FREEMAN GOES FROM UNDERDOG TO TOP CONTENDER AT SEARS POINT SONOMA, Calif. -- A career in drag racing that has spanned 17 years in a variety of capacities was finally rewarded when Tim Freeman, of Roan Mountain, Tenn., captured his first...
FREEMAN GOES FROM UNDERDOG TO TOP CONTENDER AT SEARS POINT
SONOMA, Calif. -- A career in drag racing that has spanned 17 years in a variety of capacities was finally rewarded when Tim Freeman, of Roan Mountain, Tenn., captured his first NHRA professional category victory at Gateway International Raceway's Sears Craftsman Nationals in late June.
The longtime sportsman competitor and Pro Stock crewman put his tailgate down and cruised to the Pro Stock Truck victory in his first race, defeating some of the new category's heaviest hitters along the way. Using a stout small block engine from noted builder Bill 'Grumpy' Jenkins, Freeman defeated legendary Ronnie Sox, Winston points leader Larry Kopp, two-time finalist John Lingenfelter and hometown-favorite Jerry Haas in the final round. Freeman says winning the way he did was a dream come true.
"We had a new truck with all new equipment and we had a Jenkins motor, which was the main ingredient," Freeman said. "We had everything that it takes to win. We expected to run good, but honestly didn't think we would win the race. Fortunately everything fell into place for us."
Freeman will go from unknown underdog to top contender as he leads the Pro Stock Truck contingent into the 11th annual Autolite Nationals, July 24-26 at Sears Point Raceway. The $1.4 million race is the 13th of 22 events in the $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
Freeman, who also serves as his own crew chief, says he enjoys pulling double-duty on race day.
"With me driving and making the calls in the pits, it's especially gratifying when you win," he said. "I have several guys that help me, but basically I make all the calls on the clutch and setup. It makes it really sweet. It's kinda like Mike Edwards' deal used to be in Pro Stock. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment to know you prepared the truck and then drove it to a win."
In the past, Freeman worked as a crew member for Mark Osborne's Pro Stock team. He's also posted a runner-up finish at an NHRA national event in Comp Eliminator. In addition, he's won several IHRA national events in Factory Modified in the early 90s. These days, he works as a crewman for Ron Krisher's Pro Stock team, which is also owned by his truck boss, Jim Kessinger.
"I've been involved with many different teams over the years and I've driven some sportsman cars," Freeman said. "I have a lot of good friends in this sport that have helped me a bunch. It wasn't like some untested, inexperienced rookie got his first win at his first race. I've been around for a while."
And the wait was well worth it. He realizes he has the chance to become one of Pro Stock Truck's headlining stars.
"I've always felt I had the ability to drive," Freeman said. "With Jim's financial backing and Pro Stock Truck being a new category, it was just the right opportunity at the right time for me. I'm going to finish out the season in this truck and hopefully we can win one or two more races and finish in the top-10 in the Winston standings. That's the goal. Later in the year I'll be helping Jim's son get started in a second truck."