Drag Illustrated Issue 175, March / April 2022 - Page 82



Comp Eliminator veteran Mike DePalma joins Elite HP as general manager

Multi-time NHRA national event winner and division champion Mike DePalma has found a new home at Texas-based Elite High Performance as the general manager of the 35,000-plus-squarefoot , state-of-the-art facility . The Arizona native moved to Fort Worth last year after teaming up with Richard Freeman , Marty Robertson , and the rest of the “ big wigs ” at Elite Motorsports .

Elite HP is the newest branch of the Elite dynasty that sells new and used race cars , race parts , tools , engines , pit accessories , and much more . This company was created to satisfy the final needs of Elite customers to be able to rely on Elite for every part of their racing program , from motorhomes and trailers at Elite Motorsports , horsepower from Elite Performance , sportsman needs at Elite-Patterson , and now sales and consulting through Elite HP . Freeman ’ s vision of an absolute one-stop shop became a reality with the 2020 launch of Elite HP .
Before making the move , DePalma was no stranger to the drag racing industry with a lifetime of experience that amplifies his abilities as a manager and head of the sales department . In early 2021 , DePalma was asked to come out on the road with the NHRA Pro Stock mega-team . After one season on the road chasing Wallys , he made the transition into the full-time position of general manager of Elite HP .
For Freeman , it ’ s all about the people , and having begun racing with the Freemans in the late ‘ 90s , DePalma was a no-brainer as the right man for the job . A family friend that you can trust personally and professionally has always been the recipe for success for Freeman and Robertson . Elite HP would be no different .
DePalma ’ s career has allowed him to race with and drive for some of the sport ’ s greats like Bob Panella , Craig Eaton , the Chapparone Brothers , the Freemans , and more . Along the way , DePalma ’ s experience and drive catapulted him above the rest and prepared him for this chapter of his career . He even still gets the call to wheel the Elite Motorsports Competition Eliminator car out on tour .
Drag IllustrateD sat down with DePalma to dive into a little bit of what he does , how he got here , and why Elite is the place to trust for your program .
You have been around this sport for your entire life . What ignited your fire to commit so many years to drag racing ?
My father grew up street racing when I was a kid . By the time I could legally drive , I was on the road by myself in a pickup truck and an open trailer headed to any dragstrip that I could find .
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