Drag Illustrated Issue 179, November / December 2022 - Page 112

TY

KASPER

■ GROWING UP , Ty Kasper watched his father , Thomas , and his older brother , TJ , compete in the Outlaw 10.5 ranks . Meanwhile , Ty was cutting his teeth in the Jr . Dragster classes , starting at age 7 in the 12.90 index class and ending up in the heads-up Outlaw 330 program . When he was 17 , he got to make his first passes in the family ’ s twin-turbocharged ‘ 05 Mustang . Now 23 , he campaigns the car in the PDRA Pro Street class , which resembles the original Outlaw 10.5 class he grew up with .
“ This is the class that I ’ ve always wanted to race ,” Kasper says . “ This is like a dream come true . Every time I get in it , I get a big smile on my face . It ’ s awesome .”
Kasper believes his experience in the Jr . Dragster classes helped prepare him for his current ride , though there ’ s only so much one can do to prepare for driving a high-horsepower , original-wheelbase doorslammer that ’ s been as quick as 3.80s on 315 drag radials and 3.976 on the 33x10.5 slicks required in Pro Street .
“ It ’ s definitely hard ,” Kasper says . “ It ’ s a lot of work . I ’ m learning something new every time I make a pass . I don ’ t think I ’ ll stop learning anytime soon . There ’ s always something new coming out , something changing .”
Kasper ’ s life revolves around all things automotive . When he ’ s not racing , he works at the family business , Kasper Performance Edge & Automotive in Westville , New Jersey . That ’ s just
the way Kasper likes it , though , and realizes how fortunate he is to be racing at such a high level , especially at his age .
“ It ’ s all about cars ,” Kasper confirms . “ I work on cars every day . I come home and work on the race car at night . I really don ’ t know much else . I played baseball growing up . I played in college for Penn State . I like this better . I decided to stop playing and just do this . Playing baseball was fun . I got my fun out of it and I played enough games . This , it ’ s like you can ’ t get enough fun .”
Kasper ’ s baseball career has carried over to his racing career in a way . When he was still playing baseball , Victus Sports provided Kasper with bats , gloves , cleats , and other industry-leading baseball equipment . In return , Kasper spread the word about their products when he played on travel teams against players from across the country . The company ’ s owner is a car guy , so they continued their sponsorship of Kasper when he decided to focus on racing . Victus also provides custom bats for the No . 1 qualifier in Pro Street and Super Street at every PDRA race .
“ That ’ s a trophy that you really don ’ t get in racing ,” Kasper says . “ It ’ s kind of an oddball , but it ’ s cool . It ’ s something you can hang up on your wall or give to your kids . It ’ s something different .”
Kasper had a breakout season in Pro Street despite kicking a rod out in prerace testing and not being able to enter the season opener . He reached the final round at the American Doorslammer Challenge at Norwalk before earning his first two PDRA “ 660 Man ” trophies at the next two races , the North vs . South Shootout at Maryland and the Summer Shootout at Virginia . A broken valve stem cost him a first-round win over eventual race winner Tim Essick at the Northern Nationals at Maple Grove . Kasper finished second behind Essick in the championship standings .
“ The lows are low , but the highs are high ,” says Kasper , who thanks his dad , his brother , his girlfriend , his dad ’ s girlfriend , the PDRA team , and everyone who ’ s supported him . “ If you ’ re strong and you have strong people behind you , the lows really aren ’ t that bad . There ’ s always going to be another race . There ’ s always going to be another chance . That ’ s my motto . If you do everything right , you respect the car , you respect the people who are helping you , you ’ ll be all right .” – NATE VAN WAGNEN DI
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