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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

The Scoop on the Sport's Latest Fuel Funny Car

By Lynne Downing

Grant Downing's Paralax machine is the latest entry on the fuel funny car scene. Photo by Connie Worsham
Grant Downing's Paralax machine is the latest entry on the fuel funny car scene.
Photo by Connie Worsham

We are looking forward to seeing my husband Grant Downing's name on the Draglist Nitro FC list soon. He's completed three runs for his license, and hopes to ace the final next weekend in Bakersfield. Here's a pic of the car, and I'm sure I can talk him into putting some of your decals on the side! (It's the old Penthouse car, still with the original signage hidden underneath).

Grant and I started out in NHRA drag racing by being spectators at the World Finals in Pomona in 1992. We were fans fresh off the boat from New Zealand, and were into anything with an engine that went in a straight line. We had even competed against each other, driving in the same class, in the same vehicle at a street meet in NZ. 

The US opened up unlimited possibilities, and Grant soon started his own business, called Street and Strip Fabrication. When our first NHRA car was built, we were tactfully told during tech that the NHRA didn't like anything that held a connotation for street racing, so the company name was changed to Paralax Race Cars. The name "parallax" is a scientific term that relates to the apparent trajectory of moving objects in relation to the viewer's perspective. (Ever noticed how when watching a drag race that the closest car appears to be ahead, until both cars pass you?) That's the parallax view. The name was changed to make it fit on the 7-digit California license plates, and is now the tag on my 2000 Trans Am. We are now a two-car Firebird family, with Grant's 2000 Paralax Race Cars Pontiac and my navy blue metallic daily driver. 

Grant Downing gets ready for his licensing pass. Photo by Connie Worsham
Grant Downing gets ready for his licensing pass. Photo by Connie Worsham

Grant was a short-term crewmember for Rhonda Hartman, Mert Littlefield and Gary Densham until a race at Sonoma where he was "loaned" to Del Worsham. Grant and Del hit it off immediately, and Grant spent the next 18 months being a fly-in crewmember for the Checker Schucks Kragen team. Now Grant's aims to drive his own funny car, and he's on the way to getting his Nitro FC license. His first seat time came at Phoenix in 2001, with further licensing attempts at Las Vegas. His best time was 5:11 at 292 mph, and he only has one more full pass to achieve his license. The only obstacle that prevented complete licensing was a burnt piston and slightly (!) warped crankshaft. 

The car has a Paralax chassis, body by Hairy Glass, and paint courtesy of Krylon. The crew chief is Del Worsham, and the crew is a mixture of the CSK and Geronimo teams, and Paralax Race Cars' staff. His next licensing runs were this weekend, June 8-10, in Bakersfield.

Lynne Downing

Lynnecdowning@cs.com

 

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