FallNationals Top Dragster Winner – Shane Eperjesi
Words Phil Hutchison/Photos Ron Lewis
FallNationals Top Dragster winner Shane Eperjesi doesn’t race his dragster a whole lot. This is not to say Eperjesi doesn’t race much. His regular ride is a Pro Extreme motorcycle that he competes on the PDRA circuit, but for fun the Texas racer takes out the dragster for some four wheel action. The AAA Texas NHRA Fallnationals was the first time he was behind the wheel of a four-wheel vehicle in 2017.
The lack of track time did not affect Eperjesi too much as he piloted the TNT chassis dragster through five rounds beating the quicker blown dragster of Wade Pennington in the finals as Pennington broke out running a 5.965 on a six flat dial while Eperjesi took his first ever NHRA win with a 6.404 on a 6.37 dial.
Eperjesi’s weekend started with an easy win over Crystal Peterson’s red light in round one and followed that with two singles as his competition James Ogden and Jeff Koron both had mechanical issues and could not make it to the starting line.
“After the first round I heard that my competition Ogden was broke but he still came up to the line like he was going to race. He even put me in the right lane,” Eperjesi said. “So after my burnout I’m backing up and the starter gives me the single sign. So I said “right on’ and then against Koron it was just like Ogden. He’s up in the staging lane and again he puts me in the right lane and after my burnout, here comes the starter again giving me the sign that I had another single. I’m feeling pretty lucky now.”
Eperjesi continued, “That was Saturday, so come Sunday for the semifinal round I had to race the RacingRV guy, Joe Fisher. I was a little worried as the weather conditions changed and I had been struggling with the car as this was the first time out since I had some problems with my back. I dialed in a 6.40 and when we left the starting line I got down to the 1,000-foot mark and started looking for Fisher. I started ripping the throttle but he came around me and I knew I was taking him under. We both broke out but I was only 0.005 under and he was 0.027 under.”
In addition to being lucky to this point in the event, Eperjesi also played the gentleman as Pennington’s dragster hurt the blower in the semis and was hustling to make the finals. “I had just saw Wade who is a good friend of mine, bang the blower in front of me in the semis and his opponent broke out,” Eperjesi said. “I didn’t know if he was gonna get it fixed but I decided if the NHRA would let me, I would wait until he was ready because I really wanted to race him. Ironically my car was broke too as I could not get the idle down. When I fired up the car the motor was idling at 4500 RPM but I was not going to let this keep me out the finals. After the burnout the problem did not go away. I was not going to give him a free run and went up there and staged. I didn’t want to screw up like his opponent in the semis and break out when he was broke on the starting line. Once I left the line I glanced at the Sunoco Vision and saw him coming. He blew past me at the 1,000-foot mark like I was standing still and I knew he was going under. God was on my side and my win light came on.
“I would like to thank my girlfriend Valerie and my daughters Hayley, Kaylee and Jordan. Jordan races in Jr. Dragster and would like to take over driving the dragster when she gets out of the Jr’s. I also would like to thank by big brother Duane who was helping me at Dallas along with my mom and dad, Donna and Larry.”
Also on the list of supporters and sponsors are Steve Williams from K&N Filters, David Reher from Reher- Morrison who built the 632-cubic inch Chevy that gets the car down the track along with Brandon at Switzer. Eperjesi would also like to recognize his company, Larry’s Paint and Body, along with Batteries Plus Bulbs, Lakeview Marine, Grothus Drag Bikes, Cycle Center of Denton and finally Chris Graves at Max Cackle Photography.