DECATUR, Mich. –-
Knoll had planned to make a few more appearances on the 2004 tour, but an untimely motocross accident left him with a severely dislocated shoulder. His personal physicians and crew declined to give their support for an early return from the injury.
“Just my luck, I guess,” Knoll said. “I had to live up to my reputation of living life on the edge. Running a Top Fuel driver is as close as one can come to pushing the edge of the envelope.”
Knoll is credited with being one of the quicker NHRA Division 3 Top Alcohol Dragster drivers with his 5.3-second performances. With the assistance of his longtime crew chief Brian Pfeifer and additional direction from Jimmy Walsh and Bruce Litton, Knoll made a 1,000-foot pass look like just another day in the office.
Knoll stopped the clocks with a 5.11, 271 on his required 1,000-foot journey. Showing a true presence of mind, the dragster’s computer showed that Knoll actually clicked the car at 999-feet.
For Knoll, the learning experience was indescribable.
“There may be only six-tenths of a second difference in these cars, but it’s a whole new world running nitro,” Knoll said. “The most noticeable difference is the cockpit. You have to reacquaint yourself all over again. Then there are the g-forces this thing pulls and it gets very intense.”
Knoll’s efforts will benefit from guidance from noted nitro tuner Larry Meyer. Meyer will split time between the IHRA Hooters and NHRA POWERade tours.
“Larry is a very talented individual,” Knoll pointed out. “He’s worked with some high-profile teams and delivered some impressive results. In just the little bit of time we’ve worked together, I’m very impressed. Larry is certainly serious about the job he performs.” Knoll plans to bring a serious arsenal of both equipment and manpower when the tour kicks off next March in San Antonio, Texas. He will bring a ten-man crew consisting of members largely associated with veteran Funny Car racer Dale Creasy, Jr. Knoll’s original three-man alcohol dragster crew will also be part of the crew.
“It’s not rocket science - you surround yourself with good talent and let them do their thing,” Knoll added. “Once you give them an opportunity to do what they do best, the results are very good. I can’t wait for the season to start. I’m itching to give it a whirl.”
Not only has Knoll put together a talented crew to work on his car, but he has also brokered agreements with three talented teams in the Top Fuel ranks to carry his company’s name before the drag racing community. Knoll has signed a major sponsorship deal with three-time winner in 2004 Doug Foley and major associate programs with Bruce Litton and T.J. Zizzo, who will split time between the NHRA POWERade tour and the IHRA Hooters Series. Foley will also field a second Top Fuel car which will be driven by Rick Cooper.
“It’s going to be a great year and I cannot wait to get started,” Knoll said.
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