GAYLORD, Mich. — When it comes to IHRA Top Fuel drag racing, one name has stood apart from the rest for nearly a decade — Bruce Litton.
Although his most notable success has been while piloting the red-white-and-blue Lucas Oil dragster, Litton has long been a standout in the world of drag racing. The mild-mannered man from Indianapolis started his career at the age of 16 racing motorcycles, moving on to Top Fuel and Funny Bikes.
“I started out in motorcycles because that was what my brothers were racing and it was a cheap and easy way to go fast,” Litton explained.
Litton’s bike career spanned 10 years, but a racing accident led him to the path of cars in 1983, which eventually evolved into an amazing racing career that is far from over, and a passion to open a trailer sales business.
For 25 years, Litton and wife Carol have owned and operated Bruce Litton Trailer sales in Indianapolis. The business has become iconic and has allowed Litton to spend long weekends living out his dream.
Throughout the mid-80s, Litton competed in the Sportsman divisions, making the move to dragsters in 1989, and up into the IHRA Quick-8 ranks in 1992. The move to Quick-8 was a career boost for Litton, who easily made the transition into the division, capturing the 1993-1995 championships before moving to the world of Top Fuel in 1996.
Lucas Oil joined Litton as an associate sponsor in 1997, creating more opportunities including what later became a full sponsorship from the high performance additive manufacturer.
Litton won the IHRA World Championship in 2007. “Winning the championships in Quick-8 was pretty cool, but the 2007 title was special mainly because we came from behind in the last race to do it,” he said.
Litton has won six times this season and leads the class standings by three points over Bobby Lagana, Jr. ahead of the season finale Oct. 15-16 at Virginia Motorsports Park. Winning a second Top Fuel championship is definitely at the forefront of Litton’s thinking.
“I would really like to win another championship, and it’s not all about me, it’s also the crew,” Litton explained. “There are nine guys who work on the team and I get to drive the car and have a good time doing it. I get to showcase what they do. We win as a team and we lose as a team. I just hope that I get to drive to a few more championships for these guys.”
Crew chief Mike Wolfarth, car chief Phillip Stewart, clutch specialist Dennis Jarrell, cylinder-head specialist Jim Winder, assistant crew chief Mike Sipple, left-head specialist Bryce Kenny, bottom-end specialist Bryan Tchirheart, and specialists Eddie Jeffers and Mike Henry keep the Lucas Oil machine running smooth.
With two events still on the schedule it will definitely be exciting to see what happens at the final event in Mid-October.
Racing isn’t the only thing that keeps Litton on the go. Bruce and Carol enjoy spending time with their daughter Heather, son-in-law Joel, and 2-year-old grandson Landon. The family also enjoys spending time at their local church and are involved in various programs there.
Despite the pressures of racing on a national level, Litton has an ever-present smile and a great outlook, “Life and racing are all the same. You have good days and you have bad ones, so you just cherish the good ones and get rid of the bad ones.”