LETTER from the EDITOR
Wes Buck Chief Executive Officer Founder & Editorial Director 660.988.2313 wes @ dragillustrated . com
Mike Carpenter Chief Operating Officer Design & Production Director 704.737.2299 mike @ dragillustrated . com
Nancy Koeppen Chief Financial Officer 573.552.5551 nancy @ dragillustrated . com
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief 440.986.1480 nate @ dragillustrated . com
After we sent the first Drag Illustrated 30 Under 30 issue to print in 2015 , panic quickly set in . We have to find 30 more outstanding young people next year ?! Many of the honorees were obvious choices and we could quickly explain why they deserved a spot on the list . But moving forward , we realized we ’ d have to search far past the pro ranks and consider nominees whose accomplishments and contributions to the sport extended beyond win lights and championships .
Now that we ’ re in our seventh year of compiling the 30 Under 30 list , the challenge has shifted . We can only pick 30 of these outstanding young people ?! We receive thousands of nominations from passionate supporters like parents , siblings , teammates , friends , sponsors , and even nominees ’ former elementary school teachers . They range from simple yet unconvincing reasons like “ they ’ re a great racer ” to heartfelt recommendations sparing no details and approaching word counts in the thousands .
These nominations have helped us realize just how wide the talent pool is when it comes to rising young stars . When we read the headlines about the icons who have passed on or retired , it ’ s easy to get into the mindset that drag racing is an aging , dying sport . While it ’ s true that the greats who build this sport into what it is are getting up there in age , it ’ s also true that there are thousands of young people who are developing the skills it will take to carry drag racing into the next 10 , 20 , and 30 years .
It ’ s our honor and privilege to share the stories of a small fraction of those individuals every year in the 30 Under 30 issue . Like past years , this seventh 30 Under 30 list shines a light on drivers , tuners , crew members , fabricators , media members , and others who contribute to the sport from all walks of
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief
the drag racing life . That diversity is displayed front and center on the cover , where you ’ ll find NHRA Super-class standout Nick Isenhower , European Top Fuel driver Ida Zetterström , diesel racer Logan Yelton , NHRA Pro Stock crew member Cody Anderson , Top Alcohol Dragster star Jasmine Salinas , and transmission builder Damon Cole .
Our mission with the 30 Under 30 program is to give some recognition to the young people who chose to spend their time , money , and effort in the sport ; to validate their efforts . It ’ s also to help spread the word about them to a wide audience . Part of that includes reaching potential supporters . If your company offers products or services that any of these honorees can use , or you have some spare marketing dollars to throw around , I ’ d ask you to consider any one of the honorees on the following pages .
If you ’ re already one of the many people who support this year ’ s honorees , thank you . I say that on behalf of the whole DI team , as well as the honorees , who all professed their appreciation to the parents , mentors , sponsors , and people who ’ ve helped them along the way , though we didn ’ t have room to mention everyone .
If you didn ’ t find your name or the name of your favorite young person in drag racing , know that we ’ ve already started on next year ’ s list . When we ’ re picking the list , we ’ re not just thinking about this year ’ s list , we ’ re considering the next list and even the list after that . Just because someone didn ’ t make the list this year doesn ’ t mean they didn ’ t deserve it ; we might just be saving them for next year . Or even five years down the road . We ’ re going to be doing the 30 Under 30 list as long as there are outstanding young racers to feature . Judging by the nominations we ’ ve received , we ’ re not going to be stopping any time soon . DI
Feel free to email me at nate @ dragillustrated . com and follow me at facebook . com / nitronate1320 and nitronate1320 on Instagram and Twitter .
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PHOTO : CHRIS SEARS
8 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 179