Pro Mod driver Troy Critchley hopes for quick start at the season-opening IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 25, 2004) - The season-opening event on the Hooters IHRA Racing Series unfolds this weekend, when the IHRA ...
Pro Mod driver Troy Critchley hopes for quick start at the season-opening IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 25, 2004) - The season-opening event on the Hooters IHRA Racing Series unfolds this weekend, when the IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals begins qualifying tomorrow at San Antonio Raceway in San Antonio, Texas.
Pro Mod driver Troy Critchley, who now calls Dallas home, will be aiming for the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals winner's circle in his AMS Staff Leasing-backed '41 Willys, but its been a long road for Critchley to reach a steady Pro Mod ride.
If one were to talk to Critchley the first thing they will notice is that he is not from Texas. The Australian, born in Brisbane, followed his heart and a girl to the United States in 1998 in search of love and a place to race Pro Mods. He and the girl have long parted but he continues to race Pro Mods.
Critchley started in the racing business building engines in a place called Mickey's Racing Engines in Brisbane. Through the engine shop he met Victor Bray. In short order he moved from sweeping down the shop, to running the crew, to being Victor's crew chief, to driving the car -- a '56 Ford, with a Brad Anderson supercharged engine.
He drove in Australia for two years. Running Top Doorslammer (Pro Mod in the U.S.) he was runner-up to the champion his first year out, winning the Winter Nationals. The following year he was third behind Victor Bray and Scotty Cannon. The next stop was the United States.
Moving to Leesburg, Va., Critchley joined forces with Pro Mod legend Johnny Rocca, initially doing clutches and the engine heads. It was not too long before he was in the driver's seat of Rocca's Iron Horse, winning the Pro Mod Shootout in Shreveport, La. and taking ninth place in the '99 IHRA championship. Critchley and the Iron Horse jumped to fourth place in IHRA championship points in 2000, also tying for the Canadian Pro Mod championship.
Moving to Michigan, he opened Thundercraft Race Engines, building engines for a number of leading Pro Mod drivers. He returned to driving part-time during the 2001 season.
Getting a good look at the United States, 2002 found him in Houston with Richard Patterson and his son Thomas. With Thomas behind the wheel of the '63 Corvette and Critchley piloting the '53 Corvette, the pair ran both IHRA and NHRA that year producing very satisfactory results. Late in 2002 he made the move to Dallas joining Dave Wood and AMS Racing.
Last season, flying the banner of AMS Staff Leasing, Critchley started the season in a '57 Chevy Bel Air, moving to a '94 'Vette later in the season. The '94 Corvette immediately produced greater success than the Bel Air giving Critchley optimism for the 2004 season.
"I hope and personally feel that 2004 will be a lot better because of things we've been experimented with in 2003," said Critchley, who has opened an engine shop called Thunderworx in Wylie, Texas. "This year we had to use the national events as our test. You can't go to the national event and experiment like we have. You need to go there knowing your stuff so you can have a shot at the championship."
Although, he missed the cut for the eight-car NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge field last weekend in Gainesville, Fla., he is optimistic about the season-opening IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals.
"I'm very optimistic about the 2004 season. I would like to start out the IHRA season with a bang and what better place than a Texas race to start. A win here would mean everything to our program."