The Scoop on the Sport's Latest Top
By Dave Stevens
The sport's newest top fueler in a secret test session in Montgomery, Alabama.
Photo by Jeff Henderson
Bill asked me to provide a few details on our new Top Fuel car. This whole thing is one story after another, so let me see if I can be brief. The car is owned by Dave Stevens and Ray Heathcoe. Ray is from Silverhill, Alabama, and has raced his whole life. I am originally from Lawrenceville, IL, and spent 22+ years in the US Navy. (Several stories there). I have been involved with Drag Racing in one way or another for as long as I can remember. Ray is the Driver of the car and I am acting as the Crew Chief and Team Manager. We both still have day jobs.
The chassis was originally owned by Pete Megas, driven by Danielle DePorter, and built by Brad Hadman. Something went wrong with the deal and the car hung on the wall at Donnie Holbrook's for several years. We bought it in January. The chassis was updated with a new cage and some other changes. We have another complete car that I designed and we built, but it is a little different than most. Being new to Top Fuel, we thought it best to have a chassis like everyone else initially so that if we had problems with the clutch, etc, I could ask for help and it would be a known commodity. I am doing all the motor work.
The reason we are going to run Top Fuel is another story. Ray and I have been together since I retired from the Navy. He owned everything and I just started helping him. We were running Quick 8 and Super Comp stuff, but I just got tired of slowing down to race. I was driving a Nostalgia Top Fuel Car at the same time and there were only two races a year or so and they were a long drive, so I was just ready to quit. Ray's goal was to have a Top Alcohol Dragster. When I said that I didn't want to slow down to race anymore, he asked if I could build a TAD. I told him that I knew more about Nitro than Alky and so we started building an A/FD. That is when NHRA was changing the rules almost daily and we decided to put a blower on it.
We have been putting this together since November of 1996. We have had a considerable amount of help from a team that would rather remain anonymous at this time, but they know who they are and know how much we appreciate their help. We think we have enough money to run about 8-10 NHRA events this year if we don't run out of parts. Most will be East of the Mississippi. We would like to run the Anniversary Race at Pomona, but we will need some financial help with the gas prices to go that far. We have a company in New Jersey working hard at finding us a Marketing Partner and we have a standing offer of 10 percent to anyone who provides us with a researched lead that turns into a Marketing Partner.
We do have some product sponsors I would like to mention if possible. They are Fram, Autolite, and Di Karvalves Exhaust Valves. Ray's business is Road House Truck Conversions, Inc. He sells Conversion Trucks and trailers. Road House provides the truck, trailer, and shop for the race car. We do have a web site at
http://www.roadhousemotorsports.com. Our official photographer is Jeff Henderson and owns Henderson's Hot Shots. He can be reached through me on the Web Site.