Alison Prose has been racing for 12 years and has quickly made her mark in the NHRA Division 3 world.
For all her life, Alison grew up around cars and was at the racetrack every weekend with her family. Her grandpa, Gary Prose, is an engine builder so it was pretty difficult for her to not catch the drag racing bug.
Alison started racing junior dragsters in 2008. She was heavily involved in bracket and index racing at her local track and also the Midwest Junior Super Series. After graduating from juniors, she moved right on to Super Comp in Division 3 with flying colors.
Currently, Alison races Super Comp in her 2013 American Dragster and Super Street in her 69 Camaro. She has runnered-up and semi-ed at multiple national events, and she’s itching for her first win this season.
DragChamp caught up with Alison to learn more about her racing career.
Learn more in the following Q&A.
DragChamp Racer Spotlight with Alison Prose
How long have you been racing?
Since I was 10 (2008)
How did you get introduced to the sport?
My dad started racing when he was 19, and his dad is an engine builder. So, I’ve always been around cars and grew up at the race track every weekend.
Which class or classes do you compete in? Where do you normally race?
I race Super Comp, Super Street and Super Gas at national events that don’t have Super Street. When I first started racing, I did both bracket and index racing in juniors at our local track and with the Midwest Junior Super Series. We were always local bracket racers, so that’s what I was used to. But when I got my dragster, my dad had just started running divisionals. So, I licensed in the fall and the following year I went right into divisionals.
We normally follow the NHRA divisional series and race around five nationals a year, so that takes up most of our time and we bracket race a few times every year on free weekends. So, with that schedule I’m usually racing at all of the normal D3 tracks and some out of division like Topeka, Great Bend and Gainesville. Now I’m about to start my fourth season following Division 3.
Tell us about your current race cars.
My first race car was my 2013 American Dragster. We bought it back in 2015 with a 565 Chevy in it and that’s what I ran until this season. We just had a new 632 built by Oakley Motorsports, but I’ve only gotten to run it once down in Gainesville. I can say with confidence I’m already really enjoying that extra power after one race. I haven’t gotten to make any eighth-mile passes yet but I’m hoping to be running 4.30s this season.
My second race car is my 69’ Camaro. It’s a full body car with a 565 Chevy. The Camaro was actually my dad’s first race car and he ran it from the nineties until 2007 when he bought his roadster. He wanted to sell it, but I was nine years old and that was my favorite car and I was determined to race it someday, so I convinced dad to keep it. It sat in a barn with no intention to race it until I convinced dad to let me get it out in 2017 and start cleaning it up. We rebuilt it and now I’ve been racing it in super street since 2018.
Please list your major racing accomplishments.
Not much yet. Just a few runner up’s here and there and a couple of semis’ at national events. My top points finish was third place in division 3 super street last season.
What’s on your bucket list, future goals, what do you hope to achieve?
The top item on my bucket list is winning the U.S. Nationals. I’ve grown up racing at Indy and going to watch the U.S. Nationals so it’s my favorite race and I take a lot of pride in having it so close to home. The competition there is crazy, and it takes a lot to go rounds. Winning it has been a dream of mine since I was a kid.
Aside from that, I’d love to have a divisional championship or two under my belt. Most of all I just want to become the best racer I can be and see improvement when I look back over my previous seasons.
What is your favorite race car, and why?
This is a really hard question. The dragster is great because it’s a nice, new, comfortable bracket machine and I can count on it to repeat relatively well. The Camaro is totally different. It tends to have a mind of its own trying to dial it in and it has its little quirks, but I love racing Super Street and being a slower door car definitely has its advantages when bracket racing. And besides that, there’s so much family history wrapped up in that car, I just love getting to be behind the wheel of it. Plus, burnouts are way more fun in a door car.
Who has made the biggest impact on your racing success?
Definitely my parents. Without them I wouldn’t even have a race car in the first place, let alone the funds to race. But aside from that, they’re my biggest encouragers. No one wants to see me succeed more than them, and no one is there for me more when I lose. My dad has done a lot of the maintenance on my cars while I’ve been out of town at college the last few years, and my mom always has everything ready to go every single weekend. I couldn’t have better supporters.
How do you balance between SC and SST?
In a lot of ways, it’s pretty simple. It’s the same concept moving between index classes, just a little different speed. The biggest thing is having to forget about what happened in one class and focus on the next. If I do bad in super street, I have to forget about it and focus on what’s next in super comp, and vice versa. Having four cars on the team also means that we’re usually hotlapping so I have to manage my time so that everything gets done between each round.
What class do you like the most?
This is also a hard question. Super Comp is great because its super competitive and the races are so tight. But I think I’d have to say Super Street is my favorite. It’s nice having an extra two seconds in the race and getting to judge the stripe at 140 mph instead of 180. Most of the class is really heavy, full bodied old cars with a lot more variation than a Super Comp dragster has. There’s a lot more room for error on the starting line and down track, so you never really know what’s going to happen in the other lane.
Who do you look up to in the sport?
If I named everyone I looked up to, it would be too many to list. I have respect for great racers, but I have the most respect for great racers who are great people on and off of the track and treat everyone right, win or lose. Just to name a few who inspire me every weekend are my dad (Bob Prose), Steve Hoyt, Rock Haas, Dean McIlvain, Jared Dreher, Don O’Neal and Denny Napier.
Tell us what you do for a living?
I’m a full-time accounting and finance student at IUPUI until I graduate in May. Then I’ll be working full-time at the family business, Honey Creek Collision.
How do you support your racing operation?
Everything I do, it’s thanks to my parents, Honey Creek Collision, G&B Machine Shop and VP Racing Fuels.
Who do you hate to see in the other lane, and why?
There’re not many people I hate to see in the other lane. I like a challenge, so I’ll take whoever I get.
What’s the hardest part of drag racing?
The mental game. My biggest stumbling block is myself. Getting out of my own way and keeping up my confidence is the most difficult thing.
What’s your most embarrassing moment in a race car?
Honestly there are many embarrassing moments I wish I could forget, thanks to a little too much stripe or a little too late of a light.
Are you superstitious?
Not at all
Do you love to win or hate to lose?
I think everyone loves to win, but I really hate to lose. I’m my own worst critic and a big-time perfectionist, so losing isn’t my favorite thing to do.
Which are you better at the starting line or the finish line?
What motivates you to continue racing?
The rush of racing, the memories I make every weekend and most of all, the amazing racing family I’ve gained over the years.
What do you enjoy most about racing as a family?
Racing with my family means we spend just about every weekend together, sometimes the whole week, most of the year. Whether we always like it or not, were stuck in a small space getting a whole lot of bonding time. Without racing, I don’t think I would be as close with my family as I am today. Not only do we spend so much time together on the weekends, but we have something huge in common to share with each other every day of the year.
What’s it like being a female in a male-dominated sport?
Most of the time it’s great. Because everyone we race with comes from so many different walks of life, almost everyone treats me the same as any guy at the track. I’m not going to say I haven’t had my fair share of issues because I’m a woman among so many men, because I have. Not everyone is so kind. But the vast majority realize that my gender has no bearing on my ability as a racer. I do sometimes wonder what people think of me though, that maybe they underestimate me or think I’m good “for a girl”. I don’t want to be a great female racer. I just want to be a great racer.
Name one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m really into art and music. When I’m not racing, doing schoolwork or working at the shop, I’m either drawing, painting or playing piano or some other instrument.
What’s your favorite track on the NHRA tour?
As far as nostalgia and where I’m most comfortable, definitely Indy because I’ve grown up racing there. But my favorite track that I’ve been to would probably be either Norwalk or Joliet. Both are amazing facilities.
Who would you like to thank, who helps you the most?
I would of course like to thank my parents for being my absolute biggest supporters, along with my brother. I also have to thank my boyfriend Brandon Kleewein for being there for me no matter what, even one thousand miles away, along with the rest of the Kleewein family. Finally, I want to thank the Dreher family. They truly are an extension of our family and I’m grateful to have them in my life.
About the author: Megan Strassweg is a 22 year old Super Comp racer from Louisville, Kentucky. She races a 2015 American Dragster sponsored by Coolshirt Systems. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May of 2020 with a degree in Photojournalism and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Megan works at Jim Butner Auto in the Finance Department. Growing up at the racetrack, drag racing is all she has known and never plans to give up on it.