LETTER from the EDITOR
Wes Buck Chief Executive Officer Founder & Editorial Director 660.988.2313 wes @ dragillustrated . com
Mike Carpenter Chief Operating Officer Design & Production Director 704.737.2299 mike @ dragillustrated . com
Nancy Koeppen Chief Financial Officer 573.552.5551 nancy @ dragillustrated . com
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief 440.986.1480 nate @ dragillustrated . com
Brett Underwood VP of Sales & Chief Development Officer 704.907.3515 brett @ dragillustrated . com
We usually try to include a wide variety of topics and areas of focus in our Sportsman Issue – and this 12th annual edition is diverse – but you might notice a bit of a theme . Fast doorslammers have become a huge part of sportsman racing , at least at the sport ’ s highest levels , and we wanted to shine a light on that growing community . Of course , we also have the usual mix of spotlights on weekend warriors , bracket hitters , and the like .
Leading things off on the cover is Stacy Hall , a guy who can ’ t be described in just one sentence . Now 52 years old , he ’ s been racing since he was 14 , working his way up from bracket racing and grudge racing in the South to now contending for world championships in the PDRA ’ s Top Sportsman and Top Dragster classes . He ’ s also one of the lead engine builders at Fulton Competition Engines , where some of the biggest names in doorslammer racing have gone for power .
Hall races at a high level , but he represents the best that sportsman racing has to offer . He simply loves drag racing , and he does whatever it takes to load up and head to the racetrack with his family when the weekend comes around . It doesn ’ t get much more relatable than that .
There ’ s also Kelly Wade ’ s comprehensive roundtable discussion with a handful of standout drivers in NHRA Competition Eliminator . In recent years , the car counts in Comp have dipped to dangerously low numbers , but thanks to an influx of cash from benefactors like Rodger Brogdon , it seems the class is on an upswing . I ’ ll admit I ’ ve been in the camp
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief
that doesn ’ t fully understand the category sometimes referred to as “ Complicated Eliminator ,” but after reading the perspectives of these drivers , I can at least say I have a new appreciation for the class .
Another can ’ t-miss read in this issue is the feature on NHRA sportsman star Ryan Herem . Herem suffered a brutal crash at Phoenix at the start of the 2020 season , then redeemed himself with a win back at Phoenix two years later . He details his mentally and physically challenging road back to the winner ’ s circle .
Unfortunately , the sport has suffered several significant losses in the weeks since our last issue went to print . It felt like hit after hit as news of these losses spread online : legendary announcer Dave McClelland , Texas Pro Mod racer Ronnie Hobbs , pioneering drivers Tony Christian and Wally Bell , and two incredibly influential track owners , Bill Bader Sr . and Bruton Smith . We did our best to honor these men with the recognition they deserved .
It took some help from our friends in the industry , like Brian Lohnes , who pays tribute to one of his heroes , McClelland , and Pat Musi , who remembers his Pro Stock and Pro Street battles with Christian , his longtime friend and rival . I certainly appreciate them sharing their memories , thoughts , and perspectives .
As always , I encourage you to tell us what you think . Like what you see in this issue ? Awesome ! Let us know . Don ’ t like what you see ? Didn ’ t see what you were hoping to see ? We want to know all about that too . Every message we receive is appreciated , and we act on every opportunity to improve the magazine . DI
Feel free to email me at nate @ dragillustrated . com and follow me at facebook . com / nitronate1320 and nitronate1320 on Instagram and Twitter .
JT Hudson VP of Business Development & Client Relations 660.341.0063 jt @ dragillustrated . com
Josh Hachat Editor-at-Large 740.627.1423 josh @ dragillustrated . com
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS : Bobby Bennett , Greg Burrow , Tommy D ’ Aprile , Allyson Johnson , Bret Kepner , Brandon W . Mudd , Ian Tocher , Kelly Wade
PHOTO DEPARTMENT : John Fore III , Van Abernethy , Rick Belden , Tara Bowker , Jason Dunn , Chris Graves , Ron Lewis , Joe McHugh , Gary Nastase , Mark J . Rebilas , Roger Richards , Cole Rokosky , Chris Sears , James Sisk , Ian Tocher
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Copyright © 2022 by Drag Illustrated Media , LLC . All rights reserved . Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited . Drag Illustrated is a registered trademark of Drag Illustrated Media , LLC . Printed and mailed by Royle Printing in Sun Prairie , WI .
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PHOTO : RICK BELDEN
10 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 177