Robert Patrick admits for the longest time he has had a Pro Stock mentality.
This mentality, he believes, shouldn’t be described as narrow-minded, but more like tunnel-vision and completely focused on the task at hand.
This season had been one of change for the past IHRA Pro Stock champion from Fredericksburg, Va.; more change than a driver besieged with this mindset usually attempts.
Patrick abandoned his 500-inch NHRA Pro Stock operation just months into the season for an ADRL Pro Nitrous combination. Once this change was made, he took it one step further with the addition of electronic fuel injection.
Generally a two-man combination with crew chief Rich Purdy, Patrick added veterans Rickie Smith, Pat Musi and Sonny Leonard to the mix of engine/clutch fraternity. He likewise added past IHRA Pro Modified champion Scott Cannon Jr. to the mix.
Today Patrick has yet another deviation from the preseason flight plan. He will drive a Super Stock Cobra Jet for Roy Hill during the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
“I’m really excited about doing this and I will tell you, these Super Stock guys are hard-hitters,” Patrick said. “You can look at the caliber of racers in this class and there are no weak links. I think I can adjust easily to the heads up and pro tree in the shootouts but the full tree will be a challenge. I will definitely be stepping outside of my comfort zone. Leaving off of the bottom bulb is something I haven’t done in a while.”
In addition to driving the eight-second Super Stocker (SS/AAA), Patrick will become an instructor for Roy Hill’s Drag Racing School, and tutor new Cobra Jet owners in the nuances of driving these cars.
Patrick admits he doesn’t have a plethora of experience in driving these automatic transmission-equipped Mustangs and leaving off of a trans-brake, but in running as quick as 3.8-seconds in the eighth-mile, he’s got what it takes to adapt quickly.
“Been a long time in driving one of these cars,” Patrick admitted. “And, for these cars running low eight second passes on a narrow tire, that’s really moving. It’s going to be an exciting ride and I’m looking forward to it.”
Patrick makes his Super Stock driving debut this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway at the Fun Ford Weekend event. He will also compete in the NMCA’s Cobra Jet Shootout next weekend in Milan, Mi.
This union and the fact Hill’s drag racing school became the official school of Ford Racing, made the decision a no-brainer for Patrick.
Patrick’s family owns the Purvis Ford dealership in Fredericksburg.
“I believe this is an incredible opportunity,” Patrick said. “Roy has a first class operation and his affiliation with Ford, and our affiliation with Ford as dealers, this is a perfect match. This provides a good opportunity for me to go out there and represent Ford Motor Company at the US Nationals. I am grateful those who have supported me in chasing this opportunity.”
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