Drag Race Central - Drag Racing
Wed, 12 Jun 2013, 15:33 PM

Hawley's Drag Racing School Provides Good Medicine for those with "The Bug"
Courtesy of Lana Hawley

The most recent trip to Las Vegas for Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School found a class full of drivers looking to gain, and for some even renew and expand, their drag racing skills under the careful instruction of Frank Hawley.

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway played host to Billy Beebe and his son Logan, who made the drive over from California. Billy was a returning student who first participated in Hawley's Super Class course back in the 90's and earned his NHRA license while working with school instructor, Jack Beckman. For this trip to the school, Beebe also enrolled Logan, who just turned 16.

"Well, my son has shown quite an interest in drag racing and I wanted him to get some of the knowledge that Frank has and learn from him, instead of me telling him," Beebe said.

"I had still retained some of the stuff from went I went through the school with Jack and I've been around racing, so I kind of have an idea of how it works," he continued. "But learning from Frank, you get more knowledge on helping you be better at how to think and act and how to let things go. I really think this class and Frank's lecture helped my kid. Logan just seems to have a different outlook on life right now and it almost seems like he became more responsible after the class."

"He definitely has the bug now," he added about his son's take on drag racing.

After Billy renewed his NHRA license and Logan acquired his first during the Las Vegas class, they have plans to build a special dragster to compete in and start close to home. "We are going to put together a 200" front engine dragster for him to run at events like Bakersfield and stuff like that. As a matter of fact, the Saturday right after our class, I was qualifying a car for a friend of mine who didn't have his license yet."

Billy feels that anyone who is thinking about getting into the sport of drag racing should definitely considering getting their start by participating in one of Hawley's classes. "You get started off on the right foot," he pointed out. "This way you don't gain a bunch of bad habits and spend time trying to correct them later. It's such a positive way to do it. Frank's class really gets you in the correct mindset."

As soon as 16-year-old Logan Beebe received his temporary state learner's permit, he was ready to attend Hawley's class. Upon completion of the course, Logan obtained all his necessary NHRA licensing runs. As soon as he finishes his required state driver's license testing, he'll be able to quickly submit his paperwork to his NHRA Division office and get behind the wheel both on the street and the strip.

"The class was pretty much what I thought it was going to be like," said Logan. "The launch in the car was stronger than I imagined it would be like. I really learned a lot from Frank and the time in the car was just as fun, especially the full quarter-mile runs, as what Frank taught us was. I'm really looking forward to taking what I learned and move up in drag racing from class to class. I do have a lot of big long term goals."

Coming from a three decade background in drag racing, Gino Castagnetti also attended the latest Las Vegas Super Class, but for Castagnetti his travel time was a little longer than the Beebe's. Castagnetti is a resident of Hawaii.

"Early on, 1978 to 1990 I really tried to attend and win races here. But as the number and types of races dwindled, we began to focus on getting better ET's and MPH by attending test and tune sessions only," explained the self-employed real estate appraiser

Castagnetti notes that trying to race and build any type of racing vehicle in Hawaii really poses many additional challenges when it comes to part, tools and even finding folks who have a good grasp on high performance and motorsports.

"I have no formal automotive training and everything I know has been self-taught," he continued. "I have been blessed throughout the years to learn from many old timers. I had been helping a friend of a friend work on and service a dirt oval track car when I was in 8th grade. My buddy then decided to get an old 1966 VW bug and we fixed it up and raced it even before we had our driver's licenses."

Gino literally caught "The Bug" and it carried into the car he currently drag races. "It's a 1957 VW Bug that was originally set up as an NHRA L/Gas car, now Super Stock SS/CX. We run it at a weight to cubic inch ratio 12.5lbs and our engines are 110cubic inch to 122 cubic inch with a 4 speed manual. This car has been our family race car since 1982. It will run well into the 11's."

He explained that he hadn't been able to race the car on a regular basis as he is a proud single father and needed to wait until his children got older and that was when he made the decision to take Hawley's class.

"I really wanted to start to focus on getting back out to do some racing. I had heard good things about Frank's class and decided to attend as a booster."

"The first day of class was great," he reflected. "We all had some nerves, which is expected. Frank is such a good experienced teacher and driver that he made us all feel welcome and calmer. I had been physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually preparing for the class for some weeks, so the transition and learning curve was not too bad and was as I anticipated.

Coming from an 11 second VW Bug, he was quick to point out the big differences in the school's car. "I have been blessed to have helped with and worked on many different cars over the last 35 years so I feel that helped me to acclimate very well."

Gino first licensed in one of the school's Super Gas cars and following the main part of the class, made his crossgrade runs in the dragster to leave the 2-day course with both his NHRA 4A and 4B license. He is now able to compete in any size wheelbase 7.50 and up in a quarter-mile.

"Frank and all the staff were the best! Initially, I was all pumped up for driving and racing. The things we learned are all still being processed and replayed," he admitted. "But now that some time has passed, I am reflecting on how Frank really taught and spoke to us about life itself in terms of our goals, focus, and controlling our thoughts and reactions to things around us."

Now that Castagnetti has returned to Hawaii, he's quick to note his new drag racing goals. '"I want to set a NHRA class record, but the track on my island of Oahu has been closed for some years now, so I'm planning to relocate the car.

"I would highly recommend Frank's class to everyone from brand new drivers to very experienced drivers. You will learn what you need to know to be a safe winner on and off the track," he added.

To view our Super Class video or obtain more information on all available classes, dates and locations for Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, visit the school's website www.frankhawley.com or call 866-480-7223. The school's also on Facebook, Twitter @Frankhawleydrs and YouTube!

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