is it to balance being a mother and travel to 24 races on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour? I’m sure it can be a challenge at times. Yeah, especially when you’re gone 24 weekends a year. I’ve just kind of learned on my own to be at home when I’m at home. I take my kids to school. We have family dinners and we do things together. When I’m at the races, I’m 100-percent at the races. But when

I’m at home, I’m 100-percent at home. At the track, every night I call her on the phone and we talk and check in. So, I’m very much connected. Yeah, I have an odd job and I work on the weekends. Most parents, most moms work Monday through Friday; mine is flipflopped. There’s times when we race back-toback weekends and then there’s times when we don’t race for two weeks straight, so I just try to make the most of it. How connected is Bella with what her mom does? She’s getting more interested in it. At first, she was kind of like, ‘Oh, that’s cool…whatever.’ Towards the middle, she got more into the social aspect of it – hanging out with the other drivers’ kids who are the same age, like Del’s daughters, Antron Brown’s daughter. And they all connect and run off, won’t see her for hours, but I know she’s in good hands because it’s a small circle out there. But, right now, that’s the big deal for her, going to the track and getting to see her friends. Honestly, I think that’s the big deal for all of us. [Laughs]. I think you’re right. DI DI DI DI DI DI DI DI DI DI

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he added to her last name in December with her marriage to fellow racer Richie Stevens Jr., but 2012 will forever be remembered as the year Erica Enders turned into a bona fide NHRA star by becoming the first woman ever to win a Pro Stock race and then adding two more wins before finishing a career-best fourth in points. “Yeah, it was definitely the best year of my life, both professionally and personally,” the new Mrs. Enders-Stevens agrees. “It makes me feel very excited and optimistic about what this year holds.” She recognizes, too, that as it has since her early Jr. Dragster days inspired the filming of a Disney movie about her life, her Pro Stock success in the GK Motorsports Cobalt tuned by Dave Connolly and Tommy Utt provides countless other young girls and women with encouragement to pursue their racing dreams. Still, she cautions it remains a tough track to follow. “It’s just as hard as it ever was, but I believe

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it’s becoming more common; the opportunities are more prevalent than before,” EndersStevens says. “I’m excited about it. I enjoy being in a male-dominated sport at such an incredibly tough level and I think we’ll continue to see more and more women coming up. “As far as the fans go, I’ve got so many that stuck with me through the really tough times and I really appreciate that. Even when I was in the Cunningham Ford, which unfortunately was not a competitive ride, but it was a way for me to keep my name and face out there and I appreciate that, too. I certainly wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now had I not driven that car. “So every step is meaningful, but it was challenging and it’s really refreshing to see the fans stick by me through the tough times and of course, the successes in 2011 and 2012. As far as the naysayers go, I think a couple of them are jumping on the bandwagon now, which means a lot to me just to shut some people up.”

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ike her sister Ashley before her in 2007, Courtney Force capped off her 2012 rookie season in NHRA Nitro Funny Car by being named the Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future award winner. She received the honor based on qualifying for all 23 NHRA national events last year, qualifying number one twice (including the U.S. Nationals at Indy), reaching four final rounds, scoring her first event victory in August at Seattle, and placing fifth in the final points standings. “Honestly, I really do think that our Traxxas team exceeded our own expectations,” Force said early this year. “I mean, I’m lucky enough that I had Ron Douglas and Dan Hood; they gave me such a consistent race car throughout the season.” At 24, Courtney is the youngest of 15-time Funny Car champ John Force’s four daughters and perhaps the most like her father in terms of enthusiasm for what she’s doing and

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diligence in getting her sponsor plugs mentioned. “At the beginning of the season, it’s really crazy to think we were just going out there trying to do the best we can, just wanted to qualify. Towards halfway to the end of the season, we started to realize, this Traxxas Ford Mustang, it’s definitely one to beat out there,” she said. “We had a consistent car, and I think it started to show. I think people started to realize that we had a pretty good racecar and a competitive one. It definitely built our confidence for next season. “Now I have a different perspective. We’re definitely going after something better than the number-five position by the end of the season and we’re even going to try to tackle a championship. But we’ve got a lot on our plate. I’m actually renewed as a Ford Driving Skills for Life spokesperson. I’m excited to go into next season with that, talking to all the kids about safe driving while racing my Mustang down the track and across the country.”

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efore even turning a wheel in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Brittany Force was already the quickest and fastest member of her famous nitro-fueled family. She spent most of 2012 preparing to become the first Force in Top Fuel and in preseason testing for her 2013 rookie debut, Brittany covered the thousand feet at Palm Beach International Raceway in a career-best 3.790 seconds at 323.19 mph. It never would have happened, though, if not for the push from her Funny Car-racing father, John. While attending Cal State-Fullerton as a student, Brittany also had been racing an A/Fuel car in the Top Alcohol dragster class. Upon graduating she intended to continue racing in A/Fuel with an eye toward eventually becoming a teacher, but that plan changed late in 2011 during a visit to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “We couldn’t get a sponsor to fund an A/ Fuel team because it was in the sportsman division; it was difficult, So my dad threw out the idea of me testing in a Top Fuel car, maybe gaining exposure that way—which was a big trick,” she now realizes. “He knew once I got in that car, I wouldn’t want to get out of it.”

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Her first full-on Top Fuel attempt yielded a 3.96 at nearly 300 mph, “and that’s when I realized that I was hooked,” she says. “I was not going to hop out of that seat any time soon; that was the ride I wanted to go on and we just continued from there.” As the daughter of a legend and the first to carry the John Force Racing banner into competition against the likes of seven-time Top Fuel World Champion Tony Schumacher, three-time champ Larry Dixon and reigning class champion Antron Brown, Brittany quite naturally will draw considerable fan and media attention. That she’s following not only in the footsteps of her father, but in those of her sisters, Ashley Force-Hood and Courtney, who each received the NHRA Road to the Future award (Rookie of the Year), guarantees even more intense scrutiny for the 26-year old from Yorba Linda, California. “I’m excited to be out there. I’m going to be running against these guys I grew up watching. I’m anxious to get out there and be in the other lane next to them,” Brittany says. “I also have a lot of goals coming into the next season. I’m working with Dean Antonelli and Eric Lane; I think we have a really strong team. I would love to qualify at every national event; I would really like to go after my first win. I’m really going to go after it.”

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n spending the last couple of seasons as a member of the R2B2 Pro Mod team—with a couple of appearances in the R2B2 fuel flopper along the way—Leah Pruett won three NHRA Pro Mod events and is coming off a sixth-place finish in Pro Mod points. But from the time she began campaigning a Jr. Dragster up and down the West Coast with her dad, Ron, Pruett dreamed of someday becoming an NHRA nitro pilot. That dream becomes reality this year for the 24-year-old California native as she takes

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over the reins of the Dote Racing Top Fuel entry for at least 15 of 24 scheduled national events. “I’m sure everyone can’t wait to get nitro back in their veins, but I assure you, no one is more ready and hungry for it than me,” Pruett stated shortly after securing the Dote family-owned ride late last year. “I have the utmost appreciation for the opportunity the Dotes are giving me to expand my driving capabilities into Top Fuel and I intend on making crew chief Doug Kuch and the entire Dote Racing team proud of their decision to hire me.”

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eventually finished eighth in points, making her a strong contender in Rookie of the Year balloting. “I was pretty surprised by all the attention the crash got; I definitely wasn’t expecting it and to be honest, I was wishing it was for something more positive,” Musi admits. “But it was pretty cool that it caught people’s attention and they followed me to see how the rest of my racing went. So it turned out pretty good at the end of the year, I guess.” A New Jersey native, Musi moved south to

Mooresville, North Carolina, last fall, where she took over as president of her father’s relocated Pat Musi Racing Engines operation. She plans to run a full season in ADRL Top Sportsman with Lee again, too. “I have such a passion for this stuff. I love it and I’m not afraid to get dirty,” she declares. “My dad’s going to sit out from driving this year and he’s going to help us. I want to progress and learn as much as I can from him. There’s a lot to learn, but I love everything about it.”



rior to her Top Sportsman debut last March at the ADRL season opener in Houston, it had been five years since Lizzy Musi had last made a competitive drive down a drag strip—in a Jr. Dragster. She proved to be a quick learner, though; qualifying fifth in team owner John Lee’s 1969 Camaro and even winning her first round of eliminations. She really made news, though, with a spectacular qualifying crash a month later at the next ADRL event in Bristol, Tennessee, that saw her car cross over from the right lane, then spin around and get airborne, only to come down atop the left guardwall where it made a perfect pirouette before taking out the top-end TV camera. That the camera perfectly caught all the action—even after its operator jumped over the wall to safety on the track—made for a perfect viral video. As this year began, Musi’s mishap had registered close to two-million views worldwide. Remarkably, the Internet attention briefly bestowed national celebrity-like attention on the 21-year-old daughter of legendary doorslammer driver Pat Musi, as she appeared on local and national TV news shows and her story was featured in several major newspapers and magazines over the next few weeks following the accident. Also, with backing from Edelbrock, Lee had a new Bickel-built ’68 Camaro ready for Musi to drive within a couple of events, in which she

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Karri Anne BEEBE




t all started with a simple enough question. Following a trip to Orlando in 2003 for the Real World Street Nationals, Karri Anne Beebe’s husband, Matt, asked her to name her favorite American muscle car. “A 1968 Chevelle,” she promptly answered and by the end of the next year there was a rough, $1,800 example of the classic Chevy parked in their Westland, Michigan, shop. Less than a year after that, the bright green, still-street-legal Chevelle placed third in its class at the prestigious Detroit

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Autorama car show and Matt soon had it on the track as a bracket warrior. He soon taught Karri Anne how to do burnouts, stage and race the car, though, and by mid2006 permanently tossed her the keys. She now races up to 20 times a year with Matt as her crew chief and his brother Craig the engine builder. Since then, Karri Anne has won a Limited Street championship at her home track, Milan Dragway, as well as finished runner-up there a couple of times in the Drag Radial class. Last year she placed third overall at Milan in Drag Radial. She

also is the only woman yet to finish among the top 10 in the annual Hot Rod Magazine Pump Gas Drags (7th, 2008), posted the quickest nitrous Drag Radial pass in the 2009 Shakedown at E-Town and can count a 2010 “Pinks All Out” win among her on-track accomplishments (though in a different car). With a career-best pass of 7.67 seconds at 179.9 mph, Kerri Anne Beebe and her twin-stage, nitrous-fed, 604 BBCequipped Chevelle remain a threat to win every time out.

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alerie Clements may be the least known on Drag Illustrated’s Top10 list of woman racers this year, but the 19-year-old Clemson University bio-engineering student is showing promise for the future after winning the 2012 NMRA Rookie of the Year award. Driving a supercharged, 310-cubic-inch ’05 Mustang GT tuned by her older brother, Alton, who also competes in the 8-second Renegade class, Clements has so far posted a best pass of 8.97 at 154 mph. “Drag racing is definitely a priority in my life and I’ve always dreamed of having some future in it,” she says. “We had the car detuned

a little last year just so I could get used to it, but my dad and brother are going to give me full power this year, so I’m excited because I know I’ll have a quick car. I’m ready to get started now.”



espite never having previously won a national or divisional Super Stock event, Jackie Alley scored three victories and a pair of runner-up finishes in 2011 on her way to becoming just the second woman ever to win an NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series national championship. Last year, the Eagle, Idaho-based racer continued her newfound winning ways in May at her home Division 6 race at Mission, British Columbia, then scored another Div. 6 event title a month later at Spokane, Washington. Though unable to successfully defend

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her championship, Alley finished 2012 a solid fourth in national Super Stock points and a close second in her home division. Now in her 17th year of drag racing, Alley began her career with a 1970 Chevelle bracket car, then switched to a ‘67 Chevelle that she still occasionally competes with in the Pro bracket class at Firebird Raceway, her home track near Boise, Idaho. After moving up to Stock Eliminator in 1999 with the ‘69 Camaro that her husband, Mick, continues to race in that class, she switched in 2007 to Super Stock in her current Blackstone Race Cars-built ’69 Camaro powered by a 396 Chevy motor put together by Mike Hering at Valley Crankshaft in Boise.

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en years ago, Jill Canuso was bracket racing a little Chevy S10 pick-up at historic Atco Raceway in New Jersey. These days she can be found piloting the Hanna Motorsports “Queen of Diamonds” jet dragster, routinely making quarter-mile passes in the low5.10s at 300-plus mph. She’ll have a brand-new ride under her this year, built by Dan Page in Hampstead, New Hampshire, and featuring a driver’s cockpit covered by an aircraft-style canopy on the left side and the fuel tank in an aerodynamically matching pod straddling the center-mounted jet engine. “I just got fitted into it and it’s amazing. It’s going to be safer and we’re going to be able to run the engine less, tune it back a little bit, but gain performance just by the configuration. It’s really going to help with cost and reduce the risk of engine failure,” says Canuso, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design from the Philadelphia College of Art and Design and currently serves as marketing director for S&W Race Cars in Spring City, Pennsylvania.

Canuso began racing at just five-years old on flat track motorcycles and since then has tried her racing hand on both dirt and asphalt at midget oval racing, road racing and of course, drag racing. She even took a turn in 2001 as a professional monster truck driver and finished second that year in the freestyle portion of the Monster Jam World Finals, a memory that still doesn’t sit well with her. “It was like they basically told me, ‘We already had the Tshirts printed up for Tom Meentz and that’s why you didn’t win.’ I’m like, that’s not cool, so we parted ways,” Canuso says. “I understand what they were doing, but that’s just not for me. Every time I go out there, I race to win and that’s the fun thing with Al Hanna, he was a Funny Car racer on the NHRA circuit and nowadays he’s still all about racing and winning. “They call us exhibition, but believe me, when we go to the line, if I don’t win and I screw up I hear about it. If there’s a green light and there’s a finish line, I’m racing, and so is Al. There are some other people in our category that for them it’s all just an exhibition. Screw that, we’re here to race and kick DI DI DI ass!” DI DI DI DI DI DI DI

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Behind Every

Good Man Women help keep drag racing on track By Ian Tocher


etween second-generation Funny Car star Courtney Force winning the NHRA’s season-opener and Danica Patrick securing the pole for the Daytona 500 the same weekend back in February at opposite ends of the country, women in motorsports suddenly became a hot topic for both the straight-line and roundy-round sets early this year. In a sense it was an unfortunate coincidence for Ms. Force, however, as the unprecedented NASCAR success of “Danica” (she requires only one name, like Elvis or Madonna) almost completely overshadowed Force’s second career national-event victory. Regardless, with typical Force aplomb she took her second-fiddle status with the national media in stride and managed to send a positive message about Danica’s performance drawing attention to her and NHRA, too. “It’s obviously two different types of racing, but it’s cool to see females dominating in the sport,” Force told “Hopefully she can get a win over there, but it’s pretty cool. “I think it shines a light on the NHRA, and hopefully shows we’re doing the same thing. We’ve got some tough race cars and competitors. We’re going over 300 miles per hour in just four seconds. It’s a little different (than NASCAR), (but) there’s definitely an adrenaline rush over here,” she added. “Being a female and going to the top spot and getting the win, it was pretty unbelievable. I hope it opens some people’s eyes to look over at the NHRA and see what we’re doing.” Historically, what drag racers have been doing is a better job of getting women involved in the sport and turning them into legitimate racing stars than its stock-car racing brethren. From the ‘60s on, drag racing’s history and record books are littered with names like Shirley Muldowney, Judy Lilly, Shirley Shahan, Bunny Burkett, Angelle Sampey, and more recently Melanie Troxel, Ashley Force-Hood and Erica Enders-Stevens. 106 | D r a g

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BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN That NHRA crowned its first female pro champion in 1977 when Muldowney won the Top Fuel title and NASCAR is only now celebrating its first top qualifier award for a woman at the highest level more than proves which organization’s female racers enjoy the stronger record. But it’s not only about on-track opportunity; having women involved in racing is simply good business. “For the sport to grow—and I’m talking now about fans and sponsors and TV coverage and all those things that help the sport grow—and you already know you’re not addressing an audience that spends a lot of money, if not the majority of the money in society, and represents 50 percent or greater of the population—then that is a growth area,” former open-wheeled race driver and now women’s racing advocate Lyn St. James stated recently with regard to the largely untapped market of female motorsports fandom. “So it’s identified as a growth area. “If you want to attack that, or you know, make that a priority, then you have to go about changing your business model a bit to be able

to get that result. And one of the ways to do that is to incorporate more women stars and integrate more women into your product.” Of course, most women involved in the sport do not hold highprofile positions behind the wheel and in front of the cameras. And while drag racing has a solid history of allowing women to compete on equal footing (after admittedly overcoming some predictable chauvinist attitudes in the early years) and demonstrating a willingness to allow them a starring role when warranted, it irrefutably remains a man’s world—or at least so in the public eye. Perhaps where drag racing has been most progressive, though, is in its acceptance and treatment of women in the pits and at race shops clear across the country by officials at all levels and competitors in all classes. From managing schedules to preparing meals to sharing driving duties in the hauler to pulling transmissions to rebuilding engines (and bruised male egos), women literally have been proven capable of doing it all in drag racing.

echoing quite possibly the most common comment by racers worldwide. “She supports me completely and takes care of so much for the team. I know if I need something she’ll get on it right away and take care of it so I can concentrate on my work or the car or whatever needs to be done. It can’t be overemphasized how important that is when you’re doing something like this that takes so much time and money and work away from your family. It’s a real juggling act sometimes and to have a wife like Nicole is really, really special.”


Top Sportsman veteran Earl Folse knows it’s true. Folse has eight NHRA Wally trophies to his name, but only one can be found inside his home in the aptly named Raceland, Louisiana; the one his wife, Nicole, claimed for herself and the one he happily gives her full credit for winning. “Back at the first JEG’S SportsNationals at No Problem (Raceway), we won the Best Appearing Crew award and that was all because of Nicole,” he states. “She wanted us to look good so she designed new uniforms for us and it paid off with a Wally. That one’s definitely hers!” Though his wife of 15 years doesn’t work directly on his nitrous-boosted ’68 Camaro, Folse stresses she’s an important member of his race team—perhaps the most important member. “I couldn’t do this without her,” he declares, 108 | D r a g

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For former IHRA and ADRL Pro Stock world champion John Montecalvo, his wife Lois Anne performs similar duties in her official role as team manager, handling all the bookkeeping and logistics associated with being on the road from testing in February to the final events of the year each October. Other than the mechanical work, Lois Anne is empowered in practically every aspect of his team, Montecalvo explains. “She gets involved in the cars as far as paint and design; my newest trailer and the one before that, she made all the decisions as far as the layout and the lounge and picking the colors, and all the other odds and ends that go into it,” he says. “At the track, you see her and she doesn’t stop. She’s moving constantly, always checking things. She’s a pilot and the good thing about that is she knows safety’s always first. She basically does a flight check of the car before every pass, makes sure everything’s safe and makes sure I’m buckled in properly.” It wasn’t always that way, though. Montecalvo recalls bringing Lois Anne to the track for the first time in 2002 at Rockingham

Dragway. He says he was running well, qualified second or third, made it past the first round and brought the car back to his pit where his team immediately began tearing into it for scheduled between-rounds maintenance. He describes her “flipping out and asking, what are you doing?” When told they I ss u e 74

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were taking the clutch and transmission out, she asked what for, saying it seemed to be going fast, so why not leave it alone? “I thought that was pretty funny,” he chuckles. Another humorous story from that day has Lois Anne glued to the race track by traction compound and a crew member having to give her a push to help free her before Montecalvo backed over her following his burnout. “The other story that I never even knew at the time, but she told me later was that while I was doing my burnout for the first time she was by the wall waving to me. ’You take me all the way to this race track, I’m waving and you’re totally ignoring me,’ is what she told me she was thinking,” Montecalvo says with a laugh. “Once I let the clutch out, she understood why I was ignoring her.” Of course, her rookie errors soon gave way

to Lois Anne taking on more responsibility, Montecalvo says. But when things began turning serious between the two, he claims his engine supplier, Sonny Leonard, tried to put a damper on their relationship. “After the first few races, Sonny said to me, ‘I really like this girl. I’ve never seen a girl work this hard; she’s all over the place.’ But then when I said, ‘Sonny, she wants a diamond ring and I don’t know if I can afford a ring yet with the engine budget,’ he answers right away, ‘That girl’s got to go; that girl’s got to go!’” Fortunately, it all worked out and Montecalvo still has both Sonny and Lois Anne by his side. “I think the area in which she’s helped me tremendously is she’s a licensed psychotherapist, so it’s almost like I have someone on staff to keep me programmed,” he says. “When racing rolls around, she knows my routine and knows my positives, she knows my negatives. And she knows how to get me focused and what I have to think about and what I have to do. “But of course the biggest thing is I just have her unwavering support,” Montecalvo says. “It’s just incredible how much she supports the racing and supports me personally. It makes all the difference.” February/March 2013

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Yet another mountain-motor Pro Stock racer who was fortunate enough to find a woman intent on helping him race is Cale Aronson. Or rather, he claims it was fiancé Tinzy Smith who sought him out in November 2005 at Houston Raceway Park, where he was racing one of the first new-generation Mustangs in Outlaw 10.5 at the time. “It’s not typical Tinzy nature, but she came over and hit on me,” Aronson insists. “Her exact words were, if I remember correctly, ‘I don’t know what’s hotter, you or the car.’” That led to Aronson and Smith beginning a long-distance relationship that quickly became a lot closer when she moved just six months later from her home in Houston to be with the second-generation Pro Stock racer in Chillicothe, Missouri. Aronson says from the first race she attended with him, Smith immersed herself in the workings of his car. “She was getting knee deep in it and said she wanted to be a part of it, so I told her if she wanted to be a part of it, she had to be a part of it all the time,” Aronson recalls. “I told her that I can’t have someone that wants to go this time and not the next time. “And it’s built from there. In the six or seven years Tinzy has been involved with it, she’s gone from not knowing anything about racing to where I can tell her what I want in the clutch, turn her loose and she can make it happen. She has some input in what we decide, too.” Beyond her trackside help, Aronson says Smith contributes greatly to the success of Aronson Motorsports, his high-performance parts and tuning consultant company. “She’s very important to my business because most of the time she’s with me and when we’re at the track she allows me to concentrate more on the tuning aspect of things. For example, last year we went out with my main customer, but his brother who was the one doing all the main stuff on the car couldn’t make it, so we put Tinzy in there and right off the bat she just took over. “It made it easy for me because that way I could focus on the tune-up and know that what needed to be done with the car was being done right, and in the way that I want it done, which is very important,” Aronson stresses. On the side, Smith also operates her own company, Clutch Girl Gear, through which she creates and sells carbon-fiber jewelry, traction compound-scented candles and coloring books to educate kids about drag racing. “We both help each other on the business side of stuff. If I ever need something on my

side, she does it, and vice versa,” Aronson says. “She’s very resourceful and creative— and she finally learned how to cook pretty good, too; so I can’t complain.”


Reigning ADRL Pro Nitrous World Champion Bob Rahaim has four important women solidly lined up behind him on race weekends, including longtime girlfriend Debbie Eberhardt along with daughters Sarah, Kristin and Jennifer. “I’ve got to say, it wouldn’t be the same without them. From the littlest thing you could imagine, as far as keeping the truck and the trailer organized and making sure that we’ve got the food stuff together or staying up all night and helping us put the motor back together, it’s amazing how they really have taken on the challenge. It just wouldn’t be the same without the girls,” Rahaim says. It’s not just their work and effort that makes them valuable as team members, though, Rahaim points out. He says having a strong female influence provides him with an extra level of confidence, especially when traveling far from his Grosse Point, Michigan, base. “Debbie’s really hands-on with almost every aspect, but more so than that she gives me the confidence of being a part of my life and

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BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN wanting to do this with me and working on the common goal, just helping me,” Rahaim says. “The time on the road and the commitment that it takes to compete at this level is incredible. It’s not every woman that could tolerate the long hours and the hot days, and she’s really unique in that regard.” Each of Rahaim’s daughters also helps out at the track, whether through cooking team meals, helping to clean the race car and hauler, or just simple things like making sure there’s always enough ice on hand. It’s his youngest, Jennifer, who is most involved on a day-to-day basis.

“She’s pretty much full time with me, operationally. She keeps that aspect of it going, the usual business affairs,” Rahaim says. “She also goes down to the shop and helps the guys work on the motor and clean parts, put stuff back together. She really lends a muchneeded extra hand whenever they need her down there. “She’s really learned every day, about different aspects and just the whole procedure about what we do between rounds and going over everything in the motor and everything we need. The record-keeping in the computer, keeping the car fueled up, the parachutes checked, and she’s the one who backs me up on the track, too.” The bottom line for Rahaim is that he gets to share his passion for racing with those he loves most, his family. “I’m so proud of Debbie and my girls and

thankful that I’m able to bring them along,” he says. “It just makes everything so much more fun to have them with me; I really can’t say how much it means to me.”


George Bryce jokes that his motorcycle “still had wooden spokes on it” when his wife, Jackie, first visited a drag strip with him. “I took her to the race track when she was really young, so young her father would’ve been really pissed,” says Bryce, who with Jackie constantly by his side can now count six NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championships and 78 national-event wins among their accomplishments. “She immediately saw a big need for some control in the staging lanes with the cars and motorcycles. It was a free for all, because just like lane splitting in California, the bikes would come through the staging lanes and force their way to the front, making for some pretty hot-under-the-collar car racers.” The couple married in 1980, the same year they established Star Racing, which currently fields a pair of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle teams for riders Scotty Pollacheck and Michael Ray, with a third team to come later this year with rookie Chaz Kennedy. Bryce firmly believes working together provides him and Jackie with one of their greatest advantages over the competition. “Most married couples have two different lives that they lead; one’s for work and one’s for home life. As an example, if you’ve got a schoolteacher and an attorney, they each could have a really bad day or a bad week and then they get home and try to figure out how to go to the race track on the weekends. It’s an uphill battle for both of them to put a deal together and be successful at the race track,” Bryce reasons. “Jackie and I started racing when we were teenagers and now we’re in our 50s; we never stopped racing and we’ve been getting better and better at it together,” he says. “Now, she works on how to be able to afford to race every day and I work on how to be able to afford racing and how to go faster. When we get home, we don’t really have to compare notes; we’re almost always on the same page about stuff. It’s been good for us. I just think it’s a heck of an advantage and that it’s one of the biggest keys in our success over the years.” Still, Bryce admits that like in any marriage there are sometimes disagreements, but claims they’re almost always about something to do with a customer or racing.

“That’s an unusual argument for a married couple. And then when we realize what we’re fussing about, it’s usually just washed down the drain and we just keep on cooking,” he says. “As long as we’re trying to be successful and make the right decisions—and this is important for us—we want to make the right decisions to positively impact the most people.” Bryce is proud of Jackie as a racer in her own right, too, pointing out she was named the American Motorcycle Association Crew Chief of the Year in 2000 after guiding rider Fred Collis to 12 number-one starts, 10 wins and the AMA national championship following a 14-race schedule. “Jackie knows her stuff. To this day, when someone calls and says they need to speak about camshaft timing I’ll just put Jackie on the phone. She’ll say, ‘I can help you’ and they’ll ask for someone in the shop and she’ll say, ‘I can really help you,’ but they’ll still want to be connected to the shop. So she puts them on hold and calls me and says, ‘George, this guy wants to speak to someone about camshafts.’ So I get on and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to let you talk to Jackie, she’s our camshaft expert’ and they say thanks. And then Jackie picks up the phone and says, ‘Now can I help you?’” For racers from all walks of life that’s really what it all comes down to, getting the help and support they want and need from the women in their lives. The men quoted here obviously speak from personal experiences and emotions, but their sentiments easily could apply to practically every drag racer and his wife, girlfriend, daughters or even mother and grandmothers who put up with DI DI DI and give so much. DI DI DI DI

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ALL IN From the very beginning, Shannon Glidden knew there was no middle-ground when it comes to Billy Glidden and his drag racing. She’d have to either get involved or get on down the road and, for her, the decision was an easy one. So, since 1990, she’s been Billy’s right-hand at the drag strip and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Shannon Glidden Drag racing destiny

something about me so my dad put me on the phone and we got to talking. “I came out of my shell and actually asked him if he was married. He said he was going through a divorce at the time and another ome people seem destined for the life month later we discussed going to have a Coke together and a month after that he fithey lead; some choose their destiny. Billy and nally came to where I worked, we had a Coke, Shannon Glidden are living proof of both as and we’ve been together ever since.” That was in 1990 and on Jan. 5, 2010; Billy, the son of Pro Stock legend Bob Glid- the longtime couple made it official with an ocean-side wedding ceremony in Hawaii, den, followed in his father’s footsteps, while but Shannon’s role on the race team began Shannon, a typical small-town girl next door, almost immediately after they began dating. “Knowing I knew nothing about drag racchose to accompany her man through thick and thin, even if ing, Billy told me it was his life and I either had to live it or I can’t be a part of it,” she says. it came at the expense of some girlhood dreams. At the time he was a major part of his dad’s It’s not nearly so simple as that, though— spite Shannon’s mother offering to intro- NHRA team and between testing and racing they were on the road almost constantly. And for either of them. duce her to Bob and Etta Glidden, who were Billy and his brother, Rusty, grew up like seated nearby. In fact, Shannon’s mother whatever time was available between races was spent in the shop, typically from about 6 so many racing family kids, constantly at the knew Bob quite well; she had dated him in a.m. to midnight or later each day, depending sides of their father and mother, Etta, as they high school, long before meeting Shannon’s on what needed to be accomplished. all worked hard at contributing to Bob’s 85 father—whom she was introduced to by Bob “I learned quickly that you have to live this national-event wins and 10 NHRA Pro Stock Glidden. Nevertheless, Shannon spent the life; you can’t just exist in the partnership championships. But Billy also was a promis- next few years watching Billy play ball until and not be a part of the life,” Shannon points ing young basketball player growing up in he graduated, though she never did muster out. “So I chose to live the life— hoops-mad Indiana, good enough that he enough courage to actually meet not really knowing entirely what might even have been able to make a go of him. I was getting into. it as a pro. Eventually Shannon gradu- “I learned “People on the outside looking That option was permanently shelved, ated from high school, too, and quickly that you in tend to think what an excithowever, after a teenaged Billy watched his left Greenwood for Boston Uni- have to live this ing life you live; you get to travdad survive a devastating rollover crash dur- versity. Destiny intervened, howlife; you can’t el, see different places, you’re ing the 1986 NHRA national event at Atlanta ever, during one of her freshman on TV, go do all these different Dragway. It made him realize family came year visits home when her father, just exist in the things and race cars. And the first, he confided many years later to Com- who helped run the local men’s’ partnership and first year or two, it is that feeling,; it convinced him to devote basketball league, asked if she not be a part of but then you realize it’s a job, it’s his full effort toward racing, he said—almost would keep score at one of his the life.” the way you have to make your as if fulfilling his destiny. winter games. living. There’s no retirement in Ironically, about the same time he crossed “One of the girls sitting next to this business, so you either give it everything paths with a young Shannon Springer—or me saw Billy walk in the gym and said, here you’ve got, make it work or you might as well rather, she took note of the path he was on. comes Bill Glidden,” Shannon recalls. “I’d not be doing it at all.” “My parents took me to a high school boys’ never heard of him as Bill Glidden; I just It’s a choice Shannon says she gladly made, basketball game; it was my school versus his, knew Billy, so I was like who, and she said but for a little girl who grew up dreaming of Greenwood versus Whiteland, and I saw Bil- Billy Glidden.” someday having four kids of her own and ly playing ball,” Shannon recounts. “I didn’t After confessing her long-standing crush living in the proverbial white-picket-fence know who he was, I just saw him running up to her friend, Shannon says she finally had home, the life of a racing wife—and full-time and down the court. He was a junior in high her first face-to-face conversation with Billy. crewmember—remains quite a departure. school and I was in the eighth grade; I hadn’t “He walks up, she introduces us, and we Still, she insists there are no regrets, not even met him and didn’t know anything about said maybe three words to each other and he after giving up the desire to have children. him or his family. I just thought he was the went and sat down,” she says. “Then, about “I love this life. And I think I love this life best thing on legs with a basketball I’d ever three months later he calls my dad lookbecause I love Billy, because Billy is my life,” seen, so I looked at my mom and said, ‘This ing for a schedule for the spring or summer she states. “I lived the normal life for my first is the guy I’m going to marry.’” league and when my dad said he didn’t have 22 years so I know what it’s like to be on the Nothing came of that first “meeting,” de- it and he’d have to call the office, Billy said


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other side. To be honest I wouldn’t want to have kids and bring them on the road with us; and not because it’s not a good life for them; I think it is; but it’s so hard on them when they get a little older and they’re in school and then they can’t go on all the trips and to all the races like they were. I know that was hard on Billy and Rusty sometimes when they got older. “I only feel bad sometimes for the fact that Billy didn’t have the childhood I had because it was so special to me. But I know his childhood is special to him because he had a totally different outtake. He didn’t get to do the camping and the boating and the family trips and stuff that I did; his family trips were work. But that is what he knew and what he loved. And he’s had success with it from the time he was in there putting headers on the race car at four-years old. He’s known that success from that time until now.” At the track now it’s usually only Billy and Shannon working on their car, a nitrousboosted 2010 Mustang that until last season competed in the ADRL Extreme 10.5 ranks, where Billy won the 2008 championship.

BETTER TOGETHER As close to joined-at-the-hip as one would ever find at the drag strip, Shannon and Billy Glidden, despite lacking in numbers and budget, represent one of the most competitive teams in all of drag racing. Though they’ve had a volunteer crewman offer a helping hand from time to time, it generally serves as more of a hindrance than help, throwing off their time-tested routine. With that class now excised from the series, though, their 2013 racing schedule is uncertain beyond tire testing for multi-year sponsor Mickey Thompson. “I enjoy being out there racing,” Shannon says. “And I want to thank women like Etta Glidden, Arlene Johnson, Toni Yates, my mom, for opening up an avenue so that I’m able to live this life with Billy. I’m blessed to be able to every day go to work with him and to go to the race with him. I don’t have

to have an outside job. I don’t have to not see him for long periods of time and wonder what’s going on in his life or for him to wonder what’s going on in mine. “It’s not just the women driving the cars, like Shirley Muldowney and the other women who get spotlighted—and they deserve it, don’t get me wrong—but women like those opened doors for women like me because they were out there doing things that only men did for years. These were the women behind these men who supported them for years and without those women, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today. “You know, in our shop I have a plaque of Etta’s from when she was given an award for women working in an unusual industry, in unusual jobs. I look at that a lot. And I get women today, I get girls today from the NMCA or NMRA ranks in the lower classes, they’ll come up and say, ‘I’ve watched you for years; I admire what you do and want to be just like you.’ And that is such an awesome feeling. It is so cool to know that you’ve inspired somebody like you’ve been inspired.” Like destiny. DI DI DI DI DI DI DI

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Denise Tutterow

Making it Work


By Ian Tocher

n 1986, as a 17-year-old student at West Forsyth High School in Clemmons, North Carolina, Denise Vogler caught the eye of a local hot rodder five years her senior. They soon began dating and just seven months later— before she even graduated—Denise Vogler became Mrs. Todd Tutterow. “I’m sure a lot of people thought it wouldn’t last,” she says of her now 26-year marriage. “They probably thought I was pregnant—but I wasn’t.” That would come later, much later, after Todd began laying the groundwork for a professional career in drag racing that led him to countless wins, several track and regional titles, the 2009 ADRL Pro Extreme world championship and most recently a clean sweep of the 2013 Arabian Drag Racing League Outlaw 10.5 championship in Qatar. In addition to Todd’s obvious talent behind the wheel, he’s also one of the most sought after tuners in drag racing today, whether for nitrous, supercharged or turbocharged engines. Needless to say, it keeps him constantly on the move; something that Denise has learned to live with, manage, participate in and even enjoy over the years. “I think that’s what makes it work because when we were dating, from day one, he had me involved. It’d be me and him. We worked on the cars and always traveled and did stuff together,” she says. “I’m fortunate that my husband always wanted me there. I have been around men that don’t think women should be there. One time I was taking a transmission apart and a man came over and took the wrench right out of my hand. Todd just looked at him and said no, she’s doing that. He’s got my back, too.” Though Denise no longer works hands-on with the 3,000-plus-horsepower, turbocharged Mustang that her husband will campaign in the XDRL’s new Pro Turbo class this year, she still handles all the accounting and logistics associated with running a professional race team. “At the track I’m down to packing the parachutes, and I always buckle him in,” she says. “I also do a lot of the PR and marketing stuff, ordering t-shirts, crew shirts, making sure the fans get taken care of, all that kind of stuff.” Additionally, Denise served last year as crew chief and tuner on the ADRL Pro Jr. Dragster driven by Tia, their 15-year-old daughter, but she’s handing those duties over this season to 18-yearold son Ty, who has already made the jump up from the driver’s seat of Jr. Dragsters to a full-size 5.90 index class car. “That’s something I really like about drag racing,” Denise states. “I really think drag racing is more family oriented than something like NASCAR, because the kids can be more directly involved, and the wives, they’re not just there to look good and offer support; they can actually be an important DI DI DI part of the team.” DI DI DI DI

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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BUGs Drag Illustrated’s first-ever ode to the awe-inspiring and ever-popular back up girls

For as long as there have been cars doing burnouts, there have been women - oftentimes very attractive ones - backing them into their tracks. They’re not always known by name or heralded publicly, but standing just in front of many world-famous race cars have been the women who loved their drivers. They are the back up girls, known commonly as BUGs, of drag racing. While the term seems to have first been coined by Australian racers and fans, it has since made its way across the Atlantic, and is now frequently attributed to ladies running through clouds of tire smoke with one arm in the air in America as well. They have become a significant part of drag racing culture - as much a part of the show as anything in today’s nostalgia racing scene - and the resurgence of go-go boot-clad ladies on the drag strip continues to swell. As we have seen with women such as “Jungle Pam” Hardy who became a celebrity as the scantily dressed female accompanying Funny Car racer “Jungle Jim” Liberman to the starting line, a BUG can say more about a driver than any other statistic ever could. 118 | D r a g

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Doorslammer Season Begins in Bradenton By Gordon Columbine

F 1



6 February/March 2013

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or the ninth straight year, fast doorslammer racers from far and wide descended on south-central Florida to kick off their racing seasons Jan. 25-27, with the U.S. Street Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park, where nearly 140 entries filled five heads-up and three eighth-mile index classes. The top-ranked Outlaw Pro Mod division looked like it belonged to Dominican racer Jose Gonzalez and his twin-turbocharged “El General” ’69 Camaro after he qualified number one, set low E.T. and top speed of the meet with a 3.82 at 206.89-mph win over Mike Tokarz in round one, then handily defeated Jason Carlton and Brad Brand to reach the final against Florida’s own Jimmy Keen (1) in his nitrous-boosted ’63 Corvette. The race was over at the start, though, as Gonzalez left -.004 too soon and Keen posted a 3.999 pass at 187.42 to earn his first U.S. Street Nats title. “It was a good win for us. We definitely weren’t the fastest car out here, but we stayed consistent and that’s what did it for us,” he said. In Limited Street, Jacksonville, Florida’s Kevin Fiscus did have the fastest car and his twin-turboed ’02 Mustang was consistent, too, earning the top qualifying spot, setting low E.T. and top speed (4.36/185.10) and winning the final over seventh-place starter Gustavo Turull, driving a twin-turbocharged ‘04 Corvette for Gonzalez. John Schroeder (2) swooped down from Stanford, Connecticut, to also run the table in Outlaw 632 with the number-one

start, the quickest and fastest run of the weekend and a successful defense of his 2012 race title. The final round saw both Schroeder and Robert Briscoe leave too soon, but Schroeder benefited from drag racing’s worst-or-first rule and took the win in 4.55 seconds at a class-leading 161.66 mph in his nitrous-fed ’02 Camaro. “I hated to see what happened. Rob, he went red, he didn’t even get a time slip, and I followed and I was -.025 red myself, so it was just some bad driving. I saw him go so I went too,” Schroeder said. It looked for a time like the numbers one and two qualifiers would settle the X275 win between them in Bradenton, but when polesitter Troy Pirez Sr. stumbled in the semis, the door opened just enough for Scotty Gaudagno to step through and meet secondplace starter Justin Swanstrom (3) in the final round. Gaudagno got away first, but it was Swanstrom and his Zephyr Hills, Floridabased ’91 Mustang that finished first in 4.87 seconds at 148.09 mph. Ultra Street honors went to second-place qualifier Robert Rodgers and his 1990 Mustang from Lawrenceville, Georgia, after he ran 5.17 at 138.03 to beat fifthplace starter Brian Keep in the final. In the index classes, Bill Lee Jr. (4) of Palmetto, Florida, cut a perfect .000 light in his ’96 Mustang and needed almost every thousandth of it as he won the 5.50 class with a 5.530 pass over Jim Walter, who had a .024 reaction leading to a 5.508 run that came up just two-thousandths short. In the 6.50 class, Troy Pirez Jr. (5) got the job done from the number-seven starting slot in his ’86 Mustang and number-four qualifier Denise Sosa (6) drove her ’89 Mustang to the 7.50 win.

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Arabian Drag Racing League Series Defined by World Records & Utter Domination

Paul and Frankie Taylor

Hossler, Castellana, Tutterow, Jackson & Vose amongst champions crowned in Qatar By Wes Buck


acing in conditions like these, on a track like this, honestly, it’s the kind of thing that’ll skew your viewpoint on everything you do for the rest of the season back in the ‘States,” says Alex Hossler, who claimed his first career major series championship in the Arabian Drag Racing League’s Pro Extreme division, scoring three wins and one runner-up finish in the process. He and his crew chief Frank “Ace” Manzo and tuning consultant Billy Stocklin, despite a few shortcomings, were clearly the class of the field in Qatar, at one point making over a dozen 3.5-second runs in a row. “It’s a little bit surreal,” says Hossler – sitting inside one cavernous bay of the massive AlAnabi Racing shop on location at the Qatar Race Club in state’s capital city of Doha. “Actually, it’s a lot surreal; to be driving Sheikh Khalid’s car, which I have to say is an incredible race car, and have someone like Frank Manzo calling the shots – it’s hard to believe. When we started the season and had Manzo, Rickie Smith and Billy Stocklin all working on the car together, it was literally unbelievable.” The 35-year-old driver and Canton, Illinois-based auto dealer has come a long way since tearing up the outlaw eighth-miles of the greater Midwest; having never imagined sharing the winner’s circle with the likes of Mike Castellana and Todd Tutterow at a drag strip some 7,000 miles from his home. He’ll readily admit that he’d love nothing more than to carry some of his team’s established momentum over to 142 | D r a g

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Mike Castellana, Shannon Jenkins and crew celebrate the Arabian Drag Racing League Pro Nitrous championship in the winner circle at the Qatar Race Club.

Alex Hossler, Frank Manzo, Billy Stocklin, John Glade, Mike Giaffino and Don Greenbaum celebrate winning the Pro Extreme title.

Todd Tutterow busts out the broom after sweeping the series, taking five straight Outlaw 10.5 wins.

the United States and make a run at the American Drag Racing League championship, but there’s still a great deal of pride that comes with his first series title. “When you’ve got a group of guys that have worked as hard as these guys have to accomplish a goal,” says Hossler, “it doesn’t

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matter if you’re racing against – worked their butts off over here, 40 different teams or four. Be- away from their families, and I’m so glad that we were able to win tween Frankie Taylor, Von Smith this championship and make all and Joey Martin, we certainly the effort worth it.” had our hands full and winning In what could easily be deany race, or the championship for that matter, wasn’t a given. scribed as the most competitive category contested in the Manzo, Billy, and especially John Glade and Mike Giaffino – the Arabian Gulf Region, Pro Nitrous, veteran driver Mike Casguys who maintain this race car I ss u e 74

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Top Sportsman champion Khalil al-Ansari Outlaw 10.5’s David Hance

Mohammed alDarwish’s Super Street Hyabusa

tellana set the tone early with a string of three wins in his Al-Anabi/Western Beef 2012 Camaro. Tuned by legendary nitrous guru and championship driver Shannon “Iceman” Jenkins, Castellana manhandled the competition early on, taking round wins and setting records at will. While locking up the series championship was clearly of great importance to the team, it was more than evident that the nitrous boys were perhaps

Joey Martin

most proud of their shot-heardround-the-world performance on January 18th – a 3.721-second, 200.74mph assault on the eighth-mile to set both ends of the Pro Nitrous world record. Out of all the racing that took place during the five-week series consisting of 11 different eliminators, nobody made their mark on the racing landscape in the Arabian Gulf region like North Carolina’s Todd Tutterow. In the Outlaw 10.5 division,

which pits drivers in traditional 3,000-pound minimum weight, 10.5W-equipped race cars against one another, Tutterow never faltered en route to the series title, winning all five events and setting the series E.T. record at 4.003-seconds. Without question, winning 15 straight elimination rounds in any form of racing is a daunting task, but to do so against the likes of Tim Lynch and David Hance, as well as a slew of Middle Eastern small tire racers, may stand as the most impressive feat of the entire 2012/13 Arabian Drag Racing League Series. “This has been a great experience,” said Tutterow, starting the teardown process in his pit stall at the Qatar Race Club after six weeks overseas. “A clean sweep? Just amazing. I thought it was pretty cool to have won three races in a row, but to win five is just hard to grasp. I have to thank my guys, Brad and Scott,

for all their help. I have to thank Sheikh Khalid al-Thani for letting me drive his car and for all of his support for myself and the sport of drag racing. “I need to especially thank my wife, Denise, for sending me parts on the spur of the moment and keeping things going at our shop at home. Also my kids, Ty and Tia, that I have missed horribly while over here for so long.” Stevie “Fast” Jackson went undefeated in his orange ProCharger-equipped Mustang throughout the first four races at the QRC in Super Street (True 10.5-inch tire) competition, but suffered terminal engine damage during testing for the final event and had to watch from the sidelines. Fortunately, Jackson had already locked up the series championship and the class record at 4.320/181.15mph. In Pro Extreme motorcycle, one of the more popular classes in the Middle East, it was twotime U.S. Champion Billy Vose riding the MRB Performancesponsored, nitrous-injected Suzuki Hayabusa out of Kuwait who took home the big prize at the Qatar Race Club. Though he’s won over a dozen championships, even more impressive is that after the 2012/13 Arabian title, he’s done it in three different countries. DI DI DI DI DI DI DI

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TOP 8 Pro Modified (Blown / Turbo)

Force Getting Serious

If Courtney Force hadn’t already made her presence felt in NHRA Nitro Funny Car, she most assuredly did at the recently completed NHRA Winternationals in Pomona where she clocked a 4.02-second elapsed time in the final round to best Ron Capps and score the first win of the season. The 4.02-second lap was also good for low E.T. of the meet and is proof positive that we’ll likely have another member of the Funny Car three-second club in short order.

1 Todd Tutterow 262.49 MPH (2012)

2 Don Walsh 5.736 (‘12)

2 Don Walsh 261.27 (‘12)

3 Scott Cannon, Jr. 5.738 (‘08)

3 Mike Maggio 261.09 (‘12)

4 Mike Stawicki 5.739 (‘10)

4 Rob Campisi 260.31 (‘11)

5 Mike Maggio 5.766 (‘11)

5 Jose Gonzalez 259.16 (‘12)

6 Melanie Troxel 5.772 (‘11)

6 Melanie Troxel 258.71 (‘11)

7 Brad Personett 5.772 (‘11)

7 Brad Personett 258.07 (‘11)

8 Tommy Gray 5.795 (‘09)

8 Troy Coughlin 257.97 (‘12)

For having spent the last few years establishing himself as a contender in the Pro Mod ranks, it didn’t take David Hance any time at all to reclaim his space in the small tire racing world with his 3.990-second, 198.88mph blast down the Qatar Race Club eighth-mile in his 10.5W-equipped twin-turbo Mustang. “We sure would like to have seen that run come in qualifying or eliminations, but we’re still really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with this car in a short amount of time,” says Hance. “We have to thank Sheikh Khalid, Al-Anabi Racing and the phenomenal Qatar Race Club facility for having the opportunity to run like this.” Though the pass came in testing and won’t make it into the record books, Hance’s effort still stands as the first threesecond pass ever recorded by a traditional 3,000-plus pound Outlaw 10.5 car.

Hossler’s Big Haul En route to winning his first major championship in the Arabian Drag Racing League’s Pro Extreme division, Canton, Illinois-native Alex Hossler posted up a myriad of mind-numbing runs behind the wheel of Sheikh Khalid al-Thani’s infamous maroon ’68 Camaro. Tuned by Frank “Ace” Manzo along with consultant Billy Stocklin, Hossler set the world elapsed time and speed record in Doha, Qatar at 3.530/214.59, respectively. Even more impressive, however, was an earlier test pass that netted an otherworldly 3.518-second elapsed time at 215.68mph – the quickest and fastest pass ever recorded by a doorslammer. Attached to the run were some equally impressive incremental times, including a 0.898-second sixty-feet clocking and a world-record 2.369-second 330’ time. Also of note was the “backhalf” of the run (elapsed time between the 330-feet mark and the 660-feet finish line), which was 1.149-seconds – the quickest ever. “A run like that messes with your psyche a little bit,” says Hossler. “It makes it so that a 3.55 or a 3.57 doesn’t feel like much of an accomplishment, which is a pretty sickening notion.”

Extreme 10.5 NHRA Pro Stock 1 Jason Line 6.477 Sec. (2011) 2 Allen Johnson 6.486 (‘12) 3 Greg Anderson 6.487 (‘12) 4 Ronnie Humphrey 6.489 (‘11) 5 V. Gaines 6.489 (‘12) 6 Rodger Brogdon 6.495 (‘11) 7 Mike Edwards 6.495 (‘11) 8 Erica Enders 6.502 (‘11)

1 Jason Line 214.35 MPH (2012) 2 Erica Enders 213.57 (‘11) 3 Rodger Brogdon 213.57 (‘11) 4 Mike Edwards 213.47 (‘11) 5 Ron Krisher 213.27 (‘11) 6 Greg Anderson 213.23 (‘11) 7 Dave Connolly 213.03 (‘12) 8 V. Gaines 212.96 (‘12)

1 Mike Castellana 246.39 MPH (2012) 2 Khalid Al-Balooshi 244.52 (‘11) 3 Rickie Smith 244.21 (‘11) 4 Jim Halsey 243.99 (‘09) 5 Dennis Radford 243.94 (‘11) 6 Khalid Mohammed 242.33 (‘12) 7 Rickie Jones 241.93 (‘11) 8 Pat Musi 241.58 (‘10)

1 Mike Castellana 5.781 Sec. (2011) 2 Khalid Mohammed 5.821 (‘12) 3 Rickie Smith 5.833 (‘11) 4 Khalid Al-Balooshi 5.846 (‘11) 5 Rickie Jones 5.868 (‘11) 6 Jim Halsey 5.869 (‘09) 7 Burton Auxier 5.898 (‘10) 8 Robert Patrick 5.904 (‘12)

Pro Extreme 1 Alex Hossler 3.530 Sec. (2013) 2 Von Smith 3.555 (‘13) 3 Matt Smith 3.558 (‘11) 4 Frankie Taylor 3.559 (‘13) 5 Tommy D’Aprile 3.580 (‘12) 6 Joey Martin 3.584 (‘11) 7 Brandon Pesz 3.587 (‘12) 8 Jason Scruggs 3.590 (‘11)

Pro Nitrous 1 Mike Castellana 3.721 Sec. (2013) 2 Burton Auxier 3.746 (‘11) 3 Doug Riesterer 3.750 (‘12) 4 Pat Stoken 3.769 (‘12) 5 Stevie Jackson 3.771 (‘13) 6 Mahana Al-Naemi 3.776 (‘11) 7 Khalid Al-Balooshi 3.781 (‘11) 8 Shannon Jenkins 3.781 (‘11)

(1/8th mile)

1 Alex Hossler 214.59 MPH (2013) 2 Frankie Taylor 214.42 (‘13) 3 Matt Smith 212.83 (‘11) 4 Khalid Al Thani 212.49 (‘10) 5 Von Smith 212.43 (‘13) 6 Wes Johnston 211.69 (‘10) 7 Brandon Pesz 211.43 (‘12) 8 J.R. Todd 211.16 (‘11)

February/March 2013

During the five-race Arabian Drag Racing League series in Qatar, Frankie “Mad Man” Taylor and his crew chief brother Paul laid down a best short-time of 0.874-seconds – the quickest in doorslammer racing history by more than a hundredth of a second. According to statistician Bret Kepner, other than a 0.872 “sixty” posted in testing nearly a decade ago by Gary Densham in a John Force Racing Mustang, Taylor’s launch is quicker than those of NHRA Nitro Funny Cars. Taylor also made noise on the top end of the race track, posting a 214.42mph trap speed to take the No. 2 spot in our Top 8.

Castellana Takes Over

Having previously fallen out of the DI Pro Nitrous Top 8, it was certainly only a matter of time before Mike Castellana resurfaced at the top of the list of the quickest runs ever made by a nitrous-assisted Pro Mod. With an absolutely astonishing 3.721-second lap down the Qatar Race Club’s eighth-mile, Castellana planted himself at the top of the standings by better than twohundredths-of-a-second. The run also produced an outrageous 200.74mph trap speed, good enough to take the No. 1 spot on the Pro Nitrous speed rankings as well. Also of note on the historic run was the 1.235-second “backhalf”, which demolished the previous record of 1.240-seconds held by Burton Auxier.

(1/8th mile)

1 Mike Castellana 200.74 MPH (2013) 2 Khalid Al-Balooshi 200.53 (‘11) 3 Khalid Mohammed 199.11 (‘13) 4 Burton Auxier 199.02 (‘11) 5 Jim Halsey 198.99 (‘10) 6 Pat Stoken 198.82 (‘10) 7 Mike Castellana 198.64 (‘11) 8 Bob Rahaim 198.44 (‘12)

ATTENTION READERS AND RACERS: If you’ve got a timeslip that calls for an adjustment to the Drag Illustrated Top 8, please send either a picture or scan of the time slip to Or you can fax it to 660.665.1636 and we’ll give credit where it’s due right here on the pages of Drag Illustrated. While testing times are generally impressive and legit, Drag Illustrated reserves its Top 8 placement for elapsed times and speeds recorded during any organized drag racing event. Ties favor earlier record.

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Getting After It Down Low

Pro Modified (Nitrous)

Hance Doesn’t Hold Back

1 Dan Millen 3.780 Sec. (2010) 2 Alan Pittman 3.803 (‘12) 3 Frankie Taylor 3.848 (‘11) 4 Grant McCrary 3.849 (‘11) 5 Chuck Ulsch 3.855 (‘12) 6 Billy Glidden 3.859 (‘12) 7 Brad Brand 3.875 (‘11) 8 Spiro Pappas 3.883 (‘10)

1 Jose Gonzalez 5.730 Sec. (2012)

Stevie Still Fast

After stuffing an engine and transmission in a rolling chassis in the Al-Anabi Racing shop, Stevie Jackson went straight to work testing the car, hoping to compete with the likes of Mike Castellana and the other heavy-hitting nitrous cars in the Middle East. Jackson proved he was game, ultimately winning the final race of the season, as well as running a career-best 3.771-second, 197.10mph in the process to earn the No. 5 spot in the DI Pro Nitrous Top 8.

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Orlando Speed World Dragway | Orlando, Florida | October 30th, 2010


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At the conclusion of qualifying for the 2010 Real World Street Nationals in Orlando and decked out for the Halloween weekend, Kelly Lynch casually watches members of the Proline Racing Team, led by crew chief Steve Petty (center), prepare the twin-turbocharged Outlaw 10.5 Corvette driven by her husband, Tim. The “Lynch Mob” started from the number-two position behind Craig Pio and went on to post a runner-up finish against Dale Collins Jr. in the final round.

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