CUADRA PART OF PRO STOCK’S NEXT GENERATION
There is an unfamiliar face in Top Sportsman this weekend at the NHRA Winternationals, but the name is strikingly familiar. Fernando Cuadra Jr., son of Pro Stock driver Fernando Cuadra Sr., is entered and competing in the Sportsman door slammer category driving a 2008 Pontiac GXP formerly owned by Pro Stock champ Mike Edwards. The engines are Cuadra Racing’s own, tuned by Fernando Sr., and were purchased from the Gray Motorsports arsenal.
Fernando Jr. finished No. 2 in Mexico in 2018 in Pro Competition, a category that is the equivalent of NHRA’s Top Sportsman, and licensed in the American version of the category last year. It’s only the beginning, though, for the young driver. He plans to make his Pro Stock debut at the NHRA Virginia Nationals this season and race each event thereafter.
This past Tuesday in Phoenix, on the very last pass of the Pro Stock test session, Fernando Jr. completed his Pro Stock licensing in the GXP.
“I made my license runs for Top Sportsman in Oklahoma with a Power Glide, so then I needed to make runs with an actual Pro Stock car,” said Fernando Jr. in Phoenix. “This car has carburetors, not fuel injection, but it’s still 500 cubic inch, Liberty (transmission). It was something different. I had never tried a clutch pedal, so it was trying to grab me in the foot. It was hard for me to do it the first pass, but it was a real nice experience to focus on the shifting and going straight. It was a nice feeling.”
Fernando Sr., who will compete with KB Racing power in 2019, will also begin double duty in the latter half of the season with the family’s Cuadra Racing team, making the calls on his son’s Pro Stock car with their own power.
Fernando Jr. will drive the family’s brand new Jerry Haas-built 2019 Ford Mustang.
The Gray Motorsports engines that they have acquired were not run by 2018 Pro Stock champion Tanner Gray, but they were former competition engines. Fernando Sr. will be drawing from his own 2004 log book, which includes data from the final two races in which he qualified well into the field using Frank Iaconio engines.
“My dad 100% gave me the set-ups and was teaching me how,” said Fernando Jr., regarding the licensing process. “When my dad was racing in 2003 (and 2004), we loved it, so we started doing it in Mexico. But we always kept in touch, watching NHRA Pro Stock through the Internet. I’m very happy.”