The Paton Racing Top Fuel dragster will make its 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series debut at this weekend’s Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals with Canadian Ike Meier at the wheel.
“We got to chatting in the offseason, and Ike expressed his interest in hopping in the seat sometime this year,” said team co-owner Todd Paton. “While we continue to pursue marketing partners for our 2022 season, this seemed like a great opportunity for us to build on the success we had at the conclusion of the 2021 season and get to one of our favorite events on the schedule.”
The Canadian-based team attended the final three events of the 2021 season with Cameron Ferré at the controls, qualifying for all three races and recording the team’s first 3.7-second elapsed time en route to a semifinal finish at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, where they came up just short against world champion Steve Torrence by .004-second.
“My brother, Tony, and his partners have a great brand they’ve developed called Fast Eddie Speedwear that offers all kinds of cool designs for race fans and gearheads who love the performance industry. They’re going to ride with us this weekend as our primary sponsor and get some incredible exposure with the NHRA experience.”
Additional support will come from Performance Data Systems, Smokies Garage, and 3FP.
“With all the COVID[-19] restrictions in place over the last two years, it made it difficult to keep up with the latest technology,” Paton continued. “As a result, we ran last year’s events with an older five-disc clutch while most of the other teams were running the six-disc setup. This will be our first event running the six-disc, so we’re hoping that transition goes smoothly and allows us to pick up where we left off in Pomona last November.
"Cameron is still working on getting back out there, but in the meantime, running the car with Ike behind the wheel will allow us to continue to work on our combination and get more data on the six-disc setup," Todd said. “Gainesville Raceway holds a special place in our hearts. I won this race in 1999 driving our family-owned Alcohol Funny Car, and then we made it to the Top Fuel final round here in 2018 with Shawn Reed driving. Hopefully, we can combine our recent success from last year with our rich history at this event for a successful weekend for Ike, Fast Eddie Speedwear, and the rest of our Paton Racing team.”