NHRA Sportsman racer Tyler Bohannon is in the spotlight with DragChamp!
This week we catch up with Tyler Bohannon, one of the most entertaining and talented young racers in the sport.
Tyler has spent all 21 years of his life around drag racing. The Louisville, Kentucky racer grew up at the drag strip and “it’s all we know,” he admitted.
At the age of seven, Tyler’s driving career started in the Jr. dragster ranks. Although he admittedly wasn’t great at the tree, he learned to “hold a ton and make up for it at the finish line!”
He eventually graduated to NHRA Super Stock, Super Comp, and bracket racing where he is having a career year. His season has included multiple wins on the bracket racing side while he’s also made multiple NHRA final rounds in both Super Stock and Super Comp.
His most impressive stretch included a Super Comp runner up at the Division 5 Topeka Lucas Oil Series race followed by a runner up at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd. He then claimed a runner up in Super Stock a week later at the Division 3 LODRS at Bowling Green.
These performances have pushed him into the Top 30 in the national points chase. Tyler currently sits 13th in Super Stock and 28th nationally in Super Comp.
Between making final rounds and traveling all over the country, Tyler somehow found some time for a Q&A with DragChamp. Check it out below!
Which class or classes do you compete in? Where do you normally race?
I complete mostly in the Super Stock and Super Comp classes in the NHRA but also compete in Stock, Super Street, and do a small amount of Big Buck Bracket Racing as well. I have traveled from coast to coast racing and call Ohio Valley Dragway in Louisville my home track.
Tell us about your current race car.
My current car is a ’13 Mullis that I bracket race and Super Comp race along with my uncle’s ’88 Camaro in SS/JA.
Please list your major racing accomplishments.
I have been fortunate enough to win four LODRS events, one NHRA National Event, a North Central Division Super Stock Championship and a handful of bracket races.
What’s on your bucket list, future goals, what do you hope to achieve?
I would love to one day be able to call this sport my day job as well as win a World Championship.
What is your favorite race car, and why?
My favorite race car is my Dad’s ’67 Corvette. It’s the car that has been around as long as I have and I can’t think of a car I love more.
Tell us what you do for a living?
Currently I am a Car Salesman at Jim Butner Auto in Clarksville, Indiana. The Butner family has played a big role in my successes as they have always supported my drag racing endeavors and give me the time off to chase my dream.
How do you support your racing?
My dad is the main “backing” for my racing program as well as my uncle.
Who do you hate to see in the other lane, and why?
There are plenty of people in this sport that I hate to see in the other lane. I spent my whole life looking up to the guys in this sport such as Dan Fletcher, My Dad, David Rampy, Ricky Decker, any of the Emmons (who beat me today), and anyone else in that caliber. Tons of tough racers in the sport these days.
What’s the hardest part of drag racing?
The hardest part of drag racing, at least in the NHRA stuff, is the hours or days between runs and being able to dial your car. Or just keep your head on straight when you have all that time to think about the next round.
What’s your most embarrassing moment in a race car?
My most embarrassing moment in a race car has to be when I locked the brakes up in my uncle’s Camaro and rolled it in Columbus in 2014. A young 16-year-old driver getting a little too aggressive.
What are you saying to yourself just before you stage the car?
I couldn’t honestly say what I’m telling myself right before I stage. From the time they call us to the lanes until I cross the finish line I’m focused on trying to win the round and move on.
What do you enjoy the most at the racetrack?
Obviously I enjoy winning the most in drag racing. I’ve driven countless hours to change motors and drive countless hours back to the track to make a round and get busted up but in all of that I had my friends by my side helping me and that is a close second in things I enjoy in drag racing.
Are you superstitious? If so, what are they?
I have always been the superstitious person. Every round before I run I try to the same things, drink the same amount of water or whatever it may be, drive the same way to the lanes, do the same thing every single round.
Do you love to win or hate to lose?
I would say I hate to lose more. I am out here mostly trying to be “somebody” and make a name for myself and I feel like losing puts me behind on being able to do that. Like if I lose I’m scared I won’t be able to do that.
Which are you better at the starting line or the finish line?
I like to think that I am better at the finish line, growing up in juniors I never was the best at hitting the tree so I always held a ton and tried to make it look like I had a chance, so I was always making up for my poor starting line talents with somewhat good talents on the finish line.
What motivates you to continue racing?
As PJ North said “did it all for the glory” and I think that word GLORY is what motivates me to continue racing, to be that somebody I spoke on earlier.
If money were no object, what would your racing operation look like?
I couldn’t exactly say what my racing operation would be if money were no option because I’m always adding to it (haha!). Dylan Mudd and I ride down the road 7 days a week brainstorming what it would look like.
How often do you use a practice tree?
I personally never use a practice tree. In my opinion you can’t replicate the true situation in which you’re trying to hit the tree. You can’t “practice” staging and hitting the tree in the final round of a national event or a $50K bracket race or even first round of a points race.
It’s a different feeling when you start the car with your helmet on look up and see all the people in the stands or the crowd of racers on the starting line watching you race on the big stage.
You can’t set any practice tree up to put you in that situation so that is why I don’t use a practice tree. Making laps in these situations at races is the only true practice I think can help.
What is your daily driver?
My daily driver is my tow truck, a 2016 GMC Sierra Dually. It may break the bank once a month but its something I can trust to get me all across the country to these races.
Favorite movie or TV show?
My favorite movie is “The Mask” starring Jim Carrey. I couldn’t tell you why I’ve just always loved it.
Favorite music, artist?
My favorite music is anything I can put on blast with the windows down in traffic and see the look on people’s faces when Dylan hangs out the window singing to each and every one of them.
Where do you spend the most time on the internet?
I spend most of my time on the Internet, scrolling Facebook, or anything involving drag racing.
What is your favorite sport? Favorite team?
My favorite sport is baseball because it’s the one sport I stuck with for a while other than drag racing. Favorite team would have to be the Cincinnati Reds.
Besides racing, what do you do in your free time?
I do spend some time bass fishing in my spare time. However I can’t keep myself from competition so I normally go and fish a Thursday night local tournament or a Saturday morning and get stomped into the ground by the local sticks.
What are you really good at?
I’ve never been really good at anything, hell I can’t even do my own laundry, the only thing I’ve ever invested myself into fully is drag racing so I like to think to myself that I am somewhat talented in that.
Name one thing most people don’t know about you?
Something most people don’t know about me is that I did finish in the Top 20 in the nation in High School Bass Fishing in 2014.
Would you rather hang out with a crowd or have a quiet evening at home?
I have a small circle I guess you could say. I’m not much on big crowds but a quiet evening at home is a rare occurrence. I spend a lot of time in the race shop or wasting valuable time doing something dumb like playing golf.
What’s your favorite thing to eat?
Anyone who knows me knows I don’t pass up on food. Anything that’s not green is good for me!
Who would you like to thank, who helps you the most?
First and foremost I would like to thank my parents for giving me the ability to do this. My sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the rest of family for the endless support from home when I’m on the road.
My girlfriend Megan for literally doing everything I don’t want to do in life so I can keep myself as far from “reality” as possible for now.
My main man, my road dawg, my homie, Dylan Mudd for taking all of the time off of work and not getting paid to travel the country and help me at the race track. You’re dumb, but you are the man Dilly!!!
Brian, Shawna, and Brooks Whitworth for everything they have done to better me as a race car driver and person.
Lastly I need to thank the racing companies that support me while I chase my dreams:
- Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels
- Sunoco Race Fuels
- Bohannon Masonry
- A Plus Signs and Screen Printing
- BW Promotions
- Bilbrey Racing Trans
- Jeff Taylor Performance
- Quinn’s Chassis Shop
- The Johns Family
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