Shane Tucker thought he’d be on solid footing at the Virginia NHRA Nationals. His Pro Stock program, which uses Nick Ferri engines, is ambitious. Perhaps that goes without saying. Tucker, an Australian, runs a Dallas-based business, lives in Australia and wants to compete full-time in Pro Stock while using engines and cars from … well … not one of the two major players.
It’s easy to respect that but the risk that comes with it is also understandable. Tucker didn’t show up to the Lucas Oil Winternationals with the exact setup he wanted, and the results showed. His Auzmet Architectural team decided to skip the Magic Dry Organic Arizona Nationals and are now two races behind as we enter race day at the fifth Pro Stock race.
“We’d like to be further along than where we are and each time we go down the race track we’re getting better and better,” said Tucker. “We’re excited about the future but we’re a little behind and time is not on our side unfortunately.”
Tucker plans to add another car to the team later in the season; likely by the 18th race on the schedule, the U.S. Nationals in early September. That car will be driven by the chief operations manager at Auzmet, Jesse Ross, who is based in Dallas, but is a fellow Australian. That will help bring the team up to speed more quickly, as Tucker doesn’t have the availability to test his Camaro during off weeks.
He enters race day qualified 12th and faces a tough customer in Greg Anderson. That’s his best qualifying position of the season and the team has slowly crept up the qualifying order. Tucker made a pair of solid pulls after struggling to get down the track consistently most of the season, something he says is the next step for the team.
“I think reliability with the tune up and finding a happy spot with the motors is the most important thing with us right now,” he said. “We’ve had a bit of a gap between us and the rest of the field for a bit, but I think that’s starting to come around.”
A holeshot win at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals already has Tucker ahead of his points finish in 2018. A spot in the Countdown to the Championship might be outside his grasp, but the Australian is building towards bigger and better things. Racing begins at noon Eastern at Virginia Motorsports Park.