Michael Johnson Associate Editor
March 1, 2004
Photos By: Dale Amy

Most racers-including those in the NMRA-are short, toothpick-thin dudes. The majority of them stand barely 5'7" tall and are lucky to weigh 135 pounds soaking wet. Gabe Large, Justin Burcham, Jamie Holten, Ed Curtis-OK, maybe the last one's weight isn't even in the same zip code as the others, and he's more of an engine guy anyway, but you know what we're talking about.

It's the same in all forms of motorsports. When you see these people on TV, you think they're normal size, but then you see them in person and they're a bunch of shrimps-the type Michael Washington would love to beat up on. The idea behind a lightweight racer is that you can basically put the weight where you want to make the car work the best.

One NMRA racer who has no problem making weight is Big Bob McDonald. Big Bob could handle the aforementioned racers for lunch and still have Bruce Hemminger for dessert. One thing's for sure: Big Bob's NMRA Drag Radial car would eat all their cars for lunch-and it should, as it makes 940 hp at the wheels.

Even if your 5.0 Mustang doesn't make that kind of power, we're sure a lot of people can identify with Bob's path to Drag Radial superstardom. His coupe started out as a Florida Highway Patrol car. Bob purchased it from a friend in 1997 so he could have a street car to play with. "The car ran high 12s with an NOS nitrous kit and a five-speed," Bob says. The coupe was black with Pony wheels at that time, with a Saleen wing and Mach 1 hood. Sounds like your car, you say?

"Since then, [the car] has changed quite a bit," Bob says. The coupe spent a few years as a 10-11-second street car before becoming the dedicated racer it is today. Bob added new paint, several hoods, different engines, transmis-sions, exhausts, blowers, intercoolers, fuel-management systems, and so on. "I've tried them all," he says. He has used that experience to his advantage in the NMRA's BFGoodrich Drag Radial class by finishing in the top 10 in points for 2001 and 2002. Bob says his is the first supercharged Drag Radial car in the 8s, and to run 160 mph in the quarter.

To finish up 2003, Big Bob displayed his power at the NMRA World Finals in Bowling Green. He qualified with an 8.86, but at only 139 mph thanks to a shredded belt. In the first round of competition, he ran his best time ever with an 8.64 at 163 mph. But he momentarily lost his grip against eventual winner Dave Hopper in the third round. Although Big Bob attended only three events for 2003, he still managed an 11th-Place finish in points for the season.

Judging by the numbers put up at the NMRA World Finals, Bob will be looking for even bigger things in 2004.