(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