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Josh Starcher


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On April 20, 2002, Josh Starcher became the youngest driver ever to make a quarter-mile pass at more than 300 miles per hour when he steered to third place in IHRA Top Fuel qualifying at Virginia Motorsports Park with a 4.825-seconds at 300.60-mph blast.

Starcher, who turned 17 in January, comes from a racing family. His father, Tim, raced dirt-oval cars before turning to drag racing in 1995 when he bought Josh and his brother Chris each a Junior Dragster for Christmas. While Chris eventually lost interest, his younger brother showed an immediate affinity for straight-line acceleration and went on to win two NHRA Div. 1 championships (Age 10-11 in 1996 and Age 12-13 in 1998) and two IHRA Jr. Dragster national events ('98 & '00).

Remarkably, that Jr. Dragster experience was all Starcher had before slipping behind the wheel of Joel Collins' WIX Dragster Driving Experience Top Fuel car. Early in June, he returned to the rescheduled VMP event after rain interrupted the original race date and defeated Jack Ostrander in round one, then fell to eventual race winner Clay Millican. Between rounds, Starcher spoke with Drag Racing Online about his budding career.

DRO: Okay, here's the question everyone wants answered. How does a 17-year old get to drive a Top Fuel car?

JS: It was pretty lucky. My dad and I met [team owner] Joel (Collins) at my last Jr. Dragster event, at a track in Georgia, and my dad and Joel arranged a private school for us last winter at Mooresville, NC. We both got a Top Dragster license and after the school was over, Joel and I just started talking about the Top Fuel team. Then he basically just came out and said, "We don't have a driver; do you want to drive?"

I seriously thought he was joking. I was thinking to myself, 'C'mon, get real,' and apparently he could tell by my face that I was thinking that, so he looked me in the eye and said, "I'm being dead serious."

Copyright 2002, Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source