Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 128

Women of Power 2022

DI Roundtable

STALBA : So much of the focus is on the Pros , but to grow the sport , you have to start introducing the slower and smaller classes so that people can get their foot in the door . They ’ ve come a long way with TV coverage and giving a face to the drivers , and I think that ’ s a big thing . Personal stories is what so many people want to see .
NATAAS : I think the question is what are we going to do with the rule changes between the blower and nitro-injected cars . There are always people up against each other wanting rule changes , but it doesn ’ t seem that anyone actually ever agrees .
VETTER : The parity between A / Fuel and blown cars is a struggle , but this is a class I ’ m choosing to race , so it ’ s something I have to learn to deal with . Ultimately , I think it will help me become a better driver . I ’ ll have to figure out how to be more consistent on the tree and have way better lights if I ’ m the slower car and all the A / Fuel cars are just faster .
SMITH : Right now , it ’ s about the parity between the blown cars and the injected cars . It would be cool to see more blown cars out there . We need to adjust the injected cars to make the parity right .
What do you see for the future for the class ?
FRICKE : I hope it continues to grow , and that the promotion aspect of it increases a little bit to attract more sponsors and more people to the class . This year has been a little bit of a resurgence with some new people getting in , and

VETTER

that ’ s nice to see . I hope that trend continues .
STALBA : Hopefully , it keeps growing the way it is . A lot of the national events have had full fields , and there are a lot of people renting a ride . That ’ s good because it allows people to get their foot in the door without having to make a big investment . As the economy turns around , hopefully more drivers will come to the class . There are more of us women out there now , and maybe

SMITH

that encourages more to step up . We need the guys out there , too , though . We need everybody to make this sport work and make it competitive .
NATAAS : I see a lot of newer drivers out there , and I can definitely see them competing with us in the top 10 , on an even better level than they are now . I see a lot more competition in the future , and a lot more cars at events .
VETTER : For me , I ’ m going to hope for more competitive blown cars . I don ’ t know if that will happen or not , but I hope that there ’ s consistency throughout the class . I ’ d like to see consistency so that it ’ s fair for everybody , no matter what engine combination you decide to run .
SMITH : I think more women will come to the class , and I ’ m hoping there is more diversity in the drivers . I ’ d also like to see some different national events or regionals on the schedule that would make it easier for the Southeastern teams .
Do you have any advice that you would give to someone interested in racing Top Alcohol Dragster ?
FRICKE : Never give up . Do whatever it takes , because it ’ s totally worth it . Never give up on your dreams ; where there ’ s a will there ’ s a way . My family was not involved and knew nothing about alcohol – they thought I was crazy when I did this . My stubborn attitude helped in that respect .
STALBA : I would say , go for it . It isn ’ t easy , but don ’ t get discouraged . If it ’ s something you really want , there are opportunities out there . Find a team willing to take a new driver , or head to Frank Hawley ’ s drag racing school . Yes , it ’ s an investment – but if this is something you want to do , it will be worth it .
NATAAS : Go get some experience in a class or car that ’ s slower before getting into the Top Alcohol Dragster so that it won ’ t be such a huge difference to go 280 mph . You ’ ll know how the car reacts . It can be a dangerous sport , so it ’ s important to have that foundation of driving a fast car down the racetrack before you even consider stepping into one of these cars .
VETTER : I ’ m still learning this part , but try to market yourself the best way you can in order to be as successful as you can be . It takes money to have the right parts and pieces you need to win races . You have to have everything you need to qualify for every race and make consistent runs .
SMITH : You might look at it like , this is the next step to Top Fuel , but it doesn ’ t have to be that heavy . Dip your toe in . Work for a team for a weekend . See if it ’ s really what you want to do . Don ’ t be scared . DI
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