Terry Haddock’s NHRA nitro Funny Car and Top Fuel career has been a case study in perseverance.

The Temple, Texas, team owner/driver, however, has kept plugging away and he’s more optimistic than ever about what his team can accomplish in 2018 when he competes in the Top Fuel class.

“We had a brand-new Top Fuel car built and we are trying to get everything squared away and we are working hard trying to be there next week to see how it all plays out,” Haddock said. “We finished 12th last year (in the point standings) and we are going to try and improve on that. My heart is still in those Funny Cars, but sponsorship is so tough, and at least right now I can get those qualifying checks in Top Fuel that keep you going. It’s not enough, but at least we can keep trying.”

Next week is NHRA’s season-opening Winternationals Feb. 8-11 in Pomona, Calif.

Haddock said his new dragster was built by Ty Baumgartner. Baumgartner is headquartered in Hallsville, Mo.

“The car (dragster) was delivered to me (Jan. 30),” Haddock said. “We have until (Feb. 5) to finish putting it together and load it and go. Ty kept me in Funny Cars for years and I won the championship in IHRA (in 2008) in one of his Funny Cars and he has built a lot of Top Fuel cars and he’s a good guy. Ty is more than a chassis builder, he has been a friend of mine for a long time. If you look at this (dragster) it will be one of the nicest ones you have ever seen. Just the craftsmanship and the dedication that guy puts out, there’s nothing to compare it to.”

Haddock competed in 17 races last year, winning two rounds – one against Shawn Langdon in Denver and then he defeated Tony Schumacher in the first round in Dallas.

“I’m still doing my crew chiefing and I think I did pretty good last year,” Haddock said.

The last 10 runs of the 2017 season, Haddock clocked elapsed times in the 3.80-second range.

“Not only did we get a new car, we have updated our wing package,” Haddock said. “I have been a Funny Car driver for most of my career and I finally got my personal life sorted out and my head is out of my a** and the car runs good, so now we are learning how to run dragsters. There is a lot more to them than a Funny Car. There is a lot of change to my dragster and hopefully this thing does what I think it is going to do and runs really well.”

This season, Haddock is unsure how many NHRA races he will run.

“We’re going to take the first handful of races and just see how it goes,” Haddock said. “I would love to run the whole series, but the financial implications of that are really tough. It’s better in Top Fuel because you are more likely to get a qualifying check and I know NHRA is trying but the qualifying checks are just not large enough to carry the program. I have a lot of sponsorship and I have a lot of my buddies to help, but this car doesn’t see the funding that it really needs. I would like to thank my sponsors, Ty Baumgartner Race Cars, Pro-Kote Indy, Trey’s Collision, DJ Safety, Clevite bearings, Cornwell Tools and Lone Star Aluminum Block Repair because without them I would not be able to do what I’m doing.”

Haddock acknowledged he wants people to see a new version of him in the upcoming campaign.

“I’m trying to change my image,” Haddock said. “I’m trying to make things cleaner and better looking to maybe attract some money. Over the years I’ve worked so hard and the details of the presentation sometimes get lost and we are trying to vastly improve on that so if our performance comes around maybe we can attract some corporate money.”