Pat Austin had an outstanding driving career in the Top Alcohol Funny Car ranks that lasted from 1985 to 2002 along with a memorable stint in Top Fuel. His 75 career wins rank him No. 10 on the all-time win list, and he is the only driver to double-up in Professional and Sportsman categories, which he did twice with wins in Topeka in 1991 and Phoenix in 1992.
70 of Austin’s 75 wins occurred in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class. He is a four-time national champion with championship seasons in four-out-of-five seasons between 1987 and 1991. He also collected seven Division 6 crowns and was voted No. 13 on NHRA’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 2001.
Since his driving career ended, the Tacoma, Wash., native had been running his Austin’s Pro Max Performance Center locations and been highly involved in son Drew’s athletics. It came full circle when Drew, an accomplished high school quarterback, wanted to trade his football pads for a firesuit after watching the A/Fuel category at the California Hot Rod Reunion.
The Austin clan reunited at the race track with brothers Pat and Mike working on a front-engine, injected nitro dragster with motors built by father Walt. Drew has proven to be a natural behind the wheel much like his father. The full story on Pat’s career and how he got back into racing is captured in the Readers Choice issue of National Dragster (May 6).