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Wayne Dupuy is Joe Amato's current tuner who has taken the Amato Top Fuel team from "doormat" to dominant status in a few short months. Wayne is one of just a few Nitro tuners who holds current licenses to drive both a Top Fuel and Fuel Funny car. His career is both varied and impressive. He started his nitro career as a "diver" (working on the bottom end) for Connie Kalitta and Gene Snow. He then went on to tune the Funny Car of the late Tony MacCallum's fuel flopper and they won an IHRA national event at Bristol against some stiff competition. During the course of a stellar career he has tuned the likes of KC Spurlock, Jim Epler, Christen Powell, Scotty Cannon, Jerry Toliver and Don Lampus, just to name a few. In 2001 John Force was quoted as saying that Dupuy was "the next Austin Coil." Judging by the way Dupuy has turned the Joe Amato team around, Force evidently knew what he was talking about. Currently, Amato's team is in fifth place in NHRA points and Wayne Dupuy and driver Darrell Russell have won the last two races. DRO contributing editor Darr Hawthorne sat down with Dupuy at Sonoma and came away with this candid interview.
DRO: Were you surprised when Amato called you? How did you guys get together?
WD: He drug me out of a restaurant in Gainesville. [Editor's note: he happened to be having a drink with DRO Editor Jeff Burk at the time.]
DRO: Had he been following you?
WD: No. When Jimmy Prock left (the Amato team) he put me and Joe together. We talked about 20 minutes and Joe said he would think about it. He came back to me, I think it was at Memphis when I was running Don's (Lampus) car, and he said that he would stick with what he had, give (Jimmy) Walsh a shot. He (Walsh) started tearing up a lot of stuff. I think Walsh got off of what he and Prock were doing when he tried to venture out and make some big power. You know when you get to race tracks where you can't use it you got a lot of (fuel) pump on it, the engine blows up. So Joe spent a lot of money in the first three months of this year. He killed the budget pretty much. Right now we don't have a big budget 'cause those guys spent a lot of money on parts 'cause they were tearing a lot of stuff up.
DRO: You've been pretty resourceful through the years on pretty tight budgets though. What's it been like since you took the Amato job?
WD: We hurt a little bit. To get everything changed over I kind of had to run it half me and half Walsh. I kept trying to ease it out and do more of what I wanted to do and after Atlanta I finally got to take the car home, just field strip and build the car the way I wanted it. We went on to Englishtown and ran really good but I kind of let my ego get in the way the first round and messed the whole race up.
DRO: And you obviously learned from that.
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