Chevrolet's Krisher puts pieces in place for NHRA title run. January 21, 2003 - The arrival of the 2003 NHRA drag racing season means Chevy Cavalier driver Ron Krisher will have another opportunity to chase down his Pro Stock championship dream.
Chevrolet's Krisher puts pieces in place for NHRA title run.
January 21, 2003 - The arrival of the 2003 NHRA drag racing season means Chevy Cavalier driver Ron Krisher will have another opportunity to chase down his Pro Stock championship dream. But when the 54-year-old Warren, Ohio, native rolls his Chevrolet into the staging beams on the first day of time trials at the Winternationals, he'll also be looking to extend a consecutive qualifying streak that's reached 70 races - the longest current streak among Pro Stock competitors.
"It's a heck of streak and something we're all extremely proud of," said Krisher. "Especially when you consider the closeness of Pro Stock Racing and some of the guys who didn't qualify last year - we dodged a couple of bullets ourselves. There will be more good cars and teams racing this year than there ever has been, so keeping it going won't be easy either."
The last time Ron Krisher failed to qualify for an event was at the 1999 NHRA Finals when he finished in the No. 18 position. In the three race seasons and 70 national eliminators since his last DNQ, Krisher has catapulted to the top of the Pro Stock drag racing scene with one of the strongest all-around programs in the series. Essential to the team's success has been a highly experienced, dedicated trackside crew that includes Mike Hiner, tuning veterans Mike Elliott and Tim Freeman, and a state-of the-art shop in Newark, Ohio, where the 500 cubic-inch GM Drag Racing Competition Engines that power Krisher's Chevrolet are produced.
"I feel that the commitment I've made to the success of the race team and the engine program is indicative of how I can conduct all of my business affairs," said Krisher. "Everything I do I'm either successful at it, or figure out why I'm not and fix it, or go on to something where I can be successful. That's just the approach I take to everything. But in racing, I understand that it takes time and a huge investment before things start coming back your way."
After racing an abbreviated four-event schedule that began with the 1996 U.S. Nationals, Krisher embarked on his first full NHRA Pro Stock tour in 1997. His breakout season was in 2000 when he drove the Eagle One Pontiac to his first No. 1 qualifying spot in April at Las Vegas and his first victory in June at Chicago. After knocking down another victory at St. Louis and a runner-up result at the U.S. Nationals, Krisher's fourth-place showing in the points standings gave him his first top-five and his best career finish to date.
In 2002, Krisher took the No. 1 qualifying position at the first four races of the season and was the top qualifier at a total of nine events (the most in the category). He qualified fourth or better at 14 events, in the top half of the field 19 times and posted an average starting-day position of 4.957.
Krisher parked his Chevy Cavalier in the winner's circle at the spring Las Vegas race for his only victory in 2002, and he was runner-up at Bristol and the fall event in Chicago. Krisher's Cavalier set top speed at nine races and had the best elapsed time of the weekend at five venues. He ran a career-best time of 6.781 seconds at Sonoma, Calif., and career-best speed of 203.40 mph at Englishtown, N.J. He ended the season fifth in the points race for his second top-five and his third top-10 finish.
"We started to fall off a little at the end of last year with our qualifying efforts and we're trying to fix that before the Winternationals," said Krisher. "We had a lot of problems getting the car to move off the starting line, and I'm confident we've been able to overcome that.
"The winter months can get pretty dull when we're not racing. As hectic as the race season is, it gets to the point where it becomes a part of your life and you start missing it pretty quick after it's over. When we're not testing, racing or qualifying our Chevy Cavalier, it feels like something's been left out of our day. That's why I can't wait to get to Pomona. I'm really excited and looking forward to it this year because we're in a position to improve on all of the things we did last year."
Krisher realizes that winning the POWERade championship this year may be more challenging than ever before, but he also knows that his program has all the resources in place to get it done.
"I don't know if we can take the championship this year or not," said Krisher, "but I want to be at least a top-three race car at the end of the season. Our engines are fresh and ready to go, and we were able to find some more power over the winter. Plus, we have a brand-new Chevy Cavalier that's going to be awfully fast.
"After a month or two out of the race car, the first time you get back in it is pretty breathtaking. You get into a habit of being in the car every week, and when you lay off for awhile you get a new realization of just how fast you're going."