We Rank ‘Em: The Top Ten Biggest, Baddest Runs Of 2014!


Drag racing is and always has been about the outright pursuit of performance, and today, perhaps with greater effort than at any singular point in the history of our sport, racers around the world are pulling out all the stops to push the limits of performance, producing numbers that once only existed in our imaginations a reality. And those racers hail from every corner of the globe in what has become a truly international mission.

Twenty fourteen was a season for the ages as barriers were shattered and numbers were recorded in classes and venues that many previously thought impossible, or at the very least, years in the future. But we all beared witness to it in a campaign that won’t soon be forgotten.

In what we plan to make an annual tradition here at Dragzine, we’ve charted the biggest and baddest runs of the year, all year long, and compiled the ten that truly stand out from the rest, ranked in order. With so many incredible passes, it’s no easy task to narrow down ten runs, much less rank them in order of importance, but that’s what we’ve set out to do. Now it’s your turn to tell us if we got it right. Share your thoughts and tell us what YOUR top ten would be.

kanoosupra210. Gary White’s Import Record 6.04

Under the radar of the mainstream drag racing community, a number of import racing competitors from around the world have waged war on one another in the pursuit of not only the claim to the outright record, but the magical five-second zone itself. Drivers and teams from no fewer than four different countries have been at the forefront of the battle, including Qatar, Puerto Rico, Australia, and Jamaica, making it one of the more intriguing contests for a performance barrier in the modern era of drag racing.

In October, Floridian Gary White, who has been making a second home in Bahrain piloting Ebrahim Kanoo’s shop full of nasty Toyota and Lexus racing machines, charged right to the front of the heap with a blast of 6.05-seconds, eclipsing Rod Harveys’ previous mark of 6.12. Making the run all the more impressive was the fact that White was running 10.5W slicks on the Toyota 2JZ, inline six cylinder-powered Supra. But White wasn’t done there, later returning to the Bahrain International Circuit to click off a 6.040 to solidify his lead in the race to the fives.

9. John Mihovetz Makes Ford Modular History

Like the import crowd, the Ford Modular contingent — which is really just two west coast racers — had been battling tooth and nail with one another for two full years for supremacy and the honor of reaching the fives first. Veteran John Mihovetz, who has been working his magic with the Ford powerplant for a numbers of years, traded the elapsed time and speed record with fellow Californian Greg Seth-Hunter and the MMR team several times, but at the NHRA Lucas Oil Pacific division finale as Las Vegas in early November, Mihovetz took charge, ripping off a succession of ultra-consistent 6.00-second passes — three of them in one weekend — to overtake Seth-Hunters’ previous 6.02 standard and place himself on the brink of history.MG4_0405

But one must remember that Las Vegas is an altitude track, and if Mihovetz was able to go six-flat there, what could he do closer to sea level? Fortunately, the drag racing world only had to wait a few days to find out, as during qualifying for Competition Eliminator at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Mihovetz finally did the deed, carding a scintillating 5.920 at 248.07 miles per hour to etch his name in the history books as the first racer with a production Ford Modular motor to run sub-six seconds.

kanoo8. Khalid Mohamed’s 3.70 In Pro Nitrous

Ebrahim Kanoo’s formidable super-team makes our top ten list for the second time, with Pro Nitrous driver Khalid Mohammed’s are-you-kidding-me world record pass of 3.701-seconds recorded back in early February. Packing 903 cubic inches of nitrous-injected, Pat Musi horsepower under the hood and with tuning handled by MoTec wizard Shane Tecklenburg and Eric Luzinski, Mohamed made the quickest eight-mile pass in history by a nitrous car at the Qatar Racing Club in Doha, Qatar. Mohamed had a trap speed of 202.82 miles per hour on the run.

The next quickest run all season long was a 3.740-second hit by Lizzy Musi in Virginia in July.

7. David Pearson’s 4.16 On 275 Radials


While the Radial versus the World-style cars on the 315 drag radial tire were gobbling up the spotlight in 2014, those in the Outlaw 275 ranks were quietly going about their business without all the hoopla and fanfare. Quietly that was, until North Carolina native David Pearson — who just happens to share a name with one of the all-time NASCAR greats — cruised to a run quick enough on a 275 tire to get the attention of those on the 315.

At the Mooresville Dragway in October, Pearson rolled to a race-winning 4.169 at 173 miles per hour, with an otherworldly 1.03 short time. Pearson’s Fox body Mustang, with power from a 400 cubic inch small block Ford fed by a ProCharger F-3A-121 supercharger, could’ve easily qualified in the top half of any Radial versus The World or Radial Wars field in the country — with a tire nearly two inches narrower in tread width – with that run.

6. Larry Larson And The Five-Second Dance


There’s little denying that the lines between an all-out street legal effort and a Pro Modified car are a little blurred in this day and age. Like really blurred. But regardless of what the engine combination is, what type of chassis the vehicle uses, or the material the body is made from, it still has to survive the rigors of stop-and-go highway driving, and there’s no greater test of a street car-turned-race car on earth than Hot Rod Magazine’s annual horsepower parade known as Drag Week.

Unbeknownst to the public, Larry Larson had spent months planning and building the world’s most revolutionary street vehicle, which he debuted at the event he’s won a record five times. Larson and his compatriot Chad Reynolds had their struggles and sleepless nights during Drag Week, and this time around they didn’t win, but Larson’s pickup truck finished every mile on the road and took the tree at every drag strip, proving that it was absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, a street car.

On the final day of the event, Larson went for broke with the new truck and reset the street legal world record by a country mile despite lifting before the stripe, with a pass of 6.16 at 219 miles per hour. The next time the already-famous truck visited a race track, at the Street Car Super Nationals in Las Vegas in November, it made history with the first five-second pass ever recorded by a street legal vehicle, going 5.950 at 244.43 mies per hour.

While a “five” in competition at Drag Week is yet to come, Larson’s Las Vegas triumph marks the shattering of what is likely the last major barrier for street legal vehicles.

street-car-super-nationals-x-day-coverage-las-vegas24715. Roger Holder Goes The Distance On Drag Radials

With so much focus and attention on eighth-mile Drag Radial racing on both coasts and the march toward the three-second zone on everyone’s front-burner, the radial tire quarter-mile record had gone completely uncontested and largely forgotten about over the two years that followed Kevin Fiscus’ resetting of the record at 6.48 back in November of 2012. But the tenth edition of the Street Car Super Nationals reignited that flame, with some heavy hitters making the trek to Las Vegas to run their chariots out the back door.

Based on consistent eighth-mile numbers in the 4.0’s and four-teens, everyone was keenly aware of how quick a radial car could go, in theory. That theory had yet to be tested, however. But Roger Holder, one of the west coast’s preeminent radial tire racers, showed everyone what was possible right out of the gate in Las Vegas, rolling to a 6.19 on his first run of the weekend. But in the second round of eliminations, Holder’s twin-turbo Camaro reeled off a staggering 6.127-second pass at 244.29 miles per hour, paired with a 4.11 at 192 to the eighth-mile to set the bar really high.

Video Credit: Paul Fercho

4. Rickie Smith’s 5.77 Sends ‘Em Running For The Hills

Two seasons ago, the doorslammer racing icon they call “Trickie Rickie” quelled any notion that nitrous cars were outmatched by their turbocharged and supercharged peers, as he captured the NHRA Pro Mod title with authority. But after retiring and then un-retiring for one more tour of duty, the North Carolina native and his engine builder, Pat Musi (who provided the horsepower for two of our top ten runs), ratcheted up the performance in the title defense.

Image courtesy NHRA/National Dragster

Image courtesy NHRA/National Dragster

At the NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, Smith unloaded on the field by qualifying No. 1 with a stunning-in-itself 5.795 at 250.13 miles per hour — the fastest speed ever for a nitrous car. Smith had already been 5.88 and 5.84 in previous runs during qualifying. But in eliminations, it was curtains for the rest of the class, as Smith ripped off a 5.778 in round one, making not only the quickest quarter-mile pass ever by a nitrous oxide-injected door car, but the second quickest ever by a legal Pro Modified car — second only to Melanie Troxels’ 5.772 from 2011. It also stood as the elapsed time standard for the year by a good margin.

So crushing was that 5.77 by Smith, that the NHRA slapped fifty pounds on the nitrous cars immediately following the event in an effort to bring the big, bad nitrous cars back to the other power adders. Smith, nor any other nitrous car ran 5.77 again, but that didn’t keep him from successfully defending his title.

3. Erica Enders-Stevens And Jonathan Gray See Perfect

eejgFan favorite Erica Enders-Stevens and Jason Line entered the NHRA Finals in Pomona locked in an entertainingly-tight battle for the Pro Stock championship, with Enders-Stevens just 17 points — less than one round of racing, ahead of the former series champion. By the close of qualifying, that margin was 19 — still less than one round.

With ice in her veins and one of the quickest cars in the field under her, Enders-Stevens methodically kept pace with Line as each advanced through one round after another. One foul start or one lap caught napping at the tree and the championship bid could completely unravel on the seasons’ final day. As the semifinal rolled around, Enders-Stevens sat in the waterbox opposite of rookie Jonathan Gray and watched Line advance into the final over Jeg Coughlin, keeping his hopes alive and putting immense pressure on the Elite Motorsports driver. It was a long way from over.

Gray, with a mighty quick race car of his own and one of the quickest draws in the business, stood in the way of a final round for the ages. And to the surprise of nobody, not a single crumb was left on the table by either driver.

For the first time in NHRA professional drag racing history — more than sixty years worth — the two drivers recorded side-by-side perfect triple-zero reaction times, with Enders-Stevens’ 6.49 elapsed time serving as the decider in the match. The final round for the title was certainly clutch for the former Junior Dragster racer, but it paled in comparison to that once-in-a-lifetime occurrence a round earlier.

2. Brad Edwards Charges Into The Record Books


The question on the mind of everyone in small-tire racing as the season got underway in South Georgia back in February wasn’t whether a radial tire car would or could enter the three-second zone, but if we’d see it this year. At that time, no one had even been into the 4.0’s, so a full tenth still stood between the racers and radial tire infamy. But throughout the spring and into the summer months, the heavy hitters chipped away at the 4.0’s, setting the stage for a legitimate crack at the “threes” in the fall.


Photos courtesy Jeremy “Taco” Patterson/RadialsOnly.com

The record traded hands on a number of occasions, with Kevin Mullins, DeWayne Mills, Keith Berry, and Jamie Hancock all wearing the title belt at various points throughout the year — some of them more than once. But then came the Radial Fest in Huntsville, where history was made.

There, under spectacular conditions, Hancock and Edwards traded the record back and forth, inching ever-closer to the threes with each passing round on their collision course that culminated in the final round. Considering their performance through throughout eliminations — Edwards with a best of 4.00 and Hancock a 4.01 — the very real possibility existed that the first radial racer into the threes would be whichever one crossed the finish line first.

Like a scene out of a Hollywood movie, Edwards sailed into the history books with a 3.990 from his stock suspension Mustang, while his closest foe lost traction and smacked the wall in plain view of the barrier-breaking scoreboard, setting up a photo-op that will remembered for decades.

Video credit: Sam Vernon

1. Turky Al Zafiri’s Mind-Numbing 5.46 In St. Louis

Our number one run of the 2014 season goes to the racer known simply as “Scarface”, Turky al Zafiri, who made the shot heard ‘round the world on a blazing-hot late summer night in St. Louis at the Street Car Super Nationals Anarchy at the Arch.

DSC_1432Coming in to the inaugural St. Louis event, the all-time door car record stood at a 5.64, recorded by John Stanley in Las Vegas the previous November. That mark, much like the quarter-mile Drag Radial standard, was largely unchallenged, given the circumstances of unleashing an outlaw combination on the full 1,320-foot distance and the lack of races where such a thing is performed. But a handful of racers with cajones made of steel were game to try, and included among them were the quickest turbocharged and supercharged doorslammers on the planet — those belonging to Q80 Racing and Frankie “The Madman” Taylor.

DSC_1506The race was an instant classic, as Al Zafiri and Taylor marched right into and through the 5.50 zone and into the 5.40’s throughout the weekend, with each pass potential history in the making. The fans, the crews, the media, and officials were truly in awe of what was being witnessed each time the two racers rocketed off into the darkness. It was uncharted territory, and as your Editor proclaimed in a column penned back in September, it seemed as though anything were possible.

As though it were scripted, the Texan and the Kuwaiti met in the final round of the Outlaw Pro Mod class in what had the makings of one of the all-time great drag races. In a flash, the two were gone, and 5.4 breathless seconds later, it was over. In a drag race we’ll all be telling our children and grandchildren about one day, Al Zafiri defeated Taylor in the quickest side-by-side door car race ever — 5.461 at 272.50 to a 5.476 at 263.77.

Of course, virtually by default, Frankie Taylor takes the No. 1.5 spot in our rankings.

Video courtesy Urban Hillbilly

Honorable Mentions

Richard Sexton made history at the World Cup Finals in Maryland in November, recording not just the first three-second pass on American soil in Outlaw 10.5, but the quickest all-out run with a blistering 6.08 at 238 miles per hour.

Image courtesy NHRA/National Dragster

Image courtesy NHRA/National Dragster

Paul “P.B.” Candies drove his Cobra Jet Mustang to the quickest pass in NHRA Super Stock history at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, running 7.859 at 170.02 miles per hour.

Phil Hines decimated the NMCA Street Outlaw fields and the record book at the World Street Finals in Indy with a stunning 6.851-second pass from his supercharged Mustang.

Cruz Pedregon blasted to the quickest run in Funny Car history at the NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown in May with a 3.959-second clocking.

Clay Arnett put Chevrolet on top of the NHRA Stock Eliminator world with his 8.46 at 160 from his blown COPO Camaro at the NHRA Fall Classic in Indianapolis.

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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