“It’s the adrenaline. The thrill and the rush. The competition. I’m addicted to the speed!” lists 400 Thunder Champion Lee Bektash as we ask what keeps him engaged with Drag Racing, and Pro Stock. Rising up through the Sportsman ranks, Bektash has been racing Pro Stock for nine seasons now, though admits he and Drag Racing have had an affair stretching back some twenty five years.
“Coming out on top shows that we had the best car on the track,” begins Bektash confidently; “however we know we can improve on it. For starters, we were racing on our spare motor for the whole season which is around 70 horsepower down on our more developed drivetrain. We didn’t do everything perfectly, no one in the field did,” he admits, alluding to exciting racing ahead for fans tuning in to the 2016/2017 season.
“We made the finals basically every round,” explains Bektash of their season, which no one could fault for consistency. Probed about his fiercest rival in the category, Bektash quickly names Tyronne Tremayne as the most serious competitor in the hotly-contended Pro Stock field.
“Tyronne and I went back and forth with wins; I had some good clashes with him! He had a good year himself, he was just unlucky at the Winters,” laments Bektash. It was the Winternationals where Bektash’s fate in the 400 Thunder Championship was decided. The slightest of margins separated he and Tremayne ahead of the event, putting immense pressure on both teams to bring their A-game.
Bektash’s electrical dramas in the first round could very well have seen the team’s Championship hopes washed. “For the first time in nine seasons we had an electrical fault on the start line, we couldn’t start the car,” explains Bektash of the freak electrical gremlin that sidelined their Winternationals hopes. All he and the team could do was sit on the sidelines and watch as the Tremayne family fronted Tyronne’s car.
“We knew that we would have to have made the finals to really secure the Championship,” explains Bektash. “Tyronne is a really experience racer… he was unfortunate to have a mechanical failure which handed us the win,” recalls Bektash, though it wasn’t high-fives and hurrahs.
“It’s not the way we wanted to win. We would have loved to have faced Tyronne in the finals and yeah, I guess you could say as a result of us both missing that chance at the Winters there’s some unfinished business there,” Bektash says seriously.
With the 2016 season proudly summed up with a golden memento for the mantelpiece, Bektash admits that in the break between races he and the team will be working hard to make the car the most consistent in the field. “We’ve got great guys taking care of the motor and the setup of the rest of the car, and with the development we’ve done over the last three years I’m confident saying that my car is ahead of the pack… Next year I want to beat our own record of 6.87-seconds at 200mph, that’s what the crowd is looking for. I think you’ll see maybe 6.80-seconds at 201mph; I’m not sure at which meeting it’ll happen but that’s our goal.”
“I’m excited about winning the first ever 400 Thunder Championship, we’ll always be known as the first one,” beams Bektash. “We’ll definitely be fronting up for our tenth season with Chrysler next year, and it’ll be my 25th year in Drag Racing so we’ll be promoting that. I don’t know what the future holds for us after that – we’ll be playing to win and racing like it’s our last year out there, you’ll see us at every event,” adds Bektash in closing.