NHRA Lucas Oil Series world champions won’t be crowned for nearly eight more months, so any sort of speculation regarding future titles would be premature. That being said, it’s awfully hard to overlook the red-hot start by Division 2 Super Gas racer Sherman Adcock Jr., who has won three-straight Lucas Oil Series divisional races.
Adcock is already a two-time world champion in 1990 and 2007 so he knows exactly what it takes to get the job done. He also knows that titles are won in November, so he’s very pragmatic when it comes to his expectations.
“Right now, we’ve just been sliding through the cracks, taking what we can get while we can get it, and just having fun,” Adcock said. “I know the wheels will come off eventually, but hopefully not too soon. When it comes to points, my rule is you go to your six nationals and your eight divisional races and then see what you’ve got.
“It’s like my buddy Luke [Bogacki] says, you can get [points] early, get ‘em in the middle, or get ‘em late. It doesn’t matter when you get them, you just have to go get ‘em.”
Adcock currently seems to favor the early approach as he came out swinging with a win at the first Southeast Division event at Orlando Speed World Dragway. A second win followed a few weeks later at the “Baby Gators” Division 2 event in Gainesville, and he completed the early-season tri-fecta by winning the most recent event at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
In between, Adcock scored a very respectable round three finish at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. In that round, Adcock fouled by .006-second against Jeffrey Jensen, throwing away a nearly perfect 9.901 effort.
“One thing that’s been crazy is that for most of my Super category career, I’ve had more luck in Super Gas than I have in Super Comp,” Adcock said. “For the last three years, it totally flipped, and I can’t do much in Super Gas. Now, we’ve gone back to [having success] in Super Gas. It doesn’t make much sense, but I’m not going to argue.
“This year, things have just fallen into place. I changed a few things on my car like an APD carburetor and [throttle] stop,” Adcock said. “The car has been stupid good, and that tends to make you look like a better driver.”
Adcock began super class racing in the 1980s and he won his first divisional event in 1986 in Suffolk, Va. In that race, Adcock defeated world champ Sheldon Gecker in the final. Given his vast experience, it’s safe to say that when it comes to NHRA Super Class racing, few drivers have the knowledge Adcock possesses. He’s been there and done that, probably multiple times. He’s also seen the class evolve into what it is today, where most races are decided by just a few thousandths of a second, (or less).
“Today, the cars are set up so much differently than they were in the old days,” Adcock said. “I used to run 138-140 [mph], which was a big speed back then. Now, I’m going 172 and I’m not exactly the fastest guy out there.
“It’s just amazing how much the tires, transmissions, converters, and everything else has improved. “I remember Sheldon Gecker putting weight on the flywheel, weight on the balancer, swapping converters; basically anything he could try to help cut a better light. Now, we’ve got a RacePak [data logger] that can tell us what to do.”
Adcock once famously said, “Super class racing is like playing rock, paper, scissors because no matter what you bring, it might be wrong.” That part has not changed, yet he’s been able to adapt and adjust in order to remain competitive.
So far this season, Adcock is boasting an obscene 20-1 record in elimination rounds and he’s built a sizable lead in the Super Gas standings although it’s fair to note that most other Divisions have yet to even begin their divisional schedule. While he doesn’t need a third title to go down in history as one of NHRA’s all-time great sportsman drivers, Adcock will admit the thought of ending the season in a tuxedo instead of a firesuit is certainly appealing. He sees his early success as an opportunity and he’s not about to let it pass him by.
“Right now, things are falling into place and I won’t say it’s easy, but it does feel like you win one round and then move on to the next one and the next one,” Adcock said. “I do feel like this ride will buck me off at some point.”
When it comes to credit, Adcock is also able to point the finger directly at his team of supporters which includes his brother, Woody, sister, Melodi, wife, Michele, car owner Glynn Smith, teammate and fellow world champ Hugh Meeks III, crew chief Ken Johnson, and Josh Mackey.
“The big thing for us is to have fun and right now, we are,” Adcock said. “Mr. Smith owns both of my cars and he gives me the best equipment possible. He’s also all about having fun so we’ll go to the races we need to go to and then see where we stand in the end.”