Since making his 2011 American Drag Racing League (ADRL) debut in June, Grant McCrary has talked about the potential of his Fast Forward Innovations Extreme 10.5 Stratus.
It didnâ€™t take long for it to be realized.
In just his fifth race driving the turbo-powered Stratus, McCrary delivered an epic performance in last weekendâ€™s Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags V.
He knocked off Chuck Ulsch in the finals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, but thatâ€™s just the start as the win was big on a number of levels for McCrary.
He had predicted a run in the 3.80s that weekend and then delivered a magnificent 3.849 at 200.86 miles per hour.
It was his first ADRL win and it also propelled him into the â€œBattle For The Beltsâ€ at next monthâ€™s LenMar Motorsports World Finals VII presented by Summit Racing Equipment.
With all that happened in a span of a few short hours, McCrary was obviously excited.
â€œThis is freaking awesome. I canâ€™t describe it,â€ McCrary said. â€œWe worked our butts off and Iâ€™m already looking forward to (the World Finals).â€
Itâ€™s been a wild few months for McCrary, who has enjoyed every moment of his FFI endeavor with Rick Thornton.
Since forming FFI with Thornton, the innovative ideas have been continuously flowing.
Thornton purchased a pair of Stratus cars from NHRA Pro Stock standout Larry Morgan in late 2009, starting a unique combination that now seems to have limitless potential.
RJ Race Cars built McCraryâ€™s Stratus and he worked with noted chassis builder Hans Fuesel to create some inventive combinations for the turbocharged car.
It took all of 2010 to get everything in order, but clearly the wait has been worth it.
McCrary continued to praise Thornton, who raced his turbocharged-entry at Virginia in August, for jumping on board and presenting an opportunity that has already provided some magic moments.
By running the 3.849 in the finals, McCrary moved all the way to sixth in the points standings and it immediately makes him a legitimate threat in the BFTB.
To get his 3.849, McCrary and his team also had to come up with some last-minute innovations.
He borrowed some pieces from XTF racer Brad Brand before the finals, and it added 10 pounds to the front of the car.
It was enough to slip past Ulschâ€™s 3.887 in what ended up as another marvelous drag race at the event.
â€œI knew we could go fast if we could stay on the throttle the whole time,â€ said McCrary, who also thanked Precision Turbo, Neal Chance Racing Converters, Red Line Oil, VP Fuels, AirCo, Big Stuff 3 and his wife, Erin. â€œI kept having to pedal the car because it kept doing these big wheelies, so we put some weight back on before the finals.
â€œAfter we did that, I said it could go a 3.84 or a 3.85, and we got that 3.84. Iâ€™ve raced against Chuck for years and that was a lot of fun racing him. Heâ€™s a great competitor and it was a good race. But I knew if I could stay on the throttle I had it.â€
McCrary and his Fast Forward Innovations (FFI) turbo-charged Stratus picked up steam as the day went along, knocking off Billy Glidden in the quarterfinals with a 3.906.
It was the best race yet for a team that continues to improve.
McCrary said getting a different set of shocks from Penske has been helpful, and he still believes heâ€™s only on the cusp of what the future can hold.
McCrary is excited and hopeful to get Thorntonâ€™s turbo XTF car to the track again soon, and he canâ€™t wait for the BFTB at Texas Motorplex in Ennis next month.
Of course, the race is a little more than an hour from home for McCrary and he hopes to have some special in store for the massive event.
â€œI told Rick I was going to be able to run in the 3.80s and to do it (at Norwalk), itâ€™s just awesome,â€ McCrary said. â€œThese cars can run in the 3.70s. They are capable of doing that. Iâ€™m not saying it will happen in Ennis, but they will do it.â€
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)