FRANK HAWLEY RENEWS FUNNY CAR LICENSE LAS VEGAS (February 14, 2008) - It's been 18 years since two-time Funny Car world champion and multiple national event winner Frank Hawley has driven a nitro Funny Car, but this week he proved that driving a...
FRANK HAWLEY RENEWS FUNNY CAR LICENSE
LAS VEGAS (February 14, 2008) - It's been 18 years since two-time Funny Car world champion and multiple national event winner Frank Hawley has driven a nitro Funny Car, but this week he proved that driving a Funny Car is like riding a bike - you don't forget how. On Wednesday, the legendary drag racing school instructor completed two stellar runs and, under the watchful eyes and approval of another former champ - Mark Oswald - renewed his NHRA nitro Funny Car License.
"What an amazing feeling," Hawley said.
"I think that remaining actively involved in the sport made a huge, huge difference when I got into the car. Talking about it all the time in my classes and working with the drivers, I visualize things myself, and that helped a tremendous amount. Also spending time with the crew chiefs and looking at the Racepak data to understanding what they want the drivers to do, all that familiarity helped when I got back into the car - or cars as it was," he said.
In his first-ever 300-mph pass, Hawley blasted straight down the quarter-mile at The Strip at Las Vegas, with a 4.875 sec./318.62 mph pass behind the wheel of the developmental car Mike Ashley tested in Pomona last weekend. Less than 15 minutes later he delivered another rifle shot at 4.901 sec./325.61 mph in Melanie Troxel's ProCare Rx Dodge Charger R/T and fulfilled the requirements for his re-licensing.
"I don't know how many people have had the chance to go that fast back-to-back within about 15 minutes of each other, so that was a unique experience in and of itself,' Hawley said.
Team Co-owner Mike Ashley said, "Frank has become a very close friend, and he has helped me so much in my driving and the way I perceive and do my job as a driver. I think it's going to be really exciting to see him back in a Funny Car.
"It's a great testament to our sport that drivers with such diversity can participate so competitively - I love it!" Ashley said.
Hawley said, "What an incredible opportunity that, after more than a decade of not driving I've had the privilege to get back into a car the caliber of Mike Ashley's and Roger Burgess' team fields. They've assembled an amazing group of people, and to get into a car that was perfectly prepared made my job much easier. Obviously it was pretty exciting, and the folks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway prepared everything perfectly, and Aaron [Brooks], Mark Oswald and Brian [Corradi, crew chiefs] made some good calls to get the car down the track with no problems."
The current plans are for Hawley to run alongside Gotham City Racing teammate Melanie Troxel at selected events, beginning with the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. next month. Hawley said he was given a list of other races, but the actual events could change depending on new sponsorship agreements.
"The list is really fluid right now, but we're sure that we'll be running the car in Gainesville, and given that's home for me, I am really excited to have that as my first race back," Hawley said.
Hawley was the 13th member of the Cragar 4-Second club, delivering a 4.982-sec. performance in August 1990. Coincidentally, the only other currently competing member of the exclusive club is the husband of Hawley's teammate Melanie Troxel: Tommy Johnson, Jr., who eclipsed the four-second barrier in September 1990.
"A lot has changed since I drove last in 1991, but, really, my job is the same now as it was then - get the car straight down the track," he said.