New car, new parts, new hope: Foley & Lewis team go all-in for 2022 season. – NHRA.com
Doug Foley doesn’t like to think about it now, but last summer he and partner Tim Lewis were thinking that maybe it was time to hang up their Top Fuel aspirations and sell the entire operation.
“Tim and I had a conversation and discussed the possibility of admitting that it’s just too intense to try and hang with these full-time guys and girls,” he said. “They’re just so good.”
Instead, quite the opposite has happened as the Foley & Lewis team will enter the 2021 season at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com with the newest and freshest parts they’ve had since Foley’s return to the class three years ago for a “make it or break it” season.
“Everything we have is brand new,” he said. “We bought a brand-new Lucas car, which I’m guessing will be 35-40 pounds lighter, and the new pipe should definitely help because my stuff was really, really old and it just didn’t work well for our combination. We just got a new blower, and our combination is going to change a little bit, too. We changed all of our valves, all of our connecting rods, all of our pistons, so most of the rotating assembly is from different manufacturers. We literally got rid of everything we owned and just started fresh with everything on the rotating assembly. We’re still running an AJ 7 heads, but all the internals on the heads are all different: complete new rocker assemblies and geometry and all that. We’re just trying to have a better product as far as the combination goes. There’s not an inch of the car that hasn’t been looked at and gone through.”
Foley so strongly believes in his new setup that he’s making his first trip to Pomona since the 2007 season, believing that a strong start to the season might entice the sponsorship he needs to run the full season.
“Normally, we would start [at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals], which is the third race of the season, and even if you won it, you would be 11th in the points; that doesn’t have the same oomph. Look at Josh Hart last year when he won Gainesville when it was the first race of the season. I’m not downplaying what the excitement would have been of him winning his first race, but him winning his first race and not being the points leader would have been different.
“I feel like even if we were competitive within the last couple of years — and we weren’t, so it wouldn’t have mattered — but if you had a really good quality car but you started at the third or fourth race of the year, I don’t know that you’re ever going to be taken seriously for the championship.”
Foley and Lewis will run the season’s first two events — the Winternationals and the NHRA Arizona Nationals — and then head to Gainesville.
“If we’re not in the Top 10 pulling into Gainesville, I’m going to be pissed off,” he said. “I know that’s a bold statement considering there are more than 10 full-time cars, but I feel like we’ve made all the right moves. We’ve done all the right things.”
Those things not only include a massive investment in parts, but also the move of team operations from Moorseville, N.C., to Nitro Alley in Brownsburg, Ind., and the hiring of highly respected crew …….