ENNIS, TX – After racing “down under” most of this year, Frankie “Mad Man” Taylor returned to his native state and pulled his sinister-looking, flat-black ’05 Corvette out of storage just in time to win the monthly O’Reilly Auto Parts Outlaw Pro Mod race Aug. 4, at the famed Texas Motorplex. It made the Dickinson, Tx-based driver the fourth different Texas Outlaw Pro Modified Association winner in as many TOPMA events staged at the Motorplex this summer.
“We’ve been down to Australia six or seven times this year racing with Victor and Ben Bray,” Taylor explained. “We just got back about a week before this race and we hadn’t raced the black car in about nine months. That was the first time we brought it out since last fall.”
Taylor and his brother, Paul, who also serves as crew chief, spent the previous week reconfiguring the car not only to run fast with TOPMA, but to conform to rules for a big $50,000-to-win Pro Mod special event Nov. 1-3 at the Texas Motorplex. In addition to routine maintenance, the Taylor brothers adjusted the screw-type blower atop their Hemi engine to run at 75-percent overdrive, installed a new transmission, and bumped the car’s weight up to 2,405 pounds.
“It was a lot of work in the shop getting it ready but we really had to do some testing because we still have a few races to do this year—and we really want to win that $50-grand,” Taylor said. “So to win at the Motorplex, man, that was a bonus and we’re pretty happy. It was the first time back out racing TOPMA this year and really the first race this year for us with a Pro Mod.”
ENNIS, TX – Consistency paid off for Dallas racer Kevin Hargett at the Texas Motorplex July 7, where he opened with a 4.29-seconds pass at 179.44 mph to qualify his turbocharged 2013 Camaro fourth for the track’s monthly O’Reilly Auto Parts Outlaw Pro Mod event. Hargett then ran a series of mid-4.20s to reach victory lane, which marked his second race title for 2018 and his first Texas Outlaw Pro Modified Association (TOPMA) win of the year.
“Despite the heat the track was killer out there and that really helped for me to tell the car what I wanted it to do,” said Hargett, 52. “The car has a twin-turbo setup, so we can control how much boost it has, so instead of turning it way up and trying to run a number that would make my team happy we just decided to make it run just good enough to beat the competition and it worked out okay.”
TOPMA points leader Steve Wiley took the top spot in qualifying with an outstanding 3.74-second run at 205.16 mph, but ignition troubles on the starting line with his supercharged ’63 Corvette handed an uncontested first-round win to eighth-place starter Chuck Poindexter and his Chevy Luv pickup. Meanwhile, last month’s winner, Doug Riesterer, advanced past David Baldwin, Tony Strachan also made a solo pass after Brandon McKinney suffered mechanical woes, and Hargett made the quickest and fastest pass of the opening round with a 4.26 at 179.40 mph to defeat Joseph Butler.
ENNIS, TX – A group of Jr. Dragster racers representing the Texas Motorplex outlasted 12 other teams from several different tracks June 22, to capture top honors at the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing Western Conference Finals (WCF) at Oklahoma’s Tulsa Raceway Park. Each of 10 members on the winning Motorplex Team 1 received NHRA “Wally” trophies, the much-sought-after symbol of excellence for drag racers modeled after NHRA founder Wally Parks.
“Everybody was ecstatic. Two years ago we lost the team championship by just one point and a lot of these kids were on that team, too, so it was really special for them,” said Motorplex team captain Tim Owen, whose 14-year-old daughter, Addyson, was among those making space on her trophy shelf. “We’ll all be remembering this for a long time.”
Two teams from the Texas Motorplex made up of racers aged 8-17 in three age groups participated in the WCF. The make up for each team was determined primarily by final standings after last season’s Jr. Dragster races at the Motorplex, with consideration also given to each driver’s experience at bigger events.
Owen explained the teams actually started racing in preliminary events the Sunday prior to the WCF, lasting through Wednesday. Two time trials for the main event were held on Thursday, with a final time trial the next morning before all eliminations were completed by Friday evening.
COLUMBUS, GA – Since early this year, Driven Blind, a 25-minute documentary about Pro Mod driver and chassis builder Dan Parker, who was permanently blinded in a 2012 racing accident, has been making the rounds and winning awards at independent film festivals nationwide. This Sunday (Apr. 15) at 9:30 p.m., the short film will also make its televised debut on the World Channel (WorldChannel.org) digital network.
“The film just talks about the struggles of blindness, about me adapting to being blind, and just how life changes when everything you’re used to changes: your job, your passions, just everything,” the 2005 American Drag Racing League Pro Nitrous world champion explains.
Additional airings of Driven Blind will follow on Monday at 1:30 p.m. and on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. as part of World Channel’s Reel South series, hosted by Grammy-winning recording star Darius Rucker, before entering limited rotation on the PBS broadcasting network.
COLUMBUS, GA – Just as he continues to meet and beat tremendous challenges stemming from a drag racing accident that left him 100-percent blind, Columbus, Georgia’s Dan Parker plans to restore a Hurricane Harvey-damaged Corvette to better-than-new condition—then drive it as a record-setting race car. (facebook.com/DanParkerQuestForTheSalt)
“I found a flood-damaged 2008 C6 Corvette with no motor in Oklahoma City, so me and three buddies went down there late last year to pick it up. Then, when I came back home I accidentally came across another complete, but wrecked, C6 of the same year with the same engine and transmission combination. So a family member bought that car and donated it and we started putting the two of them together to make one good car,” says Parker, who crashed nearly six years ago while testing a 1963 Corvette Pro Mod at a drag strip in Steele, Alabama.
PITTSBORO, NC – The world champions of the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) will begin their title defenses Mar. 19-21, in the season-opening PDRA Texas Nationals at the famed Texas Motorplex in Ennis, just south of Dallas. This will be the first visit to the Lone Star state for the all-eighth-mile series that will hold 10 races this year after expanding from eight events in its inaugural 2014 season.
“To be honest I can’t wait to bring PDRA drag racing to the great fans in Texas because I know they’re going to love what they see,” said PDRA Race Director Bob Harris, who recently was inducted into the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame. “We had a fantastic first year, but I already know this season is going to be even bigger and better. Kicking it off at such a prestigious track as the Texas Motorplex is perfect, too. It sends a message that professional eighth-mile drag racing deserves to be seen on the sport’s biggest and best stages.”
Written by Ian Tocher
SUWANEE, GA — Veteran Top Sportsman drag racer Ronnie Davis opens an ambitious 2015 schedule this weekend with a trip to Florida’s Orlando Speed World Dragway for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Division 2 season opener. It’s also the first of at least 23 races the Suwanee, Georgia-based golf cart dealer plans to enter this year as he attempts to become the inaugural NHRA Top Sportsman national champion while also seeking a title with the all-eighth-mile Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA).
The California-based NHRA is the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body and early this year announced it would offer a national title for the first time to Top Sportsman competitors. It came as particularly good news to Davis, who along with retired Div. 2 director Bill Holt, was instrumental in bringing the world’s quickest and fastest door-car bracket racing class to NHRA 13 years ago.