Of his team, Todd Tutterow was the only member with a CDL license.
Which meant his way of celebrating a Pro Modified win at the ADRL’s Memphis Drags III was driving 500 miles north to Indianapolis to compete in Pro Modified at the NHRA’s U.S Nationals.
It also meant sleep took a backseat on one of the wildest weekends ever for the talented Tutterow.
“Even if there was (someone else with a CDL license), I just don’t rest good with someone else driving. I got to Indy about 8:30 (a.m.) after driving non-stop and we had to be in the lanes at 10. By the time we got unloaded and everything, we went straight to the lanes. It was pretty interesting,” Tutterow admitted.
Interesting would be a wild understatement, but Tutterow’s laid-back personality isn’t often prone to hyperbole. In this case, it would be warranted.
Driving a turbocharged ’70 Duster, Tutterow put together a series of 3.90 runs in Memphis, going more than 200 mph on several occasions to win for the first time in ADRL Pro Mod.
He was first in line at the ADRL’s winner’s circle and then the Tutterow clan quickly shuffled off, immediately getting in the trailer and journeying to Indy.
Tutterow qualified seventh with a 6.03 the weekend before at Lucas Oil Raceway when rain halted the action after just one qualifying session.
It had appeared that his Indy experience was going to be a wash, but further rain from Friday wiped out the expected first round of eliminations in Pro Modified on Saturday in Indianapolis.
So while Tutterow was beating Dave Roemer, Mike Janis and then Adam Flamholc in the final – thanks to one more 3.90 – in Memphis, he was also calculating if he could make it to Indy in time for eliminations.
Flamholc and Musi joined him on the overnight jaunt, but it was Tutterow and his turbo Duster who enjoyed the most success.
He followed up the Memphis victory by winning in the first round of the U.S. Nationals 12 hours later, before falling in the quarterfinals to Troy Coughlin by a mere three feet.
Still, it was a weekend Tutterow won’t soon forget.
“We knew the race would be done the following weekend and we knew we had a pretty good combination,” Tutterow said. “So, we thought we could take it to Memphis and run it in Pro Mod, get some more data and if it worked out if we could go straight back to Indy without making any changes. It just happened to work out.”
A lot of things have worked out well for Tutterow in 2012, but perhaps nothing has been as big of a success as the turbo experiment.
“This whole project started at PRI when I met with Harry (Hruska of Precision Turbo), and he was wanting to develop a big turbo car and possibly run 220 mph in the 1/8-mile. He asked me if I was interested in working with him and I said I was as long as it was competitive,” Tutterow said. “It has definitely shown potential.”
So much so that Tutterow was willing to race in two different national events in one weekend.
But the madness isn’t about to stop for Tutterow, who is the only driver in ADRL history to advance to a final in four different classes (Pro Extreme, Pro Mod, Pro Nitrous, Extreme 10.5).
He’s racing the Duster in NHRA Pro Modified this weekend at zMAX Dragway and, after a rare off-week, will race in the ADRL at its Ohio Drags to close out the month.
From there, Tutterow hopes to close out the season at the ADRL World Finals in Dallas with his lightweight Pro Extreme Mustang that he crashed in St. Louis in June.
He also hopes to have a turbo set-up in the car by that point. After all, this new turbo fascination led to one the most memorable weekends of his career.
“To hear that the turbo cars can’t run with them in the 1/8-mile, that puts a fire to you. You just have to put your mind to it. I already know they have more power. The question is power management and getting it to leave hard enough,” Tutterow explained. “That’s going to be the challenge. We’re just trying to open doors and see what we need to do, and I’m confident the car will run fairly quick early.
“I know it’s got the power. You can’t tell that by the seat of your pants and the MPH clocks. It’s neat and I think it’s going to be the way of the future.”
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