Drag Racing: A Family Calling

by | Sep 25, 2017 | Spotlight

You could say it’s in the blood, drag racing, that is.  Not only does Brian Clark own Engine Dynamics in Newhall, he’s had his hand in this hot rod sport for decades.  And his father Jim founded the business in Baldwin Park back in 1963.  Engine Dynamics is an ASE-certified  NAPA Auto Care Center.  The short list of what they do – preventative maintenance, tires, tuneups, oil changes, air conditioning service and repair, smog checks, engine repair and engine overhaul.
“My Dad started an infatuation with cars,” said Brian, “I race with my Dad at the Auto  Club Famoso in Bakersfield and the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, formerly  California Speedway.  Their fast muscle cars hitting the track include The Dodge Dart,  The Dodge Demon and the Plymouth Road Runner.  Chrysler is the Clark’s sponsor.   “The course is always a quarter mile,” explained Brian, “and none of our cars have  mufflers so the sound is amplified.”  Races are usually Friday-Sunday and between  300-600 cars race daily.  All races are National Hot Rod Association certified.  The  NHRA is a drag racing governing body which sets rules in drag racing and is a host to  events all over the US and Canada.  With over 40,000 members, NHRA is the largest  motorsports sanctioning organization in the world.
Brian’s son, Brandon, is also a racer and a skilled competitor.  At 24, he has his best  racing years ahead of him.  When he’s not racing, Brian serves as the crew chief for his  son, making sure the engine’s tuned up and the tires are in peak condition.  One of the  most important jobs of the crew chief is setting the elapsed time, an estimate of the  time it takes to finish the course.  If a driver misses the elapsed time by too much, they cannot win the race.   In March, Brandon won a drag racing contest in Fontana, driving against 100 cars in  his class.  His hot rod that day – a ’68 Plymouth Road Runner.  Twice a year Brian and his father and son race at the state-of-the-art Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Located about 15-miles northeast of the Vegas Strip, it is a 1200-acre complex with multiple tracks for motorsports racing.
“Nostalgia racing is really popular again,” said Brian, “it faded out in the 80’s and 90’s  but now it’s back.”  Advice he gives to drag race drivers: don’t get rattled.  He says his son is a perfect example of this.  “Brandon is totally low key which makes him a superior driver.”  He also attributes their success to an independent work ethic.  “We do everything ourselves all the service and prepping of the cars.”  They work well as an auto-nomous team he said.
Some popular drag racing slogans echo this attitude.  “Run your car, not your mouth,” and “Success is when you open your garage door – and see your race car.” Brian’s favorite race saying is simply, “Stay under the radar.”
Join the crew October 20-22nd, where Brian and his son Brandon will be racing in the  “Hot Rod Reunion” at the Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Ca. Brandon will be racing the 68’ Dart and Brian the 68’ Plymouth Roadrunner against 600-700 other nostalgic automobiles  from the 1960s and 1970s.
Engine Dynamics, located at 24135 Railroad Ave, is open Mondy-Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.  They service belts and hoses, do brake repair, work on heating and cooling systems, tires and wheel alignment, offer engine diagnostics, electrical and charging systems.