LIZZY MUSI REWRITES THE RECORD BOOKS & SCORES CAREER-FIRST WIN
(July 30, 2014) MOORESVILLE, NC - In just her fifth race in the category, Lizzy Musi earned her career-first Pro Nitrous victory in the inaugural Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) U.S. Drags at Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP) in Dinwiddie, VA. The historic win was also the first for a female driver in the 89-race history of the Pro Nitrous division.

The 23-year-old phenom has certainly been impressive in her Pro Nitrous rookie season, having eclipsed the 3.70-second and 200 MPH performance barriers and appearing in the final round at the previous PDRA race in Martin, MI, but her performance July 25-26 at VMP was especially memorable. In qualifying Musi laid down a Pro Nitrous-record 3.740-second elapsed time that rocketed her to the top of the quickest field in the history of the class, which featured a 3.889-second bump spot thanks to 32 of the best nitrous cars in the world attempting to qualify for the 16-car field. The eighth-mile run was also the quickest-ever on American soil by a doorslammer not utilizing a supercharged engine.

“We struggled during testing and the first two qualifying runs, so we just wanted to get down the track and get qualified in the Friday night session. We didn’t even have a heavy tune-up in it,” Lizzy said. “But when I let go of the button it took off like I’ve never felt before and I couldn’t believe it when the scoreboard read ‘3.74’. My crew chief, Gary Henry, came on the radio yelling ‘3.74! 3.74!’ and I was going crazy inside the car. It was an awesome moment.”

“We got lost in testing, and Rickie Smith came over and talked to Lizzy and got her confidence back up, and he helped us sort out the chassis,” said Pat Musi, Lizzy’s father and a doorslammer drag racing legend. “I get frustrated because I’m a motor guy. He came in and got us pointed in the right direction. I don’t think he knows what that means to Lizzy and myself. I give him 110% on the motor stuff and he gives me 110% when it comes to the car, and that’s something we’ve been doing since I won the NHRA Pro Mod race in Norwalk in 2010.”

As awesome as the qualifying run was, Musi and her team were more focused on completing the job and bringing home the win.

“From the day we got back to the shop after the race in Martin to the day we left for VMP, I was determined to get this win,” said Pat Musi. “We’ve battled little gremlins all season that have cost us races and we really shot ourselves in the foot in Martin. I gathered the team together and told them we simply could not have any mistakes if we wanted to win. After Martin, I knew we had the car and the driver, we just had to put it all together.”

The team, which consists of Gary Henry, Joe Dunne, Ryan Lowry, and Musi’s mother, Elizabeth, gelled after Rickie Smith’s pep talk and guided Lizzy through eliminations, where she defeated David Campbell and Jay Cox in the first two rounds before lining up against John Camp in the semi-finals. Musi’s car shook the tires early in the run and it appeared Camp was streaking to the finals when a massive engine explosion erupted from his ’69 Camaro, allowing Musi to get back in the throttle and drive around Camp.

“I drove that car for several years and it can be a handful,” Pat Musi said of King Kong 5, Frank Brandao’s Jerry Bickel-built 2009 Dodge Stratus. “But Lizzy did an awesome job pedaling the car and getting the round win. She can drive, there’s no doubt about it and she proved it there. She doesn’t get rattled. She’s the real deal.”

In the final round Musi would face off with Jason Harris, the man who has steered his Robert Hayes-built, Musi-powered ’68 Pontiac Firebird to four consecutive Pro Nitrous wins. Both cars struggled with traction early in the run, but Musi again pedaled her car to the stripe like a seasoned veteran and became the first to put Harris on the trailer in 2014.

“When I made the turn-off and came to a stop, I just had to sit there for a couple minutes and gather my emotions,” Lizzy said. “It was a combination of relief and joy, but also pressure to go out and perform like this the rest of the year. Everyone is gunning for us now, but I have all the faith in the world in my dad, my team, and my car. I’m so thankful to have the support of Frank Brandao, Lucas Oil, Edelbrock, Shaikh Mohammad Al Sabah of Kuwait and his Drag 965 team, and our newest sponsor, Mike Bankston and Bankston Racing. We’ve had so much help getting here and it’s just been an unbelievable year so far.”

“Every decal on that car has helped us,” Pat Musi added. “We’re loyal to our manufacturers and they’re loyal to us, and it’s paying off. For example, the Edelbrock fuel injection, which is something that has evolved so much over the last year and is only available through Pat Musi Racing Engines. And people like Tommy Franklin, who really helped us get this ball rolling over the winter by selling one of our 903 EFI engines back to us at a tremendous discount and working with us to do some research and development. We’ve got a new cylinder head program and we’re creeping up on some things with the camshaft, and we’d never be able to do all of this on our own.”

Lizzy Musi’s impressive season may surprise a lot of people, but Pat Musi is certainly not one of them.

“I expected her to have success, and she’s had it right from the start,” Pat Musi said. “I’m so proud of her. She grew up around this stuff and has just soaked it up. She’s a natural. I try to help her all I can; we talk racing all day at the shop and then all night at home. I try to share my experiences with her. She’s going to be a force to be reckoned with for a long time.”

Photo by Mike Carpenter / Drag Illustrated
PAT MUSI RACING ENGINES ENJOYING EARLY DOMINATION IN 2014



Rickie Smith, Jason Harris, & Tommy Franklin have been almost untouchable in NHRA Pro Modified and PDRA Pro Nitrous

MOORESVILLE, NC - While most of the drag racing community was enduring a harsh US winter, Pat Musi was making the most of a last-minute opportunity to refine his 903 cubic inch fuel-injected engine combination.

“The 2014 Arabian Drag Racing League series was about to begin in Qatar, and I didn’t have any plans to be there,” Musi explained. “Then at the last minute Shaikh Mohammad Al Sabah of Kuwait put together a deal for me to go over there and work with his Drag965 team. That set everything in motion to get us here.”

By “here”, Musi is referring to the top of the Pro Modified world.

Just three months into the 2014 racing season, Musi-powered cars have dominated the fast doorslammer arena. In NHRA Pro Modified competition, 2013 series champion Rickie Smith has led the way, while Jason Harris and Tommy Franklin have dominated in the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) and Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod (EOPM) organizations. All three veteran racers use the Pat Musi Racing Engines 903 EFI powerplant featuring the new all-billet cylinder heads custom-built by Dart exclusively for Musi.

“In Qatar I had the opportunity to really test a lot of stuff and just repeat on the same track in the same conditions day after day,” said Musi. “Robert Hayes and I worked with Rickie and his driver Mahana Al-Naemi, the EKanoo team, and Bader Khoursheed and the Drag965 team. All of us combined made over 150 runs and gathered invaluable data. We tested all-new EFI software and fuel maps and had completely revamped the Edelbrock fuel injection system after those 150 runs. That, along with the incredible new Dart billet head, has given us tremendous gains.”

After a runner-up finish at the season-opening race in Gainesville, “Tricky” Rickie Smith, regarded by many as one of the best door car racers of all time, put on a jaw-dropping performance during the 34th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Smith qualified number one with a track record 5.795 at 250.13 MPH, making him the first nitrous-assisted Pro Mod to break the 250 MPH barrier. His 5.778 elapsed time in the first round of eliminations set a new nitrous Pro Mod record and was only six one-thousandths of a second shy of a new national ET record. Smith then marched through the field in his IDG-backed, Jerry Bickel-built 2013 Camaro en route to his first win of the season.

“Like Pat said, we worked all winter and spent two months away from our families to work on this combination,” Smith said from the Atlanta Dragway winner’s circle. “This Musi 903 is just awesome, and now with these billet heads it’s so durable. We’re setting records and not tearing anything up, and that’s a huge deal.”

Meanwhile in eighth-mile competition, Jason Harris is undefeated in PDRA Pro Nitrous after scoring victories at the fledgling series’ first two races. Harris’ “Warbird” ’68 Firebird built by Robert Hayes Motorsports has recorded more runs over 200 MPH in the eighth-mile than any other nitrous car to date; that power has carried him to consistent elapsed times in the high 3.70-second range and wins at the season-opening Spring Open at Rockingham Dragway as well as the Georgia Drags at South Georgia Motorsports Park. Virginia native Tommy Franklin has had instant success with his new Jerry Bickel ’69 Camaro, notching two wins in two races thus far in the EOPM series along with a runner-up finish at the PDRA Spring Open.

Musi’s daughter, Lizzy, also made her Pro Nitrous debut at the PDRA Spring Open and wasted no time in becoming the first woman to break 200 MPH in eighth-mile Pro Mod racing.

“All the years of hard work are paying off,” Pat Musi said. “Things started to come together this winter, and we’ve been able to carry that over to start the season in 2014. Now we’re focused on maintaining consistency through the year and taking home a championship or two.”

Photo by Ian Tocher / Drag Illustrated
PAT MUSI RACING ENGINES PARTNERS WITH PDRA FOR 2014

Drag-racing’s tough and highly competitive doorslammer categories have had many stars over the years, but perhaps one of the most successful and internationally recognized is Pat Musi. Musi, who until recently was based in New Jersey, opened his first speed shop in 1970 and began racing Pro Stock four years later. From then on he carved out a career that saw him win eight Pro Street championships as well as garner numerous wins in other classes, including Pro Stock and Pro Modified.

Proving that this truly is a family affair, Musi’s 23-year-old daughter Lizzy is now following in her dad’s footsteps. After two years in Top Sportsman, Lizzy has moved up to the PDRA’s Pro Nitrous class for 2014. Recently, Musi relocated Pat Musi Racing Engines to Mooresville, North Carolina, where he continues his groundbreaking work with fuel-injected nitrous powerplants. “We started running EFI back in 1996, and back then we were the lone soldier; nobody wanted to hear about it.” Musi said. “These days a lot of people who wouldn’t have considered running EFI a few years ago are trying to figure out what we’re doing to get the kind of performance results we’re achieving, but I have to say that with us it’s not just the EFI, it’s the whole program. We do everything in-house - nothing leaves the shop that isn’t totally done by us.

“One of the things we offer is total customer support,” Musi added. “We don’t just send you out there with an engine. We have on-track support, and racers that are in our customer group all work together and help each other. That has been a huge part of the success we are having.

“We have been working hard on it, believe me. We tested and ran in the Middle East for six weeks, and everything we learned is working out real well for us. We made the fastest nitrous run of all time recently when one of our guys, Khalid Mohammed, made a pass of 3.70, 202 in the eighth-mile down in Qatar.

“This season we will be paying contingency for racers who run our engines in PDRA Pro Nitrous, Top Sportsman and Top Dragster,” Musi said. “We are really dedicated to supporting the PDRA and eighth-mile racers because we feel that it’s a venue that is really important. We are going to be on-site at every race this season to support our customers. We will be able to service any Musi engine because we will have a full inventory of parts available for our customers. We will also be able to fully service any Jesel parts right at the track.

“There aren’t enough places to race these cars, and there are a lot of nitrous cars out there,” Musi said “I think what the PDRA is doing is a great thing and I want to help them all I can.”
“Having Pat Musi Racing Engines involved as a contingency sponsor this year really enhances the PDRA program and offers valuable support to a lot of racers,” said Bob Harris, PDRA Race Director. “Companies like this make it possible for PDRA to provide the best racing experience possible for everyone.”
Pat Musi looks on as proud engine clients, Jason & Bob Harris proceed to the semi-finals during the June 2013 BIG DOG Shootout at Piedmont Dragway!