Racing in PDRA Pro Boost and Big Dog Shootout was no problem for Jason Harris for the first half of the season. He had two completely different cars, a ProCharger-boosted ’18 Camaro for Pro Boost and a nitrous-fed ’69 Camaro for Big Dog competition. But since Pro Boost partner Brad Boone decided to sell the ProCharger car last month, Harris is now pulling double duty with the nitrous car, switching back and forth between PDRA Pro Nitrous and Big Dog.
The two-time Pro Nitrous world champion ran the car in Pro Nitrous trim at the Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars race at Virginia Motorsports Park on July 31to get some data. Five days later, he raced to a runner-up finish at Big Dog Shootout at Piedmont Dragway on August 5. This weekend, he’s back in Pro Nitrous yet again at the PDRA Northern Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
“Originally, we talked about concentrating on Pro Nitrous for the rest of the year,” Harris said. “I got home [from ProStars] and just didn’t think it was fair to the Big Dog crowd to not keep running that deal. I have a lot of fans at Piedmont. On Monday night, we decided it might be a good idea to go support it and keep it up. I’m No. 1 in the points and I’m not a quitter. I just wanted to do it.”
With the decision made, Harris and his team went to work switching the car back over to Big Dog trim. Harris and his father, Bob Harris, along with crew chief Jayme Thompson, spent the next couple days making a slew of changes to fit into the Big Dog rules, which limits teams to engines of 800ci or less.
“We had to switch motors, rear ends, transmissions, shocks, tires – basically just gut the whole car and start over,” Harris said.
There were a few constants, though. Billy Albert of Albert Racing Engines provides the power for both combinations, a 959ci engine for Pro Nitrous and a 762ci bullet for Big Dog. Mark Micke’s M&M Transmission builds the transmissions for both setups. Harris runs Hoosier tires in both series, though he’s limited to a smaller 34.5-inch-wide slick in Big Dog.
It’s a lot of work to change everything over, but Harris feels strongly that it’s the right thing to do. On top of leading the points in the Big Dog series, he also has a lot of history in the monthly Thursday night shootout at Piedmont. He’s raced there for years, and it was his dad, Bob, who created the series in the ‘90s.
The move paid off, as Harris raced to the final round, where he lost to Barry Mitchell’s 3.841 with a 3.87.
“I felt like it just wasn’t right for me to just quit,” Harris said. “We went back, we had good success, we runnered-up against Barry Mitchell. We gave the crowd a show. We went back home, switched it all back out, and we headed up here to Maple Grove to run Pro Nitrous.”
Harris admits the workload to switch everything – especially in just a few days – has been a challenge for his small, tightknit team, but it’s not going to stop them from keeping up the double duty program for the rest of the season. There are two races remaining in both series, and Harris plans to be at them all.
“It’s a lot of work and time and effort, but we do it for the love of it,” said Harris, who thanked his sponsors and his team, as well as his wife and kids for putting up with his demanding schedule. “If we don’t sell the motor, we’ll be back next month. We have a little break from PDRA after this race. Billy Albert helps me. We do a lot together. All of us kind of just work together as a family team. We love it. This is our blood. This is where we were brought up. This is the sport we’re in. I want to give it as much effort as I can no matter where I go.”