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This Guy's Garage - Roy Hill

October 2014

By Geoff Stunkard, Photography by Geoff Stunkard

At 68, Roy is still smiling and stays very busy with travel to various racing events and the school schedule. Sponsors of the school include Coca-Cola, Fireade, Goodyear, QFT, Alsco Linen, Hughes Oil Field Transportation, Ford, and a host of others. Roy and the team also race cars at select events with their help.

The name Roy Hill is noted in drag racing. From deep in the heart of NASCAR country, Roy started racing as a maintenance mechanic with the late Sam Kennedy in the '60s, toured with Sox & Martin, then took up driving. Noted for a string of Plymouth by Petty Dusters in the mid '70s, complete with Maurice Petty–built engines, Roy became a fixture in NHRA and IHRA Pro Stock competition with Fords starting in 1982. In 1989, he opened a drag-racing driving school, which continues to this day. It now hosts more than 1,000 students annually, both private and corporate clients, with Roy giving instruction on technique and critical thinking plus seat time. The school primarily uses new Ford products along with its own cars—including Cobra Jets, COPOs, and Drag Pak Super Stockers—plus the school's sportsman bracket cars and dragsters to train drivers. When we stopped by, Roy had a snake pit full of 'em and gave us his trademark "big grin" tour of the maintenance shop in Sophia, North Carolina, a few miles from the Petty complex. The school has other facilities, and the program—now based out of Z-Max Dragway in Charlotte—has no less than 34 cars at its disposal, with four others that are for active racing competition.


Craig Hankinson

Roy said Craig, a former IHRA Pro Stock driver, is very competitive and came to work full-time on chassis set up, fabrication, and student help at the school. Craig runs a second SS/BBA car the school owns in open competition. In the background with the black car is assistant John Hawks.

Silver '10 Mustang

This is the very first CJ package car built in 2010 as a test/development car from Ford. Today, the setup is NHRA-legal in SS/BBA (Super Stock/BB: B-class weight, double letter means forced induction, A is automatic trans) and is raced in NHRA competition from time to time by students. In fact, Roy helps potential new-car buyers get used to modern Super Stock in this vehicle. The factory setup is a 5.4L engine with a Whipple blower.

Black '13 Mustang

This is a Stock Eliminator entry, which runs in the 10-second range with a 5.0L engine and small blower; it's the intermediate door car for beginning students during the two-day class, as Roy starts them in a prepped six-cylinder for staging and car familiarity, and finishes with the silver car in the 9-second range. All are automatics.

White '13 Mustang

Just purchased by San Diego racer Lloyd Schwartz (who went through the school), this new CJ was shipped directly from Jackie Jones Ford to Roy's shop for chassis set up, fresh Goodyear tires, and baseline testing before going West. The crew also sets up fresh COPOs and Drag Paks as customers need.

Blown '05 Mustang

This bad boy is a full-tilt Jerry Haas build, complete with a Brad Anderson Hemi, Kobelco blower, and Lenco three-speed. Driver Mike Bell campaigned it in Pro Mod, but it is now for sale, and Roy has a big bunch of spare pieces to go with it. He'll even teach you how to drive it!

'10 SS/AAA Mustang

This car is NHRA-legal, but Roy calls it his "match racin' car" and uses it mainly for exhibition heads-up races on the Mustang circuit. It began as a body-in-white '10, and Petty's Garage built the car from scratch. "The Pettys built my Dusters, but they went over the top on this car for me," Roy said. It is one of the fastest automatics in the nation, with the 331-inch, 5.4, Whipple blower, Powerglide tranny, Aeromotive/FAST fuel system, and Racepak computers.

"Egg Drop car"

This is one of the 10 stock, six-cylinder Mustangs the school uses for basic training and corporate days. These cars are also used for "beginner eliminator" in heads-up racing on those days. Roy does a lot of fund-raisers, and the Easter Egg Drop by Community Church used a helicopter to drop 50,000 eggs on a high school football field, which about 40,000 kids came and collected.

Fireade

This is a company from the Atlanta area, and Roy helped them get involved in drag racing. "We keep them handy because this stuff works," he told us. "If you have a fire, this little 18-ounce canister hits it down with foam and kills it—but is not like the powder. With Fireade, what doesn't evaporate can be sprayed off with a garden hose." Buy some.

By Geoff Stunkard
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