GJ’s Preuss and Griffith win King of Track crowns

Kelly Claussen waits for the green light Saturday during his race in the King of the Track series at Western Colorado Dragway. Two Grand Junction drivers, Bud Preuss and Tim Griffith, won King of the Track titles.

A 10-second car used to be a rare sighting for Bud Preuss. But after a 25-year hiatus, everything has changed. A 10-second car remains a rare sighting in the Super Pro class, but only because dragsters are running quarter-mile tracks in eight seconds. 

The Grand Junction native, now 51, started racing as a teenager. After getting into business with Bud’s Signs and starting a family, he took a break. But Preuss returned four years ago, racing with his son, and claimed the 2012 Western Colorado Drag Racing Associations points title in the Super Pro class at Western Colorado Dragway on Saturday.

“Everything changed in that span,” Preuss said. “Our cars used to race like Sportsman cars. By that I mean they didn’t have all the electronics we do now. Now, delay boxes, tires, engines, everything is better.”

The King of the Track event crowned another local champion when 29 year-old Tim Griffith of Grand Junction capped a Sportsman season points title with a car he bought from his coworker.

“A friend of mine got into racing with two cars,” Griffith said. “He talked me into buying it. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It came real natural and was good right off the bat.”

Racing in a street legal 1963 Ford Ranchero, Griffith won the Sportsman class with a car that doesn’t differ much from stock cars. He still has to use his foot on and off the gas and shift without the help of a computer.

“I take it out and drive it all the time,” Griffith said. “It’s got a small-block 383 in it. It’s pretty basic and pretty easy to run. It’ll get up to 115 miles per hour and cover a quarter mile in 11.60 seconds”

The Sportsman class is the easiest to run, according to Preuss and Griffith. It is the most welcoming to newcomers, which has helped foster a level of camaraderie among Western Slope drag racers.

“In Super Pro, a car will cost about $75,000 new and will cost roughly $100 a pass in terms of engine wear,” Preuss said. “We aren’t out here for the money, obviously. We’re out here for the people. I have a lot of good friends out here.

“If you get beat or you win, nine times of 10 it’s someone you know. You feel a little sad for them if you win, and a little happy for them if they win. It’s a competitive bunch of guys, but we’re one big family.”


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