<%@ Language=JavaScript %> ..:: Maryland Int'l Raceway  -  Budds Creek, MD  ::..

    


Maryland Int'l Raceway  •  27861 Budds Creek Road  •  Mechanicsville, MD  20659

301-884-9833 (Office)  •  301-884-9878 (Fax)  •  info@mirdrag.com

 
  2011 MIR Legends Hall of Fame Inductee
  


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Tommy Howes
Racer

The Pro Modified category is one of the most successful and popular drag racing classes in the world right now, with hundreds of cars across the globe racing in several series. But all those cars result from the efforts of just a handful of early racers and tracks. One of those tracks is MIR, and one of those racers is Tommy “The Who” Howes.

Only Tommy knows why he decided back in the early 80s to put a GMC 6-71 blower on his ‘68 Camaro Super Pro car, but that decision and a number of subsequent events led to the creation of the outlaw doorslammer type of drag racing that continues to grow in popularity to this day.

One night at MIR a jet car didn’t show. In a bind, Tod Mack strolled through the pits to see if any of the local bracket machines had the right look and performance to line up against Roger Gustin’s jet funny car. Tommy’s blown Camaro fit the bill. He faced off against the big, bad jet and while he didn’t win, his efforts proved to be hugely popular with the fans. Soon Tommy was match racing at MIR and Colonial Beach against other supercharged cars.

Tod formed a circuit called the “Wild Bunch,” and Tommy Howes was one of its top stars.

The group ran all over the East Coast and Midwest, increasing the popularity of outlaw doorslammers. Tommy and fellow Wild Buncher Camp Stanley even toured Australia, prompting an entirely new Australian Wild Bunch that races to this day.

While the Wild Bunch was carving out its stake for the title of Baddest Doorslammers in the World, similar efforts were underway down south and across the country as nitrous powered cars began to hit increasingly fast speeds. St Louis racer Bill Kuhlmann blasted through the 200 mph zone in March 1987 and that left only one mark for the door cars to achieve: the sport’s first six second run. Much to the chagrin of the nitrous fans, Tommy Howes beat the entire world to that mark. On June 4, 1988, at the IHRA Summernationals in Atco, New Jersey, Tommy ran 6.996 seconds at 201.79 mph, permanently entering the annals of drag racing history.

That run had the effect of putting a bounty on Tommy’s head. All the nitrous cars wanted to run that blown Datsun from Maryland. And all the baddest dogs in the land came down to MIR to face him. But at event after event, nobody could touch the tough guy from Laytonsville. Tommy rebodied the car as a Chevy Cavalier, but that, and crew chief Tommy Lyons tuning, just made it faster. Tommy continued to set new performance marks every year at MIR, and maintained a winning match race percentage against the absolutely top cars in the sport.

Tommy continued his legacy at MIR in a new Chevy Camaro that helped to establish Royce Miller’s wildly popular Frantic Four and Frantic Seven series. Over the years, the names of the competitors changed, but through it all, Tommy Howes continued to race at the very top of the outlaw doorslammer category. Today, every time fans turn on the TV to enjoy the Pro Mod cars of the ADRL or NHRA, or even the ANDRA down in Australia, they can reflect back on Tommy Howes -- who at MIR established himself as one of the forefathers of modern pro mod cars.

 

 

 

 

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