PS DRIVER DREW SKILLMAN EXCITED FOR 2018
This past season – 2017 – was a career-best in wins for Drew Skillman as he was victorious four times.
Those victories at Chicago, Denver, Seattle and Indianapolis propelled the 29-year-old to a fifth-place finish in the points standings, matching his career-best finish from 2015.
“We worked really hard all year and the last half of the year that really started to show,” Skillman said. “We had a consistent, fast race car the last several races and we found a package that really worked well with the car.”
Those results have Skillman not changing any plans for the 2018 campaign.
“We are sticking with same team, and we are sticking with Gray Motorsports power, so we are going to start right off where we left off last year with a good strong car, hopefully,” Skillman said. “We are not changing much over the winter just cleaning the car up and moving forward from where we were. We want to go for another attempt at the championship.”
Skillman said he once again will be driving a Camaro in 2018 and it will have Ray Skillman Chevrolet as its primary sponsor. Tomi Laine also will remain as his crew chief.
Skillman said his team hopes to make its first test laps in January in Bradenton, Fla.
“We are lucky to have great partners right now,” Skillman said. “They are extremely committed to letting me race and back me wholeheartedly.”
Tanner Gray, who recently won NHRA’s rookie of the year, finished fourth in the Pro Stock standings and had five wins. Skillman especially enjoyed last season being part of the Gray Motorsports camp.
“It’s really hard to get that many guys on the same page for an entire season and it just worked from Day 1,” Skillman said. “We all got along really well, and we worked together really well. No one was there stressing out and no one was getting yelled at. It was just a fun deal for all of us to be a part of and push forward and try and achieve something. When you’re relaxed and everyone else is relaxed, you start doing well.”
Skillman also took a moment to address the state of NHRA’s Pro Stock class.
“I don’t know what they (NHRA) are going to do and I know they don’t know what they are going to do,” Skillman said. “I believe you’re going to see a lot more participation with smaller teams and I think that’s going to help us a lot. Some of the weekend warrior guys are going to start having questions answered by full-time teams like ours. We are going to not leave them in the dark. If they need help, we’re going to give them a direction to go in. I think that’s something we need to do. We need to work as a class to bring everyone up because if a guy is doing good he might go to one more race a year and that makes a huge difference when it comes to having short fields. If we get each guy to go one more race, it will help everywhere.”
In a letter dated Oct. 3, and obtained by CompetitionPlus.com, NHRA told Pro Stock competitors because of low car counts and low interest among other things, the sanctioning body was going to have 8-car fields, instead of 16, at nine of the 24 of the national events in the 2018 season.
The list of 2018 national events with eight-car Pro Stock fields was comprised of Houston, Topeka, Kan., Epping, N.H., Englishtown, N.J., Bristol, Tenn., Denver, Sonoma, Calif., Seattle, and Brainerd, Minn.
On Oct. 29, NHRA changed its mind and said the Pro Stock Car category will feature 16-car fields at all 24 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events in 2018.
“That was dumb, that didn’t fix anything,” Skillman said about the eight-car Pro Stock field proposal. “That was not a problem solver, it didn’t help anything. All that did was let them retain money in their pocket and everyone saw through it. That was horsesh**. “