It’s once again time to check in with all the incredible people that comprise the drag racing community, and the Movers & Shakers featured in the DI #184 State of Drag issue include individuals who are making a difference on and off the track.
“I feel like we should have won three times this year but had nothing but bad luck. It’s just awesome to get this one.” – Jason Lee, first-time NHRA Pro Mod winner
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #184, the State of Drag Issue, in September/October of 2023. Photographs by Tara Bowker, Joe McHugh, David Hilner, Roger Pedersen, Van Abernethy, and NHRA]
BEHIND THE LENS: Krista Zivcic, who travels to races across the country filming clients for Corey Michalek’s React104, switches to shooting still photos during the driver autograph session at Summit Motorsports Park’s Night Under Fire.
ROLL OUT: PDRA Pro Boost contender Rob Cox eases his ProCharged Cox Trucking Camaro out of the trailer to begin preparing for a full day of qualifying at the PDRA North vs. South Shootout at Maryland International Raceway.
BOOSTED BUBBA: South Carolina’s Bubba Greene gets ready to strap into the screw-blown Corvette he now races in PDRA Pro Boost and outlaw Pro Mod events across the South. His brother and crew chief is the one and only Scotty Cannon.
MILES’ SMILES: PDRA Pro Jr. Dragster driver Danika Miles and her father, Top Dragster competitor Gabe Miles, snap a photo in the staging lanes before a qualifying pass at a recent PDRA race.
SPREADING THE WORD: God Speed Ministry volunteer Tammie Smith spreads messages of love and positivity to drivers and teams in the staging lanes at one of the PDRA’s most recent events.
‘CHAOS’ FIRST FAMILY: Tera Graves, who works with husband Chris Graves to put on the Funny Car Chaos and Nitro Chaos series, walks the pits at Eddyville with son Levi.
FIRST TO THE 3.40S: Past IHRA Funny Car champion Dale Creasy Jr. walks back from the starting line at Chaos in the Cornfield at Eddyville Raceway Park, where he qualified No. 1 in Nitro Chaos competition with a 3.40-second blast at 215 MPH in the eighth mile, marking the first 3.40-second pass by a Funny Car in the series.
CONTINUING THE LEGACY: Wayne Hoffman, the son of late Funny Car legend Al Hoffman, gets suited up to make a pass in his “China Syndrome” Dodge Omni Funny Car at Eddyville. The car is a tribute to his father, who passed away in 2008 before the two could start building a similar car.
WHAT’S SO FUNNY?: NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster championship contender Julie Nataas is all smiles as she hangs out in the Eddyville staging lanes with Randy Meyer Racing’s experimental A/Fuel Funny Car, which she’s driven numerous times. Though the team has parked the car for the season, they’ve made serious progress since its debut in 2022.
NITRO SURFER: Jeff Diehl, known as “The Surfer” when he’s racing his nitro Funny Car on the NHRA Camping World Series tour, checks out the starting line at Eddyville Raceway Park, where he was tuning the “Atomic Punk” nostalgia nitro Funny Car at “Chaos in the Cornfield.”
TRACKING THE TRACK: Lanny Miglizzi, the longtime track specialist for John Force Racing, relies on specialized equipment and years of experience to read the track surface at Pacific Raceways during the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
RACING ROYALTY: “Popeye” Pat Musi and Richard “The King” Petty share a laugh as Musi points out the features of the Edelbrock-Musi 555 crate engine in the “Hellcamino” build at Petty’s Garage in Randleman, North Carolina.
REAL HARDWARE: Bob Tasca III, the Funny Car winner at the final Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor at Heartland Motorsports Park, shows off his new Wally to actor Tim Allen during the Ford national dealers convention in Las Vegas. The Home Improvement star is a notorious gearhead with a huge car collection, including more than a few Fords.
RACIN’ RICO: Rico Garner has enjoyed a 50-plus-year career at Piedmont Dragway, beginning with his epic match races with Roy Hill in the early 1970s. In the decades that followed, Garner has racked up five championships at Piedmont, and has also held every position imaginable, including head of security, promoter and announcer. On Big Dog night, he still races a 5.50 Dodge Daytona, and even announces between rounds.
NITRO YOUNG GUNS: Funny Car drivers Bobby Bode and Blake Alexander pose for a quick photo in the Head Racing pit area. While the Bode family didn’t bring their Illinois-based Funny Car operation on the Western Swing, the second-generation driver tagged along with Alexander and the Head Racing team as a crew member.