What Did We Learn in 2014?

As of October 23, 2014, I have completed all my required classes to achieve my Masters of Business Administration degree. I have just one more session to complete, which is called a Capstone Session. In essence, it is what have you learned over the time you were in school. So that is what we are going to do for this month's article, a Capstone covering Nostalgia Racing 2014.

From March to October, we who enjoy drag racing (and more specifically nostalgia drag racing) enjoyed a wonderful season. A season that provided some fantastic racing at nearly every event contested.

So what did we learn? Well, first, we learned that hard work, dedication, and, in addition, a sprinkling of luck would get you a championship.

This holds true for all four champions who burn nitro in nostalgia racing: Tony Bartone, Heritage Series Top Fuel Champion; Dan Horan, Heritage Series Funny Car Champion; Jason Rupert, IHRA Pro Funny Car Champion; and Shawn Bowen, DRO AA/FC Challenge Champion. They all set a goal and led their teams to achieve said goal.

Bartone pulled off an incredible feat, rarely accomplished in any sport. That is to have a perfect season.

Tony Bartone and the Bartone Brothers Racing team, with crew chief Steve Boggs, achieved just that: won every event they competed in over a entire season.

The team crisscrossed the United States i pursuit of that elusive perfect season. Bakersfield, Bowling Green, Boise, up to Epping, and back to Bakersfield (lots of “B” words there).

Bartone called it a clean sweep as he walked around the pits at Bakersfield with a bright red broom and a giant smile on his face.

Dan Horan has been a part of the nostalgia-racing scene for many years and has paid his dues to get where he is now. One of the biggest things that Horan did was to go out and hire a legend in the sport as a tuner, Ronny Swearingen.

Over the past two seasons the Patriot Mustang was the most consistent car in all of nitromethane drag racing. Big Show, Heritage Series, IHRA or DRO, bar none, there was no car that was as consistent as the Swearingen-tuned Patriot Mustang.

However, Horan had his own demons to deal with: his inconsistent driving over the past two years. That inconsistency cost Horan the championship in 2013. However, that was not the case this year, as Horan dug deep within and learned to focus and relax when it came to driving. And that was the last piece of the puzzle needed to win a championship.

We learned is that for 2014, Ron Swearingen will be part of Don Nelson’s “California Hustler” team. Nelson has the resources in place to mount a strong bid for the 2015 title, and it will be interesting to see if chemistry could play a factor in that title run.

We learned that when it comes to hard work and determination, Jason Rupert has to sit at the top of the list. Rupert and his team decided to take on the IHRA challenge to run from coast to coast and border to border and beyond to win $50,000 and the championship in the “I”.