STILL CLIMBING MOUNTAINS

Sherman Adcock Keeps Adding to His Hall of Fame Ca­reer

Drag Racer - - CONTENTS - Text and Pho­tos by Rod Short

FOR SOME RACE FANS, SU­PER GAS AND SU­PER COMP MIGHT BE MORE OF AN AFTERTHOUGHT THAN A REA­SON TO BUY A TICKET TO AN EVENT. Yet, for the par­tic­i­pants, it's an all-con­sum­ing fire re­quir­ing more de­ter­mi­na­tion and fo­cus than many re­al­ize. Veteran NHRA com­peti­tor Sherman Adcock is a good ex­am­ple of what it takes to race in this divi­sion.

“You gotta keep dig­gin’ if you want to win,”

Adcock says. “You have to know your car, the tracks, the weather, how to tune and what makes your com­bi­na­tion work; on top of know­ing your competitors. With smart phones, Twit­ter, Face­book and all, ev­ery­body copies each other and thinks they know what the other guy’s gonna do. So, you have to be on your game and then be un­pre­dictable, too.”

He should know. With two na­tional cham­pi­onships, eight divi­sion ti­tles, a dozen na­tional event wins and for­mer win­ner of the pres­ti­gious Mil­lion Dol­lar Race, Adcock has been there and done that. Yet, with all of his ac­com­plish­ments and a na­tional spon­sor for his two cars, he started from hum­ble be­gin­nings.

“My brother Woody and I grew up watch­ing Dad race in Stock/Su­per Stock at Phenix City Dragstrip in Alabama,” Adcock re­calls. “I still remember see­ing Hu­bert Platt, Grumpy Jenk­ins, Reid Whis­nant and oth­ers there when they’d run a Pro Stock show right be­fore the Ga­tor­na­tion­als. It was an Outlaw track, and I re­call driv­ing a Toy­ota there when I was 12-13, be­fore I moved up to the family sta­tion wagon. When Su­per Gas came out, it was a class my brother and I could af­ford, which is why we adopted it.”

Adcock’s first full year of Su­per Gas competition was in 1986, which cul­mi­nated in him win­ning the NHRA South­east Divi­sion ti­tle. The next sev­eral years weren’t as suc­cess­ful, but then he had a break­out sea­son in 1990 with sev­eral na­tional and di­vi­sional wins, which led to a na­tional cham­pi­onship. The fol­low­ing years brought highs and lows, but Adcock stayed the course, adapt­ing as the class evolved. He won his sec­ond na­tional ti­tle in 2007.

To­day, he races an ’02 Trans Am road­ster in Su­per Gas as well as a 240-inch­wheel­base swing-arm drag­ster in Su­per Comp, both of which came from Mark Hor­ton at Amer­i­can Race Cars. Wilk­er­son Racing En­gines built a 632-cid BBC com­bi­na­tion for the road­ster with a Dart alu­minum block/heads and a 1,250cfm carb from Ad­vanced Prod­uct De­sign. Hughes Per­for­mance pro­vided the Pow­er­glide trans­mis­sion and con­verter, while the tires are from Hoosier. His drag­ster fea­tures a sim­i­lar 615-cid en­gine com­bi­na­tion, but with Pon­tiac heads, and it’s ca­pa­ble of 4.60 E.T.s in the eighth-mile.

“With good ser­vice and some luck, you can run these en­gines four to five years with new springs and lifters af­ter 200 runs or so,” Adcock says. “The equip­ment we run is so much bet­ter to­day than when I first started racing. We pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the carbs, shocks and hav­ing fresh tires. With the newer weather sta­tions and soft­ware like Crew Chief Pro, putting time and study into it re­ally pays off.”

With so many years in Su­per Gas and Su­per Comp

We pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the carbs, shocks and hav­ing fresh tires. With the newer weather sta­tions and soft­ware like Crew Chief Pro, putting time and study into it re­ally pays off.

—Sherman Adcock

in­dex racing, you could say that Adcock has seen it all. That per­spec­tive has led to some in­sights wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion.

“Su­per Gas has changed mon­u­men­tally,” he says flatly. “In the ’80s, we were typ­i­cally run­ning 355 small-blocks with a top end speed of 125-135 mph. Now we’re run­ning speeds ap­proach­ing 170 mph. So, we’re get­ting faster and the tracks aren’t get­ting any longer.

“I ran the NHRA Divi­sion 2 point’s race at Galot Motorsports Park where they only ran to a thou­sand feet like the nitro classes do,” Adcock con­tin­ues. “I think that do­ing the same in all our classes re­ally wouldn’t be a bad idea for ev­ery­one. I mean, I like run­ning the quar­ter-mile, but be­cause eighth-mile stuff just feels a lit­tle short. Run­ning a thou­sand-foot [track] felt just right.”

With 40-plus years of racing to­day, Adcock still has a lot of years ahead of him, and he cred­its a num­ber of peo­ple for be­ing there along the way. His wife Michele, brother Woody and sis­ter Melodi all help keep the home fires burn­ing, while oth­ers, in­clud­ing part­ners and car own­ers Tim Lunce­ford and Mark Hor­ton and crew chief K.J. John­son, have been there as well.

“I feel very for­tu­nate to be able to this,” he says. “I’ve been lucky.” But there are still mountains to climb!

This is one half of Sherman Adcock's dy­namic racing duo.

Sherman has ev­ery right to smile. He has two sweet rides, a wall full of Wallys and a ma­jor spon­sor. His S/C chas­sis and en­gine, like his S/G, come from Amer­i­can Race Cars and Wilk­er­son Racing.

Sherman's '02 Trans Am is a far cry from what Pon­tiac en­vi­sioned. The S/G's chas­sis is a prod­uct of Amer­i­can Race Cars and the big-block en­gine is by Wilk­er­son Racing.

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