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Ultimate Outlaws - Interview with Nate Pritchett

  With a number of new people and groups starting up what seems new heads up series 3-4 times a year some last but most dont. Its a hard thing to pull off even in the best of times but these days with how the economy is trying to get a race off and making it worth your wild and making the racers and fans happy is harder than ever. Starting with the 1320X series in 2008 the Pritchett brothers have had a good thing going and coming into the 3rd year doing it some things have changed. Heres Nate's story on what the deal is for 2011 and beyond.

Tim: So Nate tell everyone a little about yourself that some may or may not know when it comes to your back ground with drag racing.

Nate:  Well, I’m 32 years old, have a wife and a 3 year old little boy, and live in an old farmhouse in Maryland (we call it Fort Pritchett lol.  Also, where the race shop is).  All I’ve ever wanted to do is drive race cars and I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do that.  Over the past 17 years of drag racing I’ve met a lot of great people and made some awesome memories.  Something people may not know about me in drag racing....Well, I was the first person ever to do a burnout in the 4 lane side of Brutton’s Charlotte dragstrip.  Laying down that first burnout on fresh concrete was awesome.  I’m not gonna lie though...I did cringe a little.

Tim: What gave you the idea of coming up with the series you know have?

Nate:  Adam and I decided to start the series to give everyone a place to race (where they can still get strong purses) in addition to all the large, one-off outlaw events.  In 2007 we saw a sharp decline in outlaw racing in our region and thought if we could supplement those events with a points series, the racers would have a place to race with strong and consistent payouts instead of moving on to pro mod racing or something like that.

Tim: Whats been the hardest thing you have had to deal with in running this series?

Nate:  Money.  This is not cheap and procuring sponsorship dollars is a challenge

Tim: If you had pick a favorite class out of all that run in the series which would it be and why?

Nate:  Outlaw 10.5 is the foundation of our series and its been my passion for over 10 years.  Adam and I used to love heading to 75-80 Dragway on Friday nights to check out the 10.5 cars and I have the same feeling today.  All of our classes are fantastic but Outlaw 10.5 is what started this streetcar movement and will always be our core.

Tim: With how the economy is these days and lots of racers parking their cars how do you think this season will go with your group of racers?

Nate:  I’m optimistic based on the feedback I get from our racers but I’d be lying if I told you we aren’t affected.  One thing I’m very proud of is that we have been able to grow in this tough economy and I have to thank our racers for that.  Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something else pops up and smacks you in the face so I’m just thankful to be where we are and have the support to continue the series.

Tim: I know there has been plenty of races letting the limited street cars in with stock suspension cars this season. What is your take on that?

Nate:  Its a no brainer for me...I’ve been saying we should let them run for years.  I just think they need to be on the same tire.  Stock suspension cars (as we know them in the outlaw racing community) are not “stock suspension” anyway.  Last time I checked a “stock suspension car” has held the world record in radial for years and the 5 fastest drag radial cars in the world are “stock suspension”

Tim: Outlaw 10.5 has been going up and down the last 2 years or so. Some tracks let pretty much what ever goes on 10.5's and others have stuck with the old rules of the class. Where do you see these cars going over the next few years with how many different tracks are running their class?  

Nate: Well, we have stuck to our guns on the rules for the class and firmly believe in maintaining it’s integrity.  I’m very happy with our car counts.  There are plenty of real Outlaw 10.5 cars out there and we are happy to have them.  I think we need to draw the line somewhere...I do not want this class to become just another pro-mod class like ADRL’s XTF.

Tim: The whole Pinks thing has gotten alot of people to know who you are from tv. Any chance of working a deal out for the real outlaw drag racing that people love to watch?

Nate:  Absolutely, but it won’t be anything like Pinks.  I know exactly what I want to do and how I want the show to look.  Right now I’m just waiting for the right network and the right resources to do it the way it should be.  Simply airing something on TV doesn’t make a successful show.  It takes a large team of committed people behind the scenes to build a successful brand.  Having the money to make a show is one thing....Having the money to properly build a brand is another.

Tim: Which track has the series ran at so far that gets the most racers and fans?

Nate:  MIR is our home track and has had the largest event so far in both racers and fans.  Milan, MI is a close second but the tide may turn this year.

Tim: In the start it was 1/4 mile racing. Any chance of ever putting on a special 1/4 mile race in the future?

Nate:  Nope.  I’m committed to our heads up classes staying 1/8th mile

Tim: Going to Piedmont for the first time to have one of your races could prove to be your biggest yet. The racers and fans of Piedmont love one thing and thats the BIG DOG! Knowing this place gets well over 5,000 people there on a Thursday night what kind of show will you give the locals?

Nate:  Well, it is very exciting and very intimidating at the same time.  We are heavily promoting the Piedmont Race locally (3 different radio stations, 20,000 flyers in the hands of locals, etc) but it is a new event to that track.  We are optimistic that it will be successful.  One thing I’ve learned is that things don’t happen overnight.  The BIG DOG races have been at that track for years and it has taken a long time to build it up as big as it is.  I truly love those Big Dog events.  Now, regarding the second half of the question...the locals are going to love our show.  We have the baddest outlaw cars in the country and our racing is the tightest and fastest around.  I can say that proudly based on racer and fan feedback.  We always have kick ass races because we have the best group of racers out there and we are always adding to that group.  What you get with our series that those locals aren’t used to is variety....4 different small tire heads up classes.

Tim: Adam has been a major part of this since day one. Who else has been around from the start to help get you guys where you are?

Nate:  First, I wouldn’t do it without Adam.  He is the cornerstone and the man making it happen behind the scenes.  Deneen Baxter (VP of Milan Dragway) has been on our team since the beginning and is a huge help.  Dan Zebroski, Mike Groomes, and Mike Dodson have been a huge help to the series as well from the beginning.  Our business partners (Pete and Tim) at Coast Chassis provide an excellent perspective and play a much larger role than people think when it comes to the direction of our series.  They have some excellent ideas and are in it for the right reasons.  Everyone on the team is very intelligent and capable of dealing with any situation at an event...I believe that is why our events run so smoothly (well, that and the fact that we have the best tracks in the country working with us!!).  Jim Halsey (Cecil County) and Royce Miller (MIR) have been awesome as well.  I’ve learned a lot about this business by listening to them.  Last but certainly not least is my family.  Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, and my wonderful wife provide tons of input and feedback on the events.  My oldest brother Tim and my father are extremely intelligent business men and try to keep me straight.  They’ve taught me everything I know about running a business and dealing with people

Tim: Where do you see outlaw type drag racing headed?

Nate:  I see the one-off outlaw events staying strong and maybe one or two traveling series’ sticking around for the long haul.  The local track points series are also going to continue to grow and we need them to.  Without the local programs like Cecil County’s Street car shootout, Atco’s Outlaw events, MIR’s local drag radial program, and Milan’s heads up Series I think this sport would be in a world of trouble.  I urge everyone to please support their local track’s heads up program.

Tim: What is the next step for the Pritchett brothers?

Nate:  Lots of racing.  We are doing our series but also have decided to get back on the track and have some fun ourselves in our new Outlaw 10.5 car.

Tim: Hows the new car coming along and what races do you plan on hitting?
Nate:  The new car is done and ready to go!  I’m actually responding to these questions on an airplane, coming home from our first test session with the car.  It went fantastic.  The guys at Coast Chassis Design did an amazing job with this car and its a pleasure to drive.  I don’t deserve something this nice.  We are hitting some Cecil events, an NMRA race or two, and all the big races this fall. I have never been more excited about anything in racing as I am about running this car.  Its been a long time coming and a dream come true!

Tim: I hear some of those guys in the Milan area said you get a little on the wild side when your up there! Any truth to that? LOL

Nate:  Absolutely.  We work hard and we play hard.  I am what I am and make no excuses ...lol.  Hell, this is Outlaw Drag Racing, not Bingo night at the local fire hall.  Come on out and see for yourselves!!!  We take the racing very seriously and know how to have a good time as well.

Tim: I know the first race is just a few weeks away but is there already talks for 2012?

Nate:  Yup.  We’re gonna shake things up a little bit next year.  Come on Tim!  You know we’ve always got something up our sleeve man!!!!!!!!

Tim: If there was one class you could add in with what you have now what would it be?

Nate:  Pro Mod.  Those things are cool.

Tim: I know this couldnt happen without the help from all the great sponsors you have. Wanna give them guys a shout out for all their help?

Nate:  Yes and thank you for allowing me to do that.  Without them we would not be here.  Please support the companies who support you!  Coast Chassis Design, Pritchett Controls, Mickey Thompson Tires, Streetcar1320.com, BigStuff3, Protorque Racing Converters, Davis Technologies, Racepak, Scotty’s Racing Technology, and Holeshot Wheels

Tim: Thanks Nate for taking the time out of your day to answer these questions.



Ultimate Outlaws Shootout Series will be at:

Piedmont Dragway - May 28, 2011


Milan Dragway - June 11, 2011

Cecil County Dragway - July 9, 2011

Maryland International Raceway - September 17, 2011

Author: Tim Lewis



  
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