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DI 30 Under 30 2023: Bradley Dillon

Bradley Dillon hasn’t let what people tell him he can and can’t do slow him down. As a matter of fact, Bradley Dillon loves proving people wrong. 

One of the first instances was when Dillon’s dad purchased his first car, a Dodge Neon, that began his drag racing career.

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #185, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in Nov/Dec of 2023.]

“I really wanted a Honda Civic,” says Dillon. “All my friends had V8 cars, and they told me that I could never make a four-cylinder car fast.”

Little did Dillon’s friends know that this was just the beginning. He soon sold his Dodge Neon for an SRT-4.

“I just love proving people wrong, and just one thing after another, time after time, I was gradually getting to the point of breaking a record in that car, then driving for other people, breaking records for other teams, and it just kept going,” he explains.

In 2018, Dillon was the first driver of a manual transmission SRT-4 to break into 8 seconds, with an 8.91 at 169 mph. Then, he would reset the 5-speed SRT-4 manual transmission record to 8.2 at 180 mph. 

“I was the first car to go 8s in a quarter mile,” says Dillon. This provided a springboard for him to become one of the most recognized drivers in the front-wheel-drive community. 

After that, Ramey Racing sat up and took notice. In 2019, Dillon joined the team known for specializing in high-performance Honda engine building, machining, and manufacturing. During his stint with Ramey Racing, Dillon became the fastest sport front-wheel driver at the time by setting a speed of 196.7 mph.

However, while he was finding success with Ramey Racing, Dillon was involved in a crash that totaled his SRT-4 while trying to reset the 5-speed SRT-4 manual transmission record. This setback didn’t slow him down, though, as only two weeks later, Dillon was back in the driver’s seat of the Ramey Racing Honda Civic and won Honda Day in 2019 at Maryland International Raceway. 

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“A few months after that, I went 7s in that car [in the B-series], making me the second driver to go 7s in a sport front-wheel-drive,” states Dillon.

He then spent the next four years rebuilding his personal car when he wasn’t working in the family business, Dillon Roofing, which he co-owns with his father, and finding success in the front-wheel-drive racing scene. 

Dillon soon joined Prayoonto Racing, where he piloted the iconic “Goldie.”

“We broke the K-series record [with Goldie], which is still the record today, 7.82 at 192 mph,” says Dillon, “and that actually made me the first driver to go 7s in a B-series and a K-series, which nobody has done yet.”

Now, Dillon is ready to take his driving to the next level, especially after adding the 2022 XFWD champion title to his résumé. 

“I’m taking what I’ve learned from other race teams to build my own brand,” he says. “I want to be the first SRT4 to go 7s, and that’s what we built [the Dodge Neon] for. It’s getting there, but my future all-time goal is to drive NHRA Pro Stock.

“I was never good at sports,” says Dillon, drawing similarities between front-wheel-drive racing and Pro Stock, “but I really believe in myself that I can do that.”

This story was originally published on February 19, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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