Corey Michalek realized a dream Monday.
The Top Alcohol driver made two passes in Pat Dakin’s Top Fuel dragster at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio as part of the licensing process.
“It was a heck of a day,” said Michalek, 30. “I’m eternally grateful that Pat Dakin gave me an opportunity to achieve a dream of standing on the gas in a Top Fuel car, for Scott Graham (Dakin’s crew chief), giving me a full race car to license in and see if I had what it takes to go to the stripe, and for the rest of the Commercial Metal Fabricator’s team for their time, support, and guidance to help me through the process today. I can’t overemphasize just how big of a deal this was for me.”
Michalek’s first pass was 4.14-second at 226 mph, and it was a run where he shut off at halftrack. The second run was a full pass and he had a 3.84-second elapsed time at 310 mph.
“You hear so many people talk about how intense the acceleration is in these cars,” Michalek said. “I remember the jump from Super Comp to A-Fuel was substantial. I anticipated the same from A-Fuel to Top Fuel, but I don’t know if I was accurately understanding how drastic it would be. It was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had in my entire life. When it gets out to about 400 feet and the clutch locks up it is like going through the Twilight Zone. It is unbelievable how hard that thing hooks up.”
Michalek is upgrading his license from an alcohol dragster license. He was unsure if the passes he made Monday would be enough to get a Top Fuel license. If not, he will finish the process another time.
“We started the process of exploring options within the next level (Top Fuel),” Michalek said. “That Top Fuel car is pulling harder at any point during the run than the most aggressive acceleration during a run in an A-Fuel car. I thought I was prepared for it, but until you actually feel it, no way. It was a blur.”
Getting to make his debut passes in Dakin’s Top Fuel dragster brought things full circle.
“Pat and Scott Graham were the ones who introduced me to the world of Top Fuel racing,” Michalek said. “In 2011, and 2012, my brother (Kyle) and I did the clutch on Pat’s car. He lives in Dayton, Ohio and were from Columbus, Ohio. When we stopped working on his car we went to start driving the alcohol cars. But, we stayed in touch with him and thankfully he was gracious enough to offer this opportunity to me. Whether this ever ends up happening in the future where I end up being able to do a race or something along those lines, it is nice having that validation that this is something that is attainable.”
Corey acknowledged he’s anxious for another Top Fuel lap.
“I’m super excited about the opportunity to give it another go,” he said. “I just have ultimate respect for the car in general as well as anybody in the Top Fuel and the Funny Car classes for what they are able to do. From a competitive standpoint (Monday) was all about getting it from A to B. It had nothing to do with getting off the starting line and it had nothing to do with beating someone in the other lane. That’s a whole other animal. The guys and girls who do this on a weekly basis have nothing but the highest respect from me.”
Beyond Top Fuel, the Michalek Brothers Racing Top Alcohol Dragster program recently found a sponsorship partner in motorsports marketing company Energize.
As part of the program, the Michalek brother competed in Norwalk last weekend and they will run the dragster at the 41st Annual Kelly Services Night Under Fire, Aug. 11 in Norwalk.