On October 8th, Kentucky native John Pryor’s world was turned upside down, literally. Pryor was racing at Thornhill Dragway when his turbocharged ’97 Mustang lost traction and veered hard to the left of the racetrack where there was no retaining wall. That sudden move put Pryor and the ‘Louisville Slugger’ into a freshly tilled dirt field and a series of barrel rolls and flips, ultimately landing on it’s roof. John climbed from the wreckage unhurt and was determined to get the popular grudge Mustang back to his Louisville-based race shop to survey the damage.
That very next day, Pryor and a group of his close friends began the teardown and rebuild of Pryors’ dominant 26- and 28-inch turbocharged monster. Allen Richard, Mathew Dearinger, Mathew Richard, Timothy Brown, Gary Dugan, Al Mullins, Steve Oller, and Shawn Friedberg were all at Pryor’s shop until midnight on Sunday, thrashing away. Monday, the exact same crew was right back at it until the early morning hours, and this continued until the car was completed. Bivins Race Cars was a big part of the rebuild, making sure all was safe with the chassis.
UPR Products heard about Pryor’s crash and his mad thrash to get back on track and helped the team with a set of A-arms to replace those that were bent in the melee. Chuck’s Automotive in Shepardsville, Kentucky slapped the born-again Mustang on the machine and gave it a full alignment before it was loaded into the trailer and sent off to Greater Evansville Dragway in Chandler, Indiana for an OSCA event, just thirteen short days after ending up on his roof at Thornhill.
Pryor unloaded the beaten and battered rebuilt Louisville Slugger for the OSCA event and his first pass was straight down broadway in a quick fashion. As the night carried on, the team continued to get faster and faster until he landed in the winner’s circle in the 26-inch class over Sammy The Bull, driven and owned by Dave Buckley.
The team then rolled into US 60 Raceway in Hardinsburg, Kentucky for the Bilbrey Automotive Turkey Bash and came out swinging once again, double entering in both the 10.5-inch and 8.5-inch tire classes, as he has been known to do. Pryor wheeled his turbocharged 400 cubic inch mill to the final round in both categories with major conversions between the two classes, all while keeping composure behind the wheel. Pryor was defeated by Boost12 in 10.5 but grabbed another 8.5-inch tire victory, going back-to-back in less than a month and from black-and-blue to all smiles once again.
Pryor explained that he had a ton of people to thank for the turnaround, including Bilbrey Automotive, CFM, Smith’s Excavating Service, Competition Automotive Machine and more for the continued support of his program, along with their assistance in the rebuild. Looking forward to 2017, John mentioned a possible upgrade in horsepower to be even more competitive in the no-time shootout game. John’s team caught a lot of attention by making such an impressive recovery from a wild accident to get right back to the winner’s circle — twice no less — proving the point that drag racing is a game of speed and skill, not just slick looks and shiny paint jobs.