Drag Illustrated’s 30 Under 30 2018

Photo: Anne Proffit
30 Under 30
Photo: Anne Proffit

Drag Illustrated magazine started recognizing 30 straight-line racers under 30 years of age three years ago. Honoring members of the racing community throughout all sanctions, the magazine recognizes youth that are driving, crewing, engineering drag racing cars and motorcycles, citing the best and brightest upcoming stars.

“We’re always eager to take on the challenge of identifying 30 young drivers, crew members, fabricators, promoters and drag racing industry insiders through our 30 Under 30 list,” said editor-in-chief Wes Buck. “There are so many young people dedicating their free time to going drag racing in some form. This list is our way of showing our appreciation for the efforts and achievements of our 30 honorees – and also inspiring the next generation.”

Buck and the balance of his team of judges had thousands of names nominated through an online survey; they had the tough job of winnowing from thousands to just 30 over-achievers throughout the drag racing community.

For the first year, it was current NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock standout racer Vincent Nobile; Funny Car racer Jonnie Lindberg earned the cover last year, after he earned back-to-back NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car championships. This year’s cover features 2010 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion LE Tonglet, who came within 192 points of his second title in third, only to have season finale winner Andrew Hines take second place to his teammate Eddie Krawiec, whose season turned around with the advent of NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.

Joining Tonglet from NHRA on the 30 Under 30 list are racers Courtney Force and Tanner Gray, along with crew members Daniel Wilkerson and Matt Bynum. Sportsman racers on the list are Justin Ashley, Austin Williams, Ray Miller III, Johnny Ezell, Bob Mandell II, Aaron Stanfield, Zach Sackman, Andrew Johnson and Robert Bauer III.

From PDRA, the magazine’s judges selected Tylor Miller, Michael Recchia Jr., while the outlaw eighth-mile scene is represented by Cory and Dillon Voss. Drag radial drivers Lyle Barnett and Jamie Hancock made the cut as well. Cade Poe represents Jr Dragster, while race promoters Jordan Grunwald and Nathan Vanbeek are being recognized.

The magazine recognizes the achievements of chassis builders Chase Copeland and Blake Housley, while icing second-generation nostalgia driver Drew Austin, tuner Dennis Klangebo, Street Outlaw’s star David “Bird ” Jones and Pro Mod racer Daniel McCune.

The group is officially presented to the racing community at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis, In.

Buck noted the diversity of this third class: “The 30 Under 30 list seeks to shine a light on anyone from the star drivers who excel on the sport’s biggest stages to the drivers who stand out at small-town tracks, fabricators, chassis builders and crew members who toil away in the shop. These young men and women,” Buck continued, “are not only successful at what they do, but they’re also good people and fantastic ambassadors for the sport of drag racing.”

For the first time, the digital edition of Drag Illustrated 30 Under 30 issue is available – at no charge – at the time of announcement. Readers can see the issue now at www.digital.dragillustrated.com.

About Anne Proffit 302 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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