PITTSBORO, N.C. – Brandon Snider was near perfect this season, winning three times in six final round appearances en route to capturing the PDRA NAS Racing Pro Extreme World Championship.
Snider’s always had a love of fast cars and his passion quickly led him to the local track where, in the mid ‘90s, he began honing his skills. He raced local quick 8 events until he decided to step it up. He went straight to the top, competing in professional eighth-mile drag racing’s quickest and fastest category, Pro Extreme.
Throughout the PDRA’s tenure, Snider has made a serious run at the championship, finishing second in 2014 and fourth in 2015. After those two narrow misses, Snider told his crew that this would be their year. Those prophetic words started taking hold at the very first race, where Snider not only won the season opener at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, but reset the Pro Extreme National ET Record with a 3.486 – a number that still stands.
He continued pounding all season, going to the semi-finals or finals at nearly every event, also scoring six number one qualifier awards along the way. Although defending champion Jason Scruggs put in a strong bid, Snider was not to be outdone. A first round win at the PDRA World Finals solidified his first ever championship.
“The last race in Virginia we had to win the first round to seal the championship,” said Snider. “That was probably my happiest moment all year. If we had gone out that round Jason could have potentially overtaken the championship. But once we won first round I knew we had it won. Jason ended up going to the finals and we did, too. He had engine trouble and we made a clean run with a 3.52 to take the win.
“We had a really good year that could have been better; we could have won six of the nine, but stupid stuff happened, whether it was me late on the tree, or this or that. Overall it was a very good year. The car was more consistent this year than it ever has been. We worked the past two years really hard on our engine program to be able to go out and run with Jason and the other top runners. Over the winter we just worked and worked and worked to try to make our engine program better, to build more horsepower. That played a major role in it – me and Jimmy digging, working harder, being on the computer more, figuring out what the car wants and likes. These hot weather setups on 135 degree tracks where everybody struggles, it would go right down. We worked hard to make the car consistent through June, July and August. And we did, we went rounds. We went to the finals in Michigan, in Maryland, and then won Memphis. That was three hot weather setups in a row we went to the finals”.
Those events played a key role in Snider’s championship. Getting down the track when others struggled was something Snider prided himself on this season. As the tuner and driver of the car, the former Army National Guardsman combines his on-track and off-track knowledge to finesse his program.
“When you get into a car to drive that you put the tune up in, I think you’ve got an advantage there because you get to feel what the car does, you know what the car likes, and you can come back and correct stuff. Being hands on on both aspects helps a lot. But I’ve also stood behind cars and tuned them and been able to make the right adjustments even when drivers couldn’t give me feedback. When you look at the computer, it doesn’t lie. Numbers are numbers. If you go by that you can correct. But at our level of racing, both being in the driver’s seat and tuning I think does give a little advantage.”