Noonan Race Engineering has a reputation for delivering the ultimate in billet performance for racers across the world, and that passion comes from the drag strip. Jamie Noonan watched his father John drive a Top Alcohol Dragster in Australia, learning the secrets of horsepower.
He looked at the cylinder heads on the supercharged, methanol-fueled motor and believed he could do better. As Noonan Race Engineering was born and grew, Jamie was able to begin racing Top Alcohol Dragsters himself, where he became a serious threat at any event he was able to compete at. His career ‘down under’ was capped off with a win at the 2015 Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway.
When Noonan Race Engineering moved abroad to grow further in the USA, Noonan had to put his racing aspirations on hold for the business, but it’s hard to keep a drag racing tragic out of the seat when he has a dragster waiting in a corner of the workshop!
Several weeks ago, Noonan renewed his licence and made his first runs at the wheel of the Noonan Race Engineering Top Alcohol Dragster at Virginia Motorsports Park’s NHRA divisional event, giving the team enough confidence to go ahead and enter the NHRA Carolina Nationals at Charlotte’s zMAX Dragway – Noonan’s first national event in America.
There he achieved a huge personal goal by qualifying for the extremely tough Top Alcohol Dragster field with a 5.293, putting him into the show in 11th place.
“It was awesome being in a national event, the A/Fuel cars are flying right now so just to get in the field was a big achievement,” Noonan said.
The news got even better when Noonan advanced through round one for his first ever NHRA win light, taking out a pedalfest against Shane Conway. Noonan then took on Dan Mercier in a classic quarter final match up, with Mercier’s 5.179 taking the stripe from Noonan’s personal best 5.278 at 276mph.
“We were very happy with the car’s performance. I made a lot of mistakes as a driver because I haven’t done many laps and I think we could have improved on our best time if I drove the car a little better,” Noonan said. “As far as engine performance we never had any doubt power wise, it’s all about applying that and getting the clutch right.”
The current speed record for a blown Top Alcohol Dragster is 281.36mph (held by Joey Severance, who also uses a Noonan billet Hemi) and Noonan is hopeful his own dragster will eventually eclipse 280.
“There is a lot in these cars you need to do in a short period of time and one mishap costs hundredths here and hundredths there. I am pretty confident we can get to 280 as well, we know there is a lot more in our car to come.”
While Noonan hoped to compete in Las Vegas and Pomona as well, a busy lead up to the PRI Show in Indianapolis means he will have to put racing on hold – though hopefully for just a few months.
“I’d like to be racing all the time!” he laughed. “It all depends on the business and what is going on. I really wanted to go to Vegas and Pomona, doing them all in a row is great because all you are thinking about is going racing. We can’t do that this year because we are bringing out new products for next season and Renee and I need to focus on getting those ready.”
– Noonan Race Engineering Media Release