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DI 30 Under 30 2023: Cole Pesz

Cole Pesz has a rich family history in drag racing, and the 22-year-old is wasting no time continuing the tradition. In 2023, he became the co-owner of PJS Racing Engines with his father, legendary Pro Mod driver Brandon Pesz, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“I’m very thankful with what God’s blessed me with,” says Pesz. “My dad is my hero, and it means a lot to own a company with him. I don’t know many 22-year-olds that are able to do that. We’re a dynamic duo. I don’t think he can do it without me, and I don’t think I can do it without him.”

Pesz’s role within the company involves roughly 70% of the manual labor, including building and servicing engines, putting together transmissions and fuel systems, shipping parts, and getting crews lined out and organized at the track. Becoming co-owner of PJS was the logical next step for the young man from Weatherford, Texas.  

“There was really never a choice,” Pesz says, laughing. “All I ever knew was racing. When they had Career Day at school, my dad was there and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My mom ran A/Fuel when I was eight years old, and ran 275 mph. My grandpa is in the Division 4 Hall of Fame. It’s my whole family, and I’m thankful for that.”

Pesz has also expanded his role outside the shop this year, attending more than 25 races across a multitude of sanctioning bodies. He has worked hands-on with drivers like Jeff Cameron in Funny Car Chaos and James Beadling in PDRA. Perhaps most notably, he’s joined forces with Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star “Chuck 55” Parker. But for Pesz, being in the television spotlight isn’t a distraction.  

“Racing is racing. I’m truly just there to work,” says Pesz. “I don’t care if there’s TV cameras around, or if you’re racing on the street. Me and Chuck are very close to the same person, so we get along well. And the car, it’s fast. We’ve got a lot of traction in that series now, so I’m excited for what’s coming next year.”

One area that Pesz is continuing to learn and grow is with the tuning aspect of the sport. Currently, his father handles all the tuning duties at PJS Racing, but that will change in 2024.   

“Tuning is something I really want to get into,” Pesz says. “It’s a very complicated process, but it’s not something I can’t handle. We’re going to be working on that a lot this winter. If I can be half of what my dad is, I’d say I’m doing pretty damn good.”

Pesz has more big plans on the horizon as well. He recently bought a Larry Jeffers-built Pro Mod ’69 Camaro that will feature a PJS Racing Engine and ProCharger combination he’s currently putting together. When and where he debuts the car, however, is still up in the air.  

“I try not to look too far ahead, because I feel like you can get distracted from the present,” says Pesz. “Most of my goals aren’t based upon driving. I’m not a guy who’s going to pass up business opportunities to go drive. I’m a team player. Business comes first, and driving comes second.

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“My dad has put so much time and effort into this deal, and there’s no other way to look at it but to succeed,” Pesz continues. “PJS is a movement. It’s by racers for racers, and a lot of people see that we care. That’s what we’re about, and we’re going to be around for a long time.”

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