Manny Buginga has purchased Todd “King Tut” Tuttterow’s Roots-blown ’02 Camaro to field full-time this season in the NHRA Fuel Tech Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports, he announced today. Buginga has also tapped Tutterow as crew chief of his new Pro Mod.
After the two-and-a-half-minute staging duel against reigning NHRA Pro Mod Champion Kris Thorne at the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Buginga and Tutterow struck up a partnership that has afforded both of them a chance to return to NHRA Pro Mod racing.
“I didn’t feel comfortable borrowing the car, so I bought it,” said Buginga, referring to Tutterow’s Camaro.
“We’ve always got along really well together,” said Tutterow. “Manny said he wanted to race in the NHRA with a roots blower, so I had a combination that I used to race in the NHRA. So we worked everything out to race together. I love NHRA Pro Mod, and I’m excited to return to it. Maybe we can win a championship with Manny.”
The newly formed team of Buginga and Tutterow, along with 2022 Radial vs. the World Champion Jason Lee and Eric Gustafson of R&E Racing and Coast Packing Company, will debut at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals as a two-car Pro Mod team. Lee will field Buginga’s Pro Mod “Fred” for the 2023 season.
Tutterow previously addressed his driving hiatus early this year, stating he is taking a step back from full-time competition this season to devote more attention to his numerous Wyo Motorsports customers. Additionally, this allowed Buginga to purchase one of the reigning PDRA Pro Boost World Champion’s race cars.
“[Todd] has given me a good car from what testing numbers have been so far. So, it’s just going to be looking over that Mike Janis Blower on the car,” said Buginga, as this will be his first time competing in Roots-blown Pro Mod.
Buginga has yet to make any passes in his newly purchased Pro Mod. However, Tutterow was testing the car at GALOT Motorsports Park and then in Virginia for the upcoming four-wide race at zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.
“The first quarter-mile run looked very promising,” said Tutterow after testing. “We were the fastest car there during testing.”
Buginga and Tutterow’s paths have crossed many times, but not in the capacity they’re about to embark on.
“This will be the first time we’ve worked together, but Todd’s a down-to-earth, humble man that just likes having fun and going racing,” stated Buginga.
“What I like about Manny is he’s a family man just like I am,” Tutterow said.
As far as preparation for racing a different power adder combination than he’s used to, Buginga and Tutterow are working through the staging process and the various nuances of driving a roots-blown car.
“To say that you’re not nervous is just ignorant, but at the end of the day, yes, I’m very nervous and excited. The only one that can mess it up is me,” Buginga confessed.
Furthermore, Buginga has found the silver lining from the events that transpired earlier this year. “Some doors shut and some doors open, meaning this is something new that could be getting us ready to get into the Nitro Funny Car arena if that’s where I’m meant to be. This is a new chapter in life.”