The Emmons Effect

The unmistakable Lucas Oil branding is represented emphatically throughout NHRA’s Super Stock and Stock Eliminator ranks in red, white, and blue by Emmons Motorsports. The family name has permeated the muscly door car categories for decades, and with a full stable of powerful racecars, the Emmons group has harvested crop after crop of trophies at both the national and divisional levels.

The two most recent pieces of hardware – coveted NHRA national event Wallys – were claimed this week at Texas Motorplex in the weather-delayed running of the NHRA SpringNationals. Harvey “Speedy” Emmons III was the Super Stock winner, and Jammin’ Jerry Emmons earned the victory in Stock.

A/SA 1969 Chevrolet Camaro driver Jerry locked down his trophy first, getting the better of No. 1 qualifier and well-versed racer Jeff Lopez with a .043-second reaction time and a 10.298 on his 10.25 dial to the .128 light and 9.379 (9.35) presented by Lopez and his FS/C 2016 Camaro.

Speedy was unperturbed by multi-time Lucas Oil Series champion Greg Stanfield’s perfect .000 start in the final and launched with a .018 of his own in his GT/FA 2005 Chevy Cavalier. At the finish-line stripe, GT/JA 1987 Camaro wheeler Stanfield broke out of his 9.79 dial by .018. Speedy got the win light with a nicely timed 9.561 on a 9.55.

A wrap-up post on the Emmons Motorsports Racing Facebook page humbly detailed their collective thoughts regarding the accomplishment.

“We all know that winning is extremely difficult,” read the post. “To do what our team has been fortunate to do this season is just incredible. There is so much effort that goes into just getting to a race, much less competing and having the results we have had.

“[NHRA announcer] Alan Reinhart has coined the phrase, ‘this is a right time, right place kind of sport.’ All racers, from Pro to the Sportsman classes, can tell you there is probably not a better way to summarize it. There are so many talented drivers and teams with great racecars, you MUST always be working to improve your driving skills, your equipment, and hope that a little luck falls your way when you need it.”

The double-up was particularly impressive as it came on the heels of an Emmons-Emmons win at the Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in Noble, Oklahoma, just three days prior. There at Thunder Valley Raceway Park, Terry Emmons won Super Stock in his SS/BS Cavalier while brother Jerry picked up the Stock win wheeling his first-gen Camaro.

Harvey “Speedy” Emmons III won Super Stock and Jerry Emmons won Stock at the rain-delayed NHRA SpringNationals in 2021. Photo: NHRA

Sharing the Stage
Success has been a carousel for the Emmons brothers, and the lead horse has shifted throughout the years. Each of these amiable fellows are decorated competitors, with 47 national event wins between them and 18 Division 4 championships as of the conclusion of the SpringNationals.

Under the watchful eye of their father, Division 4 Hall of Famer Harvey Jr. (aka Pops), oldest brother Speedy launched first into the world of drag racing and won the division in Stock in 1987. It was the first of his five division titles (1987, 1994, 1995, 2000, and 2015), which were punctuated by the 1994 Stock Eliminator world championship. He currently has 12 national event Wallys to display.

Speedy and their father must have made it look pretty darn enticing to be a racecar driver, because triplets Gary, Jerry, and Terry, equipped with a proper amount of confidence and skill, joined the troop and start reeling in triumphs of their own at a fairly early age.

Reigning Division 4 Stock champion Gary, who currently has 10 national event wins, was also division champion in 1991, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2007, and 2009 – the year in which he achieved the extraordinary and earned the crown in both Super Stock and Stock.

Jerry, who is in the thick of the battle for the 2021 national and divisional titles at present, has so far claimed 17 national event trophies and was the division champ in either Stock or Super Stock each year from 2005 to 2008.

Since 1999, Terry has been unstoppable in Super Stock finals and has won in each of his last seven money-round appearances. The 1992 Division 4 Stock champion claimed his first national event win in 1995 at Texas Motorplex in Dallas, and he’s been to 11 total final rounds at the national level in all.

Twice as Nice
Broken down in this manner and taking into account the fact that they race often, it almost makes statistical sense that Emmons Motorsports would double on a somewhat regular basis. Well, except this is racing, nothing is certain, and anything can happen on any given day.

Not counting divisional doubles, the Houston winner’s circle marked the fourth time there have been two drivers with the last name of Emmons in one winner’s circle. The first family double was in Memphis in 1999 – Terry won Super Stock and Speedy won Stock. It happened again in Dallas in 2011 with Jerry winning Super Stock and Gary taking the trophy in Stock.

The most recent Emmons national event double – the one before the Houston final rounds – was monumental. It took place at the 2020 U.S. Nationals, the most lauded and historic event on the NHRA tour.

There, Terry defeated one of the most winning drivers in NHRA history, Dan Fletcher, for the Super Stock title. Terry survived a double breakout with a .012-second reaction time and 9.080 on a 9.10 to Fletcher’s .028 and 9.737 (9.77).

Jerry was a brilliant .001 on the tree and ran 10.499 on a 10.44 to emerge victorious from the U.S. Nationals Stock Eliminator final over Parker DeVore’s .069 and 11.754 (11.73).

“Our family cannot begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of experiencing the true miracle that transpired last night,” they posted. “It is truly a moment we will never forget. Our Dad no longer being with us and not being able to share moments like this with him has been hard, but we can only hope he’s somehow able to see this.”

Harvey William Emmons Jr., the Emmons Motorsports patriarch, passed away at the age of 79 on October 6, 2017 – three years before that historic U.S. Nationals Emmons double.

If his boys were asking for a sign with that post, they got it on Wednesday at Texas Motorplex. Their double victory took place on the four year anniversary of their father’s passing, and the Stock and Super Stock finals were run at the exact time that he was taking his final breaths here on earth.

“These two NHRA national event wins today were more special than any other in our family,” they wrote. “We’d like to believe he is in heaven, smiling and proud of what has become of what he started many years ago. He absolutely loved racing Stock and Super Stock, and we are so humbled to be able to continue his legacy in the sport.”

The Emmons Motorsports team celebrate their first double in 1999 at Memphis International Raceway. Terry won Super Stock and Speedy won Stock. Photo: Auto Imagery

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