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Fernando Cuadra Sr. Announces Retirement From Drag Racing

Fernando Cuadra Sr., a successful entrepreneur and drag racer, has announced his retirement from racing and his company, which includes the luxury boot and leather business Corral Boots. Fernando Sr.’s final race will be the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Fernando Sr. committed to marking his 65th birthday, which he will celebrate on Friday, April 26, 2024, as the end of his racing career and his retirement from the company. Friday, April 26, is also the birthday of Fernando Sr.’s twin sons, Cristian and David

“Today [April 23], we’re celebrating the company’s birthday, my birthday and the twins’ birthday,” stated Fernando Sr. happily. “We signed it back in the day that when we become 65, we give the company to the next generation, which is my sons [Fernando Jr. (28), Cristian and David (25)], who will work with a board of directors. My sons will inherit the company, the finances, the buildings and the partnership of 27 countries at once.”

The responsibilities don’t come without years of preparation put in place by Fernando Sr. for his three sons. The patriarch put his children through the paces of learning the business and Pro Stock racing from the ground up. They had to develop an engine program, but before they could make any changes, they had to answer to, Fernando Sr., a business professor at Stanford University and Tech de Monterrey in Mexico, why they wanted to make the tuning adjustments.

Now that they have developed a solid foundation, which also includes other studies like business administration, flight school and more, Fernando Sr. is staying true to his word, and the boys will officially take over the business this summer.

“We are not going to do the western swing because we are going to Europe. Why?” he rhetorically asks. “It’s because the 27 partnerships that I have overseas for farming are going to be all together. We are going to have a one-week seminar to transfer the company in front of them and sign the new company agreements.”

The Leon, Mexico native made his debut in Pro Stock in 2003 and qualified for his first event in 2004. After leaving NHRA to attend to business needs, he returned to racing in 2018 after a 14-year absence. Fernando Sr. has been racing alongside his three sons in Pro Stock. At the 2023 Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, the quad of Cuadras lined up for the first time in qualifying to race down the quarter-mile drag strip together, marking the first time the feat had been done by a father and three sons. 

“They are very excited but also very sad because when I gave my word, they never thought that this day would come,” Fernando Sr. said. “Then, on the other hand, I told them I’m not leaving you. I’m leaving the companies and the racing, but I still want to be around you. All three of my sons will be working and racing together.”

For now, though, Fernando Sr. is focused on his last race, which is going to be a challenge because he broke his hand. However, he does hope to line-up against his sons for a final time.

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“I need surgery, but if I get surgery, I cannot drive,” he explained. “I broke it two weeks ago and had to leave my finger hanging from my hand with just the ligaments and tendons. I have to use a prosthetic to use the shifter so I brought one of the shifters to slide into my finger to be able to drive for this weekend.”

Lastly, Fernando Sr. reflected on his career and the various teams he’s been with along the way.

“KB Titan opened their doors for me to get my license and to go to two final rounds,” Fernando Sr. said. “Jason Line, Greg Anderson and Rob Downing opened the doors for me to come back, even if they didn’t want to teach me anything about tuning or anything like that, which I understand because that’s their business, but they did a tremendous job with me.

“Richard Freeman is very important to me. He and the whole Elite team adopted my children and treated them like sons of their own. Richard is looking after them very closely. I want to thank Erica [Enders], Jake [Hairston] and the whole team for teaching my sons what to do and what not to do.”

When asked what his retirement plans are, Fernando Sr. replied, “I’m going to be at the Harvard Business School [the Boston branch] on May 20 for a one-week seminar. I am also going to do consulting or creative business development free of charge. Then my next engagement is going to be at MIT. I’m not sure about MIT and what the result is going to be, but I told them if I don’t try to reach the next level, I will never see what it looks like.”

This story was originally published on April 24, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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