FUELAB sponsored racer Phil Swales spoke with us about his drag racing experience:
Q: When did you start racing?
A: I started racing 1984, in high school, when I was sixteen years old.
Q: What got you into racing?
A: I got a flavor for it from my Dad, who drag raced. I also worked at my uncle’s garage until I was 22. I built cars there with my two cousins. One had a T-Bucket, and I had a ‘74 Trans Am with a Super Duty 455 and 4 speed. We were doing street drags, and also some racing at the New England Dragway.
Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: The ’74 Trans Am.
Q: What were some of the other cars you have raced and when?
A: I also had a ’91 Firebird Formula 350 that my dad drove. About twenty years ago I started racing a 1970 Nova SS that had a 598 with conventional heads, single carb and nitrous. That car was pretty competitive in the NMCA. I then swapped that motor into a 2000 Trans Am, and it was one of the most consistent cars out there – running 4.7 to 4.8 in the eighth mile. Now the Trans Am is running a new 632 Big Chief racing motor that puts out 1,230 horsepower.
Q: What associations have you raced in?
A: I’ve raced in the NMCA, NHRA, PSCA, Outlaw 10-5, and Outlaw 632 Class.
Q: What have been your major racing successes over the years?
A: I won the All Chevy Show in 2003, 2004, and 2005. One year I came in with the Nova, and a ’69 Camaro that was owned by my friend Craig Cerniglia. We qualified first and second. Craig was going to drive the car, but he didn’t have a license to drive the car as fast as it would go. Some people complained, so my brother in-law Gary Unger ended up driving the car.
After that there was a period of time where I had to back off racing. My kids were growing up, and I had to spend time with them. Now I’m back at it. In 2015 I placed well in the NMCA Semi Finals. This year I was runner-up at Heads Up Madness. Currently, I’m number three in the points now in the 632 class.
Q: What do you like most about racing?
A: I like the competition and comradery. Over the years I have gained so many friends from all over the country.
Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: Yes, my wife and two boys help me. My dad comes down from the Northeast to watch.
Q: How long have you used FUELAB?
A: Since the day they opened. I’ve used it on the Firebird, the Nova and my brother in-laws car.
Q: Why did you start using FUELAB?
A: It’s a great product! My car hasn’t burned a spark plug in a year and a half, even with a 600 horsepower spray of nitrous.
Q: Was there a particular problem you were having that FUELAB solved?
A: I was having problems with other manufacturers pumps keeping fuel pressure regulated properly. FUELAB pumps don’t drop pressure. They’re the only pumps that I have seen do that. I don’t have readjust the pressure.
Q: How has FUELAB affected your racing success?
A: The performance is always consistent.
Q: What FUELAB parts do you use?
A: I use one of their carbureted pumps, and a bypass style fuel pressure regulator.
Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of FUELAB products and company?
A: They are very hands on, and know what they are talking about. You just don’t get customer service like that anymore. You can talk the actual person who built the pump.
Q: Where do you see yourself in racing in 5 years?
A: That’s tough. Win a championship then spend effort helping my kids with racing.
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I drag race! Otherwise I like to do things like hunt.