Nicole Lyons: Lady of Drag Racing

Some people are just born to race. It’s in their blood and in their heritage. In Drag Racing, a largely male dominated sport, it’s unusual though to find a woman who could be on the next cover of a glamour magazine and is also a professional car builder and race car driver.  Nicole Lyons is that woman and is truly a lady of Drag Racing from start to finish. Lyonsdrives a Top Sportsman Comp Eliminator Monte Carlo in the NHRA’s Division 7 class and grew up with a natural passion for racing. She and her team were recently spotted running exhibition and testing at the Pacific Street Car Association’s California Nationals. Lyons said they were preparing for an upcoming Lucas Oil series event in Sonoma later this summer. The team has been attending some outlaw style street car events like the PSCA to gain extra test time and earn team publicity.

While Lyons has always had aspiration of making the Pro Stock field one day, I could not help but egg her on a bit to cross over into Street Car Association racing action. She ran a flawless string of low 7 second passes all weekend long like a well seasoned Pro. Lyons smiled and said “I could throw a set of 10.5’s on the car and run Outlaw or step up to Pro Street. We are sure this car has some 6’s in it.” With that kind of consistency, she’s tough to beat and has taken unsuspecting competitors by surprise from the first time down the track; a lady not to be underestimated. Lyons said “I have a goal to earn a Wally in Top Sportsman first.” The team has been working behind the scenes with Victor Cagnazzi on a deal to run the Pro Stock class. Lyons said I would like to be active in both Pro Stock and Pro Mod just because of my pure passion for door slammers.” If Lyons did run Pro Mod, she would select the Pro-Extreme class.

Besides being a great driver, Lyons has the knowledge to build her own engines and knows her way around a race car. She once won an award for building an 1100 hp 565 naturally aspirated engine. Off track she builds and restores Muscles cars in her shop at Cole Muscle Cars in Sylmar California. Lyons said “I can do it all from the engines to paint and body work. I spend most of my time now running the business end of the operation and employ people to do the work.”  Lyons Monte Carlo is currently powered by a Steve Schmidt 1500 hp 665 cubic inch engine and backed by a Mike’s Transmissions powerglide. Dave Beckley, a former NHRA Competition Eliminator Champion has been instrumental to the teams success helping with the chassis dynamics and all aspects of the race cars overall performance.

Lyons is a second generation drag racer. It all started with her father Jack Davis who was a well known street racer and drag racing enthusiast in the Los Angels area. As a young girl, Lyons followed along her father to many a street race and drag racing event. He taught her the culture of drag racing, how to turn a wrench, and how to drive a fast car. With her father’s untimely passing in 2005, Lyons carries the family racing legacy. She said “I think my father would be proud. He taught me what I know today about racing. He taught me that you can’t be just the driver that gets in the car and drives. You need to know what the car is doing. You need to know the engine set up. My advantage is that by knowing my car, I can make good decisions out there on the track where it counts.”

Today Lyons and her husband Damion spend their time between racing and the shop pursuing a love of drag racing. Lyons said ‘We are basically a three person team with me, my husband, and friend LaMont. My mom does the cooking for us. We are completely self-funded.” Lyons has been working with 495 Productions in Los Angeles to produce her own reality Drag Racing television show. Lyons and her team are currently looking for sponsors and hope the added publicity will attract some interest.

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