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David Reher and late partner Buddy Morrison and their driver and head designer, the late Lee Shepherd, rank as probably the greatest Pro Stock team in history. No single team had a more successful reign than the Arlington, Texas group did in the first half of the 1980’s. (Keep in mind, that when we use the term “team” here, we're talking more than one owner / driver / tuner such as with cars campaigned by Bob Glidden, Warren Johnson, and Bill Jenkins.)

After a sterling Sportsman career where Shepherd won two NHRA National events (he won a third in 1977), the three racers entered Pro Stock competition in 1976 at the NHRA Cajun Nationals in LaPlace, LA. Remarkably, Shepherd defeated the vaunted AMC Hornet of Wally Booth in the final and won what was then an NHRA showcase event. However, in the next decade, the team's winning profile would grow to gargantuan proportions.

During the first half of the 1980s, the Reher & Morrison team totally dominated Pro Stock, winning four straight NHRA Winston season championships (1981-1984), and two IHRA Winston Pro Stock Championships (1983-1984). In that stretch, Shepherd was the world champ in both associations two years in a row (’83-’84), an unparalleled feat.

Shepherd won 26 individual NHRA national event Pro Stock titles and 10 with IHRA. He was the first driver in the 7.8-, 7.7-, and 7.6-second zones for NHRA, and the first in the 7.5’s and 7.4’s for IHRA.

In fact, in 1984 Shepherd, in a fashion similar to Top Fuel racers Larry Minor and Gary Beck in 1983 (17 of 18 quickest), registered the 15 quickest times for Pro Stock, ranging from a best of 7.443 to a 7.500.

During the 1981 through 1984 seasons, Reher-Morrison-Shepherd registered national event won-loss records that read as follows:

  • 1981 NHRA: 34-6
  • 1982 NHRA: 35-5; 1982 IHRA: 7-2
  • 1983 NHRA: 30-8; 1983 IHRA: 21-3
  • 1984 NHRA: 31-7; 1984 IHRA: 28-2

On March 10, 1985, Shepherd was killed in a testing accident at Ardmore Raceway in Oklahoma, leaving drag racing without one of its greatest drivers. Reher and Morrison huddled quickly and brought then 35-year-old Bruce Allen into the seat to compete at that year's NHRA Gatornationals. He did an outstanding job, considering the burden the team was under. Finishing third in the NHRA Winston standings, Allen took wins at that year's LeGrandnational Molson, the NHRA Summernationals, and the NHRA Keystone Nationals.

However, the team never again enjoyed the success they had with Shepherd. Allen proved to be a very good driver and over the next 15 years won 12 NHRA national events in 31 final-round appearances overall. The former Lapeer, Michigan-based shoe also pulled down the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel titles at the 1985 and ’86 U.S. Nationals and then runner-upped the following two years. He also was runner-up in 1991 and 1992.

In addition to wins, Allen was the 12th member in the NHRA / Speed-Pro 200-mph Club with a 200.17-mph charge at Maple Grove Raceway in 1999 and has a best elapsed time of 6.83 turned at the 1999 O'Reilly Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.

All things considered, he's done a helluva job considering the tradition he has to uphold.

Photo by Jim Bralley


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