It certainly hasn’t been an easy road, but Taylor Vetter is embracing and enjoying the unique challenge of a supercharged Top Alcohol Dragster in her first full season in the competitive category. Aiming to add to her national event points in an effort to keep hold of a coveted spot in the top 10, Vetter will be racing this coming weekend at Texas Motorplex at the NHRA Fall Nationals rather than attending the closer-to-home regional race at Bakersfield’s Famoso Raceway.
“This will be my second visit to Texas Motorplex, and I’m very excited to go back and compete in my two favorite classes: Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Dragster,” said Vetter, who made the decision after an uncharacteristic miss of the Top Alcohol Dragster field last month at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading. “We’re definitely looking to improve in Dallas. That was only the second DNQ of my career, and I’m absolutely looking to make it my last.”
Aside from the stumble in Reading, Vetter has had a rather extraordinary go in her first full season driving a Top Alcohol Dragster. She and her Plan B Motorsports team really shined in Charlotte at the Four-Wide race when they reached the final round, locked down top speed of the entire event, and stood out as the only car to dip into the 5.2-second zone on Sunday. Over the course of the season, Vetter has twice exceeded 280 mph, and she is the lone female to reach such speeds with a blown combination.
The Top Alcohol Dragster category is primarily populated by A/Fuel combinations, but the supercharged variety – such as what Vetter races at quarter-mile dragstrips across the country – has three forward speeds, and the driver must perform the burnout at the correct rpm, master the clutch pedal, swap feet at the right time, and hit the shift points with great accuracy in order to complete a competitive pass.
“This car is so much different than my Top Dragster, so I’ve had to work on trusting myself and the car,” she admitted. “I’ve also learned a lot about patience. Patience with my driving, patience with tuning, and patience with the process. I’m extremely competitive, so I have to remind myself that this is a brand-new learning curve for everyone involved.”
The young Las Vegas-area native acknowledges that her success in such a challenging racecar isn’t solely based on her own ability to control the beast.
“I’m proud of my team. I’m really lucky to have the guys I have working on my car,” said Vetter. “There have been very, very few mistakes made by them this year, they work well together, and it’s a fun environment to be in. I’m proud of our progress – being able to qualify at 11 of 12 races so far this year is a pretty good statistic.
“I have to thank Nick [Januik] for everything he does. He works so hard, and he isn’t given enough credit for everything he’s accomplished this year with both cars,” she said, referencing her partner and crew chief, who also owns Plan B Motorsports and has driven the team’s Top Alcohol Funny Car since 2013. Championship contender Januik has claimed multiple wins at the divisional and national level throughout his career.
“When I sit back and think of the success we’ve had so far – in just my first season in Top Alcohol Dragster – I know that I’m very lucky to be where I am,” said Vetter. “Nick has obviously had success tuning a Funny Car, but this dragster is completely different, and he’s done a great job with us only being 12 races into the season. I’m proud of him, and I’m lucky to have him learning quickly to tune this dragster as I’m trying to do my best driving. It all makes me excited for the future.”
Vetter thanked NGK Spark Plugs, Torco Race Fuels, Permatex, Goodyear, and CP Carrillo as sponsors of her program.