ALL THRILLS, NO FRILLS

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					(Above and right) Veteran Top Fuel driver Pat Dakin brought
back his independent, fun-loving mind-set and another
competitive, non-touring team when he returned to Top Fuel last
season. (Top right) Dakin is supported by a volunteer team of,
from left: Dan Minick, Scott Graham, Rick Shields, Scott Hall,
Mike Minick, Tom Kattelman, Tom Faust, Duane Purcell, Paul
Frost, and Paul Brewer (not pictured: Rusty Foley).




by Brad Littlefield

        at Dakin is a serious racer who is serious about having fun.

 P      The fun aspect is apparent when one walks up to his trailer,
        which is scaled down compared to the 18-wheelers on the
 same row, and hears rock music blaring from the front of the pit
 and sees crewmembers joking and laughing during downtime.
     The serious aspect is apparent upon closer inspection of the
 efficiently stocked 53-foot gooseneck trailer, which houses four
 engines, five sets of heads, four blowers, and plenty of tools for the
 diligent, volunteer crew to utilize in between-rounds service. The
 team has a mixture of younger guys and old-school racers who, as
 Dakin puts it, “are reliving their second childhood.”
     Dakin is a veteran who has drag raced in six decades, though
 he was forced to the sidelines for roughly 10 years on two
 occasions. He assembled his own team again and brought it out
 last year for the third act of his Top Fuel career, during which he
 aims to run hard and play hard, as he has throughout the past.
     “Once our car starts, we’re as serious as anybody out there,”
 said Dakin. “But we’re a bunch of old guys trying to have some
 fun. That’s about it.”

42 National DRAGSTER
                  Act I                                            Act II                                           Act III
    “I was probably 14 years old the first            Dakin turned his attention to the family        It had been a long time since Dakin had
time I saw a dragster run,” recalled Dakin.       business, Commercial Metal Fabricators,         ridden down the strip when he was on the
“I thought, ‘I’d really like to do that.’ As      which his father founded in 1941. Dakin         phone with Paul Smith in 2008. Business
time went on, I got the opportunity. Here I       took over the reins after his dad passed in     was strong again, and Dakin wanted to go
am.”                                              1983 and continued building it. Currently,      for a joy ride.
    Dakin got the bug early and began             CMF has a 53,000-square-foot facility that          “I really just wanted to go for a ride again,
competing with a Ford coupe that he and his       sits on a 9-acre lot in Dayton, Ohio. The       that was all,” said Dakin. “Paul said he’d put me
brother Mike ran in E/Gas and later CC/Gas        large fabrication and machining facility        in Mitch King’s car, and I said, ‘Hell, if you’re
when they added a blower. Dakin got a shot        churns out a wide variety of projects that      going to take me for a ride, you may as well get
at driving a few Top Gas entries, the first of    includes armor components for military          me licensed.’ We went to Gainesvill
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: The serious aspect is apparent upon closer inspection of the efficiently stocked 53-foot gooseneck trailer, which houses four engines, five sets of heads, four blowers, and plenty of tools for the diligent, volunteer crew to utilize in between-rounds service. Dakin finished in the top 10 in the first year of the points system in 1974 and posted his best finish in 1977, when he was runner-up to Shirley Muldowney for the season title on the strength of runner-ups in Gainesville and Montreal and a Division 3 win in Illinois. Aluminum components from the valve covers to the Strange rear end have spent time at a metal polisher's before hitting the racetrack.
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