Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 2, Page

Words and Photos by Ian Tocher

Sometimes marching to the beat of a different drummer can really pay off, as Canadian racer Rob Atchison and his family-based team have indisputably proven in the alcohol-fueled IHRA Funny Car ranks. After scoring eight number-one qualifying positions in 2005, Atchison, 30, wrapped it all up with a record-setting 5.685-seconds pass in the final round of the final race to tie the IHRA single-season record with his seventh national event win and secure his third consecutive IHRA championship. And all this despite eschewing the tried-and-true hemi route to success.

Instead, between the frame rails of the Erickson Manufacturing-backed flopper resides a Chevrolet wedge-head, big-block combination, originally released in 1997 by Alan Johnson. Those first motors went to Walt and Pat Austin and when longtime Chevy racers Atchison and his father/crew chief, Bob, saw how well the Austins did on the NHRA trail, in ’98 they added the new AJ bullet to Atchison Racing’s arsenal.

Atchison concedes it would’ve been easier to go with a traditional hemi setup and off-the-shelf parts, but his team’s familiarity with all things bowtie weighed heavily in their decision to go the alternate route, as did its affect on Atchison Machine Service, the family business in London, ON, that Bob established in 1964.