PITTSBURG, Calif. -- David Baca, partner and driver of the Henkelman & Baca American Racing Top Fuel Dragster, announced today the addition of tuner and former driver Larry Meyer, from Argyle, Texas, as a consultant for the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
"I am more than pleased to have Larry Meyer onboard to work with and assist crew chief Johnny West," said Baca. "As competitive as Top Fuel was last season and the way performance picked up as the season progressed, in 2004 you'll need a lot of brainpower to get one of these car down the track and be competitive. You need more than one person handling the tuning calls. Therefore, to reach our goal of finishing in the top five in points and ultimately winning the championship we went out to get the best person available to fill that role. We found that man in Larry Meyer. His reputation speaks for itself. We feel that with him working with Johnny, we'll be able to compete at a higher level and meet the goals that we have established for this team. With all the other teams upping the ante, we feel we better load our guns too."
A veteran of four decades of drag racing, Meyer began his career as a driver in 1963 in an injected fuel car, followed by a blown alcohol car.
His driving days ended in 1977 and since that time he has turned the wrenches on a long list of standout drivers and teams.
Meyer is best known as the crew chief that spoiled John Force's 100 percent domination of the Funny Car titles in the 1990s, when he tuned rookie Cruz Pedregon to the 1992 Funny Car championship. He finished the 2003 season assisting newcomer and former alcohol dragster driver Bill Ancona, tuning him to career best times and speeds. Other notable drivers and teams that have benefited from Meyer's expertise include Tommy Johnson, Jr. and Don Prudhomme's Snake Racing, Gary Densham, Darrell Gwynn Racing with Mike Dunn handling the driving duties, Shelly Anderson, Brad Anderson, Chuck Etchells Racing, Lori Johns and Tom "the Mongoose" McEwen.
On his new position, Meyer had the following comment, "I'm looking forward to working with both Johnny West and David Baca. They have developed an outstanding program in a very short amount of time and I think we'll have a good year in 2004. I'm going to bring some engineering knowledge to the table. I've learned over the years things you can get away with and things you can't. Hopefully, between Johnny and myself we can take this dragster to the next level and compete with the big money teams out there."
Added Henkelman & Baca crew chief Johnny West, "Larry will bring to the camp more technical knowledge, especially in the areas of the finer tuning parts of the race car -- clutch, fuel system, engine combination and blowers. This will give the car more consistency. Although we ran well this past season, there were times we were inconsistent. With Larry onboard we should be able to monitor the function of the car better than in the past."
David Baca and the Henkelman & Baca team finished seventh in the final 2003 NHRA POWERade point standings.
The team will begin testing for the 2004 season starting with the Las Vegas Blast-Off at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, January 29-31, followed by the National Time Trials at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., just outside Phoenix, February 7 and 8.