My pick for Racer of the Week is Mike Racer, from Sikeston, Missouri. I’ve had Mike on the schedule for a feature for quite a while, and we were finally able to get synchronized on a date. It’s great to have Mike onboard with DragList LIVE for this feature.
His rear-engine Corvair Funny Car is a unique and exciting hot rod, unlike anything else that’s out there running, and he has put his life’s work into it. Here’s a guy who has always thunk outside the box, folks. He has given me a lot of great information about himself and his car and I’m proud to relay it to you tonight.
Mike Puzycki was about 9 yrs old when he decided a Rear-Engine Funny Car was what he wanted to do. He figured someone would build one, and he would move there and work for them…but when nobody built one, he realized the burden fell to him. If he didn't do it, the it likely would never happen, so Mike sold everything he owned (the houseboat, the dirt bike, the furniture) to raise 20 thousand dollars to start his own team in 1997.
He told me “All my Friends were getting married and having kids... I started a race team !!”
Originally the car had an ’84 Corvette body and it ran for several years with that configuration, but a crash happened at Lakeland, Florida in 2014 and things changed after that. Mike knew he was in big trouble, he had the fuel off and the chute out as he crossed centerline for first time in his life. A fluid leak from the transmission caused the crash, it was a crew error. ￼ He recorded 106 MPH on 2 wheels and went head-on into the wall... then he climbed the wall and spun out, and caught fire. The EMT guy grabbed him by his firesuit and pulled him out thru smoke and fire. Mike was uninjured, EMT guys are HERO's !!
The chassis is an ICW (Innovative Chassis Works) of Gainesville, FL, and it is the last rear engine funny car ever built (which was 1998) and it takes full advantage of the modern technology, such as: Rack & Pinion steering, a Tripod front end, 30 inch front overhang, 125" wheelbase, increased driver setback due to smaller components, and so forth…
He had the chassis updated to the Eric Medlen rule for 10.1E alcohol funny car chassis.
Mike had the body custom made by Pat Sherr (RIP) and purchased it from Don Hudson when Pat passed away. He had to move all 4 wheel wells to fit the R/E chassis.
The Corvair body was on order for 3 years when Mike crashed in 2014… He called a Team / Sponsor meeting... Do we quit, or do we turn this into a positive and forge ahead ? They forged ahead.
The engine in this fabulous creation is a 496" Big Block Chevy, a 4 bolt bowtie tall deck poured solid, with custom solid aluminum Brodix heads, 13:1 Arias pistons, MSD everything, Enderle fuel injection, a Kryptonite stroker crank, with Aluminum rods. It can run straight alcohol, but Mike usually runs 10% though. It also can run 25% Nitro, but he has to alter the tuneup, and that combination comes with more maintenance. Mike runs an FTI transmission.
In the past, Mike was running with the Southern Slingshots group, and although he was not an actual member, they let Mike’s team run as field filler, when they had a low car count. They are a Front-Engine Dragster Nostalgia group, and they just got a new owner... Mike spoke with him today and... he is a full-fledged member now. They opened up the rules to allow period correct funny cars into the mix. This is great news because Mike puts on a show every time he makes a run, and seeing him run is an unforgettable experience! It will add to the appeal of this group!
Mike’s track in Sikeston, Missouri is an AHRA track, and he helped Dallas write rules for for their new Econo-Comp class, shades of the old Pro-Comp class from years ago. That class brings funny cars back to AHRA, Mike’s included. He told me that this Corvair Funny Car is the primary reason that Larry trusts him with his track, and feels comfortable selling it to him.
Missouri is kinda far from Southern Slingshots, so Mike is hoping they will schedule a race near him, or have him host an event for them.
Mike and his friends are going to host a DRC event for his buddy David Pike Jr, to help people suffering from Cystic Fibrosis (like David's daughter).
Mike is a great guy and a great Racer. We wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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