Matusek takes Pro Mod to Elite Motorsports; Rowe won’t compete in ‘19

Steve Matusek will drive a twin-turbo Mustang Pro Mod with Elite Motorsports next season, joining Erica Enders and Alex Laughlin. Matusek’s former partner, Danny Rowe, has suspended his Pro Mod racing operation for 2019.


“We have a lot of work to do to get ready for Gainesville (where the NHRA Pro Mod season begins), but I think it’s going to be a neat deal,” said Richard Freeman, who has been moving into Pro Mod along with Pro Stock. “It’s a lot of tough competition, but give us two-three races and we’ll be right there.”


“To me, the thrill of just driving a Pro Mod is over,” said Matusek, president of Aeromotive, Inc. “I’m not doing this to say I drive a Pro Mod. I want to freaking win races and win a championship.”    

Straightline group expands with additional teams

There was plenty of news coming out of the PRI Show Friday from the newly formed Straightline Strategy Group that has taken over the Parts Plus, Strutmasters.com Top Fuel Dragster driven by Clay Millican.

The Straightline Strategy Group, a marketing and management company specializing in drag racing entities, announced the formulation of a marketing alliance group that includes racers from a broad range of professional classes. Joining the marketing alliance include Matt Hartford with his Total Seal Pro Stock Camaro, Paul Lee and his McLeod Nitro Funny Car, No-Prep Kings/Street Outlaw Chevrolet racer Jeff Lutz, and Janette Thornley with her AMRA Pro Fuel Harley-Davidson.


Paul Lee 


Paul Lee will compete in the 2019 Mello Yello NHRA Nitro Funny Car category under the management umbrella of the Straightline Strategy Group with Jim Oberhofer named as Crew Chief.


“Our first order of business was securing a highly talented Crew Chief and are pleased that Jim accepted that position” said SSG Partner Doug Stringer. Oberhofer will initially assist Mike Kloeber, Crew Chief on the Parts Plus, Strutmasters.com Top Fuel Dragster until he transitions into his main role as Crew Chief on the Paul Lee entry.

Oberhofer, who last tuned the Hennen Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster driven by Kebin Kinsley, had previously been an executive at Kalitta Motorsports with a 30+ year stint. 

On the administrative side of things, industry veteran Steven Cole has joined Straightline Strategy Group (SSG) as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales. Cole brings over 25 years of marketing experience to SSG and will be handling corporate marketing efforts with SSG Partner, Scott Gardner. Prior to joining SSG, Cole worked for John Force Racing as Vice President, Sales.  Prior to that, Cole served as a Senior Director of Sales at the International Hot Rod Association as well as at Action Performance Companies, Inc., as the Senior Vice President of Marketing, Advertising and PR. In addition, he has prior experience working in professional sports marketing agencies and player management groups within NFL, NHL, and minor league baseball.


Misty Starkweather has been appointed Director of Hospitality and Guest Services. Starkweather owned “Home Maid” for 19 years, a full-service cleaning company voted #1 several times in cleaning services. In addition, Starkweather worked as a staff member with the lighting and audio crew for the IHRA Nitro Jam Tour before working as the lead in hospitality at an NHRA national event facility.  

Dick LaHaie passes on

LaHaie with his daughter and fellow crew chief, Kim Richards, back in the days of the “Beer Wars.” 


Legendary drag racer Dick LaHaie died on Dec. 4 at age 76. The former NHRA Top Fuel champion turned crew chief spent 47 years in the sport. He quit driving in 1991 and retired from his crew chief role in 2005. He was a crew chief for Kalitta Motorsports and later Don Prudhomme Racing.


The Michigan native was inducted into the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame and the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. He was No. 31 on NHRA’s all-time Top 50 Racers list.


DRO has interviewed LaHaie a couple of times over the years. See our April 2002 InnerView at here and our May 2005 InnerView at here.  

Calvert receives first Bob Glidden award from Ford

In February, Ford Performance Parts announced the creation of the Bob Glidden “85/10” Award, intended for recipients who share the same grit and determination that the legendary racer embodied. On Thursday, at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show, Ford Performance Parts presented the inaugural award to longtime Mustang Cobra Jet pilot John Calvert.


“I’m so honored to have been selected as the first recipient of the Bob Glidden 85/10 Award,” said Calvert. “I feel as though Ford Motor Company and Ford Performance, while helpful and generous to all, welcomed me into their family.”


Born in Lancaster, California on April 22, 1951, Calvert credits his love for speed to the lead-foot nurturing of his mother. He started out racing his own car in demolition derbies and dirt ovals before finally settling into drag racing. Calvert entered his first Winternationals in 1975 and by 1991 was an NHRA National Champion in the Stock division.


Calvert continued racing, racking up numerous additional final round appearances, including Winternationals wins in 1995 and 1996. He also started a business manufacturing leaf spring suspensions and prepping race cars. In 2009, he prepared and drove Brent Hajek’s second-generation Mustang Cobra Jet at the Winternationals, painted to honor the 1968 car that Al Joniec captured the first Cobra Jet win in. History repeated itself, Calvert captured the win and ignited a fire in the sportsman stock class culture.


“There will never be another Bob Glidden, it’s true, but we couldn’t be more pleased to have racers like John Calvert continue his legacy with Ford,” said Eric Cin, global director, Ford Performance Parts. “A family man who has definitely earned his own place in both Ford Motor Company and drag racing history, John is the perfect choice for our first recipient of the 85/10 Award.”


“Bob was such an inspiration to me, both personally and professionally, and to now have my name associated with such a legend is truly humbling,” added Calvert. “I hope that this award will inspire other Ford racers to even greater heights in the future.” 

Tucker chooses Ferri power for Pro Stock

Rob Tucker Racing, anchored by driver Shane Tucker, has joined forces with veteran engine supplier and consultant Nick Ferri.


The Statesville, NC-based Rob Tucker Racing team will for the first time run all the NHRA national events at which Pro Stock is contested next year with an eye toward qualifying for the Countdown to the Championship.


“We have been working on our own for a number of years with some assistance here and there,” explained Shane Tucker. “We were building our Auzmet Architectural business here in the States so we could only run select events. We are excited to finally be able to focus a little more on racing and working with Nick Ferri Racing shows how serious we are. Nick has done amazing things with previous world champions and we have that same kind of championship attitude here at Rob Tucker Racing.”


Nick Ferri Racing will supply engines and consult with Tucker and his team on the set-up. In the past, Ferri worked with Jegs, Cagnazzi Racing, Mike Edwards Motorsports and most recently Elite Performance for a combined five world championships in Pro Stock.    

Off the Track: TMS lights biggest Christmas tree in Texas

We’re starting to get in the Christmas spirit here at the Phlegm Building and in honor of editor Jeff Burk’s Texas roots, we want to share this item. Texas Motor Speedway officially lighted the state’s largest living Christmas tree as part of Tuesday evening’s Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter’s grant ceremony in Fort Worth. And since everything is bigger in Texas, that’s really saying something.


The speedway lit the massive 74-foot, 7,000-pound Norwegian Spruce with more than 10,000 LED lights and then followed with a Christmas-themed fireworks display as part of the celebration.


Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas distributed more than $250,000 in grants to North Texas children’s organizations, including a $139,000 Founder’s Grant to the Sci-Tech Discovery Center in Frisco, Texas. SCC also distributed free bicycles, bike helmets and baby carriers to less fortunate children and families that were on hand at the event.


To contribute to the nationwide charity go to https://www.speedwaycharities.org/donate/.  

New Product of the Day


Stay Frosty Coolant from VP Racing Fuels

VP Racing Fuels, Inc., has introduced their new STAY FROSTY™ Race-Ready (shown) and High-Performance coolants. “STAY FROSTY is a proprietary coolant formulated for engines that require additional protection from overheating,” said Andy Deel, Division Manager – VP Consumer Products. “In street and off-road uses, operating temperatures are reduced by up to 25° F compared to the conventional glycol-based coolants. For race applications, the ready to use STAY FROSTY race formula can reduce temperatures by as much as 100°F, and since there’s no glycol, track surfaces won’t get slippery if there’s a spill or leak.”  



official DRO sponsors

 © 1999-2018 - Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source LLC - 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 Phone: 636.272.6301 - Privacy Policy

fficial ponsors