A STOREY-BOOK FINISH: NHRA DRAG RACER DOUBLES UP FOR FIRST TWO CAREER WINS
NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series driver Jay Storey achieved a feat recently that doesn’t happen often or easily in the sport of drag racing. He won the first two Wallys of his career within mere moments of one another at the Division 5 doubleheader points meet at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kan.
Competing in both Stock Eliminator and Super Stock in a pair of gorgeous white COPO Camaros, Storey got his storybook ending after defeating a wide array of talented drivers in both categories. His wins came after early exits in both categories during the first half of the doubleheader. With redemption on his mind, Storey was ready to win, mainly because he recently had a runner-up finish in Denver.
“I’ve always said that I hate losing more than I like winning,” said Storey. “So we came into Topeka on a mission. And I would say that we were pretty well-prepared. It’s me and my crew chief (Van Beamon) and, of course, everyone at Patterson-Elite (Storey’s engine builders). And Sid Baldwin, who’s the guy who sets my cars up. He does an immaculate job and really gets them dialed in.
“I’ll tell ya, once we started rolling, to be able to do eleven rounds in one day in two different cars, we didn’t have any time to be thinking about anything else other than what’s next. So to me, I feel like that contributed to our success that day. We didn’t have these long breaks in between runs. So we really didn’t have any time to think about anything else.”
Having little time to overthink things worked out well for Storey. He was forced to trust his dial-ins and keep things simple.
“We raced some pretty stellar competition,” said Storey. “I guess it was just our day. Our dials were on. I’m not going to say I was super great on the tree, but it was good enough. We were able to pull off what I would consider to be some pretty big upsets.
“We dialed honest all weekend and decided not to try and do anything fancy. We just trusted the dial. I do have to give a shout-out to Crew Chief Pro (software) because my dials were spot on. It’s an unbelievable program. I’ve been working with Don Higgins (the founder and chief developer of Crew Chief Pro). He’s invested some time into helping me understand how to use the program effectively. It’s one of those things that you can really get lost in if you try to do too much. I have to remember to just focus on what’s important.”
Despite facing stiff competition in both categories, that focus did the trick for Storey. The Andover, Kan. resident only began racing three years ago, and he’s been blown away by the kindness of other teams in the sport. Working closely with the folks at Patterson-Elite, Storey says the best part of drag racing is the people you meet and the friendships you develop.
“The best part about drag racing is the community - the people,” said Storey. “We’ve met some phenomenal friends. When you come into a sport like this, where you know absolutely zero. And you surround yourself with people like the folks at Patterson-Elite; it’s just such a family atmosphere.”
The experience of going so many rounds in one day, in scorching heat, had Storey marveling at how surreal it felt to win and then win again.
“After winning with both cars on Sunday night, I just sat down and took a deep breath. It was such a blur. I still couldn’t believe it happened. It’s been so elusive. It was right there each time - when I’ve lost in a final or got real close, and it was awesome to suddenly get one win, let alone two. It’s just pretty amazing.”
“I’m just grateful to be a part of a sport that has a lot of really, really, good people in it,” he continued. “I hope tracks continue to open so the sport can continue to grow.”