Major Shift — Going Well

There is no question that one of the more interesting drag racing stories being followed this year is one of transition involving one of Canada’s all time best drag racers….

As reported earlier this season on DragRaceCanada, London’s Robbie Atchison, who gained notoriety and fame while racing to three different IHRA World Championships driving an Alcohol Funny Car, is in the midst of a significant career move — to Pro Modified class racing.

Rob Atchison's Corvette Pro Mod

Rob made the switch earlier this year and did that rather quietly.  Under the radar he acquiring a Pro Mod Corvette formally driven by Ontario’s Rick Lojko during the off-season – and then went to work on it.  He took one of his proven and powerful Atchison Machine motors (which he raced in the Funny Car) and installed that within the frame rails of the Tim McAmis-built Corvette.

Rob is however the first to admit, that the pace of his new racing venture in 2011 will be a slower and possibly more calculated one compared to the former great demands of full time circuit racing in his Funny Car. 

“After IHRA dropped the Alcohol Funny Car class it all seemed to be fading away – unfortunately,” Atchison reflected.  “We tried to put together some match race programs with the Funny Car but that just didn’t seem to generate much (local) interest.  I also wanted to stay closer to home because I now have two little kids – so I was looking for something different.”

Rob Atchison's racing approach in 2011 is more casual

To date Rob has made only exclusive appearances on the popular Eastern Canadian PMRA circuit.  There he is learning to drive a fast door car – which is in fact something very foreign to him.

“I’ve raced nothing but Funny Cars my whole career – 13 years,” he continued.  “Driving a Pro Mod is a 100% difference.  There are both subtle and major differences.  You have a pull brake instead of a push brake, an automatic transmission and a suspension, just to name a few.  But I can tell you for sure that all of the passes I have made in the Pro Mod – I’ve enjoyed more than any single run I made in a Funny Car.  I think it’s because now I can really see what’s going on – you actually feel like you are driving a really fast street car.  It’s more of an enjoyable experience.”

Robbie is very quick to heap a lot of praise on the PMRA racing circuit that have been more then cordial and accommodating during his transition.

“Pro Mod cars are very strong here in Canada,” he affirmed.  The PMRA is a substantial series with a great future.  They are a very good fit and I’m glad to be part of it.”

Atchison reiterated that the 2011 racing season will be somewhat conservative for him and his team.

“2011 will be a learning curve year – I will not be out there trying to be a hero,” he added.  “We are taking a more casual attitude while getting used to all of it.  The PMRA competition and having some fun out there doing it is exactly what I am looking for.”

The reputation of Atchison Racing however will more then likely shift that current casual focus going forward.   Expectations are that Rob Atchison and his team will be both a serious challenger and top PMRA circuit attraction – probably sooner then later.

Racing fans can catch Robbie in action next this coming weekend when he will make his first Pro Mod class start at his home race track – Grand Bend Motorplex – during the PMRA racing portion of the Stratford Spectacular Hot August Nationals.

Posted by:  Bruce Biegler

(Bruce Biegler Photos)