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LIFE ON THE ROAD: SOME OF THE GREATEST DRAG RACING WAR STORIES, PT. 1

There are multiple types of stories in drag racing. Those you can tell, and those you shouldn’t. Then there are those you tell to win a trophy.

For almost a decade, some of drag racing’s greatest storytellers came together for a good old-fashioned yarn-spinning competition where the first liar almost always took the prize. The scary part about it was that the stories were accurate with some embellishments.

Over the next couple of weeks, we plan to bring you the best of these stories, some in word and some in video. - Editor

JOSH HART'S OUTLOOK ON 2023 PAVES THE WAY FOR BRIGHT 2024

 

When you start as the king of the hill, there’s usually only one way to go. 

Josh Hart admittedly didn’t have the kind of season he hoped for after winning the Pep Boys Callout race in Gainesville, Fla. And while 12 first-round losses could have been enough for the Ocala, Fla.-based Top Fuel driver to send up a distress signal, he considers the 2023 season one of continual character building. 

ASHLEY'S 2023 SEASON WAS BOTH THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY AND MOTIVATION FOR '24

 

By all accounts, Justin Ashley’s 2023 tour was a championship season. Unfortunately, the final championship points standings didn’t agree. 

The second-generation drag racer, who won the NHRA’s Rookie of the Year accolades in 2020, won six races in eight final rounds, more than any other driver in Top Fuel, including Doug Kalitta, the 2023 NHRA Top Fuel champion. He won 40 rounds of competition and qualified No. 1 three times. 

What more could a driver have done?

REPORT: LYLE BARNETT WAS INITIALLY TO BE PRUETT'S REPLACEMENT NOT STEWART

 

In an article by Susan Wade and published at Autoweek.com, Leah Pruett confirmed Tony Stewart was not the first choice for her replacement. It wasn’t that Stewart wasn’t capable because he was a licensed Top Fuel driver. The initial replacement was Lyle Barnett. 

On more than one occasion, Stewart had made it clear that driving a Top Fuel dragster full-time wasn’t his plan. He was content being a team owner and racing part-time with his Top Alcohol Dragster. 

PM RACER THIELEN TO MOVE FROM BLOWN TO NITROUS COMBINATION WITH RICKIE SMITH

Change is never easy for some. But for Mike Thielen he's making a significant change after 25 years of following a proven path.

Thielen is going nitrous racing, and he's straightening the curve as much as it can be straightened in teaming up with iconic drag racer Rickie Smith.

"It's not necessarily going from a blower car to a nitrous car; it's just the last couple years I just kind of felt like I was in a rut," Thielen admitted. "I was on the Mike Janis team and a good group of guys, and I just felt we needed to make a change."

STAVRINOS TO MAKE PRO MOD DEBUT, TEAMING WITH MIKE JANIS RACING

 

Mike Stavrinos has many accomplishments in heads-up racing, but one dream has eluded him until now. 

Stavrinos is on the verge of fulfilling his long-standing aspiration of becoming a professional NHRA Pro Mod racer in the 2024 season. Teaming up with Mike Janis Racing, Stavrinos will compete as part of their two-car Pro Mod team, with his debut scheduled to take place at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, which marks the first of ten events in the series' campaign.

SHAWN REED ANNOUNCES FULLTIME RETURN TO NHRA TOP FUEL WITH ANTRON BROWN ALLIANCE

 

Shawn Reed, a veteran Top Fuel and drag boat racer, has announced his return to full-time NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) competition in 2024. Reed will act as the owner/driver for his newly formed team, Shawn Reed Racing (SRR), and will drive the Reed Truck & Excavating Top Fuel dragster. The announcement was made during the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show in Indianapolis.

Having previously competed in NHRA races in early 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic, Reed has assembled an experienced team for his return. Notably, he has hired Rob Wendland as the lead crew chief and put together a team including assistant crew chief Ryan Elliott. This crew has previously worked for Cruz Pedregon Racing and achieved success with Tommy Johnson, Jr.'s Funny Car team at Don Schumacher Racing.

BOSTICK TO TEAM UP WITH KULUNGIAN, WHITE ALLIGATOR RACING IN 2024

 

Chris Bostick is set to join forces with Crew Chief Tim Kulungian and the White Alligator Racing (WAR) Team for the upcoming 2024 season of the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series. The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show in Indianapolis.

During the PRI Show, Kulungian took to the NHRA stage alongside Chase Van Sant, the talented WAR rider who was named the 2023 NHRA Rookie Of The Year. The announcement of Bostick's addition to the team was part of a more comprehensive presentation highlighting various improvements to their successful racing program.

NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS RETURN TO RENAMED FIREBIRD MOTORSPORTS PARK IN PHOENIX FOR 2024 NHRA SEASON

 

NHRA Officials and the Gila River Indian Community have announced that the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series will return to Phoenix for the 2024 season. The event will take place at the newly-renamed Firebird Motorsports Park, formerly known as Firebird International Raceway, from April 5-7. This will mark the 39th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, continuing the rich history of NHRA drag racing at the venue.

PAUL LEE RACING SOLIDIFIES AGREEMENT WITH POWERBUILT TOOLS

 

It always pays to have the best tools to do the job.

As Paul Lee sees, he has the best with Powerbuilt Tools. During the upcoming NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, Lee has solidified an agreement that will put the manufacturer in a major position on his 3.8-second, 330-mile-per-hour Funny Car. 

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