LUCASVILLE - Across the nation there aren't many people outside Ohio who have heard of Lucasville. But if they check the record books for the fastest pro stock driver in the International Hot Rod Association, they'll see someone is putting the town on the map.
Brian Gahm of Lucasville became the first pro stock driver to make his way down the track in less than 6.30 seconds, setting a world record in the process.
Gahm ran a 6.299 on July 20 at Grand Bend Motorplex during the Mopar Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol.
But setting world records is nothing new to the 47-year-old driver. Gahm became the first racer to run in under 6.50 to join the 6.40 club and later became the first to run in the 6.30s.
The most recent run though came as a surprise.
“It was just really good run up there on that Friday night,” said Gahm. “It was our first qualifying run. We figured we could run a 6.31 or 6.32 maybe, but it ran a lot quicker than we anticipated. I never dreamed we'd run a 29.”
With three world records under his belt, Gahm is no three-hit wonder. Gahm also won the IHRA Pro Stock World Championship twice in his career, first in 2002 and then in 2004.
Gahm works for Gahm's Car and Truck Service in Lucasville but said much of his competition includes full time racers that spend more time testing their cars than he will spend actually racing all year.
“We compete against guys that race all the time,” said Gahm. “We've had good success but we have good equipment and I got good people behind me. That makes a big difference.”
Some of Gahm's competition also may have earned a head start. Gahm didn't start racing until he was 30. Another obstacle Gahm has to overcome is distance. The nearest IHRA track to Lucasville is in Michigan.
“My dad (raced) when he was younger and I just always had the itch,” said Gahm. “Finally, I just decided to do it.
“We race all over the country and we travel all over,” Gahm added. “I got some good people behind me. It's a good hot rod and it has really come together.”
Things didn't start out well this season for Gahm though. Through the first five races Gahm blew two motors.
“We had a rough start at the beginning,” said Gahm. We lost two motors. Since we got that fixed, we've been rolling. We're in the top five now and headed in the right direction.”
Being in the top five just past the halfway mark in the season is not a bad place to be and getting a world record in the process could be all that Gahm and his crew need to sustain the momentum in the second half.
“It's a big boost,” said Gahm. “It's a good shot in the arm to get going for the second half. The team needs it. We didn't have a real good year last year but we got a new car and this car is awesome. We have a chance (to win a championship) but we have to keep the ball rolling and see what happens. The first two races hurt us really bad. We're looking forward to it anyway.”
As for his record setting achievement, Gahm isn't cocky and acknowledges that other racers will likely catch up to him.
“Everybody else will run (in the 6.20s) too it's just a matter of time,” Gahm said. “There are other guys that can run that fast too. They just haven't hit it yet.”
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org