Black Creek drag racer Otto Schulte won the 2013 Canada West Doorslammers Association (CWDA) Championship – his 10th career championship.
The big difference this year was that Schulte was racing someone else’s car. For the prior nine titles, Schulte and his wife Leslie ran their own cars under the Schulte Racing Team. This year he ran Brad Lance’s ’55 Belair, one of two cars campaigned by Lance under the Vancouver Island-based Lance Racing Team.
Lance had asked Schulte to join the team to make a bid for the CWDA championship because of his strong track record. Schulte ran the car a few times in 2012 to get use to the faster class, which includes cars that must run at least 8.70 seconds in the quarter mile in order to qualify. Lance’s choice paid off.
Both team drivers were in contention for the championship right through the 2013 race season. However, following an engine failure setback in race three, Schulte went on to win in Ashcroft and moved up and held the points lead right through to the eighth and final race of the year. Seven of the eight points races were held in Mission.
Asked how it feels to step up to a faster class of cars, Schulte laughs and says, “Well, these rockets sure get your attention. I have watched these quick hot rods run for years, but there is no way to prepare or explain what it feels like to launch one of these off the starting line.
“Frankly it’s like getting rear-ended by a speeding and accelerating locomotive. It drives you back into the seat and never lets up. However, like anything else in life, once you do it a few dozen times you just get used to it.”
Schulte’s ride is a beautiful ’55 Belair, running eight-second passes at 160 mph (260 kph) in the quarter mile. The power plant is a 565 cubic inch Reher Morrison big block Chevy pushing out 1,020 horsepower. It is equipped with a parachute to handle stopping.
The team and support includes Kevin Lance, Cathy Ianson, Emile Hickford, Leslie Schulte, LouAnne and crew chief Mark Simpson.
The Lance Racing Team thanks its many sponsors, and Schulte especially thanks his wife Leslie. “She and I have been drag racing together since the ’80s. She handles the data collection during and between runs, which is critical for predicting times for the next pass. Without her I wouldn’t have won a single championship, including this one.”
Asked about 2014, Schulte remarks, “Defending a championship is as big as winning one, but I’ve been in this game long enough to know you start off a new season from square one. Actually, you have to try even harder having a target on your back! Hopefully I’ll get the chance to double up.”
– Otto Schulte