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Getting the Band Back Together: Brandon Seraphine Returns to Fuel Altered Racing

Brandon Seraphine grew up surrounded by drag racing as a child into his early twenties. In 2017, he made the difficult but responsible decision to step away from racing to focus on his career in the elevator trade. Despite his hiatus from racing, the 2016 DI 30 Under 30 honoree remained connected to the sport while advancing his career as an elevator mechanic. However, he often found himself dreaming of the day he would return to the world of Fuel Altered racing.

While the elevator music hasn’t quite stopped for the 29-year-old, Seraphine is now at a point in his career where he can return to the seat of a Fuel Altered and listen to the sweet sound of a 4,000-horsepowerfront-end engine charging down the racetrack once again. In 2023, the opportunity arose to purchase a car and Seraphine immediately seized it. When he eagerly reached out to his former crew for the chance to join his new team, they all answered with a resounding “YES!”

And just like that, the band was back together. 

Seraphine’s brand-new, beautifully painted Fuel Altered has a 125-inch wheelbase, equipped with a 468-cubic-inch engine and a 14-71 blower running on nitromethane. His newly formed team, based out of Fullerton, California, includes Mark Rollings serving as crew chief with Jeff Seraphine, Brandon’s father, in the role as team advisor. Michael and Daniel Dotsun have returned as crew members and veteran tuner Garry “Skippy” Kennedy has joined Seraphine’s operation, bringing a wealth of knowledge through his experience tuning for the NHRA Nitro Funny Car teams of Cruz Pedregon and Tommy Johnson Jr. 

“Skippy has been phenomenal, to say the least,” Seraphine said. “He is overseeing our entire operation, and his experience has been super helpful in setting up the car.”

While most of the crew have been racing togetherfrom the start of his career, a new MVP has been named at Seraphine Motorsports. Brandon and his wife Courtney welcomed their beautiful baby boy, Hudson, to the world last October. At 7 months old, Hudson has already been spotted smiling from ear to ear at the racetrack while his dad restarted the process of obtaining his Nostalgia Funny Car license last month at Irwindale Dragstrip in Southern California. 

“He literally had the most fun out of everyone and it was his first time ever at a racetrack,” Seraphine said. 

With their new good luck charm in attendance, the team made multiple successful 60-foot runs. By the time the test session ended, Seraphine shook off the dust and everything checked out on the new car as planned. The team’s next step is to head to Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield, California, to make full quarter-mile pulls in a pursuit to make their official debut this September at the inaugural California Chaosin Bakersfield. 

Seraphine’s goal is to run the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series and the popular “Run Whatcha’ Brung” Nitro Chaos series, with the only rules being that the car must run on a minimum of 80% nitromethane and the motor must be in front of the driver. While he expects to run into a few bumps along the way with a new team and a new car, Seraphine has his sights set on qualifying at the fall event and to gain traction from there. 

One of Seraphine’s main driving forces to get back on track comes from the endless support he receives from his family. At a young age, Seraphine would watch his father race Funny Cars and credits him for his absolute love of short wheelbase, high-horsepower race cars. When Seraphine was 10 years old, he began racing Jr. Dragsters and then moved on to compete in the Nostalgia Eliminator 1 (NE1) category. Before taking a break from racing, he achieved a third place finish in points, following a significant win at the annual March Meet in 2016 when he was just 21 years old.

Seraphine is fortunate to have several major sponsors back onboard with him including, Recovery 180, Red Line Oil, JE Pistons, and CP-Carrillo. Just like Guns n’ Roses, getting the band back together is no small feat, and while things have almost seamlessly fallen back together, it has taken mounds of hard work and coordination from Seraphine. 

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“I never thought I would be doing this again, but here we are,” Seraphine said. “Anything is possible.”

Seraphine’s optimistic outlook on the journey ahead of him, coupled with the passion in his voice, is a testament to the excitement he has bottled up for the past eight years. He is eagerly anticipating his official return to drag racing and the opportunity to compete in the sport that he loves so much. For updates on Brandon Seraphine’s return to racing, follow him on Instagram.

This story was originally published on May 16, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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