Frank Ousley: Doing It His Way

Many years ago a great performer with the first name of Frank made famous a song in which the lyrics stated, “To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!”

Another Frank is making a name for himself in the world of nostalgia drag racing who works and races with the same type of attitude as Sinatra. Frank Ousley.  Ousley is proud to call himself an outsider in the world of nostalgia fuel car racing.

He clarifies his statements by saying is not his trying to sound conceded. “ I’m not in that good ol’ boy network in California. I do my own thing. I have my own way of wanting to run these cars -- and why should I talk to people who are slower than I am?”

The Illinois resident started his foray into fuel car racing back in the early 1980’s, as a crewmember and part owner of the Bundee and Forbes funny cars.  “We were a Midwest runner, and made one attempt at making the show at a national event.”  Then he decided to step away from the sport for a while, to concentrate on business.

Three years ago when he got an in-person look at a nostalgia Top Fuel car, he was determined to get back into drag racing full force.

However, he has a different way of looking at said world. Ousley makes his living in the aviation industry as a crop duster, hence the cars carry that moniker. Due to this background, it is safe to say that Ousley runs his vehicles more like aircraft than cars.

Jimmy Young in the “Crop Duster” AA/FD.  (Darr Hawthorne photo)

All the crew who work on the Crop Duster car are aircraft mechanics and therefore have a different way of doing things. Ousley says the team’s success is because “my guys are used to keeping very meticulous notes due to their background in the aviation industry.”

Also, he adds, “We don’t have that ‘nitro’ mentality that most of the other guys have.”

The other thing that Ousley puts into the equation is that this year the team is running a new car.

In the past two years, Ousley explains, “I haven’t run two races with the same combination.”  And so he has come up with a very flexible base line, which allows him to be creative with the tune up, and more importantly not do considerable engine damage. Once again, thinking outside the box.