Baytown: Doug Foley preview

Foley driving deep in the heart of Texas to continue fight HOUSTON (March 23) -- Top Fuel driver Doug Foley arrives in the Lone Star State for the 21st O'Reilly Spring NHRA Nationals, March 28-30 at Houston Raceway Park, with a singular goal in...

Foley driving deep in the heart of Texas to continue fight

HOUSTON (March 23) -- Top Fuel driver Doug Foley arrives in the Lone Star State for the 21st O'Reilly Spring NHRA Nationals, March 28-30 at Houston Raceway Park, with a singular goal in mind -- gaining enough attention in his 330-mph dragster to keep his drag racing dream on track.

After a surprising 14-race campaign in 2007 where he earned the nickname "Giant Killer" for his routine upsets of top-ranked drivers, Foley had Texas-sized ideas about what he may accomplish in his first full-time season on the NHRA tour. But a last-minute pullout by his title sponsor left the drag racing instructor on the sidelines when '08 began.

After a lot of scrambling, Foley and co-team owner Tim Lewis managed to secure a one-race deal from FX Caprara Kia, a successful car dealership in Watertown, N.Y., owned by drag racing fan Billy Caprara. The deal got the group to Gainesville, Fla., in mid-March for the historic Gatornationals where Foley and talented crew chief Doug Kuch fought their way into the toughest field of the year despite a complete lack of testing time and the fact that qualifying for the event was cut in half by rain.

"It was very satisfying because we proved this team hadn't lost a step despite everything we'd been through in the last seven weeks," Foley said. "We're down to three full-time guys and a bunch of determined friends and yet we made the field in just two runs even though the car hadn't been started since November."

The showing was encouraging enough that Caprara decided to extend his support for another race so instead of going home, the crew headed to Houston. Their hard work in Florida also got the attention of Monroe Guest of Dallas-based Tigerflow Systems, which designs and manufactures pumping systems for commercial applications. His company will also lend support to the upstart group while they visit his home state.

"I think people are seeing we're serious about what we do," Foley said. "We worked extremely hard for our former sponsor and many people took notice of that last year. Now they see us grinding to recover from them pulling out like they did and I think we're gaining some respect out there in the drag racing world. When you combine that with what we've been able to do on the track, it starts to add up.

"We're not slowing down. When we lost our deal the guys decided they weren't going to let this thing fall apart. They dropped their tools and picked up the phones and started following up every lead they could think of to find support. The feeling was that we were on the cusp of big things and no one wanted to let it slip away."

Ever the optimist, Foley is hoping another strong showing in Houston will lead to another sponsor jumping on board for the next race and beyond.

"We have a lot of things cooking," Foley said. "I know one thing for sure; whoever signs on with this team is going to get an extremely dedicated and determined race team."

Foley will lead off his week in Houston at the second annual Hot Rod Rally, which runs from 5-8 p.m., Wednesday, at San Jacinto Mall, on the corner of I-10 and Garth Road in Baytown.

-credit: dgr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Foley , Tim Lewis