During the just recent NHRA season ending In-N-Out Burger Finals out in California – Ontario’s Spencer Hyde made a much anticipated driving debut for the NHRA national event level. But while that moment for most racing participants does come first at a Sportsman racing or mid level graduating class – as fate would have it – Spencer’s first ever trips down the track came in the sport’s highest echelon – Top Fuel dragster class!
Spencers’s visit and opportunity to the fabled Pomona Drag Strip (Nov 17-19th) came to be after sponsorship assistance from reputed Elite Motorsports and also the Paton Racing team – who in particular have become renowned and recognized for providing up-and-coming new drivers a place to both license and then compete within the Top Fuel category.
Despite an initial “baptism by fire” incident in Q1 Spencer’s initial foray was a positive experience. In fact he did run the car to a 3.778 secs at 323.27 mph to qualify #15 (which was the quickest the Paton Racing dragster has run so far) & his first round opponent on Sunday was non-other then head-to-head versus multi-time NHRA World Champion Steve Torrence. Both rather remarkable facts.
“All in all, Pomona was a fantastic experience!,” Spencer emphasized. “Our Friday was obviously not how we intended to start things off — but when it comes to Top Fuel racing it’s not if — it’s when. When you burn nitro and push these engines to their limits with 11,000 hp parts are going to fail and one just happened to fail on my first official NHRA run.”
“The Paton Team did a fantastic job fixing the mess of what was left after that run. We had to miss Q2 Friday but these guys (and girl) worked for 12 hours straight to get that car back together. They essentially rebuilt the entire car from the windshield back. I can’t express how hard this team worked to overcome such a catastrophic explosion. I had many people from full time touring teams come up to me and tell me how impressed they were with how we handled it that was sure nice to hear.”
“For Q3 They asked me to shut the car off at the 1/8 mile just to make sure all the systems were working correctly but it still coasted to a 3.86 at 269 which put us 15th. After reviewing the data “Stewie” (John Stewart) and the Paton Boys were confident we could make a good full run Q4. It went 3.77 at 323 mph which was a career best for both the team and for myself. We had a tough draw in round one with 4X World Champion Steve Torrence where unfortunately the car put a cylinder out right at the step and we had to abort the run.”
As the season closes for 2023 – anticipation can now build for what is going to be in store for talented Spencer Hyde next, who has now showcased his talents for driving both Pro Mod cars and Top Fuel dragsters.