Rookie Head Making Strides In First Season

Chad Head has slowly been making progress during his first season in the NHRA Funny Car class. (NHRA Photo)
Chad Head has slowly been making progress during his first season in the NHRA Funny Car class. (NHRA Photo)

NORWALK, Ohio – When it comes to his own performance through the first part of his rookie season, Funny Car driver Chad Head isn’t afraid to be honest.

Led by a team that includes father Jim Head, a legendary Top Fuel and Funny Car driver, tuner and innovator, operating as the crew chief, a standout team and a proven Head Racing 8,000-horsepower Funny Car, the Columbus, Ohio native knows the pieces are in place to succeed.

He’s proven that to be true as well, taking the car to the No. 1 qualifying spot and a final round appearance at the prestigious Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, N.C., in April. But Head is looking for constant improvement and that includes his own strides as a driver.

Head knows there is more work to be done, and his next chance comes at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, July 4-7, which also marks the start of the second half of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the 2012 winners at the race at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, which will be televised on ESPN2 HD.

“I’m usually a pretty realistic guy and our goal is to win every race,” Head said. “We want to win, there’s no question about that. The car is capable of winning the race every time we go out; the driver just has to catch up. We’ve got a crew and a team that has experience, and my dad has a great deal of experience; now it’s a matter of me getting the job done.”

Head is bullish on his own performance, a surefire sign that he’s nowhere near satisfied with his inaugural year in Funny Car. But he has certainly done plenty right, as evidenced by the 4.014 at 315.19 mph run Head put together in Charlotte to qualify No. 1.

Head also won a round in Bristol, showing plenty of potential and ability in his Head Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car.

“I think I’m doing a half-way decent job of trying to keep it in the groove and I’m doing OK as far as trying to get the car to repeat,” Head said. “The whole reaction time thing is just something that’s going to come. I’m not doing well there and I’ll be the first to admit that.

“But I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself. It’s just going to take runs and take time. I’m getting more comfortable in the car every time. I feel like I’m doing OK, but there are a lot of areas to work on.”

The good news is he doesn’t have to go far when questions arise. His father has been a fixture on the NHRA nitro scene since 1980, winning six times in 18 final round appearances in Funny Car and Top Fuel. He remains part of a small group of drivers who have won the U.S. Nationals in both Funny Car and Top Fuel, and Jim Head, who is now the team owner and crew chief, has passed down his 30-plus years of knowledge to his son.