Two-time NHRA Stock Eliminator Champion, Lee Zane, talks about life behind the wheel, teaching, and earning an unusual award.
ELMER, NJ – Thirty years ago, Lee Zane began drag racing while competing on a Ninja 600 street bike. These days you can find him in staging lanes across the country while turning on win lights in a variety of race cars and classes. Off the track, Zane enjoys site seeing, social media, and a little “Netflix and chill” with his girlfriend, Marie.
An Assortment of Vehicles
Zane has owned the 1973 Buick Apollo since 2016, but their history together goes back further than that. It is the same car that he clinched his 2004 NHRA Stock Championship in as well as earning 6 out of 9 national event wins. The Buick 350 motor, turbo 350 transmission, and 12 bolt rear end combination can run over a second under it’s NHRA index.
In Comp Eliminator, Zane drives a F Dragster automatic that is owned by Al and Kathy Ackerman. The 199 cubic inch, Motec electronic fuel injected, four-cylinder Dart block is paired with a three-speed transmission to run as fast as 7.95 at 165 mph.
Zane’s bracket racing ride is courtesy of Jack and Crystal Fisk. He wheels their 1968 Camaro that is equipped with a 434 cubic inch small block motor and Powerglide transmission. It will run 5.90s in the eighth-mile and 9.40s in the quarter.
When asked about a favorite race car, he said, “I have driven so many…to pick a favorite would be very hard to do!”
Lee Zane’s Racing Accomplishments:
- 2002 JEGS Allstar Qualifier
- 2003 & 2004 NHRA Stock Eliminator US Nationals Champion
- defeated Dan Fletcher in the finals of both
- 2004 NHRA Division 1 Driver of the Year
- 2004 NHRA Stock Eliminator Championship
- 2007 & 2008 NHRA Division 1 Driver of the Year
- 2007 & 2008 NHRA Division 1 Stock Eliminator Champion
- 2008 NHRA Stock Eliminator Championship
- 2009 JEGS Allstar Qualifier
- 2015-2017 East Coast Stock/Super Stock Champion
- 2020 JEGS Allstar Qualifier
- 9x National event winner
- 24x Divisional event winner
- 250+ Bracket race career wins
Goals and Dreams
Given that many accomplishments already, it’s hard to imagine what Lee Zane could still be working towards. He tells us, “I would like to add another championship, claim that tenth National Event win, and cash in some of the big checks from any of the big dollar bracket races out there.”
If given an endless supply of money, Zane would go for the big rig and stacker trailer to enjoy full seasons of racing around the country. He’d bring his Buick but also purchase Top Sportsman and Top Dragster rides to add to the collection.
In the meantime, Lee mostly uses money from his own business, Lee Zane Automotive & Fabrication, to fund his racing habit. He says he also gets support from his girlfriend, Marie, and offsets expenses with the car owners that he drives for.
Most drag racers would agree that focus is a huge aspect to the sport. Unfortunately, Lee recallss a moment of distraction as his most embarrassing moment behind the wheel.
“While testing at Atco prior to a divisional, I was driving a front-wheel drive Stock Eliminator car and won the quarter-finals. I was coming up the return road watching the guy I was driving for, race my Camaro. He just won the quarter-finals and as his win light came on I hit the fence on the return road, which ripped the axle out of the left front and destroyed the fender. To this day, that fender is still on the wall at his shop! During the banquet at the end of the season, the Atco Raceway owner awarded me with a Just Didn’t Pay Attention Award.”
Class is in Session
Helping others is one of Lee’s strong suits which is why he created McNasby-Zane Drag Race Consulting/101 with Bud McNasby. Together they cover all aspects of racing from the starting line to finish line, weather prediction, run analysis and more. They utilize on track instruction and videos but have also developed virtual consultations for their students over the last year.
Although they are business partners, that doesn’t mean they go easy on each other while on the track. Lee says he hates to see McNasby in the other lane because “He is one of the toughest competitors I have ever ran up against.”
But just like every other pass, Zane tells himself, “Do your job” before staging the car and trying to turn on the win light.
Check out the following Q&A for a few more facts about Lee Zane.
Who do you look up to in the sport?
My uncle, Jim Zane, and brother, Isaac, for getting me started in racing and all of their support along the way!
Do you love to win or hate to lose?
I like to win, but I’m gracious in defeat.
What motivates you to continue racing?
The enjoyment of being at the track keeps me going and I still feel that I can compete with anyone out there!
How often do you use a practice tree?
What is your daily driver?
2003 Ford F-150 and a 2011 Honda Accord.
Lee would like to thank his girlfriend, Marie, for all of her love and support both at home and at the racetrack. He says, “She is an incredible help at the track with assisting me with anything I may need.” He also mentioned that her chicken parmesan is his favorite meal!
Additionally, Zane thanks Jack and Crystal Fisk for their trust and the relationship they have with the Camaro he bracket races. Likewise, he thanks Al and Kathy Ackerman who he has driven in Comp Eliminator for since 2005.
Haven’t gotten enough of Lee Zane yet? Click here to listen to his episode of the DragChamp Show podcast!
You can find more DragChamp Racer Spotlight articles here.
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.