Classic Graphix Honors Ferguson’s 3.79 Run
At this past weekend’s PDRA Mid-America Nationals, Dan Ferguson, driving the Henry Dogay-owned ‘68 Camaro, made history as the first Top Sportsman to make a sub 3.80 run. Ferguson, aided by Dogay and crew chief Rick Fogle, made the most of the post-sundown run on Friday night to take the “Cajun Nightmare” where no Top Sportsman car had gone before.
Despite still having high humidity and water grains in the air, the Musi Racing Engines 959 powerplant plumbed with four stages of nitrous had enough umph to slide into the elusive 3.70-range. Ferguson recorded a 3.799 at 196.53 MPH to etch himself in the history books.
Last season, PDRA apparel provider, Classic Graphix, sponsored a program to reward record-breakers in the Pro Mod classes. A Top Sportsman reward was added on for the first person to make a 3.70 run.
“Last year we came up with the program to reward these racers with $1000,” explained Scott Bathurst, owner of Classic Graphix. “No one was able to do that in Top Sportsman last season and nothing was ever discussed or put in writing for this year. After Dan went 3.79, they came by and asked if the program was still on. I wanted to honor their accomplishment, so I decided to still do the reward, even though it wasn’t really on the table this year. The PDRA is a great organization. I want to do anything I can do to help out the series and racers.”
“I’m really grateful to Scott and Classic Graphix for honoring this deal, even when it wasn’t on the program for this year,” thanked Ferguson. “He does our shirts; they are awesome. Scott’s been real good to work with. I love his designs. The reward had expired, but he’s honoring it anyway. That says a lot about what kind of person he is.”
Although Ferguson had the chance to try for a new Top Sportsman record, he did not try to back up the 3.799, preferring instead to use his other qualifying runs to get a setup for eliminations.
“We have not yet attempted to go for the record,” he continued. “I like to be in bracket mode for the first qualifying session since it’s typically the same weather and time of day we’ll see in eliminations. Then the second, night session is when we turn it up to go fast. Saturday morning I like to be back in bracket mode for a time trial. We will go for it when the time is right.
“The air wasn’t great [on that 3.79 run]. There was a lot of humidity and water grains. Some people say we’re running a Pro Nitrous car, but we run at 130 or 150 pounds heavier than a Pro Nitrous car. It was originally built with a naturally aspirated motor. It didn’t even have a bottle mount in it. It wasn’t wired for nitrous. It’s got a fiberglass body. It’s got a dash. It has a transmission tunnel. It’s heavy. Henry Dogay custom ordered this car himself to be a Top Sportsman car in 2014. Many of my competitors have carbon fiber bodies, carbon brakes, Ness four-link brackets, etc. There’s a lot of cars that are more Pro Mod-like than this one.”
The two-time champ admits that making the historic run is a highlight of the season, which has been an uncharacteristic struggle for Ferguson. “We spent the first four races working out a lot of bugs. Then the last two races, the car’s been good and I’ve made mistakes. We had to get two different tune ups developed, one for going fast and one for bracket racing. We haven’t gone testing. We just showed up at the PDRA races with it, so we’ve been kind of unprepared. Now the car is running great. We’re out of time to make a bid for another championship, but being able to be the first in the 3.70s is pretty cool. And having the support of great companies like Classic Graphix, along with my car owner Henry Dogay, Rick Fogle, Rossler Transmissions, Pat Musi Racing Engines, Doorslammers Plus, Protect the Harvest, my parents and the PDRA makes it possible to keep going and come back for more.”