TUNER AARON BROOKS KEEPING PLENTY BUSY
No one could blame Aaron Brooks for his head spinning.
The standout NHRA crew chief is insanely busy while working with numerous drivers.
Brooks list of clients are Top Fuel driver Dom Lagana, Top Alcohol Dragster driver Artie Allen, who is switching over to Top Fuel, Mike Morel, who is having a nitro Funny Car built, nitro Funny Car driver Mike McIntyre, European Top Fuel racers Urs Erbacher, and his daughter, Jndia, Top Fuel pilot Greg Carrillo, Top Fuel driver Steve Faria, and he’s building a Super Comp dragster for Billy Torrence.
“I don’t sleep much,” Brooks said. “It has been a lot of work going to the race track with different cars and keeping notes on dragster vs. Funny Car and some have a six-disc, and some have a five-disc clutch, so you have to reset your brain every time you go help someone else.”
This weekend, Brooks will be tuning the Top Fuel dragsters driven by Urs and Jndia Erbacher at a race in Kauhava, Finland. The brand-new track is the new home for the FHRA Nitro Nationals, the Finnish round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship.
“The time zones have never really bothered me because I can crash out on airplanes and sneak in as much sleep as I can,” Brooks said. “Going over there (to Europe) is a lot of work because they don’t race full-time and we have a lot of loose ends to tie up at the track. We’ve been to two races so far this season in Europe in England and Sweden. It has gone all right (with the Erbacher team). We haven’t won any races, but the car has run better each race. They had never run in the 3s and the first time we went we went 3.99 (seconds) and the next time was 3.94. The car has got the potential to run 3.80s. Their parts aren’t as fresh and robust as what we have here (in the United States) so you have to treat them a little gingerly.
The European cars, the setup is like ran five or six years ago (in NHRA). I’m usually going back and looking at my old notes from 2012, 2013 when I was with Morgan (Lucas). We sold them a lot of parts and the Laganas have sold them a lot of parts, so it is all old stuff pretty much. So, it is all relative to how we used to run the car. I told Urs, short of me getting a full-time job, I’m committed to go racing with him this season.”
Brooks said the plan is for his next race on the NHRA Mello Yello Series schedule to be at the Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, July 19-21. He is planning on tuning Carrillo’s Top Fuel dragster.
Brooks then will go tune Faria’s dragster at the NHRA Sonoma (Calif.) Nationals, July 26-28.
Last year, Brooks also helped a handful of teams and he spent the 2017 season as the crew chief for nitro Funny Car world championship driver Cruz Pedregon but was released by Pedregon’s team the first week of August that season.
Prior to joining Pedregon in 2017, Brooks served as a crew chief at Morgan Lucas Racing from 2013-16 but was left looking for work when MLR was disbanded.
While at Morgan Lucas Racing, Brooks was the crew chief for Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton. He guided Crampton to seven national event wins and five No. 1 qualifying positions.
Brooks began his career working on crews for the legendary Don “The Snake” Prudhomme. By 2005, Brooks served as an assistant crew chief to Mike Neff when Funny Car driver Gary Scelzi won a world championship driving for Don Schumacher Racing. During his time at DSR, Brooks also tuned Frank Hawley’s Funny Car. In one season, he tuned Funny Car’s driven by Hawley, Mike Ashley, and Mark Oswald.
Brooks continued to wrench Funny Cars as he was a tuner for Del Worsham’s Funny Car at Al-Anabi Racing in 2009 and 2010. Brooks also tuned Melanie Troxel’s Funny Car at R2B2 Racing in 2011.
“If one pops up (full-time) that would be ideal,” Brooks said. “It would be a little more consistent to have one thing to focus on instead of jumping around, but this has been fun.”