Well folks, after such a strong response to yesterday’s article I decided that I was going to do a second list. It’s not a list of people that don’t belong on the first list, it’s a list of people that I may have overlooked or didn’t know enough about to put on my first list. So before you even get into this next list, understand something, just like yesterday, this is a list that is just one person’s opinion…mine. This is also an opinion from someone that spent 38 of the last 39 ½ years based in Wisconsin, so there may be southern racers from ORSCA etc that got missed.
The list below is just as important in my mind as yesterday’s list was. This are innovators, winners, drivers who have left a mark on the Ford drag racing community. So before you decide to send me a million more messages, understand that I could do five lists and still not manage to include everyone.
Keith Szabo – As I discussed last month, Keith is the baddest man on a small tire. He has proven year after year that he has the ability to get it done. We all know that Keith has won the biggest races this year that there are to win. He continues to go out at every race and prove his performance and ability to win. Over the last ten years, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that has won more rounds of racing and more races than Keith.
Les Bear – While yes it’s true, Les hasn’t been involved in the racing world for quite some time now, but let’s face it, there might not be someone that had more of an impact on today’s chassis than Les. When his 1998 Mustang came out in Pro 5.0, jaws dropped and complaints started. He was and is a great innovator and craftsman. As of recently, Les can be found making some of the most beautiful handguns in the world and sometimes if you are lucky you will find him at a car show with one of his gorgeous old school Mustangs.
Jason Lee – You want to talk about a drag radial racer over the last decade you have to talk about Jason. Jason and his red foxbody is a car that other’s feared. He was not only a strong presence in the car, but his physical presence was enough to scare most as well. Performance goes without saying. He was dominating in NMRA, and just about everything else he entered. Lately though Jason is busy spending time with his business PTP Racing with his business partner Patrick Barnhill.
Doug Mangrum – You didn’t really think that I forgot about Doug did you? The DM backed, Procharger boosted hotrod. Doug accomplishments are many. First in the 7’s in Pro 5.0, First in the 6’s as well. Doug was also as the chassis forefront, along with the forefront of Procharger performance. Doug has been pretty quiet over recent years. I hope to see Doug come back out and wouldn’t it be great
Jim Blair – I have a place in my heart for any guy that takes a real 1995 Mustang Cobra R and turns it into a Super Street Outlaw car! That’s takes some balls. Jim was another Procharger guy and someone I followed closely. I remember the day that Jim was at 66 and I was on the wall taking photos when he busted off an unheard of 7.52 or so. You could literally hear the jaws drop! Jim went out to build another car that he ran in NMCA for a while before stepping away from racing. If you haven’t seen the video, go look for the one where he pretty much blew the roof off.
Sam Vincent – When you talk about Nitrous Mustangs, you always hear Sam’s voice. Whether it was in SSO, or on a radial, Sam knows how to get it done. He has long been someone that you go to when you are dealing with nitrous. Dating back years, Sam has held records in not only ¼ mile passes, but in 1/8th mile stuff. All the while, using a SBF with spray. Sam continues to compete and don’t be surprised to see him out there at the top again very soon.
Jason Brown – Most of you have never even heard of Jason. Well do a search for Jason Brown Lightning once. He was the original innovator when it came to building a Lighting that could compete with most any Pro 5.0 car at the time. Unfortunately, Jason sold the truck over a decade ago and I personally haven’t heard if he is still involved in drag racing.
Ralph Voorhess – Another Gen 1 Lightning owner that has carried on in the steps of Jason. His truck as far as I am aware is the fastest Lightning in the country, if not the world. He is continuing to carry the torch for all Lightning owners.
Justin Burcham – The founder of JPC racing has always been a source of controversy, but at the same time he always backs it up with performance. He has been an innovator in all arenas of the business. Whether it’s pushrod, modular, or even coyote, he always seems to be the one out front and has been for more years than I can count. I can personally say that this is the one person that I have lined up next to at a race. Some that know me will be shocked that I put Justin on this list. For the longest time I held a racing grudge against Justin. We lined up next to each other one year at 66 in Modular Muscle. I accidently rolled in and double bulb him. He refused to pre stage and had the starter back me out. Once I was completely backed out, he turned around and double bulb me. The starter would not back him out. I staged and he busted my ass. For some reason I held onto that for more than a decade. Simple fact is though that Justin continues to be at the front of speed innovation.
Cale Aronson – Damn right. When you talk about Mountain Motor Pro stock style Mustangs over the years, Cale is the first one that comes to mind. His dedication to Ford performance is unparalleled to anyone. Cale and his wife Tinzy have continued to be the go to people for clutches as well. He won Outlaw 10.5 events with an N/A setup…I mean who would ever think that could happen? He is also an absolute testament to human will power as seen after his accident last year. A lot of us wondering if Cale would walk again, and instead of worrying about walking he seems more concerned on when he can go racing again. Cale and Tinzy will be back at the track someday, mixing it up again.
Jim Summers – ASSC Big Red Cars. Jim was a figure you couldn’t miss at the race track. He was also the first Street Outlaw car in the 8’s. He had a storied NMRA and FFW career long before heading over to Procharger and becoming the man over there. Jim was the face of Prochager for years and was always there for the racers. He was taken away far too soon from the racing community though!
Chris Tuten - Didn't matter if it was Real Street, Drag Radial, or Super Street Outlaw Chris won it. He was a NMRA original. Chris has consistently been a front runner in whatever class he runs. You can't miss Chris car at the track and you can't miss his personality. Chris continues to be a force in drag radial along with hanging out in the grudge world. He spends his days as the Co-Owner of The Muffler Shop of Columbia.
Well there you have it. Now feel free to let me know how I did this time. Maybe we should have a vote next time, since an opinion is not the way to go LOL. I love the feedback and how it opens conversation. As this was my opinion, I am sure you will have yours too. So I will make sure to have my phone and computer plugged in all day that way you can all take me to the woodshed again.