Strutmasters Racing

Where to Watch: Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals

The Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil will take place September 12-15 in Reading, Pennsylvania. The race is the first in the Countdown to the Championship series.

Many drivers will be looking to establish postseason success. The Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals is this year’s first opportunity for drivers to do just that.

If you’re looking for where to watch this exciting series, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s the television schedule for this weekend’s races.

ROUND DATE TIME CHANNEL
FRIDAY NITRO LIVE Friday, September 13 6:30pm – 8:30pm ET FS1
SATURDAY NITRO LIVE Saturday, September 14 9:00pm – 10:00pm ET FS2
SATURDAY NITRO LIVE Saturday, September 14 Midnight – 1:00am ET FS1
FINALS Sunday, September 15 2:00pm – 5:00pm ET FS1
NHRA IN 30 Thursday, September 19 9:30pm – 10:00pm ET FS2

Strutmasters sponsors Scotty Pollacheck for remainder of 2019 season

With six races left in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series, Scotty Pollacheck has picked up a late-season sponsor in Strutmasters. The North Carolina-based “Suspension Experts” have agreed to be a primary sponsorship for the top-running Pro Stock Motorcycle driver’s 2019 campaign.

 

Pollacheck stock is rising

 

Many consider Pollacheck to be a star-in-the-making despite just missing this year’s Countdown to the Championship. The Oregon native has posted six career final-round appearances.

“This is a great way for us to finish out the last six races of the season,” said Pollacheck. “It comes at a great time because I think we may have turned the corner with the motorcycle. We’re running better and qualifying better and looking good for the rest of the year. We’re excited to be joining the Strutmasters.com family.”

 

Pollacheck part of Strutmasters growing family

 

That family has become one of the more interesting in professional racing. Strutmasters owner Chip Lofton has aggressively supported smaller “startup” racing teams this year.

The Strutmasters team includes upstart Audrey Worm, only the second woman in history to own her own racing team. Recently the company sponsored Lex Joon, a Dutch drag racing champion seeking to win in the world’s best league. Also part of the team is Pro Stock racer Wally Stroupe, a bona fide fan favorite.

“I’m one of those guys who likes to help the underdog,” said Lofton. “I try to help people get over the hump. I can’t start them from scratch but if they’ve taken the time to get as far as they’ve gotten, I can help them the rest of the way.”

Take a look at Lex Joon’s ridiculous European racing resume

Lex Joon, the newest part of the Strutmasters.com racing team, has yet to make a name for himself here in the United States. However, back in Europe, racing fans are quite familiar with the Dutch driver.

It has taken Joon and his wife Gerda a few years to settle into life in the United States. Since arriving in 2013, they’ve been building with their community in Brownsburg, Indiana. But now, Lex is back in the driver’s seat and ready to take on the NHRA.

Before he revs that Strutmasters.com dragster for the first time in Brainerd at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, we thought we’d take a look at his resume from his days in Europe.

Fair warning: it’s a long one. Lex Joon has dominated his sport since the 1980s. The champ has a list of accomplishments that anyone would be proud to own.

With the support of Strutmasters.com behind him and a little new tech under the hood, we can’t wait to see what Lex is going to do in Brainerd.

 

Career Highlights

Career Best Elapsed Time: 3.93 at Las Vegas in November, 2009
Career Best Speed: 317 mph at Hockenheim, Germany, 2008
FIA European Top Fuel Champion 2005
FIA European Top Fuel Runner Up 2007 and 2008
Best Overall European TF driver 2005 – 2009
Best Appearing Crew at Las Vegas, November 2009

2013
• First European driver to be issued a Green Card for “Exceptional Ability.”

2011
• Set new 60ft track record, Drachten July 0.834 sec

2010
• Top 10 finish qualifying Friday Pomona, CA 4.12 sec

2009
• No 1 qualifier Main Event, Santa Pod Raceway, England
• Winner “Best Appearing Crew” Las Vegas, NV
• First Dutchman ever to run a Top Fuel dragster in the USA. We called it “The American
Dream Tour.”
• New Personal Best, Las Vegas, NV

2008
• Winner Nitro Nationals, Alastaro, Finland
• Finalist, Easter Thunderball, Santa Pod Raceway, England
• No 1 Qualifier Nitrolympics, Hockenheim, Germany
• New track ET record, 4.77 sec, Nitrolympics, Hockenheim
• Finalist Nitrolympics, Hockenheim, Germany
• First 4 second run ever during the night show at Nitrolympics, Hockenheim, Germany
• Finalist European Finals, Santa Pod Raceway, England
• Runner up in 2008 FIA Top Fuel Dragster Championship

2007
• Winner Easter Thunderball, Santa Pod Raceway, England
• New personal best ET, 4.750 sec, Easter Thunderball, Santa Pod Raceway
• Winner Veidec Festival, Mantorp Park, 3rd round of FIA Championship
• New track ET record, 4.79 sec, Nitrolympics, Hockenheim, Germany
• Runner up in 2007 FIA Top Fuel Dragster Championship

2006
• Winner Explorama Drag Challenge at Amcar Raceway, Gardermoen, Norway
• Moved up in the championship from 5th to 3rd in standings
• Beat all of the 2006 FIA event winners: Fallstrom–round 1 (Santa Pod), Nataas–
round 2 (Finland), and Nilsson–round 3 (Sweden)

2005
• FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Champion
• Winner, Main Event, Santa Pod Raceway, England
• First Dutchman to win an FIA drag race title
• First Dutchman to break the 5 second ET barrier, May 29, Main Event, Santa Pod, England –
4.920 seconds
• First Dutchman to break the 300 mph barrier, September 11, 304.19 mph
• Track Record, Airstrip Drachten, July 17, MPM Internationals, Drachten – 3.64 seconds
• First Dutchman to break the 4 second barrier, July 16, MPM Internationals, Drachten, 3.67
seconds
• Runner Up, Top Fuel Challenge Nitrolympics, Hockenheim, Germany
• Quickest Top Fuel Dragster run of the 2005 season, Mantorp Park, Sweden – 4.788 seconds
• Quickest side by side run, 4.788, Lex Joon, defeated 4.953, Andy Carter, Mantorp Park,
Sweden
• Started own Top Fuel Dragster team; MPM Top Fuel Racing

2004
• Finished 7th, FIA Top Fuel European Championship
• Semi finals: Mantorp Park (Sweden), European Finals (Santa Pod)
• Runner Up, Pro Fuel Shoot Out, Easter Thunderball, Santa Pod
• Debut in Top Fuel Dragster class (CBD-team)

2003
• Two races with Top Fuel Funny Car
• Immense fire with Top Fuel Funny Car, England
• First year with MPM International Oil Company as main sponsor

2002
• Finished 3rd, FIA Top Methanol Funny Car Championship (entered 5 out of 6 races)
• Winner, Gardermoen, Norway
• First Dutchman to win FIA drag race event
• Runner Up, Sko Uno Festival, Mantorp Park, Sweden
• European Record holder: European Finals, Santa Pod, 5.778 sec

2001
• Finished 8th, FIA Top Methanol Funny Car Championship

2000
• Finished 7th, FIA Top Methanol Funny Car Championship
• Entered NHRA Auto Club Finals event, Pomona Raceway, USA

1999
• Finished 7th, FIA Top Methanol Funny Car Championship
• Finished 3rd, MSA British Drag Racing Championship

1998
• Finished 4th, FIA Top Methanol Funny Car Championship
• Two Runner Up finishes in FIA European Championship

1997
• Finished 11th, FIA Top Methanol Funny Car/ Dragster Championship (entered 3 out of 5
races)
• Winner Nitrolympics, Hockenheim, Germany

1996
• Finished 8th, FIA Top Methanol Funny Car/ Dragster Championship (entered 3 out of 4
races)
• Winner, Cannonball, Santa Pod, England – Worlds quickest Funny Car race

1995
• Rookie of the Year, Top Methanol Funny Car Class

1984-1994
• Entered the Pro Street and Competition classes
• European Champion, Pro Street 1989
• Dutch Champion 7 times

Lex Joon moved to America to do one thing: win an NHRA championship

Strutmasters’ newest driver Lex Joon might not yet be a familiar face on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, but racing fans on the other side sure know who he is.

Before coming to the United States, Joon spent his time scorching tracks all over Europe in the International Automobile Federation, or FIA.

The Dutch driver and entrepreneur had a dominant stretch in the 2000s that included a Championship in 2005, two runner-up finishes and being rated best overall Top Fuel Driver from 2005-2009.

With a list of accomplishments that spans four decades and several racing categories, one might think Joon was ready to kick up his heels and rest on his laurels. But that would be wrong.

 

Coming to America

 

After dominating European Top Fuel racing, Joon decided it was time to try to repeat his success in America.

Joon first raced in the NHRA in 2009, as part of what he and his wife and business partner Gerda Joon called “The American Dream Tour.” He was the first Dutch driver to ever run a Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA.

But “The American Dream Tour” would merely wet Joon’s appetite for NHRA success. After competing in a handful of NHRA races for the next few years, Lex and Gerda made a big decision in 2013.

The couple decided it was time to go “whole hog” on their American Dream and applied for Green Cards to become United States residents. After mountains of paperwork and some waiting, Lex and Gerda were issued Green Cards under the “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” category in May 2013.

 

New Challenges for the Joon family

 

However, the journey to become an American champion was just beginning. The couple chose Brownsburg, Indiana as their new home. The timing, however, made things uniquely difficult.

“Our start was difficult,” Lex Joon said, “because we had to deal with the government shutdown. Our Social Security numbers couldn’t be issued, which implied we couldn’t do anything. We were not able to get electricity or gas. Our car could not be registered. No phone, internet or television, no insurance, driver’s license or company that could hire us. “We are very lucky to have a couple of good friends in Brownsburg that helped us out big-time,” he said.

Once things resumed to normal with the government, life started to look a little easier for the Joons.

“After the shutdown was stopped,” Joon said, “we managed to get our life streamlined. We received our Social Security numbers, which made it possible to apply for all the necessary things that belong to living in Brownsburg.”

 

Paying dues and paying bills

 

But the journey didn’t stop there. Joon still required funding to get his racing company off the ground. He and Gerda would go on to spend years looking for sponsors. During that time, they still had bills to pay.

Lex took a job doing something he is quite the expert in–being an automobile technician for high-end European and American cars. He described the experience as valuable and insightful.

“I worked for an auto service center in Clermont, Indianapolis who are specialists in foreign and domestic cars,” said Joon. “They were happy with my work as a technician. I’m familiar with all the high-end European cars and American brand cars.”

“It’s some kind of amusing — I was actually a specialist in American cars when I had my shop in Europe,” Joon said. “But we also handled the common European cars, which helps me now.”

 

Building from the ground up

 

Even before moving to the United States, Joon had his sights firmly set on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. While finding sponsors was no problem for Lex and Gerda in Europe, he was not so recognizable in American circles. This meant essentially starting from scratch.

“It’s general knowledge that selling your program is one of the most difficult tasks there are,” said Joon. “When teams like [Don] Schumacher [Racing] and [John] Force [Racing] have no visible results adding sponsors and some of their cars are funded out of their own pockets, it’s obvious we have a huge challenge on our hands.”

“But I’m a strong believer we can make a difference. That’s why we are here,” Joon said.

Many of Joon’s friends and family questioned the decision to move to the United States. After tremendous success in Europe, they would essentially be starting from scratch. But for Joon, the thrill of chasing the dream at the top of his sport was what carried him.

“Our passion for the sport is what made us do what we did. We moved 4,000 miles with our dog, Cha Cha, and a 40-foot container filled with personal belongings and our race program,” said Joon.

 

Strutmasters steps in

 

That passion is what caught the eye of Strutmasters founder and owner Chip Lofton. Lofton, who has been steadily building one of racing’s more interesting portfolios, agreed to sponsor Joon this July.

“With Lex you have a guy who has dominated his sport in Europe since the 1980s and still has the passion of a young, hungry driver,” said Lofton. ‘That’s not something you find every day.”

The funding from Strutmasters.com will go a long way towards helping Lex Joon Racing become competitive in the NHRA.

“Lex has emphasised that he is motivated to chase The American Dream,” said Lofton. “Strutmasters has always supported that. Our products are Made in the USA. We built this company right here in North Carolina from the ground up. Lex’s values line up with ours really well. We couldn’t be more proud to sponsor his Dream.”

Joon will be driving the Strutmasters.com Top Fuel dragster in three scheduled races this season: the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd. He will also pilot the car in select NHRA Countdown to the Champion races.

Lex Joon Racing signs sponsorship deal with Strutmasters.com

Strutmasters.com has agreed to an associate sponsorship agreement with Lex Joon Racing, adding to its dynamic racing portfolio. The North Carolina-based “Suspension Experts” have agreed to sponsor the team for several races throughout the 2019 NHRA Mellow Yello Drag Racing Series.

As a result, Joon’s Top Fuel dragster will carry the Strutmasters.com name on it at three races this season: the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd and select NHRA Countdown to the Champion races.

Joon took the opportunity to explain how the partnership came to be.

“As a highly experienced consultant in the automotive industry I understand every aspect and component of the Strutmasters.com brand,” Joon said. “Gerda is active as a commercial parts professional in the auto parts industry. She will also serve as an excellent promoter of the Strutmasters brand.”

“Strutmasters found the perfect team to align the brand with for maximum exposure to automotive enthusiasts.”

Likewise, Strutmasters founder and owner Chip Lofton shared the enthusiasm.

“Strutmasters.com is excited to team up with the NEVER QUIT team of Lex Joon,” said Lofton. “With their upgraded new race parts and a little extra help, we should see Lex making the show and win some rounds.”

The Dutch driver is the latest addition to Strutmasters’ growing portfolio of racing partnerships. For information and updates on Strutmasters Racing, keep an eye on the Strutmasters Racing blog.

 

About Lex Joon Racing

 

Lex Joon Racing LLC is a professional drag racing organization based in Brownsburg, Indiana. Since 1995, this FIA Top Fuel Championship winning team has shaken up the drag racing sport in Europe. In 2013, LJR made the move from Europe to the USA. Joon’s mission is to be a premier drag racing team in NHRA drag racing from 2019 and beyond. Learn more about the team by visiting the Lex Joon Racing website.

Wally Stroupe lays down a 6.676 with boost from Strutmasters, KB Racing

SRC motorsports displays Wally Stroupe 's Strutmasters.com Camaro

Thanks to a sponsorship deal with Strutmasters.com and a new engine from KB Racing, Wally Stroupe has made enormous strides in the NHRA Pro Stock class.

Stroupe added a new 500-cid Engine from KB Racing just before Chicago. As a result, this past Friday in Norwalk, he had one of the best runs of his career with a 6.676.

The impressive time after the team had struggled a bit in the NHRA Pro Stock season this year. So what changed?

Strutmasters steps up for Stroupe

 

The team had been finding it hard to make the kinds of times they were hoping to make. The team looked to Chip Lofton, who is building an impressive portfolio with his suspension company Strutmasters.com.

“We had Strutmasters come on board earlier this year as a sponsor,” said Stroupe. “when I lost to Bo Butner in the first round in Richmond, they wanted to know what we had to do to become more competitive.”

“I told them we had no power and we decided to fix that,” Stroupe continued. “So we got an engine from KB Racing I had talked to Greg [Anderson] and Jason [Line] before, so we had a good relationship, and it just seemed like the perfect time to finally put a deal together.”

It was this that sparked a huge change in the SRC Motorsports camp.

Wally Stroupe on the rise



“With our old engine, we had this car going about as fast as it would go,” said Stroupe. “We could qualify at most of the races, but we weren’t competitive enough to actually win a round.”

 

Changing engines seems it would be fairly routine for a Pro Stock team. However, the engine upgrade required a complete re-tuning and overhaul of Stroupe’s Camaro. Over the past several weeks, the team has tested things like the gear ratios, chassis settings and clutch tuning.


During this time, the car has shown marked progress. During one recent test session, Stroupe laid down a blistering 6.58. It’s the type of time that shows what could be possible for the driver and his team.


The new engine and added support have given SRC Motorsports the necessary firepower to make headway in the hyper-competitve NHRA Pro Stock class.

 

The tough field means a lot more work and preparation is necessary. Stroupe is voluntarily sitting out a few events this year to continue to set himself up for a big year next year. Still, with the support of Strutmasters behind him, the North Carolina-based driver has plenty to be optimistic about.

 

“Our deal with Strutmasters has been great and we’re looking forward to expanding it,” said Stroupe. “If all goes well, we’re hoping to be able to run in all 18 events next year.”

Watch: Audrey Worm explains the joy of the burnout

Strutmasters.com driver Audrey Worm tells us what it's like to do a burnout in a Top Fuel dragster

NHRA drag racing fans enjoy the mind games at the starting line and the burnout almost as much as they do the actual racing. Strutmasters.com Top Fuel driver Audrey worm agrees.

“I’ve got to say the burnout is one of my favorite parts,” she said. “Just the unlimited power. You could just do burnouts for days.”

“It’s just an incredible feeling,” said Worm. “With the tires smoking it’s just a huge adrenaline rush when you get out of the car. You’re about way up here with the adrenaline. It’s just the ups and downs of the day, but it’s just an incredible feeling to be in the cockpit of a Top Fuel dragster!”

Watch the video here:

NHRA New England Nationals wrap up

johnny pluchino faces off for strutmasters.com against deflorian

Thanks to some help from a rival team, Johnny Pluchino was able to make it to the finals of the Mountain Motor Pro Stock division at the National Hot Rod Association’s New England Nationals during the weekend of July 5-7.

“I have to give a big shout out to Team Aruba and their driver Trevor Eman or we would have not been able to make it out for the final round,” said Pluchino, second-generation driver of the Strutmasters.com entry.

During Pluchino’s second round victory over John Konigshofer, the hood scoop flew off the Strutmasters.com Ford Mustang. The hood flung around at over 220 miles an hour and completely destroyed.

the hood flies off of Johnny Pluchino's strutmasters.com ford mustang
Johnny Pluchino’s hood goes flying at 220 MPH.

 

“The Team Aruba guys loaned us one off their car and even came over to help us cut it and get it to work on our car,” Pluchino explained. “It just shows you the level of sportsmanship in our sport. I am very thankful for the Team Aruba guys and what they did for us.”

 

Moving on to the finals

 

In the finals, Pluchino faced the event’s fastest qualifier John DeFlorian Jr. of Saint Louis. DeFlorian got an easy victory when Pluchino took off too soon (by 0.010 seconds) and red-lighted at the starting line. DeFlorian’s winning pass was 6.297 seconds at a top speed of 224.28 miles an hour for machines with 800-plus cubic inch engines.

“I came to the line with an aggressive mindset,” said New York native Pluchino after the second event of his career in the big block machines. “This is our last NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock event this season. I really wanted to win it for Strutmasters.com. We knew DeFlorian was a little faster than us. I figured I needed to beat him off the line to have a chance. The light just came up red and that ended our day.”

Pluchino’s next appearance for Strutmasters.com is July 18-20. The Professional Drag Racers Association event takes place at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio.

“We feel pretty good about how things are going,” said Pluchino, “We’re hitting our stride and going to Ohio to bring back some trophies.”