Jimmy Rector

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 the accomplishment.

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 there.

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.


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