It may have taken 41 years, but what started out as two competitors at a sand drag race in Hanford, Ca., in 1979 has now given birth to a powerhouse A/Fuel dragster two-car team in 2020. Rick Henkelman and and Mitch Myers each have numerous NHRA wins, a national championship [Myers] and multiple other accomplishments to their credits, and the duo looks to build on those accomplishments together with their new two-car team.
Henkelman’s accomplishments come as both a driver and team owner in multiple classes including Top Alcohol Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Fuel. Henkelman has been a force to be reckoned with for over 40 years with numerous top 10 standings and wins. Henkelman has raced nonstop for going on five decades now.
Myers, on the other hand, took a 15-year hiatus from the sport after winning the NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster national championship in 2004. Myers shocked the world with quarter-mile elapsed times of 5.109 and 5.118 during the 2004 NHRA Finals and capped the 2004 season by winning the 2004 championship. Myers is often credited with being the catalyst to cause NHRA officials to alter the rules for injected nitro-burning combinations in Top Alcohol Dragster beginning in 2005.
After 15 years away, Myers was presented with the opportunity and returned in 2019 behind the wheel of an A/Fuel dragster owned by Larry Miersch. According to Myers, “having been 15 years since I retired from drag racing, it was a bit surreal to return.” Myers stated that he appreciated the opportunity to blow off the dust and drive for Miersch Racing in 2019 and wished Miersch the best of luck in the future with his team.
The new two-car team will both be hosting separate title sponsors with numerous joint associate sponsors displayed on both cars. Henkelman’s car will continue to be driven by veteran driver Garrett Bateman and sponsored by Boost Performance Products and associate sponsor Advance Auto Parts. Myers’ car will carry the EPHA Hose Protection Products title banner with Seattle-based Electrical Hub as an associate. Both cars will also carry NGK and Carrillo / CP as product support sponsors along with numerous others partners. A schedule of 9-10 national/regional events will be attended by both cars with the exception of the Winternationals, which Myers will set out due to scheduling and preparation.
For both Henkelman and Myers, the chance to work together as a true two-car team has them both excited with the potential. Crew members and crew chief responsibilities are being worked out and some familiar faces from the sport will be seen on both cars. Jim Rizzoli, who worked with Myers on the Miersch car in 2019, will be joining the two-car team in support of both cars. Henkelman stated that he has wanted to work with Rizzoli for years and was able to convince him to come out and play with this effort in 2020. “We have good chemistry, we’re well funded and will have competitive cars,” Henkelman said.
“The brain trust is the best I ever had to deal with,” added Henkelman, who is busy putting all of the pieces together, filing and assigning crew positions. Both teams will have separate transporters to support the effort and will pit together as to best benefit from the two-car concept.
Henkelman’s A/Fueler will debut at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, with Myers’ A/Fuel dragster debuting at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in April after some testing in March.