With the major changes for NHRA Pro Stock announced in the middle of last year, there was a lot of uncertainty heading into the 2016 season. Some drivers weren’t sure they would be able to financially manage the changes, and some folks expressed concern that only a handful of teams would show up at the season-opener. As for the performance of the factory hot rods and their naturally aspirated engines when limited to 10,500 rpms and run on electronic fuel injection rather than good old-fashioned carburetors, no one really knew what to expect.
The what-ifs did not deter the dedication of Christopher Figdore and Speed Dawg Shift Knobs, however. Figdore, who has aligned his brand with NHRA racers for many years, began a lasting alliance in Pro Stock in 2012. That season, Speed Dawg Shift Knobs appeared on Jason Line’s KB Racing Pro Stocker, and the partnership grew to include Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson’s car.
The eye-catching Speed Dawg logo garnered even more race car real estate when Figdore took over the doors of the Chevrolet Camaro driven by Swedish Pro Stock champ Jimmy Alund in 2014, and it paid off big when the FIA European Pro Stock champ scored his first win in NHRA competition at the 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte.
Along with the rest of the world of drag racing, Figdore learned of the major rule changes mid-season last year. One of the new rules mandated that the Pro Stock cars be turned around in the pit area – with hoods off and engines exposed.
“They started putting the hoods where the spectators could see them, and I was very happy to see that change,” said Figdore, whose Speed Dawg logo was on the hood of Bo Butner’s KB Racing-powered Chevrolet Camaro at the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals last weekend in Gainesville. “The fans were walking by, and for a lot of them, that was an opportunity to see our Speed Dawg brand for the first time. Everything that I’m seeing [in regard to the rule changes] is good.”
Figdore said that he had no apprehension about signing up for another year of support for drivers in the Pro Stock category, and the confidence in his decision was certainly enhanced after seeing the performance of the KB Racing cars on the racetrack.
“I’m too much of a fan of the sport and the Pro Stock class to have hesitated. I’ve had so much enjoyment being with this team and NHRA, I wasn’t going to stop no matter what they did,” said Figdore. “Once the cars fire up, they sound pretty much the same, they look the same – minus the scoops – and I still get the same thrill standing there when they launch. I’m very happy to be here this year.”