DREW SKILLMAN CHERISHES MEMORY OF RACING FATHER IN NORWALK FINAL
This NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class has turned out to be a good gig for Drew Skillman.
The former Pro Stock standout has been in a groove all season while competing in the Factory Showdown ranks.
Skillman won his third Factory Showdown race of the season at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, Sunday.
The latest victory was one of pure joy because it was a win, he beat his father, Bill Skillman in the finals.
Drew clocked a 7.921-second elapsed time at 173.34 mph to edge his dad’s 7.931-second ET at 173.25 mph.
“That was the first time I raced anybody in my family in the finals,” Drew said. “It was a really exciting deal. We knew we could have race cars (that could meet in the finals), but we never found our way there, and we finally did it. It was definitely bittersweet to beat my dad, but we are very competitive people and you just have to do what you have to do.”
This season, Drew Skillman has won three NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class races in Gainesville, Fla., Richmond, Va., and Norwalk. Bill Skillman won in Charlotte, N.C. Drew is leading the Factory Stock Showdown season points standings with a 447-point total. Bo Butner (358 points) and Bill Skillman (335 points) round out the top three.
Drew said he and his father met up with their Ford Cobra Jets in the finals there was no pressure.
“We already won,” Drew said. “That was the least stressful round of my entire life because no matter what it was a good situation. I’m a bracket racer, so I was looking over the entire time I was racing my dad. I knew I left on him and I never really lost the ground I had on him the entire time, so I know I was pretty good shape.”
Drew Skillman raced fulltime in NHRA’s Pro Stock ranks from 2015-2018, winning seven national events. He finished third in the Pro Stock points standings a year ago behind Tanner Gray and Jeg Coughlin Jr.
“This (the Factory Stock Showdown class) is a great change,” Drew said. “This is fun because I actually get to help develop some of the stuff on these cars. Everything is new. My ideas can be taken into consideration. In the past in Pro Stock, everything was done in 1998 or 2000 we tried that. I wasn’t even drag racing then, so how was I supposed to know that? I can throw out ideas and see if they work and that’s fun for me. Driving is fun and winning is always fun, but actually being able to see your hard work come to fruition is really where it is at.”
Drew admitted he didn’t this type of victory barrage coming for he and his father in the Factory Showdown class prior to the season.
“I’m a little bit of a pessimist, so I thought for sure people were going to be right there with us,” said Drew, who never competed in the Factory Stock Showdown class before this season. “This was really our first year going into this class and I thought we would have quite a bit more learning to do, but these guys on my team really did their homework over the winter and they made some really good decisions over the winter. We came out with some good race cars. We are still working on it. There have been multiple rule changes against us, and we are adapting pretty well to them.
I knew I could drive the (Factory Stock Showdown) car, but I had never run a heads-up class with a small tire. But at that same time, we’ve have been running these cars in Stock and Super Stock, so we had a general idea how to go fast with them.”
Drew Skillman and his father, Bill are competing fulltime in the Factory Stock Showdown class in 2019.
The Factory Showdown Series has eight events in 2019 and the remaining schedule is as follows – U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis (Aug. 28-Sept. 2); AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, St. Louis, (Sept. 27-29) and AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, Dallas, (Oct. 17-20).
“I have almost five weeks off before Indy,” Drew said. “We are going to start testing. We have to try and find more power. I know everyone else is going to keep working and we are not done either. Hopefully, we can stay ahead of the program and by the time they roll out for Indy we have something for them.”