NHRA PRO STOCK IS JUST ALRIGHT WITH AUSSIE SHANE TUCKER
Some see Pro Stock in a transitional period while others see it in a downward spiral.
Australian Pro Stock racer Shane Tucker sees it as a perfect open door.
Tucker, who once excelled in the Australian Drag Racing Association's 400-inch Pro Stock division, has always had a vision of running on the big stage of factory hot rod racing.
With the introduction of EFI, the time proved to be perfect for Tucker, and his father Rob, to graduate from running leased engines to developing their own in-house engines.
"I think the EFI has definitely closed the gap on some of these engine programs, and probably the part timers to come in," Tucker said. "We had a little bit of success last year, had a couple of round wins and stuff. This year we’re running our own motors, and we haven’t really given it a fair shake I guess for our own stuff. I think it’s definitely evened up the playing field with the engine builders.
"Not only that, but different cylinder heads, the one that wasn’t good before is good now because it was built for EFI back in the 90’s almost. So I think it’s definitely evened up the playing field for sure."
Tucker, like many, believes Pro Stock has entered a transitional era where the class will have shake-ups but inevitably end up on solid footing in the long run.
He's not opposed to a crate motor philosophy as a means of combating the overwhelming costs associated with racing Pro Stock.
"There’s so much talk about Pro Stock being on it’s way out and all that," Tucker said. "My personal opinion, they could quite easily fix this and have 50 cars turning up every weekend. I mean it might be as simple as the engine builders out there right now could be manufacturing the motors and maybe NHRA sell them at the races for a fixed sum, fair sum that everyone can go buy, you know. I think that’s the biggest problem these guys have is they can’t go out and buy a motor for $100,000. They’ve got to go and lease one for $40,000 a race, and no one’s going to do that."
Tucker says before you laugh at the notion, consider other series and how it has worked out.
"The same as they did in dirt track years ago and F1 where you could go and buy, the guy that wins the race, you can buy the motor out of his car after the race," Tucker explained.
And when talks turn to an abbreviated Pro Stock schedule, Tucker perks up.
"I think for guys like myself that are running 12 races it entices us to think about running the full season," Tucker said. "We’re in a stretch right now to run 12, but maybe we’ll figure out how to run another six."
Considering his highly successful Auzmet Architectural has now expanded into the United States, he's trying to delicately balance living a lifelong dream and watching his company grow by epic proportions.
"My business is so busy now, I mean it’s growing rapidly in leaps and bounds," Tucker explained. "With 80 employees and stuff, it sort of takes your focus off of what was once a passion. I guess you lose a little bit of, maybe I’m losing a little bit of fire in the belly, but my Dad’s out here, and he wants to do it, and I’m going to do it as long as he wants to do it."
Tucker might have his priorities in order, but a dream is a dream.
"It is, it is," Tucker said. "I guess things can change pretty quickly if you make a good run, or if you can win a round or win a race."