CLOSE UP: When Opportunity Knocks, Ty Tutterow Answers
Alongside the scrutiny and assumptions of success that come with being the only son of drag racing legend and 19-time doorslammer champion Todd Tutterow, this year 21-year-old Ty Tutterow is enduring the pressure of being buckled into a $250,000 race car belonging to GALOT Motorsports team owner Earl Wells. Understandably, Ty feels the pressure, but also believes he’s blessed to have the opportunity and to have been coached extensively for this time since first strapping into a Junior Dragster at nine years old.
“By age 14, dad started me out doing easy stuff on his Pro Mod car, things like removing the valve covers, taking out the spark plugs and so forth,” Ty recalls. Within a few years, though, it was evident he had the knowledge to service virtually every area of a competitive Pro Mod entry. He’d also gotten a taste of driving a grown man’s car while still very much a kid when his grandfather felt Ty was mature enough to get some seat time in his ex-Pro Stock ‘81 Camaro, a car capable of 5.80s in the eighth mile on 10.5-inch slicks. Ty says he drove the car on off weekends from racing with his dad and even won a local bracket race with it.
While still a teenager, Ty got the chance to make his first hit in a Pro Mod car during a test session at Piedmont Dragway, an experience he’ll never get over. “Driving one of these Pro Mod cars is unexplainable,” he testifies. “It’s amazing how out of control these cars are and it gives you a whole new respect and perspective for these things when you drive one as compared to standing behind one and watching it go down the track.”
Last year, upon driving one of the GALOT Camaros on a regular basis, Ty went through the normal learning curves associated with any rookie driver. But his work ethic mirrors that of his famous father, so it came as no surprise when Ty won his first-ever heads-up race this July. “I’m very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had that—without question—wouldn’t be possible without my parents,” he says. “I also couldn’t do this without Mr. Earl Wells and his wife, Peggy, along with my sponsors like Ty-Drive, Hank Thomas Performance, Hammer Superchargers and UltraSonic.”
While very humble in his abilities, anyone who has known him for most of his life will agree that Ty has always been distinctly mature for his age. He’s also fiercely competitive. “In racing, eventually, I want to be one of the guys that everyone wants to beat—like my dad,” he concludes.