Words and photos
by Ian Tocher
fter sitting out 2001, veteran driver Scott
Geoffrion has joined forces with team owner Hurley
Blakeney, crew chief Eric Luzinski, and backing
from Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear to run the only
Ford currently in NHRA Pro Stock competition.
The Blakeney Motorsports team started this season
with an '01 Mustang, but after a DNQ at the season
opener in Pomona and a crash at the next event,
in Phoenix, they debuted a new 2003 Escort ZX2
at Gainesville, where it promptly qualified
fifth and won its first round of eliminations.
Since then, Geoffrion has qualified at every
race and even made it to a final-round appearance
in Houston, his first since September 2000.
Early in May, when he sat down with DRO at the
Atlanta NHRA event, the San Clemente, CA-based
driver was sixth in NHRA POWERade points.
DRO: How did you
get started in Pro Stock racing?
Geoffrion: I guess I started my career while hanging around a local mechanic's shop who used to race in Modified Eliminator when I was about 10 years old and I'm 37 now. That was in northern New Jersey and his name was Emil Ekroth; he still races a C Altered comp car.
I sort of hung around with him a lot and went over there after school and eventually met different racers there from the New Jersey area and it led to me working for Don Campanello, he used to race Pro Stock and wound up winning the '86 Gatornationals. I was with him for a lot of years, five, six, seven, something like that, and eventually in 1987 I had an opportunity when Emil put a car together and I bought the motor from Don, and that was the first time I ever raced Pro Stock, at the 1987 Gatornationals.
I bought the motor that Don won with and I qualified 16th at my first race,
and there were 50-something cars there trying
to qualify, too, so it was a pretty exciting
thing. I didn't even
my license until the week before I went down
there. Then I kind of raced off and on and I
think we made it to four races that year.
In '88 I raced with Ken Koretsky, '89 I raced with Ron Gross, 1990 I raced with a guy by the name of Joe Wheeler, and then in '91 I got my big break. At the end of 1991, Warren (Johnson) asked me to drive his second car. Me and [Johnson's son] Kurt more or less tuned that car and it was a lot of fun. We finished number four, I had my first number-one qualifying position, and that led to the situation with Dodge. They hired me in 1992 and I raced there until the year 2000; a lot of ups and downs, a lot of good times, a lot of bad times, a lot of stress, a lot of controversy, and everything else. But the fans were always great and it's kind of interesting because it seems like a lot of them are shifting over to the blue oval now.
DRO: What's the mood like now with your new team owner Hurley Blakeney?
Geoffrion: Well, Hurley's allowed me to put this team together the way I wanted to, and to hire the personnel that I wanted to, and the engine builder that I wanted, and it's all working out. You could tell we've got great chemistry right from the get go. We've qualified well at every race -- well, except at Pomona, where we didn't qualify -- and we've already been to a final round, so yeah, we're pretty happy.
DRO: You crashed at Phoenix, though. Was that much of a setback to you personally?
Geoffrion: Yeah, I had never crashed a racecar
before; I've had plenty of wrecks on the street,
but never in a racecar. It was a hard lick.
My back still feels it, so it was definitely
a hard lick and it laid me up for awhile. But
you know, they shot me up with cortisone and
steroids and everything else to try and ease
the inflammation back in there. Basically, I
have a bulged disc, so we'll just keep plugging
at it. A good running racecar will cure cancer
is the way I look at it. I try not to think
about it too much.