Denver, North Carolina’s Virginia Bohanon has spent many years at the drag strip, although this mother of two adult children didn’t even start competing until just a few seasons ago. Instead of “taking a tree” herself, she was completely content being the longtime crew chief for her husband of 31 years, Bo Bohanon, who is a well-known fixture around the local southeast tracks, racing his familiar Chevy S-10 truck.
Upon Bo’s constant urging, however, Virginia reluctantly entered her 1977 Chevy Monte Carlo in a race at Mooresville Dragway, while competing in Tony Brown’s Pro Tree Racers Association (PTRA) event. Virginia was pretty much hooked from the very beginning. She also appeared to be instantly talented at the sport she’s been well-acquainted with for so many years, and actually clinched her first victory in only a couple of outings.
“I won my first race (ironically against another Monte Carlo) on Saint Patrick’s Day 2012, so I figured my car must be my green ‘good luck’ charm,” she laughs. After that, she figured it wouldn’t hurt to choose “777” as her car number, which she hoped would continue bringing good luck her way each time she visits the drag strip.
Bohanon sure seems to be a perfect match with the Monte Carlo, and also points out the fact that she owned one identical in model year when she was a teenager, right after she got her driver’s license. With all thing considered, it’s easy to feel a connection to her teenage years each time she creeps into the staging beams, ready for the next round of eliminations. And while she thoroughly enjoys the thrill of competition, she also gets a kick out of simply commuting this classic Monte Carlo from her home in North Carolina to various race tracks on warm, summer days.
“The car is a 95% stock classic, and is powered by a 383 Stroker with a 700R tranny in a 4,220 pound cruiser,” she explains. “It’s a driver.”
Virginia’s breakout season happened in 2015 when she won four races, along with three runner-ups and finished second in points at Farmington. Amazingly, she won the MJ Palooza/Stick Shift Nationals event two years in a row. She swore she was right in the middle of experiencing a losing streak at Farmington when she rallied and won her second consecutive Memorial Day Weekend event at “The Farm” on Saturday, May 28th, 2016. In addition to racing at Farmington, Virginia has also traveled to South Carolina’s Union County Dragway and is currently committed to the points system at Wilkesboro Dragway for the 2016 season.
“I feel like I’ve come a long way from being a pit crew chief with Bo,” she says with a smile.
This story originally appeared in Drag Illustrated Issue No. 110, the Sportsman Issue, in June of 2016.