HIGH COUN­TRY HAULER

Bud Preuss Do­ing it His Way

Drag Racer - - CONTENTS - Text and Pho­tos by Brian Los­ness

BUD PREUSS IS A SELF-MADE MAN. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Bellflower, California’s Garr High School, where he stud­ied un­der none other than drag racing’s most fa­mous ed­u­ca­tor,

Gary Den­sham, he re­lo­cated to Grand

Junc­tion, Colorado.

When a promised con­struc­tion job in Colorado failed to ma­te­ri­al­ize, Preuss had a skill set to fall back on. “In high school I was strip­ing and let­ter­ing peo­ple’s trucks and stuff on the side. I brought to Junc­tion a California flair that no­body else had seen or done.” His creativ­ity would pay huge div­i­dends for Preuss and his family.

In the fall of 1980, Bud’s Signs opened its doors. “I started with me and that was it for a while,” Preuss says. Now he has 25 em­ploy­ees and an 18,000-sq-ft state-of-the-art shop that does all facets of the sign busi­ness.

When he was first start­ing out, he thought it would be fun to get a race car. Then chil­dren came, and Preuss fo­cused on them. His old­est, Brett, fell in love with mo­tocross, “So I fo­cused my racing en­er­gies on his racing.”

Brett started to be­come quite suc­cess­ful, climbing the ranks and gar­ner­ing at­ten­tion from fac­to­ries and spon­sors. “We were gone all the time racing here and there, and it was

In high school I was strip­ing and let­ter­ing peo­ple’s trucks and stuff on the side. I brought to Junc­tion a California flair that no­body else had seen or done. —Bud Preuss

very ex­cit­ing. Brett was get­ting re­ally, re­ally good,” Preuss tells Drag Racer.

Un­for­tu­nately, as with many mo­tocrossers, in­juries be­gan to plague Brett. “One day he came up to me and said, ‘Dad, I just don’t want to do this any­more.’”

Then a few years ago, fol­low­ing the liq­ui­da­tion of the mo­tocross op­er­a­tion, Preuss was some­what co­erced into go­ing to the drag races. “I went just to watch, and damned if it wasn’t long af­ter I was buy­ing a car. The kids were out of the house, and I thought, well, it’s time for me.”

Af­ter run­ning a ’34 Ford and then a Su­per Comp Drag­ster, Preuss de­cided to go all in on a new Tim McAmis Top Sportsman car. Asked why he wanted a door car, Preuss gave a very salient an­swer: “’Cause door cars have a char­ac­ter to them, and with a big inch nitrous mo­tor and an au­to­matic, there isn’t a great deal of main­te­nance to them. It’s not like Pro Mod. I have a num­ber in mind, and I have to run that num­ber. I don’t have to lean on stuff.”

McAmis built a full chrome-moly chas­sis cloaked in a car­bon-fiber 1969 Ca­maro body. With weight in mind, the in­te­rior is also com­pletely car­bon fiber. Ra­cepak sup­plied the in­stru­ments, data-record­ing de­vices and

sen­sors. MSD pro­vides and con­trols spark to the en­gine. All of the safety equip­ment is Simp­son. Weld Wheels ride on Hoosier tires.

The en­gine is a Driskell En­ter­prises 632ci Brodix big-block Chevy. The long-block, topped with Brodix bil­let cylin­der heads, was mas­saged by Sonny’s. A Pro­filer in­take topped with ADP bil­let car­bu­re­tors is aug­mented with an In­duc­tion Sys­tems two-stage nitrous sys­tem. As cur­rently con­fig­ured, the mo­tor pro­duces 1,280 bhp.

That power is trans­ferred to the rear wheels via an FTI Pow­er­glide trans­mis­sion with match­ing 10-inch con­verter.

Jeff Hoskins ap­plied the Vic­tory Red Paint to the Ca­maro.

As of this writ­ing, the car’s best lap, with a mild tune, recorded at the high al­ti­tude Strip in Las Ve­gas, is 6.85-202 mph. Preuss, with crew mem­bers Paul Schrit­ter and Robert Shep­pard, is look­ing for­ward to hit­ting tracks that are closer to sea level to dis­cover the true po­ten­tial of this red rocket.

Preuss likes to do things the way he sees fit. That’s one rea­son for his per­sonal suc­cess, and it trans­fers to his racing. He, like Frank Si­na­tra, does things his way.

I went just to watch, and damned if it wasn’t long af­ter I was buy­ing a car. The kids were out of the house, and I thought, well, it’s time for me. —Bud Preuss

ABOVE. The Driskell En­ter­prises 632-ci Brodex big mo­tor cranks out a thump­ing 1,280 bhp. Early num­bers—6.85/202 mph—are very promis­ing.

BE­LOW. Team Preuss (L to R): Paul Schrit­ter, owner/driver Bud Preuss and Robert Shep­pard

Preuss spared no ex­pense when fill­ing out the or­der form for his Tim McAmis-built flier. The chrome al­loy/ car­bon-fiber-bod­ied cre­ation is ba­si­cally a Pro Mod with­out the headaches.

The McAmis chas­sis fea­tures an F/C-style driver cage and yards of strong yet light­weight car­bon fiber.

Preuss is a stick­ler for tidy engi­neer­ing, and examples abound through­out his racer.

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