Drag Illustrated Issue 175, March / April 2022 - Page 110


A trio to watch in this genre are the sons of three giants of Drag Week : Aydan Bailey , Joey Barry , and Kyle Morris . If their last names aren ’ t the hint you need , they ’ re the sons of Tom Bailey , Joe Barry , and Steve Morris . Aydan has been licensing up and getting seat time in the “ Shitbox of Doom ” ’ 57 Chevy wagon over the past year after having grown up around one of the quickest men in the drag-and-drive genre .
Joey has co-driven with his father for years as a dedicated crew chief and is currently building his own 1956 shoebox Chevy in a similar vein of Joe ’ s “ Creamsicle ,” one of Drag Week ’ s original all-steel monsters .
Kyle is easy to spot ; you ’ ll find that he and Steve share the same piston artwork on their forearm tattoos – he too grew up in a shop environment that ’ s shaped his perspective to this day .
Aydan raced Sick Week as his father continued to coach him , Joey was his co-driver in the ‘ 57 wagon , while Kyle joined Steve in the “ Boostmaster ” wagon for the week . They ’ re all crossing that almighty drinking age chapter , having floated through that intermission between high school and real life successfully to end up behind the wheels and wrenches of some of the quickest street cars on Earth , slowly finding their footings as adults through the hard-taught lessons of racing . The friendships shared by a generation ahead are reflected in their personalities today , even if they don ’ t realize it yet .
What makes drag-and-drive events so valuable to the sport of drag racing is the incredible accessibility . These hell weeks are dense in core life experiences . And as we look to another generation rising to take hold of the sport , environments that create these anchor points between eras are as important as ever . They all grew up being rattled in the shotgun seat , barely able to peer over the dash . They ’ ve seen how long nights can lead to long-term success , and what can be learned through failure when that mark is missed .
Among the many young guns that have entered and thrived in these events , these three represent the trickle-down effect that ’ s happening with hundreds of families every year . Racing weekends will always be fun , but nothing will replace the ability to share in that love of motorsports and machinery for five days straight quite like these drag-and-drive style events . – PHILLIP THOMAS DI






Many racers at these drag-and-drive events are shop owners themselves . Whether they ’ re engine builders , body workers , or handling ground-up customs and restorations , the unique endurance challenge during the hell week serves as both an R & D environment and business card for many entrepreneurs .
For Stef Rossi , owner of ACE Racing Engines , that was the plan when he brought his business , and his 1966 Chevy Nova , over from the U . K . back in 2009 . “ We wanted to expand into more V8 stuff ,” Rossi starts , “ and California is where hot rodding is , right ?”
They ’ ve made the switch from largely air-cooled stuff , focusing on LS-platform builds that make big power reliably , and the Nova was ready to showcase this . Things had gone to plan , largely . The coast-to-coast tow went smoothly as Rossi and co-driver Jerome Turner split 12-hour shifts at the helm . They spent time at FuelTech USA ’ s shop in Ball Ground , Georgia , to dial everything in before making their way further south into the Florida peninsula for the start of Sick Week . The ACE Racing Engines-built , LS-based 427 made 2,312hp at the wheels , a record for a hydraulic-roller lifter .
On Day 1 , that first pass was starting off as one of the quickest runs of Rossi ’ s career too , a career that had grown with the Nova over the years as it drove to drag races in the U . K . before serving as a billboard for his technical skills here , but a sly silicone coupler would throw his momentum into a wall .
Just past half-track , Rossi “ saw drops hitting the windshield and I started to get out of it , but it was already too late .” The rear-end wiggled before
Issue 175