Words and photo
by Ian Tocher
As important as anyone to
Mitch Stott's recent Pro Mod success is Jimmy
Rector, the reigning IHRA Alcohol Funny Car champion
who hung up his helmet to concentrate on guiding
Stott to a season title in 2003 (along with tuning
fellow F/C champ Mark Thomas). Last year, Rector
tuned Stott's ride only part-time, but still managed
to put him in the winner's circle at each of the
last three IHRA races of the season.
That momentum clearly carried
over the winter months, as on Feb. 14, Rector
wrenched Stott's Radiac Abrasives '63 Corvette
to the world's first sub-six-second trip for
a doorslammer down the quarter-mile. Team Radiac's
5.985 pass was still a fresh memory for Rector
when Drag Racing Online talked to him about
DRO: What does
setting this record mean to you, especially
in your role as a crew chief?
Rector: Well, I guess it's the greatest accomplishment that I've ever
had as a tuner. I mean, I've won championships, but I've stepped out of
the driver's seat and at least for now that's my glory.
DRO: Were you confident when you arrived this weekend that you would
break into the fives?
Rector: I told him (Stott), we'd be extremely close, but not to get his
hopes up. Mitch is a good racecar driver and we've worked real hard --
real hard -- at putting together a program that'll do stuff like this. A
lot of people come in here changing pulleys and changing everything on
their motors, but I told him, 'Our best chance is to go with what we
know.' I knew we could take some weight off and then I could finesse
here and there, but I didn't want to change the world.
DRO: What were some of the keys to success for you?
Rector: Well, I know Shannon Jenkins said that Tim McAmis builds the
best racecars, but that one right there is a Tommy Mauney racecar
and I'd have to beg to differ. I mean, that's a helluva' racecar right
And when you go out there and run the early numbers we run, it's
gonna' happen. A lot of people are trying to do it with mile an hour; I
know the Australian guys run 238 or 240, but I've said all along, from
my experience you've gotta' run quick to the eighth. Bob Newberry
preaches that and I'll preach that, your ET comes from the eighth-mile.
You've still go to run out the back door, but you have got to run quick
to the eighth first.
And that's what we did. We came here with a game plan and stuck to it
100 percent. As far as I'm concerned, we're not trying to run in the
fives anymore. Our next goal is to win a 2003 championship for a Pro
Mod and with anything less that that, we'll be disappointed. But that's
going to be a long year.