Drag Illustrated Issue 168, May 2021 - Page 22

Dirt

JUSTIN KIRK & THE BUCK BROS .
think about it being a final . I just went up there and did my job and trusted in all the decisions everyone made . We would ’ ve been satisfied either way , but we ’ re really satisfied now .”
Meanwhile , the starting line erupted when the win light came on in Kirk ’ s lane . The Buck-Kirk Racing team was joined by a number of supporters and fellow Mountain Motor Pro Stock competitors , many of whom have known Kirk since his childhood as the son of MMPS veteran Doug Kirk and the grandson of Pro Stock icon Carl Kirk .
“ I really don ’ t know how to feel ,” Kirk said in the winner ’ s circle . “ It ’ s all I ’ ve ever wanted to do , race a Pro Stock car . It ’ s just a dream come true . If there ’ s a long-haul award , we ’ d get it this weekend . Eddie and W . R . [ Buck ], we work so hard . A lot of people don ’ t realize how much it takes to run one of these . It ’ s not easy , but we got the job done . I ’ m proud of everyone .”
Racing is obviously a family affair for Kirk , and it means a lot to him to have the opportunity to race with his family while honoring the family legacy in the process . That includes running horsepower from Sonny ’ s Racing Engines and the late Sonny Leonard .
“ Thanks to my mom and dad and everyone at home that lets me do what I do ,” Kirk says . “ Gerald used to change my diapers at the racetrack , now he changes my clutch . I couldn ’ t do it without any of them . I also want to thank JR and Kelly Ward and Francis Leonard at Sonny ’ s . Sonny ’ s engines powered my dad to many victories and I ’ m following in those footsteps .”
The win was similarly a longtime dream for Eddie Buck , a lifelong drag racer who passed on his love of drag racing to his son , Wes Buck , the owner and founder of Drag IllustrateD . The Missouri native has raced Nostalgia Pro Stock around the Midwest with his brother , W . R ., for over a decade . The duo decided to step up to a Mountain Motor Pro Stock car , which they debuted in 2019 with Tony Gillig driving . The Bucks then partnered with Kirk in 2020 .
“ There ’ s no way words could describe it ,” Buck says of the win . “ I ’ m hoarse from yelling and screaming and hollering . It ’ s the dream come true . I love Pro Stock racing . I don ’ t want to go bracket race . I don ’ t want to go demo derby . I don ’ t want to go fishing . I don ’ t want to do nothing but drag race .
“ I love Pro Stock racing ,” Buck continues . “ That ’ s all I ’ ve ever dreamed about since I was a kid , running friggin ’ Pro Stock – and winning . This is awesome .”
The Buck brothers run an auto service and repair center in the small town of Kirksville , Missouri . It ’ s a modest operation compared to the businesses owned by many of their Extreme Pro Stock competitors , but it gives the brothers a place to work on their hot rods and pays for the racing operation .
“ We work really hard to come here ,” Buck says . “ Me and my brother have nobody at the shop but ourselves to work on it . We pay for everything out of our own pocket . We have a few sponsors to help us . I spend everything . Winning a Pro Stock race to me is like winning , I don ’ t know , Wimbledon or some big sports thing . I don ’ t care about any other sport but drag racing . I love drag racing . Everybody is equal on the starting line . You pull up there , best guy , best car wins . It ’ s a big deal .”
Racing in Extreme Pro Stock is the pinnacle for Buck . He ’ s not shy about his feelings against automatic transmissions and is drawn to the
22 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 168