My pick for Racer of the Week is Danny Schrokosch, from San Diego, California. Danny was recommended to me by our friend from Hawaii, Erik Kollist. Thanks, Erik!
Danny is a Four-Time March Meet Champion. He is the 2017 and 2018 Nostalgia Eliminator 1 champ with his beautiful Front-Engine Dragster. I talked with Danny over the last couple of weeks, and he gave his approval for me to use parts of this blog from Cary's Corvettes for his feature tonight, which details his 2018 championship day at Bakersfield.
Danny has been interested in drag racing since he was 10 years old, when he attended his first race at Carlsbad Raceway in 1969. By the time he was a teenager, Danny was racing instead of watching. He has driven and owned more race cars than you can count. For the past eighteen years Danny has been successfully campaigning a vintage, classic slingshot dragster. Anyone who can strap 1,000 horsepower between their legs and go drag racing with it is a hero! Danny’s house is filled with trophies, including many “Wallys”.
In an era of “celebrity” racing, including NASCAR, NHRA, IMSA, and Formula 1, Danny is an anomaly. Racing on a modest budget, using his own tools and equipment, financed by loyal, local sponsors, doing virtually all the mechanical work himself, and relying on friends and family to do all the race prep and pit work, his success is marvelous.
The March Meet – an historical West Coast drag racing event that draws a large number of the very best competitors and throngs of spectators. Until now, Dan had won the March Meet event in Nostalgia Eliminator 1 three times, including being the defending Champion by virtue of his victory in 2017.
In NE1 the driver has a target time of 7.60 seconds, and getting your car to run as close to, but no faster than, that time is essential for victory. Despite a rain-filled weekend Danny was able to qualify in the field of 31 NE1 cars in 3rd place with an impressive 7.623 time. As qualifying moved through the day other drivers did well and he ended up qualifying 6th in the field. Because it rained all day Saturday, eliminations couldn’t start until Sunday.
Assisting Danny in the pits, and in prepping, towing, staging and retrieving the car were his long-time pit crew members Marcus Havens, and Dan’s wife, Kim. With their help, on Sunday he was victorious over the #22 qualifier in round one. The day grew dark and cold, but by Sunday night Danny was also victorious over the #10 qualifier in Round 2. Unfortunately, Marcus needed to leave Sunday night to return to work, leaving Danny and Kim alone to continue the campaign.
Kim drives the truck, tows the dragster to the staging area, gets Danny settled in his racing suit and strapped into the car, starts the engine, gets him aligned at the starting line, watches him blast off, yells like a cheer-leader, jumps in the truck, races down the track to retrieve Danny and the dragster, and tows him back to the pits. Then she does it again in the next round!
The whole family is involved in the racing program. Kim and Dan's son, Bohdi, age four, is already a drag race fan. He has been joining Mom and Dad at the races since he was born. He now even has his own Junior Dragster.
Danny’s third round was about as perfect as is possible with a reaction time of .004 seconds on the tree and a run of 7.602 – you can’t get much closer than that. Now the field was down to four cars and two rounds to go!
Round 4 proved to be Danny’s best run of the meet. By this time he was matched against last years’ season-long NE1 champion. With nerves of steel Danny beat his opponent by 2 one-hundredths of a second at the line, and ran a remarkable 7.600 dead on! It don't get no better than that!
Continuing the extremely competitive racing of the weekend, the fifth and final round was another nail-biter. Danny shaved his opponent at the light by one one-thousandth of a second, and his time through the course was three one thousandths of a second faster. Victory is always sweet, but to finish a full weekend of racing with such tight competition and in near-perfect driving is surely as sweet as it comes!
Danny’s reward for this amazing, nearly perfect, performance? A “Wally”. It is the most coveted trophy in Drag Racing. The Wally is the image of Jack Jones, a Top Gas Dragster champ from the 1960s. Cast in Bronze, smiling, resting his driving gloves on a drag slick, holding a classic helmet – a perfect image to celebrate a racer like Dan – vintage, old-school, low-tech, filled with grit and determination, and hoping to race dragsters as long as he can hold a steering wheel.
Dan wanted me to be sure to thank his sponsors for their support this season and throughout his career (some of his sponsors have supported him for more than eighteen years):
Mother Earth Brewery, Churchill's Pub and Grill, Curtis Drilling, Chapman's Automotive, Maxima Oil, Kevin Walsh, Helix Mechanical, Crest Water Treatment, Comp Cams, TCI Transmissions, Machine Tech Racing Engines, Cogswell Motorsports, Lyons Muffler, Seaside Rooter, Carb On Tech, RK Fence, Lenard Izbicki, Water Works, San Diego Gear and Axle, Joe the Door Guy, and Jiffy Tite.
Congratulations, Danny! You are an inspiration to anyone who ever broke the beams at the starting line and blasted down the track! We wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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