My pick for Racer of the Week is Michael Smith, from Revere, Missouri. I found Mike online while looking through the photos on a Sportsman page, and when I found him on Facebook, he accepted my offer to be featured. He has been a great racer in the Midwest for many years, and it's been an enjoyable experience getting to know him.
Mike's race car is called "Dragula". It was, named by his daughter when they were trying to come up with a fitting name to the black beauty. It's a 2000 Firebird with a 632 cubic inch Rehrer & Morrison engine running a single stage 350 nitrous kit. It has a new trans & converter and runs in Top Sportsman, Quick 8 and Quick 16, depending on the event.
Dragula has a Jerry Bickel chassis and was originally owned and raced in Pro Stock by V. Gaines. It was soon picked up by another sponsor and Rickie Smith drove the car to a win, ironically on Halloween Night in 1999 at the Matco Tools Supernationals in Houston. It went through a succession of ownership until Mike purchased the car from Scott Paluse Racing in 2015 and he went about making it into the first-class machine it is today.
Mike prefers to race eighth-mile tracks, and he told me his home track is Eddyville Raceway Park in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He has run 4.50s there, and although the car can run below 6 1/2 seconds at over 211 mph in the quarter mile on 4 stages of nitrous, he enjoys the eigth-mile setup and he keeps it all safe and together and is focused on running the eighth-mile tracks for the forseeable future. Mike also told me his daughter Avery will be joining the team this year in her own junior dragster which she named DRAGZILLA! I forsee another Racer of the Week feature on the horizon!
Dragula is not only a consistent competitor in Mike's region, it is an iconic feature to every drag race he enters it in. Eddie Munster showed up with the original Dragula coffin dragster and the Munster Mobile and a huge party ensued. He had 500 Dragula t-shirts made and sold every one of them. I believe that Dragula is a name that stands out as much as Nanook, the Winged Express, the Little Red Wagon and many of the famous cars that are instantly recognizeable by the name and not a sponsor decal.
Mike thanks Reher & Morrison for the outstanding engine that they provided him, and he particularly thanks Larry at that company. He said any time he calls them with any issue at all, they will drop everything and get on his question, giving advice and expertise to help with anything at all that he calls them with, any time. He highly recommends getting a Reher & Morrison engine if you're looking for a reliable and trustworthy racing motor.
Along with his wife Sara and his daughter Avery, Mike thanks his friend Wes Buck at Drag Illustrated and his tuners and crew chiefs W. R. and Eddie Buck for their excellent work on his engine, and Wes for doing all he does to promote the sport of drag racing. Mike brings his family and friends to the races. He prefers to bring folks that have never been so they can get the full impression that drag racing always does to first-timers. He always has a great barbecue for everybody in his pit, and going drag racing with Dragula is always a fun and unforgettable experience for everybody.
Mike, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future.
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