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Darian Boesch hopes there is another title (or two) in his future

There really is no downside to winning an NHRA world championship except that going forward, anything less than a title can feel like a letdown. Just ask Darian Boesch.
25 Feb 2023
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Darian Boesch

There really is no downside to winning an NHRA world championship except that going forward, anything less than a title can feel like a letdown.

Just ask Darian Boesch.

Boesch, who calls Kenner, La., home, won the Top Sportsman championship in 2020, and since then, he’s continued to be one of the most successful racers in the Top Sportsman and Top Dragster classes with three more Top 10 finishes. Last year, Boesch finished sixth in the Right Trailers Top Sportsman class and a very respectable No. 16 in Right Trailers Top Dragster.

Now, he’s very much focused on a second, or possibly even a third, championship this season.

“What bothers me more than anything is that I went from first to third to sixth in Top Sportsman, and anyone who’s won a championship will tell you that you don’t want to go backwards,” said Boesch, who at 23 remains one of NHRA’s brightest young stars. “Look, I’m not Jeffrey Barker. I know I can’t win a championship every year, but I really want to start moving up, not down.”

When Boesch looks back at his 2022 season, he sees a lot of opportunities for improvement, especially on the mechanical side. He went through a lot of parts keeping his Jerry Haas-build Top Sportsman Camaro and RaceCraft-built Top Dragster on the track, and that’s something that Boesch and his father, Mario, have addressed this season.

“It’s not hard to see where things went wrong last year. We blew up eight engines, and that’s just ridiculous,” said Boesch. “On one hand, we never missed a single round of eliminations, but that’s no way to race. At the St. Louis divisional, we had a rod let go, but I won the round. We swapped engines in 45 minutes, but those things take their toll.  

“When I look back, I don’t think that finishing No. 6 is too bad,  but we worked day and night to get there. I went testing as often as I could, but in the end, Lance [Abbott] was destined to win the championship, and he deserved it.”

While he didn’t win the championship, Boesch did have a few bright spots during the 2022 season. He went to the final in Houston and then collected a national event Wally later in the year when he claimed the Top Dragster title in St. Louis. Now, he’s completely focused on 2023 and claims he’s more prepared than he’s ever been for the start of a new season.

“First off, I’ve been bracket racing a little bit to keep my driving sharp. We went to Bradenton [Fla.] for their New Year’s race, and I’ve run a few times closer to home,” Boesch said. “My first divisional will be this weekend in Belle Rose [La.], then we might head to Gainesville for the Baby Gators.

“There is no reason to think this year will be anything like last season. My door car has 10 runs on it in testing, and the dragster, which has a Vortech supercharger, has about 50 runs, but we babied it for about 40 of them. I’ve got spare engines for both cars, so I think we’re more prepared this year than we’ve ever been.”

For 2023, Boesch will continue to race his supercharged Jerry Haas-built Camaro in Right Trailers Top Sportsman and his Vortech-assisted RaceCraft dragster in the Right Trailers Top Dragster class. Both cars are quick enough to qualify at or near the top of the charts, which is just how Boesch likes it.

“I’ll admit that I enjoy Top Sportsman a little more than Top Dragster,” Boesch said. “I love racing a door car. There is nothing like running 6.20s in [a full-bodied car]. I even got my Pro Mod license this winter just in case someone decides they’re bored and wants to hire a driver. I’m available.

“I think the key to success in Top Sportsman is having a car that’s built for the e.t. you’re running. I see some guys with an older car trying to run 6.50s, and it’s hard to do when you have to manage all that power. My car is almost built to Pro Mod specs and makes it really easy. I usually don’t have to worry if it’s going right or left. In Top Dragster, it’s not too difficult to build a car to go 6.10, and the competition is really good."

Boesch, who is going to claim Division 3 as his home division this season, will also have a bit more support this year as his father, Mario, is going to return to NHRA competition in a new Danny Nelson-built Top Dragster. There are a lot of positives to that move, including the ability to gather more data on any given race weekend.

“My dad sort of quit when I started racing Jr. Dragsters, so I’m glad he’s going to get out more,” Boesch said. “His dragster is about 99% the same as my car, and he’ll race whenever he feels like it. I’m lucky that my parents absolutely support me in every way possible. The same goes for Jerry Haas, Mark Micke of M&M Transmissions, Brodix Cylinders Heads, and Danny Nelson.

“Every year, you go into the season hoping to win a championship, and after winning one, you want another. At the same time, I’m realistic. I really want to be in the Top 10 with both cars and hopefully the top five. I’d also love to win the [world title] in Top Dragster just to say I have won both classes.”