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

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!