2013 Skyview Drags Super Pro Track Champion Carl Drake, Jr.!
What would you call a race season where you blew up 2 motors and 10 transmissions in your stable of race cars? Well for the Drake family racing team, at least one member calls it his first ever track championship season!
CJ Drake, from Binghamton, NY, started his Super Pro drag racing career when he got his license at just 16 years of age. From the time he was 16 until he was 20, Drake raced approximately 5 times. “I’m from a racing family and really wanted to race, but at that age, I was just more interested in girls and other sports,” said Drake. But the racing bug finally bit Drake big time when he was 21 years of age. His dad bought him a car and Drake won his first race at his new home track, Skyview Drags in Tioga Center, NY. The very next week, Drake won a 20k race at Atco Dratgway in Atco, NJ and a drag racer was born.
For the Drake family, racing is a family sport spent on the road for weeks at a time. They’ve been running the racing circuit for years now. Although Drake calls Skyview Drags home, he is often racing all over the country for the big money. “I’ve never had the chance to run for a track championship because we miss so many weeks. It’s hard to accumulate points when you miss 7 or 8 races because of other commitments,” said Drake.
But this year, the race season at Skyview Drags started out on fire for Drake. On opening day, Drake scored a win in his 2012 Diamond Dragster, running a 540 cubic inch big block Chevy motor with an F1R pro charger that powered Drake down the 1/8-mile track in 4.5 seconds.
On June 22nd, Drake was on a mission to win not only the June 8th make-up race where he was one of 3 cars remaining, but also the regular race scheduled to run that day. And he accomplished just what he set out to do, scoring 2 Super Pro victories on the same day. That gave Drake an impressive 21 undefeated rounds of racing, which cemented his position in the IHRA Summit Super Series and gave him a great head start on the road to his first ever Super Pro track championship.
By mid-season, Drake was still in first place but the points had tightened up with Drake on the road racing the circuit. In mid-September, the track closed as its racers made their way to Pittsburgh Raceway Park for the IHRA Division 3 Team Finals. Drake would represent Team Skyview for the first time as their Summit Super Series Box champion. “It was truly an honor to represent Skyview Drags and my fellow racers at the Summit Super Series,” said Drake. “I appreciate all of the support and encouragement that everyone gave me.” Regrettably, Drake didn’t win that race, but he returned home more determined than ever to finish up the racing season at Skyview and add “Track Champion” to his already impressive racing resume.
Drake went on to win the September 28th Super Pro race. Then on October 6th, the final race of the season, Drake scored another win and added his name to the record books. His final win of the 2013 Skyview Drags racing season was particularly sweet for Drake as it was also his daughter, Madison Ella’s 2nd birthday! He carried the sleeping tot down to Victory Lane in his arms so that she could celebrate with Daddy. “The list of past track champions at Skyview is truly impressive,” said Drake. “And now I’m a part of that and it’s just a really cool thing.” Drake is the 9th Super Pro track champion for Skyview Drags. Drake joins 2005 inaugural Super Pro track champions Jack Reome & Franc Francis; 2006 champion Jim Cirigliano; 2007 champion Tommy Ingalls; 2008 champion Don Kiekel; 2009 champion Don Kiekel; 2010 champion Richie Forbes; 2011 champion Don Kiekel; and 2012 champion Kathy Kiekel.
At 29 years of age, Drake has been racing for 8 years now. He’s won a lot of big money races, including the inaugural 2011 FX Caprara 10k race at ESTA Safety Park in Cicero, NY and then won it all over again the following year! Drake estimates he has had over 85 final round appearances in his racing career. “I know I’ve enjoyed a lot of success in my career so far,” said Drake. “I set goals for myself and try to be the best racer I know how. Winning a track championship was on my list of things and I am very happy to represent Skyview Drags as their Super Pro Champion.”
Drake would like to take the time to thank his family for their constant loving support. “Special thanks to my Dad, Carl Drake Sr. Without you, none of this would be possible. I’m able to do what I love because of you Dad and it means the world to me.” Drake is also thankful for the support of his Mom, Dana, who is his biggest fan; his sister Dani who is always there to help him with his daughter so that Madison can be safe watching Daddy race; fellow racer Joey LaRose who helps keep Drake focused and motivated; fellow racer Jim Potenziano for all of his help and support; and fellow racer Wesley Cayea who is always there to help out. Finally, Drake wants his daughter Madison to know that she inspires him to be a great dad. “I’m leaving you a legacy of racing for your future, so that you will always aspire to be the very best that you can. I love you!”
Drake would also like to thank Diamond Race cars for their “badass” chassis; Fleenor Racing Transmissions; Bill Maroon from RPD for his fantastic motor work; Richie Forbes for his great motor work and help throughout the year. And finally, a very special thank you to Skyview Drags track owner George Swansbrough and track manager Amy Culver.
“It’s been a tough year with all of the breaks. We’ve lost motors, transmissions, and converters. But we stayed focused and raced hard. It turned out to be a great season and one that I am proud of,”said Drake.
On behalf of Skyview Drags and your racing family, CONGRATULATIONS CJ on your championship season!
Story By: Kathy Kiekel