When Alan Prusiensky made the jump from Comp to Pro Stock three years ago, his eyes were wide open. Prusiensky understood the challenges that go with racing on NHRA’s highest level and over the past three season’s he’s endured his fair share of adversity. Through it all, the Rockaway, N.J. based engine builder has resisted the temptation to throw in the towel and that determination has helped him land a multi-race sponsorship with eCarMover.com, a leading automotive shipping logistics company. The eCarMover.com logo will adorn Prusiensky’s Dodge Dart for the final four 2017 events in St. Louis, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Pomona.
“eCarMover.com is a well-respected brand and on behalf of our sport, I'd like to welcome them to our NHRA family,” said Prusiensky, who has qualified for 19 of the first 20 events of the 2017 season. “We pride ourselves on taking care of our sponsors and love the fact that eCarMover.com is a staunch supporter of the NHRA; we're certainly going to do our best for them, both on and off the track.
“With this deal, we can get to finish line now,” Pruisensky said. “A couple of times I wanted to take some time off and regroup and I probably should have. I just thought that if I went to all the races, maybe I’d be able to attract some support and it looks like that’s happened. It’s been a big learning curve. We’ve torn up more parts than you ever could have imagined. Next year, I want to have three or four complete engines and I should be able to. I have almost enough parts to do that. I want them all the same so I can swap them out at any time. A lot of times we run inferior parts just so we can make it to the next race. That’s the biggest thing we need to address.”
Prusiensky is part of a family team that includes his wife, Christine, and father, Al, as well as former Comp veteran Gary Chominski, who flies in from his home in Texas to work on race weekends. At times, Prusiensky has run extremely well, including this year’s Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, where he ran a career-best 6.566. At other events, he’s had to put in overtime just to keep his Dodge Dart on track.
“In Epping, we hurt an engine and had to drive from New Hampshire to New Jersey overnight to get it fixed and then come back the next day to race,” said Prusiensky. “At the time, we only had one motor. I also messed one up in Brainerd. We changed our routine and I didn’t get the belt on the oil pump and we broke another one. I wanted to quit then, but I didn’t do it. We DNQ’d at Indy and that was our low point. We could have gotten in but I didn’t make a good run. We had a small oil leak and got shut off on the starting line in the good session. That’s never happened before or since.”
For all his struggles, there have been bright spots. Since his debut in 2015, Prusiensky has claimed four wins and they’ve all been against championship caliber drivers. He’s gotten the best of Erica Enders twice and also defeated Jason Line and fellow Mopar driver Alan Johnson, who has been his inspiration since joining the class.
“When you qualify where I do, you get one of the big cars in the first round,” he said. “Last week in Reading, Jason [Line] laid down a 6.60 against us and we ran a 6.67. A lot of other cars ran 6.65, which we can race against. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I want to get better and I know I need to get better. Having extra funding and good parts next year will make a difference. Other teams have five or six guys back at their shop. I pretty much do all the motors and run the dyno by myself. I haven’t really done any R&D work this year. I’m more focused on just keeping it together.”
“As for AJ, I’ve looked up to him for many years,” Prusiensky said. “I rooted for him since 1995 and he’s one of the reasons that I wanted to try Pro Stock. It’s a little scary to think that next year, I will be the only Dodge on tour. I hope the Mopar fans see how hard I’m trying. I don’t want them to think, ‘Wow, this guy stinks.’ We just need about 20 more horsepower to get to where the top guys are.”
One thing that Prusiensky does not have to worry about is gaining the respect of his peers. For the better part of the last three seasons, every other team on the tour has seen firsthand his dedication and passion for the Pro Stock class, and how he’s been able to defy the odds to build a competitive program from the ground-up.
“At Charlotte, I had Stevie Johns [Gray Motorsports engine builder and former Comp champ] come up to me and say, ‘Hey, we’re rooting for you.’ I don’t know Stevie but that meant a lot. Then, at Indy, AJ comes over to me and wants to help me get qualified. This is a guy who I’ve looked up to. I care about our competitors. I hope they see that I’m working hard to make it out here.
“I probably shouldn’t be doing [all 24 events] but it’s fun. I’ve enjoyed it a little more this year. I thought I was coming to the end of being able to do this but my deal with eCarMover.com is going to make a difference. I have a few other deals in the works and they’re going to help. When you get in this class and see how hard it is to string together four good runs and then run the first round you start to realize how good the KB and Gray teams are. They get it done pass after pass. If I change one thing, I lose three-hundredths. That makes you realize how perfect they are. We just need to make good, consistent runs. When you make a good run, you can look at the graphs and see ways you can improve. When you make a bad run, you look at it and say, ‘Where do I start?’. That’s what I hope to resolve in 2018. We can be better. We can be within five-hundredths of the top cars right now and I think we can get closer.”
Prusiensky’s ARC Race Engines Dodge, which was built by Jerry Haas, will debut the eCarMover.com logo at this weekend’s AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
“NHRA fans share a lot of the same qualities as eCarMover.com customers, including their loyalty to and passion for their favorite brands and sporting events,” said Jay Mingolelli, Vice President, eCarMover.com. “With its excellent reputation, ARC Race Engines is the perfect partner to help us rev up our brand to racing enthusiasts nationwide.”