Drag Racing, Feature Article, Washington — June 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Ty Anderson (issue 101)




By Steve Heeb

Ty Anderson has fond childhood memories of going to the drag races with his father John, who kicked off a short career fielding a modified Model A coupe called Lil’ Ugly from 1959 through the mid-’60s.

In 2001, Ty was finally ready to go racing himself, and he knew it was something he wanted to do together with his dad.

“That January we started looking around to see what we wanted,” Ty recalls. “By April we were getting serious.”

Ty made a trip from Vancouver, Wash., to Pomona, Calif., to attend the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School with instructor Jack Beckman preparing him for life in the fast lane.

“I’ll never forget that first time strapped in a race car,” Ty smiles. “I came up on the burn out box and though, wow!”

He describes the experience as sensory overload.

“That first time I was pretty nervous,” he laughs.

Soon Ty had earned his license but he and John hadn’t yet settled on what exactly they would be racing.

“It was totally different back then,” John says, recalling his time competing in the B-Comp bracket in the ’60s. “We ran full out then, but now they have throttle stops. I told Ty that if that’s what he wanted to run then that’s what we would do.”

“I wanted to race in a challenging class,” Ty says of choosing Super Comp and the 8.90-second index. “Of the three ‘Super’ classes, this is the one you can go the fastest. One of the most appealing parts is that everyone has the same chance regardless of budget.”

Ty and John picked up a ’97 Yancer Monoshock 235-inch wheelbase dragster. The 565-cid Reher Morrison big block Chevy gulps down TRICK racing fuel supplied by the Weldon pump, and feeds horsepower through a Powerglide 2-speed transmission to a pair of 33x16x15 Toyo slicks.

“Unfortunately Toyo no longer makes those,” Ty sighs. “They have been great for us.”

The dragster also sports a Dedenbear throttlestop that helps to keep the times consistent, up to a point.

“It was a big transition getting used to a throttle stop,” John says of the technological advancements since his own racing days. “It’s a lot more difficult than running flat out.”

A big part of running an index class comes before the car is even on the track, as teams try to adjust the cars to compensate for specific conditions while attempting to nail that set time.

“It’s difficult to run 8.90 every single time,” Ty says. “To this day I think I have it down and then something throws us a curveball.”

When the car isn’t getting to Ty, he tries to get to the competition.

“It’s a trick I learned from Steve Federlin,” Ty says of the seasoned Super Comp veteran from Portland, Ore. “He taught us a lot about the car but also how to psych out an opponent.”

Ty says Super Comp involves a lot of mental work.

Psychological edge or not, Ty’s racing got off to a great start.

In his first season Ty notched back-to-back Super Comp wins at the Divisional races in Woodburn , Ore., and Yakima, Wash., en route to being named the 2001 NHRA Division 6 Rookie of the Year. He also was nominated for Car Craft magazine’s 8.90 Driver of the Year honors that season.

He took home the hardware from Woodburn’s Fall Funny Car Classic in 2002 and 2004.

In 2004, the team headed to Indianapolis for the 50th anniversary of the US Nationals.

“It was an overwhelming experience,” Ty beams. “That’s the Mecca of drag racing.”

Ty lost in the first round but was not discouraged at all.

“It was a blast just to participate,” Ty explains. “Racing back there is different because they have a lot more races to go to. Me and dad want to go do that again.”

Playing sports all through high school helped prepare Ty with a proper attitude about competition.

“You have to know how to lose well,” he says of racing and other sports. “You lose a lot more than you win.”

Ty found his way back atop the podium with another Divisional win at Mission Raceway Park in 2005.

The following year Ty and John traveled to Chicago to represent Division 6 at the prestigious Jeg’s All-Stars race in 2006.

“It was a lot like Indy,” Ty says of his second trip east. “It’s a nice race because they really feature the sportsman cars. It was a nice feather in our cap to make it there.”

He says they qualified great but were foiled early by the changing weather.

“So far our trips back east haven’t been successful,” Ty laughs.

When it comes to success in racing, especially in the highly-competitive Super Comp division, the fates often have a mean sense of humor.

“You can go from hero to zero in a second,” Ty says of the sport where victory is often measured in thousandths of a second. “At Boise in 2009 we won the Saturday shootout for all of the Super classes by beating Steve Williams. The next day we lost to Steve in the first round.”

Ty notched a top-10 ranking in the PNSCA’s 2010 points chase while running a limited schedule.

He appreciates the racing advice from Steve Federlin over the years.

“They’ve always given us nuggets to go on,” Ty says. “I want to help the sport keep growing so I try to pass on what I’ve learned to help young drivers get headed in the right direction.”

But not everything.

“You’ve got to keep something in your pocket,” he laughs.

For the 2012 campaign, Ty and John plan to run a full PNSCA schedule and have their sights set on the NHRA Divison 6 title.

However the season plays out, Ty and his dad have both loved the ride.

“I’m helping him make his dreams come true driving a race car,” John says.

That he has.


Comments are closed.