Drag Racing, Feature Article, Washington — September 18, 2004 at 4:47 pm

Tony Brothers (issue 61)



By Steve Heeb

“It’s been a good car,” Tony Brothers says of his ’68 Cougar XR7. The teal green Mercury is a little rough around the edges, but the driver out of Graham, Wash., has been behind the wheel of the same car since he started racing in 1991.

Back then he was running Super Pro in the 13-second range, but since he turned to the Super Street bracket in 2000 has notched a personal best run of 9.09 seconds at 150 mph.

The first few years, Brothers kept his racing calendar pretty full: often racing Wednesdays in Portland; Fridays and Saturdays at his home track Pacific Raceways; and finishing out a full week with a Sunday race in Bremerton.

“As far as I know, I was the only guy in Super Pro running all the divisional races,” Brothers says, reflecting on his first five seasons. “Every one.”

Brothers’ attraction to the drag strip was a bit of a break from his father’s circle track and figure-eights racing career. But the organized competition also was a way to steer away from some “bad boy” problems he was having with the law.

“I’m here to have fun,” Brothers says. “I don’t get upset.”

1994 was an especially fun year for Brothers as he tallied four wins in seven final-round appearances, including wins in two of three double points matches earning a spot on Team SIR at the Bracket Finals that season. He also made it to a dozen semi-finals through the year and picked up a Super Pro “Wally” at the Yakima divisional event.

“Seat time is the key,” Brothers explains of his success.

Brothers also had resources available at Tony’s Automotive, his auto shop in Puyallup.

“Being able to do it all myself has helped,” he says. “I don’t have an unlimited budget.”

To help stretch the budget he had, Brothers de-tuned the Cougar’s 548-cid Reher-Morrison engine with a smaller cam so he’d never have to change the valve springs. The XR7 channels power through the PowerGlide tranny to churn 680 pounds of torque and 624 horsepower at the rear wheels.

“I just change the oil, and – knock on wood – nothing goes wrong,” Brothers says with a smile.

At the 2001 NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, he turned back-to-back 10.900 runs and qualified in the Super Street top spot.

But Brothers’ hectic racing schedule was starting to take its toll, and he stepped back for a couple of years.

Tony’s Automotive expanded to include a used car lot and demanded more attention. Brothers recalls he was spending a lot of time going to auctions for work.

After a two-year break from racing, he decided to rearrange his work store hours to have Fridays off so he could get back on track.

With the support of wife Tammy and daughter Linda, Brothers kicked the dust off the 14.5-inch wide 32-inch tires and readied the Cougar for a return to Pacific Raceways.

He was pleasantly surprised by the hospitality he discovered at his old home track.

“These guys are so good now,” Brothers says of dragstrip manager Russell Stevenson and the crew at Pacific Raceways. “They’re the most accommodating people I’ve dealt with. I’ll be out more often.”

After all, seat time is key.

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