Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 103

Jessica Ogden

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OR THE second year in a row , Jessica Ogden kicked off the Summit Racing Equipment Mid- West Drag Racing Series ( MWDRS ) presented by J & A Service season with a win in Top Dragster at the Xtreme Texas Nationals at Xtreme Raceway Park earlier this spring . She started race day with a perfect reaction time and wrapped up the weekend with another perfect light to defeat Rusty Baxter in the final round . It proved the point that in the increasingly quick world of

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CONSISTENCY IS KEY

BY NATE VAN WAGNEN PHOTOGRAPH BY JOE MCHUGH

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K L M N O

H I J K L M N

fast bracket racing , you don ’ t need to have the fastest car to turn on win lights .
“ I obviously go into every race telling myself I can do it , but it was pretty cool to win that same exact race back-to-back ,” Ogden says . “ It gives me good confidence in that series that even though I ’ ve got a slower car , it doesn ’ t matter . It ’ s about the consistency and how good your reaction times are and how you dial the car and how consistent the car is . That ’ s what really matters . It doesn ’ t matter how fast you go .”
At 23 years old , Ogden has around 12 years of bracket racing experience . She started in Jr . Dragsters before moving up to a ’ 69 Camaro
when she was 16 , first racing at local bracket events before going NHRA divisional racing in Super Street and later Super Gas . She then moved over to dragsters in Super Comp , then moved up to her current ride in Top Dragster . It ’ s not an ultra-quick boosted entry like the new norm in the class , but it gets the job done .
“ My car is a Top Dragster , but I have all the nitrous pulled off of it ,” Ogden admits . “ It is a nitrous motor , but it has no additives , it ’ s strictly motor . Running 4.30s out there with the 4.10 cars or whatever , it doesn ’ t matter . As long as you ’ re consistent and you ’ re on your A-game , that ’ s what matters .”
Ogden was clearly on her A-game at the last two MWDRS season openers , with . 000 lights and consistent runs , but various mechanical issues nearly derailed her efforts . She had a faulty delay box at the 2021 race and transbrake problems this time around .
“ It seems like every time I win , it starts off crappy or it looks like it ’ s going downhill , but
in the end , I come out with the win ,” she says .
When Ogden isn ’ t behind the wheel , she ’ s helping her father , James , in his centrifugally supercharged ’ 55 Chevy Bel Air . They contribute to each other ’ s success , and their efforts paid off last year when the father-daughter duo finished
Women of Power 2022
third in MWDRS Top Sportsman and Top Dragster , respectively .
“ That ’ s the best part ,” Ogden says of racing with her dad . “ Him and I are two peas in a pod . Without each other , neither one of us could do what we do . He ’ s out at the [ Dallas ] divisional right now and he tested yesterday . He called me and was like , ‘ I just can ’ t do it without you . I need you here .’ We pump each other up before rounds and give each other little pep talks . We work great together . We ’ re best friends and we love doing it .”
Unfortunately , Ogden won ’ t be able to take advantage of her season-opening win because the team has decided not to chase points this season , mostly due to high fuel prices and the long tows to the summer races from the Ogdens ’ home base south of Houston . Ogden admits it was hard to give up that early points lead , and she ’ ll miss the MWDRS crowd over the summer before a hopeful return in October .
“ They really treat us great ,” Ogden says of the MWDRS . “ They treat us with respect , they listen
to us , and they understand what we ’ re trying to do . They understand if we need time in between rounds . Everybody out there is very friendly and like family . It ’ s really a good time . That series is very fun to run . We love the people and the environment DI.”
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May / June 2022 DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 103