Randy Scheuer, Jr.'s Riding High in Mallory Super Pro
Whether you’re a friend of Randy Scheuer, Jr. or a fan of his racing, you’ve likely noticed how he calmly and confidently goes about pouring fuel into the cell on his dragster, airing up its tires and making any necessary mechanical adjustments before climbing in and driving to the staging lanes.
There, his ever-present smile remains, regardless of who he is set to line up against, even if it’s his Bear Motorsports teammate .
That can likely be chalked up to his personality as well as his passion for racing and his persistence when it comes to making progress. In 2013, Randy earned a win and a runner-up at Summit Motorsports Park, and even though he wasn’t seeing the tree the way he wanted to during nighttime racing – and even though the engine in his dragster kicked out a rod at an important race during the summer – his team had a spare engine and he was able to finish the season and earn the Super Pro championship.
The Toledo resident who builds alcohol and gas carburetors for APD prides himself on being able to get in the cockpit of his dragster, relax and focus only on the task before him, but admits that he was happy to get “the monkey off his back,” and in this case, “the monkey” was fellow skilled driver Kirby McLennan, who had gone around him after a very tight race for last year’s championship.
Along with Randy for the ride to the top were his girlfriend, Mandi, and his children, Dylan and Emma, and when he catches himself wondering whether his children are too young to fully grasp the magnitude of his accomplishment, their proud smiles tell him everything he needs to know.
Wes Buckley Brings Home the Mr. Gasket Pro Championship
There’s a lot about Wes Buckley that has remained consistent throughout his racing career, including how he quietly walks from the staging lanes to the starting line before each race to study whether other drivers are running on, over or under; how he puts his dial-in on his window with a poker-face and how he won’t strap in until it’s time to fire his engine because he doesn’t want to over-think the race.
His desire to win and his ability to win are proof that what he’s doing works, but he sets the bar so high for himself that rather than boasting about his 2013 Pro championship — and how it came down to the final points race and whether Nick Hastings or Rick Baehr won in the semi-final — he bemoans the fact that he won slightly fewer races than he usually does. It’s not likely that his fellow racers or fans even noticed that, for as far as they’re concerned, he’s an omnipresent threat.
He gives a lot of credit to his dad, fellow racer Tim Buckley, who built and maintains the engine in his ’84 Camaro, which runs low tens, and he has a lot of support from his family, including his brother, fellow racer Lucas Buckley, who somehow forgives him for feeling compelled to say when he thinks he missed the mark on race day.
Wes — who is known to deadpan that it’s “very annoying” to lose in any round that isn’t the final — keeps his reflexes swift in the winter months by racing at the slot car track, where the competition is just as fierce as it is at the dragstrip. When he’s not doing that, he drives semi-trucks and trailers filled with products to stores in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana for Carter Lumber Company.
While he usually holds his cards close to his chest, he has shared that he and his dad are building a new engine over winter, and that they have a few tricks up their sleeves to run faster.
Rick Poole Rides to Super Bike Championship
As a child, Rick Poole was all about mini-bikes and motocross, but in 1981, he climbed off of them long enough to take his ’74 Plymouth ‘Cuda to Summit Motorsports Park, where he entered a race for the first time and won.
Because he had discovered that he liked racing, he decided to stay with it, but because he had also discovered that he liked motorcycles, he bought one in 1983, and before long, he was racing it at Summit Motorsports Park and with the International Drag Bike Association (IDBA). He recalls wallowing in the feeling of sitting low to the ground, leaning forward and having the wind go over him as he went wide-open throttle down-track.
These days, he does so 8.90 seconds at a time in the Super Bike class, on his Suzuki bike, which he refers to as an “almost stock economical piece” with an engine slightly larger in displacement than stock but still low in compression.
He fought electrical issues throughout the 2013 season and was forced to unwire his delay box and go bottom-bulb racing for a while as he worked to uncover the culprit, but in the end, the reigning 2012 champion won two races, was runner-up at two races, made the bracket finals team and earned the 2013 Super Bike championship.
At the races with him are his girlfriend, Tabitha Gittins, who races a dragster in Super Pro, and his son, Austin Poole, who races a Yamaha FJ1100 motorcycle in Stock, and while he would like to spend more time conversing with his fellow racers, he keeps pretty busy in the pit area tending to the responsibilities of the team, which also includes fellow racer Gary Godwin.
Poole, an auto technician who works in Akron, Ohio and lives in New Franklin, Ohio, currently has his tried-and-true bike disassembled, and is weighing whether he’ll ride it or the new Pro Mod-style bike he’s currently building to run over the 7.50 limit.
Regardless of which path he chooses, he plans to start the season on the bike that carried him to the 2012 and 2013 championships.
Joe Childs Collects ACCEL Sportsman delivered on Time by TFC Transportation Championship
For a few months last season, Joe Childs felt as though he had lost his competitive edge because if he was on the tree, his car ran off, and if he missed the tree, his car ran on.
He fell behind in points, but when he and a friend discovered an issue with the car’s computer which was preventing the transmission from shifting properly and took steps to remedy it, his program began to turn around.
Soon, he earned a win at the Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals, two wins and a runner-up in Sportsman and went into the final points race of the season knowing he had a chance to earn the 2013 Sportsman championship if he played his cards right. He told himself he would remain cool, calm and collected and that he would accept whatever happened, but after the third round, when it became apparent that he would be the champion, he began celebrating and nearly forgot he had a race to finish in the ’99 Firebird he refers to as “bone-stock” that runs fifteens.
It marked his second Sportsman championship in a row, an accomplishment he said he was surprised about, in part because of the tough competition and the fact that he was pulling double-duty, as he also drives an ’01 Tram Am to high tens in the Pro class. He admits that juggling both can be a handful and that sometimes, while going down-track in one car, he catches himself thinking about what he’s going to dial in the other car.
At the track, he’s assisted by his dad, Gary; his wife, Heather and his stepson, Noah, who recently scored the winning touchdown that earned his elementary school team a championship, something that he said means even more to him than his own championship.
Away from the track, he’s a physical therapist assistant who also plays drums, collects baseball cards and considers his autographed Ken Griffey, Jr. cards to be among his most prized possessions.
Scott Chitty Captures Championship
Because Scott Chitty was introduced to the race track very early in life, it was no surprise when he declared at the age of eight that he wanted to climb behind the wheel of a junior dragster.
Since then, he’s had five different junior dragsters and seven different engine combinations and has found his way to the winner’s circle multiple times, and in 2013, after attending every points race, winning once, runnering-up twice and qualifying for the Junior Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals in Bristol, Tennessee, he is the Bear Motorsports Advanced Junior Dragster champion presented by Wiseco.
According to Scott, the road to the championship was at times rocky as he and his team worked to tune his junior dragster’s combination, but his nerves were never rattled, even when he made passes in front of thousands of spectators at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Night Under Fire presented by Kelly Services and Summit Racing Equipment Shakedown at the Summit presented by Mickey Thompson.
In addition to piloting his junior dragster in 2013, Scott ran a 2010 Chevy Cobalt in the Stock class to get his feet wet in door-car competition, and last fall, he made test laps in a ’92 Camaro with a small-block engine and will introduce himself to the Sportsman ranks in 2014. While he’s sure that going from racing a junior dragster to racing a door car will be a new ballgame, he’s also sure that he’s ready.
He is supported in his efforts by his dad, Terry, who is a former racer, and his mom, also named Terri. When he’s not racing, he works at his dad’s automotive shop and attends classes at Springfield High School and Portage Lakes Career Center, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society in his junior and senior years. He will graduate in May and plans to study automotive technology at Stark State College.
Stephen Crowell Cruises to Top Spot
It could be said that Stephen Crowell and his dad, Steve Crowell, have a lot in common, as the younger drives a junior dragster and is the 2013 Bear Motorsports Intermediate Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco champion and the elder drove a ’72 Chevelle and was the ’93 Pro champion.
But Stephen, a sixth-grader at Keystone Middle School in LaGrange, Ohio, made it to several final rounds and won a race in 2013 while also guiding his brother, Michael Crowell, in the Novice Junior Dragster class. Both will help their younger brother, Tyler Crowell, when he enters the junior dragster ranks.
Stephen — who tends to be rather quiet in the staging lanes while he focuses — admits that a handful of early-round exits at a couple races in a row were of great concern to him because of how dramatically it impacted where he was in the points standings, but he made an even stronger commitment to his race program, hit the full-sized practice tree at home and gave it everything he had behind the wheel.
When he’s not making laps on the track, he’s making laps on the basketball court and on the baseball field at his school, and while he’s as skilled there as he is in his junior dragster, he doesn’t mince words when he says the track is where he’d rather be.
On the starting line with him, his dad and brothers every race day is his mom — and biggest fan — Joely Crowell.
All In for Allyson Downs - Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster Novice Champion by Wiseco
When meeting someone for the first time, it’s common for Allyson Downs to offer a cordial and confident greeting followed by a warm smile and witty conversation.
The outgoing fifth-grader at Mifflin Elementary in Mansfield, Ohio, likes to laugh and she likes to make everyone around her laugh, and she happens to be very good at it.
So it may come as a surprise to some to learn that rather than becoming a comedian, she has her sights set on becoming a geologist because she enjoys learning about rocks and minerals. She also enjoys spending time with friends, bike-riding, watching movies with her parents, Mike and Brenda Downs, and her brother, Jarrod Downs, and eating her mom’s scrambled eggs, but only when they’re not what she refers to as “too cheesy.”
She also relishes reading, and as a fourth-grader last year, she was recognized for reading more than two million words during the school year. One of her favorite books is “Dragonsdale” by Salamanda Drake, and there just may be some parallels between the book’s main character’s desire to fly on a dragon and her own desire to fly in a junior dragster.
Allyson, a third generation racer, won three races and finished first in points in 2013, and as a result, she is the 2013 Novice Junior Dragster champion.
While she plans to stay behind the wheel of her junior dragster next season, she would like to graduate to a full-sized dragster in the years to come, and even though her proud but protective dad responded to that with an emphatic “We’ll talk about that when the time comes,” he sees – and we all see - how she proves herself every time she straps in, lines up and points her pint-size powerhouse toward the finish line.