I just went thought the pearly gates
This photo was taken at the U.S. Nationals in Indy, as John McLeod made a run during his first national event. "For me, it was like going to the Super Bowl or getting asked by the prom queen to the dance. I had made it in my own world," he says.
John McLeod is the owner Classic Instruments, a company he's owned for 10 years. It was started by the Hetticks in 1977 on the West Coast. McLeod worked his way up in the hot-rod industry while concurrently serving as a police officer in Boyne City, Michigan. Eventually, he was able to buy Classics Instruments outright.
The car is a 2009 Dodge Drag Pak Challenger with a 6.1L Hemi running in A/SA, and in this photo is running 10.01 at 133 mph in a class race. The quest to get to this point started when McLeod was racing a 540 alcohol-injected Fiat Topolino altered. "[I was] watching the Stock Eliminators for years and seeing guys like Jason Line step up to the pros, for me the height of drag racing," McLeod says. "I have gotten to know everyone in the drag-racing industry this way, and Line is willing to help me to race. All the days of looking at these cars, it seemed impossible. You need to get accepted, then you need to pay $45,000 for a shell. Buying the car was the cheapest thing. I wanted a show-level car, and a race car. This pass was a culmination of years of work and experience.
"I can't tell you what I ran that day, when I turned the corner and saw Stuart with his big hat standing there, I was in awe. Watching it on TV and driving is all the difference in the world. It's a life altering deal for car guys to drive in the Nationals."