Different parts of the country lay claim to being the heart of doorslammer country.
One area, though, can also lay claim that it hosts five of the world’s top builders of doorslammer race cars and that is the St. Louis area, host of next week’s Gateway Drags IV presented by CarSafe at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Of course, those builders are Jerry Haas Race Cars, Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Tim McAmis Race Cars, Jeffers Pro Cars and RJ Race Cars, which together produce cars for many of the most talented names in drag racing and the ADRL.
As the world’s premier eighth-mile drag racing league returns to its home track in St. Louis, it’s also the perfect time to put the spotlight on the area chassis builders who have helped create such incredible racing in the ADRL.
All will be a focus of the ADRL’s Pre-Event Showcase, which takes place at the Cardinals’ Ballpark Village on May 31, the day before the Gateway Drags IV presented by CarSafe.
Combined, they are the biggest names in the chassis-building industry when it comes to door cars in the world. These are state-of-the-art, hand built race cars driven by the top names in the sport across the world.
The cars are quite remarkable in their attention to detail and innovation, and can be expensive as $200,000 – and that does not include the motor and other mechanical operating equipment.
It’s an understatement, but it really is incredible that all are together in the St. Louis area.
All have incredible facilities as well, offering a multitude of services.
Combined, they produce more than 100 new cars a year, which, at more than $100,000 per car, is quite an undertaking. With cars going to all points of the world, including Australia, Europe, the Middle East as well as Aruba, they are truly fulfilling an international need for speed.
Throw in what else these specialized businesses do â€“ paint, body shop, parts, etc. â€“ and these are very successful companies not only in drag racing but also in the Saint Louis community and economy.
Undoubtedly, St. Louis is a mecca for chassis builders and these companies have an incredible client list from the most popular drivers in the world.
Here’s a quick look at each of them:
Jerry Bickel Race Cars
Located in Moscow Mills, Missouri
- They average around 26-28 new car builds per year, and are expecting around 25 new builds this year. The most they’ve ever done in one year is 33 cars.
- Average cost of car: $115,000 (many much higher, upwards of $150,000)
- Has a 20,000-square foot facility that includes a body shop, parts shop and paint shop, making it a state of the art one-stop shop.
- Bickel has won a number of awards, including the CarCraft Chassis Builder of the year twice. Has built cars for numerous world champions in the NHRA, ADRL and IHRA.
- His cars have set numerous world records, including the fastest nitrous-powered car in the world (3.74 seconds at 200 mph in the 1/8-mile by Burton Auxier).
- Current ADRL clients include Dan Millen, Robert Patrick, Rickie Smith, Auxier, Todd Hoerner, Bob Rahaim and many more.
Jerry Haas Race Cars
Located in Fenton, Missouri
- Haas is a 12-time Car Craft Magazine All-Star chassis builder.
- One of the premier chassis builders in the Pro Stock class including ADRL Extreme Pro Stock and NHRA Pro Stock. When it comes to building these cars, Haas is extremely well-known with excellent credentials.
- Has more than 30 years of experience in building cars.
- Haas has a 10,000-square foot shop in Fenton, MO that offers a variety of services.
- Current ADRL clients include Cary and Dean Goforth, Brian Gahm, Richie Stevens, John DeFlorian, Billy Glidden, Cale Aronson, Trevor Eman, Doug Kirk and many more.
Located in Hawk Point, Missouri
- Multiple-time award winner and attention to detail and innovation is often raved about in the drag racing world.
- Has built cars for KH Al-Thani (the Sheik of Qatar and owner of Al-Anabi Racing in both the ADRL and NHRA). His Pro Extreme car built by TMRC has gone nearly 215 mph and is the worldâ€™s quickest door car (3.55 seconds in 1/8-mile).
- Very popular car builder in a variety of classes, from Sportsman to professional. Cars can cost more than $100,000.
- TMRC has built championship cars in NHRA, IHRA and ADRL
- McAmis also owns a successful body/mold company and specializes in racing parts distribution as well.
- His state-of-the-art trailer and semi travels with ADRL to all 10 events, offering parts and other materials from a variety of racing companies.
- Former IHRA world championship driver
- Current clients include Al-Thani, Smith, Mike Knowles, Jim Halsey, Jim Laurita, John Decerbo and many more.
Jeffers Pro Cars
Located in House Springs, Missouri
- First legal Pro Mod to make a run of 5 seconds in the Â¼-mile
- Back-to-back ADRL World Championships (2009: Todd Tutterow; 2010 Frankie Taylor)
- First Pro Mod to make an 1/8-mile run in 3.50 seconds (Taylor)
- Multiple World & Track Records
- Multiple Best Engineering Awards
- Specializes in building lightweight and state of the art Pro Extreme cars, which are among the quickest and fastest doorslammer cars in the world.
- Clients include Taylor, Tutterow, Tommy D’Aprile and more.
RJ Race Cars/Quartermax
Located in Galesburg, Illinois
- Averages around 22-24 new car builds per year, plus all of the other services offered in their 30,000 square-foot facility. Most ever built in one year is around 30 cars. Expecting around 25 this year. The new 2012 Camaro has been a huge hit.
- Sportsman cars cost around $90,000, while some of the faster classes (Pro Nitrous, Pro Modified) cost up to $150,000 to have their cars built. These are extremely innovative cars.
- Rick Jones is a longtime successful racer in the IHRA and NHRA. His son, Rickie Jr., also works for the company and he is a standout driver as well. He has won 2 ADRL events and competed in a number of NHRA events as well.
- Current ADRL clients include Rickie Jones, Mike Castellana, Shannon Jenkins, John Montecalvo, Pete Berner and many more.
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)