Burks announce retirement from DRO

In case some of you missed it earlier, Jeff and Kay Burk, founders of DragRacingOnline.com, have announced that they will be retiring from the magazine early this year. Unless it is sold, the magazine will close and cease putting up new material after March 7, 2020. (Jeff Burk's 75th birthday.)


The couple has spent over 43 years in the racing business editing and producing magazines beginning with their own Midwest Racer in 1976, writing and photography for other magazines, and PR for race teams. They began DRO as an internet magazine in September 1999.


The company’s stable of magazines is for sale and there are several parties who have expressed interest in buying the company. If the company is not sold the magazine will not disappear. The Burks will move the magazine and its archives to a server so that they will remain available to the public.  

Micke and Carter move to Pro 275 for 2020

Driver Mark Micke (shown) and car owner Jason Carter have decided to move from Radial vs the World to Pro 275 this season.


The car they currently campaign – an iconic ’78 Chevy Malibu that was built back in 1998 – underwent an overhaul of the EFI system last summer and a complete rewire of the car but was unsuccessful in becoming competitive.


“They made some rule changes in Pro 275 that were pretty favorable for a heavier, old-style car like ours and made the class more attractive for guys like us,” Micke explained what inspired the switch.


Knowing that they could keep their 2,800-pound Malibu in RVW trim and just bolt on a set of smaller 275 drag radials instead, knew the choice was a no-brainer. “In RVW, they kept lowering and lowering the weights, and that’s fine, but with a car like Jason’s, we couldn’t meet the minimums anymore and were consistently a hundred pounds over… that’s three or four hundredths of a second that you just can’t give up over there anymore.”


The team plans to attend the Jan. 24-27 US Street National at Bradenton Motorsports Park and there are a few other Pro 275 events on their calendar including Donald Long’s Lights Out 11 in February, followed by the Sweet 16 race again.


“We’re also going to switch back to the big [315] tire to run the NMCA Radial vs the World race at St. Louis, since that’s our home track and we love running with NMCA.”   

You want fries with that?

The Agent just received this Kenny Youngblood rendering of the new Van Gundy & Clark Firebird being built in Keith Clark’s Southern California shop. The team’s “Quarter Pounder” Monza nitro funny car finished fifth in the 2019 Good Vibrations United Nitro Funny Car Championship, driven by master metal fabricator Geoff Monise.


Their plans are to run some NHRA Heritage Series races as well as the UNFC season opener at Tucson Dragway on May 8-9. Monise and Clark have built the entire racecar, chassis, engine and tanks from the ground up. The paint will be applied by Brian Ferre, Top Fuel racer Cameron Ferre’s father.  

66-year-old gets first national event win in Australia

Kelvin Brian, a 66-year-old Super Street competitor, took his first ever ANDRA national event win at the Jan. 11-12 South Coast 660 event. Driving his “Super Roo” XY Ute, Brian got the close win over Nikolas Karanovic, who broke out.


After enjoying drag racing from the sidelines for many years Brian, who formerly raced on the Speedway, tried driving on the straight line only two years ago.


“It was fantastic to win, at my age to win something like a ANDRA Christmas Tree is really special,” Brian said after the event. “Everything went right with the car all weekend and I relaxed and just enjoyed each run.”   

Spokane coming back?

The Agent hears that Spokane County Raceway may be coming back for another season. Nothing official yet, but we’re keeping one of our west coast operatives on the lookout.  

Doug Herbert inducted into Southeast Division Hall of Fame

Doug Herbert (left) accepts his award from NHRA announcer Joe Castello. 


Doug Herbert, a multi-time Top Fuel drag racing champion and founder of the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) national teen defensive driving program founder has been inducted into the NHRA Southeast Division’s Hall of Fame.


Herbert was recognized for his extensive on-track success, which includes 10 NHRA National Event Championship wins, 20 IHRA National Event Championship wins and four Top Fuel World Championships. The last driver to the win quarter mile before it was changed to 1000 feet, Herbert is also the first to ever run over 300 MPH during NHRA eliminations, and post a career-best speed over 330 MPH.


In addition, the origination lauded Herbert’s his long-term commitment to on-road safety, through the establishment and considerable growth of his B.R.A.K.E.S. pro-active national teen defensive driving program.  

Good Vibrations returns as sponsor of Outlaw Fuel Altered Association

Good Vibrations Motorsports returns as title sponsor of the Outlaw Fuel Altered Association in 2020, the 24th consecutive season of racing for the southwest based series.


The 2020 Good Vibrations Motorsports Outlaw Fuel Altered Association, presented by Lone Star Forklift, will kick off April 10-11 at Evadale Raceway in Evadale, Texas. Two events are confirmed at Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris, Texas, in May and October with additional events confirmed at Mo-Kan Dragway in June and Ardmore Dragway in September. The 2020 season will also mark the debut of the new two-day race format that brings more fuel altered action to each host facility on Outlaw Fuel Altered weekend. 

Off the Track: Ford to use coffee beans for car parts

Ian Olson, McDonald’s senior director, global sustainability, and Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials research team, take a look at one of the products made from coffee bean chaff.


Perk up, folks! Ford Motor Company and McDonald’s USA will soon be giving vehicles a caffeine boost by using part of a familiar staple in the morning routine, coffee beans, in vehicle parts such as headlamp housing.


Every year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff – the dried skin of the bean – naturally comes off during the roasting process. Together, Ford and McDonald’s can provide an innovative new home to a significant portion of that material. The companies found that chaff can be converted into a durable material to reinforce certain vehicle parts. By heating the chaff to high temperatures under low oxygen, mixing it with plastic and other additives and turning it into pellets, the material can be formed into various shapes.


The chaff composite meets the quality specifications for parts like headlamp housings and other interior and under hood components. The resulting components will be about 20 percent lighter and require up to 25 percent less energy during the molding process. Heat properties of the chaff component are significantly better than the currently used material, according to Ford. This is the first time Ford has used coffee bean skins to convert into select vehicle parts.


The collaboration with Ford and McDonald’s is the latest example of the innovative approaches both companies take to product and environmental stewardship. The project also involves Varroc Lighting Systems, which supplies the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies, the processor of the coffee chaff. 



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