Noakes Gets the Call!

Paul Noakes might feel much like a minor league baseball player who finally receives the telephone call he has been waiting for…. 

The long time London, Ontario-based TAFC racer was at Cayuga Dragway last weekend where he made his first laps ever in a Top Fuel dragster.   Noakes was behind the wheel of Barry Paton’s Tim Horton’s dragster during a test session which happened in conjunction with the Canadian Street Car Nationals event. 

While it is still far too early to confirm any permanent move to the “Big Leagues” for Paul, this development and opportunity are significant for the skilled racer who is highly regarded within drag racing circles. 

“This all happened pretty quickly.” Paul revealed.  “Barry called me the week before and explained there were a few changes happening to his team and that he was looking for someone to drive his car in testing.  I’ve thought a long time about trying to get my Top Fuel license so this was pretty much a perfect opportunity – it’s the call I’ve been waiting for about 25 years.”

Paul looked very steady in the car with perfect burnouts and staging during his first three required runs to (150, 330 and 660 feet respectively).   The car did run well to half track on its first scheduled full pull to 1000’ before it drifted from the groove forcing Paul to abort.  Thus Noakes was unable to fully complete the NHRA license requirement procedure at this time. 

“I was very pleased and impressed with the way Paul drove the car,” said Barry Paton.  “As a result we made good progress with both the car’s tune-up and the licensing upgrade.” 

Paul was very thankful for the initial opportunity citing the fantastic support that Barry and his entire crew afforded him. 

“These people are the hard working crew that actually had the weekend off of racing but decided to come and help this special day happen,” he added.  “I’m very grateful for Barry and Joni Paton as well as Mark Morris, Aaron Grant, Darryl Chatterson, Dave Ross, Jason Hardie, Yvonne Potter and Chuck Coles. Without those people none of this would have been possible.  I would also like to thank team sponsor Tim Horton’s as well as my long time sponsor Harman HVS for helping back the weekend.” 

Right now there are not any specific dates for Noakes to complete the licensing procedure however expectations are that will probably happen before the end of the season.

Paul will close out the 2012 season racing his very potent Meritor-sponsored TAFC including a start this weekend during the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indy. 

Come season’s end there will certainly then be some additional speculation and decisions to be made.  After all — it’s been said and proven time and time again in drag racing – “once you go Nitro; you don’t go back.”

Posting and Photos by:  Bruce Biegler