Although he’s only been behind the wheel for about 5 years, Andrew Adkins has already created major headlines in the drag racing world.
SHADE, OH – Andrew Adkins is a down to earth racer who keeps his racing operation simple. He enjoys driving his 71 Duster, Gypsy, to the track and then changing from street tires to slicks before turning on win lights. He grew up watching his Dad race and continues the old school style of racing, even though he’s one of the young guns of the sport.
Adkins began racing after getting his drivers license and has always competed as a footbrake driver. Andrew’s success and skills prove that you don’t always need the big truck and trailer towing the most expensive racecar to get the job done. He told us, “All you need is faith and to put in the hard work every weekend!”
We get dialed in with Andrew Adkins in the following Q&A.
Let’s start with a little history of your career. What classes and where do you race?
I run Pro and Sportsman classes and race at National Trail Raceway a lot. Honestly I do a lot of traveling to different racetracks during the summer. I started racing my brother’s 1971 Scamp as soon as I got my license. His Scamp got me some big victories right out of the gate in the racing world. I raced his car every weekend until I got my 1971 Plymouth Duster, Gypsy.
Give us all the details about Gypsy.
Gypsy was a gift/deal with my cousin after we did an engine swap for him in his 71 Dodge Demon. We found a 98 Dodge church van with a 360 magnum in it with only 90K miles. I stripped it down, had it bored .40 over, small cam, stock heads from arrowhead, and a 650 double pump carburetor.
My Dad build me a 904 tranny with a low gear set and a 9.5 inch 3200 stall FTI converter. On the back end she has a 8 ¾ rear end with 355 gears. During a typical hot weekend she runs 7.80s at 86 mph in the eighth mile and 12.30s at 107 mph in the quarter mile.
Can you tell us about your racing accomplishments?
Each win on the weekend at your typical bracket race is a big accomplishment for me. I’ve also won an NHRA All Access race and of course the World Footbrake Challenge $10K on Saturday.
What’s on your racing bucket list…any future goals you hope to achieve?
I can mark Bristol off my bucket list! Next would be to win the big footbrake race at Piedmont during Thanksgiving. My goals are just to keep winning as much as I can…and I hope to achieve respect.
A primer duster that’s a little rough on the edges pulling in might not look like much, unloading slicks and all, but I’d like for people to know that I mean business.
What is your favorite racecar and why?
It’s a tough decision between my brother’s Scamp and my car. I really grew into the racer that I am from my brother’s car but I still have a lot of learning to do and my Duster is what I plan on continuing to do big things in. It’s simple and a deadly bracket car.
Who has made the biggest impact on your racing success?
My brother, Robert, and my father, Johnny. Watching my father all those years really helped me get a good perspective about the sport – what can and does go on. But it would not be possible without my brother. He helps me day in and day out with my car and fills my head with confidence. I am truly blessed and thankful for all my opportunities and support in my life.
Who do you look up to in the sport?
Nick Bowman. He’s just a great racer, period.
Who do you hate to see in the other lane and why?
Either my brother or my Dad unless it’s the finals. Otherwise, I don’t hate to see anyone in the other lane. I just focus on what I have to do and keep it in my lane.
Tell us what you do for a living.
I’m a school bus driver at a local high school.
How do you support your racing? Is there a side hustle, sponsor, or partner?
From my job and honestly my Dad is a big supporter to my racing program.
What’s your most embarrassing moment in a racecar?
Being called into the water box and my starter went out.
What’s the hardest part of drag racing?
Keeping yourself mentally prepared.
Are you superstitious? If so, what are they?
A little because of my Dad [laughs]. If I have a slow light he will give me one piece (and one piece only) of candy to help pick up my light.
What are you saying to yourself just before staging the car?
Let’s do this, baby.
Do you love to win or hate to lose?
Love to win.
Do you consider yourself to be better at the starting line or finish line?
Depends on the day, but I’d say starting line.
If money were no object, what would your racing operation look like?
It would look exactly how it does now. Car loaded down and driving it to the track. I just love it!
What is your daily driver?
2001 Honda Civic.
Favorite movie or TV show?
Favorite music or artist?
80’s classic rock. Tom Petty.
Besides racing, what do you do in your free time?
Lots of hiking, hunting, and fishing.
Would you rather hang out with a crowd or have a quiet evening at home?
Quiet evening at home.
What is your favorite meal?
Hamburger and fries.
How often do you use a practice tree?
Once a week.
Andrew Adkins would like to thank his Mom and sister for their support as well as his Dad for sponsoring a lot of his racing.
He also gives a huge shoutout to his brother for his constant help with the racecar. He says, “If there’s anything I need done on it, he’s right beside me helping me get it done. A week before Bristol he was out in the gravel driveway during a downpour helping me change my starter.”
He told us how unbelievable it felt winning the World Footbrake Challenge and said once it finally sunk in, that it was such a feeling of accomplishment. He ended the interview with a short, straight to the point quote – saying, “Mopar or no car.”
We hope you enjoyed having Andrew Adkins in the DragChamp Racer Spotlight as much as we did. A few of our other interviews include NHRA driver Koy Collier, big money bracket racer Brandon Taylor, or West Coaster Marko Perivolaris.
If you have a suggestion on who you would like to read about, let us know on our Facebook page!
Jessica was born into a family of drag racers and fell in love with the sport at a young age. She began competing at 13 and has been hooked ever since! She even met her husband at the World Footbrake Challenge VII. Jessica works full time as an Ultrasound Technologist but spends almost every weekend chasing win lights at IHRA and NHRA bracket races.