The hard work has certainly proven to be worth it in what has been a successful 2012 American Drag Racing League (ADRL) season for ADRL sponsor Sonny’s Racing Engines.
Of the last six winners in the ADRL’s highly-competitive Extreme Pro Stock class, five have used powerful Sonny’s Racing Engines to end up in the winner’s circle, while countless others have racked up impressive performances in what has already been a banner year for Sonny’s Racing Engines and its owner, Sonny Leonard.
“This year has probably been one of my best years of performance in the ADRL and we are very excited about that,” Leonard said. “We’ve done a lot of research and development work, developing engine components and a lot of other stuff, and it’s paid off.
“Of the 18 employees here, 10 have been here more than 20 years. We have a lot of good guys and a lot of good customers who believe in us.”
The winner’s list of drivers who use Sonny’s Racing Engines in Extreme Pro Stock includes Cary Goforth (twice), Dean Goforth, Todd Hoerner and John DeFlorian, while other top drivers like Doug Kirk, Pro Modified’s Rickie Smith, Pat Musi and many others have seen immense success in the ADRL during its 10-race 2012 Tour using Sonny’s cylinder heads.
In addition, Kevin Bealko will have a new engine and John Montecalvo will have a new car at the next ADRL race.
Sonny’s also built a Ford Pro Nitrous engine for Robert Patrick, who won the Pro Nitrous class at the Northeast Drags at Maple Grove. Of course, Hoerner, who works at Sonny’s Racing Engines in Lynchburg, Va., had a notable win in June, becoming the first driver to win in Pro Stock using electronic fuel injection (EFI).
Leonard praised Hoerner and has also wholeheartedly embraced Big Stuff EFI.
“Todd’s a very good driver and tuner, and he just knows how to get the best out of what he’s got,” Leonard said. “The good thing about EFI is it’s easier to tune than a carburetor. When we sell an engine with EFI and give them a run map, they can crank it up and go racing.
“They may have to finesse the run map, but after 3-4 passes down the track, the tune up is there. The drivability is good and it’s very user friendly as well. It accelerates well, it’s easier to tune, and the engine seems to be happier and live longer as well. It’s the way of the future any way you look at it.”
Leonard also expects at least a couple of standout XPS racers to switch to an EFI setup before the 2012 ADRL season is finished.
The company has also done well with selling cylinder heads and manifolds to different engine builders, using two different EFI systems: Big Stuff for XPS and Musi/Edelbrock for most of the PM applications.
“Sonny’s 3-Second Club” in Extreme Pro Stock is up for grabs as well, and DeFlorian nearly became the first member after clocking an amazing 4.01 to set the world E.T. record in June.
“There’s a lot of good people and racers in that class. There’s probably a minimum of six cars that could be the No. 1 qualifier at any given race,” Leonard said.
It’s Leonard and his company’s ability to develop world-class racing engines and components that help make the class as good as it is.
Offering everything from racing engines to cylinder heads to manifolds and much more, and operating out of a state-of-the-art 14,000-square foot facility that features two SuperFlow dynamometers, a porting room, two five axis CNC machining centers, digitizing and laser scan equipment, and a fabrication and welding shop, along with other racing machinery, Sonny’s Racing Engine has enjoyed working with drivers in a variety of ADRL classes.
“I love going to all of the ADRL races, being part of it and helping all of the drivers. It’s just a great show,” Leonard said.
For more information about Sonny’s Racing Engines, visit www.sonnysracingengines.com or call (434) 239-1009.
The Memphis Drags III at Memphis International Raceway is the eighth stop on the 10-race 2012 ADRL Tour and takes place on Sept. 7-8. For ticket information, visit www.adrl.us/tickets.
Based in O’Fallon, Missouri, the American Drag Racing League is the world’s premier sanctioning body for the sport of eighth-mile drag racing. The professional categories featured in the ADRL are Pro Junior Dragster, Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman, Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified, Extreme Pro Stock, Pro Extreme Motorcycle, Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5, Pro Nitrous and Pro Extreme, the quickest doorslammer class in all of drag racing, as well as the revolutionary new SuperCar Showdown. The 2012 ADRL Tour consists of 10 national events run throughout the United States. For more information on the ADRL, visit www.ADRL.us.