STILL CLIMBING MOUNTAINS
Sherman Adcock Keeps Adding to His Hall of Fame Career
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.
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.