Of the last six winners in the ADRLâ€™s highly-competitive Extreme Pro Stock class, five have used powerful Sonnyâ€™s Racing Engines to end up in the winnerâ€™s circle, while countless others have racked up impressive performances in what has already been a banner year for Sonnyâ€™s Racing Engines and its owner, Sonny Leonard.
â€œThis year has probably been one of my best years of performance in the ADRL and we are very excited about that,â€ Leonard said. â€œWeâ€™ve done a lot of research and development work, developing engine components and a lot of other stuff, and itâ€™s paid off.
â€œOf the 18 employees here, 10 have been here more than 20 years. We have a lot of good guys and a lot of good customers who believe in us.â€
The winnerâ€™s list of drivers who use Sonnyâ€™s Racing Engines in Extreme Pro Stock includes Cary Goforth (twice), Dean Goforth, Todd Hoerner and John DeFlorian, while other top drivers like Doug Kirk, Pro Modifiedâ€™s Rickie Smith, Pat Musi and many others have seen immense success in the ADRL during its 10-race 2012 Tour using Sonnyâ€™s cylinder heads.Â
In addition, Kevin Bealko will have a new engine and John Montecalvo will have a new car at the next ADRL race.
Sonnyâ€™s also built a Ford Pro Nitrous engine for Robert Patrick, who won the Pro Nitrousclass at the Northeast Drags at Maple Grove. Of course, Hoerner, who works at Sonnyâ€™s Racing Engines in Lynchburg, Va., had a notable win in June, becoming the first driver to win in Pro Stock using electronic fuel injection (EFI).
Leonard praised Hoerner and has also wholeheartedly embraced Big Stuff EFI.
â€œToddâ€™s a very good driver and tuner, and he just knows how to get the best out of what heâ€™s got,â€ Leonard said. â€œThe good thing about EFI is itâ€™s easier to tune than a carburetor. When we sell an engine with EFI and give them a run map, they can crank it up and go racing.
â€œThey may have to finesse the run map, but after 3-4 passes down the track, the tune up is there. The drivability is good and itâ€™s very user friendly as well. It accelerates well, itâ€™s easier to tune, and the engine seems to be happier and live longer as well. Itâ€™s the way of the future any way you look at it.â€
Leonard also expects at least a couple of standout XPS racers to switch to an EFI setup before the 2012 ADRL season is finished.
The company has also done well with selling cylinder heads and manifolds to different engine builders, using two different EFI systems: Big Stuff for XPS and Musi/Edelbrock for most of the PM applications.
â€œSonnyâ€™s 3-Second Clubâ€ in Extreme Pro Stock is up for grabs as well, and DeFlorian nearly became the first member after clocking an amazing 4.01 to set the world E.T. record in June.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot of good people and racers in that class. Thereâ€™s probably a minimum of six cars that could be the No. 1 qualifier at any given race,â€ Leonard said.
Itâ€™s Leonard and his companyâ€™s ability to develop world-class racing engines and components that help make the class as good as it is.
Offering everything from racing engines to cylinder heads to manifolds and much more, and operating out of a state-of-the-art 14,000-square foot facility that features two SuperFlow dynamometers, a porting room, two five axis CNC machining centers, digitizing and laser scan equipment, and a fabrication and welding shop, along with other racing machinery, Sonnyâ€™s Racing Engine has enjoyed working with drivers in a variety of ADRL classes.
â€œI love going to all of the ADRL races, being part of it and helping all of the drivers. Itâ€™s just a great show,â€ Leonard said.
For more information about Sonnyâ€™s Racing Engines, visit www.sonnysracingengines.com or call (434) 239-1009.
The Memphis Drags III at Memphis International Raceway is the eighth stop on the 10-race 2012 ADRL Tour and takes place on Sept. 7-8. For ticket information, visit www.adrl.us/tickets.
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)