A trip into Top Fuel is one of the most inspiring stories from within Canadian drag racing this season….

Brantford Ontario’s Jeff Chatterson recently ticked off another box for his “to do” list when he raced in competition for the first time – in a Top Fuel dragster.

Chatterson, who’s career drag racing experience driving various configuration dragsters dates back many years and included his late father Rick, successfully upgraded his licence for Top Fuel this summer.  Shortly thereafter he then raced in match race competition during Grand Bend Motorplex’s recent Mopar Canadian Nationals.   

Jeff was behind the wheel of the Paton Racing’s “PR2” dragster, and he is hopeful that experience and personal accomplishment could open the doors even further for him within drag racing’s ultimate category — at some point in the future.

Jeff Chatterson

For Jeff, who has over the past couple of seasons been running his own injected nitro car within NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing division — the opportunity to actually race a Top Fuel car was eyeopening — to say the least.

“I cannot thank Barry and Todd and the entire Paton Racing group for the opportunity they provided me,” he stated.  “Getting behind the wheel of a Top Fuel car is really an amazing experience and rather hard to explain.”

“I had made some 30-40 runs in my A/Fuel car prior to this.  While it’s a very fast car — it’s also pretty comfortable to drive — in it you can learn to process what is going on as a driver fairly quickly.”

“But in Top Fuel — when that clutch fully locks up — it’s really nothing like anything I’ve experienced before.  It’s a monster — a Top Fuel car keeps pulling you much further down track — and as a driver you kind of wonder what’s going on!”

Now that the door into Top Fuel has been cracked open — Jeff and his team are pondering what the future may bring.   Due to the enormous cost for racing in that class their strategy will out of necessity be a tempered one — at least initially.

Jeff Chatterson (far lane) lines up versus Todd Paton during the 2019 edition Mopar Canadian Nationals at Grand Bend.

“Step one (upgrading my licence) is now complete,” Jeff added.  “Now it’s a bit of wait and see what happens for us.  We do plan to continue to develop our A/Fuel program — but I would also like to dip my toes into the water for one or two NHRA national races in Top Fuel.  We are going to try to market some support for that.  I think for any dragster driver out there this is ultimately what you shoot for.  I’d like to have an opportunity to run against the best of the best at great facilities — that would be an accomplishment in itself.”

Jeff was also proud that reaching these goals this summer was for sure a tribute to the memory of his father Rick — who passed away early in 2012.

“Drag racing was my Dad’s passion and he passed all that on to me,” he emphasized.  “I (and my family) are now carrying that torch forward.  I know for sure that he would be proud with that fact that I licensed at the highest level.  He would have thought that to have been the best thing in the world.”

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler 

For more information on Chatterson Racing – link to their FB page:  HERE