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Gutierrez Brothers Racing Returns to Roots with Visit to Students at St. Anselm

Mary Lendzion photos

While growing up just outside of Detroit, Michigan, JP and Phil Gutierrez were around all sorts of cars.

From classic to contemporary, and street-driven to strip-driven, the brothers appreciated how they were built and how they could be beefed up.

What they appreciated even more, however, was being given the opportunity by their parents, David and Laura Gutierrez, to begin racing in the Junior Dragster ranks.

JP and Phil immediately immersed themselves in the rousing racing world, and after years of efficiently evolving, they now compete in Top Alcohol Dragster, with JP as the driver and Phil as a mechanic.

Their passion has propelled them at racetracks around the country, including Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, which is the racetrack the Michigan-based racers call home.

Gutierrez Brothers Racing, which also includes JP and Phil’s parents, David and Laura, JP’s wife and daughter, Kara and Sophia, Phil’s wife and son, Lauren and Alexander, and other sensationally skilled team members, is known for being very gracious with fans. The team also gives back to the community, and on April 15, 2024, visited first-grade students in Kari Guido’s classroom at St. Anselm Catholic Elementary School in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, to give a presentation about the Gutierrez Brothers Racing program. The visit was especially meaningful since JP and Phil attended the school years ago, and their mother, Laura, works for the school’s parish.

With the massive rear tire and wheel from their dragster, JP’s helmet, photo presentation, video of the dragster and team in action and other items on display, JP and Phil spoke to the students. They started their presentation with a mention of how important cars are to the Motor City, the roots of racing and the difference between a Christmas tree in a home versus a Christmas tree on the racetrack. 

To give some perspective about the speed of their dragster, they talked about how a velociraptor runs 25 mph, Lightning McQueen from the movie “Cars” runs 200 mph and the Gutierrez Brothers Racing Top Alcohol Dragster runs 270 mph.

Pointing to the rear tire and wheel from their dragster, they talked about how it helps them gain traction and go fast, and when they said their dragster relies on a parachute to help bring it to a stop at the top end of the track, they received a collective “ooh” from the fascinated students.

JP and Phil told the students that there are plenty of resources available to help them start learning about racing, from visits to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, to watching it on television and taking part in activities like Pinewood Derby. When one student raised his hand and said he took part in Pinewood Derby, Phil smiled and told him he is a perfect candidate for racing.

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Gutierrez Brothers Racing then took questions from students. One wanted to know whether JP had ever experienced a fire in his dragster, and JP said that he had, and that he was thankful that his fire-resistant racing suit kept him safe. Another wanted to know how long the Gutierrez Brothers Racing dragster is, and was amazed to find out it is over 20 feet long.

And when another student inquired about the tiny rubber pieces sticking up on the tire from their dragster, JP and Phil told her they are leftovers from the production process, before inviting students to gather around the tire and tap on it.

When the children told JP and Phil they were 7 years old, Phil’s eyes lit up as he told them it was almost time for them to start racing, too.

After a round of applause, JP and Phil fist-bumped the students, wished them well and encouraged them to attend races, while JP and Kara’s daughter, Sophia, went around the room and gave each student a goody bag.

“It always means a lot to talk to children about racing, especially at our old school,” said JP. “Now that we have children of our own, it’s more special to try to inspire children to follow their dreams, especially if that’s racing.”

It is safe to say that Gutierrez Brothers Racing has a number of new fans after their visit to Mrs. Guido’s first-grade class, and they will be in for a treat when they see their dragster powered by a Gutierrez Brothers Racing-built 465 cubic-inch billet Hemi and a PSI D-rotor screw supercharger in action at 18th Annual University Hospitals Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser, May 31-June 2, 18th AnnualSummit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, June 27-30 and 47th Annual Cornwell Tools Night Under Fire, Aug. 3 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, along with several other NHRA events across the country in 2024.

The Gutierrez Brothers Racing dragster, which has gone as quick and fast as 5.243 and 274 mph, is a flying billboard for recently welcomed sponsor Maxima, as well as XRP Performance Products, B&J Transmissions and Hussey Performance. In 2023, the team earned a win at the 46th Annual Cornwell Tools Night Under Fire at Summit Motorsports Park, and a number two qualifier and semifinal finish at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

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

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