HIGH COUNTRY HAULER
Bud Preuss Doing it His Way
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
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
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.
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 is a stickler for tidy engineering, and examples abound throughout his racer.