Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 105

Around 5 a . m . Saturday morning , Tanner and her mom , Missy , drove back up to Indianapolis so Tanner could take a college final exam . They ran into car trouble 30 minutes into the return trip , which should ’ ve taken a little over three hours , so they had to take not one , but two Ubers to get back to the track just in time to see Preston run first round .
The hectic scenario didn ’ t seem to affect Tanner , as she stayed focused throughout eliminations . She ran a 4.285 at 167.14 next to a red-lighting Chris Holdorf in the opening round , then improved to a 4.261 at 167.03 to win over No . 1 qualifier Walt Lannigan Jr ., who also went red . A side-by-side race followed in the semifinals , where Tanner scored the win over the most recent winner on tour , Alan Drinkwater , in a 4.241-to-4.254 race .
“ I ’ m so thankful that I have a team I can trust to get my car ready to go ,” Tanner says , crediting a group that includes parents Andy and Missy , Preston , Jeff and Sam Pierce , Chad Crawford , and engine builder Phillip Oakley . “ I knew everything was set and I just had to hop in . While driving ‘ Thunder ’ I am focused on my next move the whole time . No matter what is going on I have been able to put it aside and focus on my procedure and run .”
Franklin and Tanner first met when they were competing in Jr . Dragsters , and despite living hours away from each other , with Franklin in Virginia and Tanner in Indiana , the girls formed a close friendship . It seemed like it was meant to be when the two lined up together in the final round of the second race of their first full season in the class .
“ It was a dream come true to run Amber in my first final ,” Tanner says . “ Every race before first round , we wish each other good luck and say let ’ s meet in the finals , and we did it ! Amber is an amazing racer and I ’ m so proud of her accomplishments in 632 thus far , and I can ’ t wait to see where she goes . Our friendship has been a blessing , and we can relate on many levels . I love that we are now following our dreams of racing Outlaw 632 together and continuing to support each other .”
The weekend was extra special for Tanner and her family , as Preston raced in his first Pro Boost final round as well . It ’ s not the first time the brother-sister duo raced for a double-up , as they won PDRA Jr . Dragster world championships together in 2015 .
“ I had the same feeling I get when it is possible for both of us to win a race that I have only felt when we ran Jr . Dragsters ,” Tanner says . “ After I saw my win light come on , I started crying


tears of joy that I had won my first clean round , and my brother was also going to the final in Pro Boost . Then I heard I was racing Amber , and I couldn ’ t hide my huge smile if I tried . I am incredibly proud of my brother for his runner-up finish .”
Franklin has emerged as an early championship contender , but the wise-beyond-her-years 19-year-old realizes there ’ s a lot of work left to do before parlaying the team ’ s early success into her second PDRA world championship and first in a “ big car .”
“ This definitely sets me up good ,” said Franklin , who went to back-to-back finals in her Pro 632 debut last season and went to the semis at the 2022 season opener . “ We just have to carry this confidence and hopefully keep the momentum , keep my cool , do the same thing , and try not to get ahead of ourselves . We still have a long season ahead of us .” DI
May / June 2022 DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 105