In the world of NHRA drag racing, guys like John Force, Tony Schumacher, and Jason Line get most of the attention—and deservedly so. But there’s one drag racer who’s been hotter than anyone in recent memory, and he operates far away from the spotlight of NHRA’s three main professional classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock).

His name is Marco Abruzzi, and he’s just earned an amazing five NHRA Wallys in just three weeks, dating back to May 30. What’s even more amazing is the Warren, OH resident is new to the NHRA this year, racing on the eighth-mile tracks of the ADRL last year instead.

1324-00549Abruzzi, who competes in the NHRA Top Dragster and Top Sportsman classes, began his hot streak at the Toyota NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown, NJ, where he won the Top Sportsman class in his Summit Racing-sponsored 1968 Chevy Camaro. A week later, he won an incredible three—count ’em, three—Wallys in Joliet, IL. He took home a Wally for Top Dragster at the Lucas Oil Series divisional event and then earned two more trophies in Top Dragster and Top Sportsman as competitors also finished up the rain-delayed Indianapolis divisional race in Joliet. At last weekend’s Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, TN, Abruzzi took home Wally #5 with another Top Sportsman victory.

That’s five NHRA Wallys in three weeks.

Abruzzi is not exactly a stranger to success. He’s won two IHRA Top Sportsman National Championships, four IHRA Top Sportsman Divisional Championships, and the 2012 ADRL Top Sportsman World Championship. But even Abruzzi is surprised by his early success on the NHRA circuit.

“It’s been a heck of streak,” Abruzzi said. “I’m utterly shocked and completely surprised that we’ve had that much success in such a short amount of time. We wanted to be competitive and win from time to time, but we never expected this.”

The veteran sportsman racer is quick to credit the work of his crew chief Jeff Koons.

“Both cars have just been working great right now,” Abruzzi said. “The setup is similar between the two cars, and we’ve been able to dial in one car and use that setup to get the other dialed in. Everything is just clicking with both cars.”

1324-05101Abruzzi’s success has been bad news for his competition in Top Sportsman and Top Dragster, but it’s great news for weekend warriors and sportsman racers. The 45-year-old racer owns Abruzzi Racing Transmission, a shop that specializes in performance transmissions and converters for drag race and street/strip cars. He races part time at divisional races, as well as national races near his home in Northeast Ohio, and is proof positive you can win often with a real-world budget.

“We race where it makes sense—where we think we can have success,” Abruzzi said. “Right now, NHRA is proving to be the place to race.”



Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.