Myron Piatek is a 14-year veteran of IHRA drag racing. Though his 2013 season didn’t go as well as planned due to an unusual rash of mechanical problems, as well as some personal distractions, he finished fifth in the stock division. In previous years, he consistently finished in the top 10 and typically finished races as the winner or runner-up. In 2006, Piatek won his first IHRA World Championship in the stock class. Now that the 2013 IHRA season has concluded, AMSOIL Racing had a chance to ask Piatek a few questions. AMSOIL Racing: What was your biggest goal for 2013? Piatek: Since 2006, my main goal has been to win a second IHRA World Championship in the stock class. The highlights of 2013 included a win and runner-up at the local SSSSA (Southern Stock/Super Stock Association), which led to my repeat championship in that series. AMSOIL Racing: You started racing in IRHA events back in 1999. What has kept you in the racing circuit for so long? What do you love about drag racing?
Piatek: I've been fortunate to have remained competitive over the years, so my success has helped finance my activities. The product and service support I get from a variety of sponsors, including AMSOIL, also eases the financial burden. I love the sport, the people, competition and the constant challenge to keep the car in top mechanical shape and myself in top physical and mental condition so I can remain competitive in a sport where races are often decided by hundredths – or even thousandths – of a second! I love to tinker and experiment, trying to make the car faster, more consistent and predictable within the strict rules. AMSOIL Racing: You’ve consistently finished in the top 10 in IHRA events, and frequently come away with wins and second-place finishes. How does it feel to be such a successful drag racer? Piatek: I guess I have to say that I've been blessed with talents and capabilities that lend themselves to helping me be competitive in the sport of drag racing. But it's a team effort. I'm fortunate to be associated with sponsors whose products I can rely on to enhance my competitiveness and the reliability of my race car. I'm thrilled that I can race with and against people that I had only read about or watched before switching from local bracket racing to the Stock class in the IHRA. It's also just plain fun, even with the time and work involved. But with the level of competition, nothing can be taken for granted. Anyone can be beaten by anyone, anytime and anywhere. AMSOIL Racing: When did you start using AMSOIL products in your 1975 Dodge Dart Sport? How did you learn about AMSOIL?
Piatek: I had heard about AMSOIL before I started using it in 1999, which is when I joined IHRA and began racing in the stock class. It was my engine builder who encouraged me to talk to his Dealer and to try AMSOIL products because of the wear and performance benefits he had seen when comparing engines used by AMSOIL users vs. others.
AMSOIL Racing: You had another impressive first-place finish and won the SSSSA championship in early November at the SSSSA Halloween Classic in Lakeland, Fla., even though your car gave you some problems. How does it feel to win the championship for the second year in a row? Piatek: Naturally, I was very happy to have done well enough earlier in the year to have a substantial points lead going into the last event. But I was a nervous wreck having to sit on the sidelines after a first-round loss. The #2 racer could have passed me in points and won the event. Fortunately, he lost in the third round out of the five it took to win. It was frustrating that the situation was out of my control that day, but I was relieved and very happy with the end result. AMSOIL Racing: What was it like to be named IHRA’s Sportsman of the Year in 2011? Piatek: That blew me away when it was announced. I was at the ceremonies held right after the final event wondering who they were talking about as they led up to the announcement. Some things said could have applied to me, but there were many other racers that they could have been talking about who were deserving of the award. I must have stammered, "What do I say?" a dozen times after I realized I was supposed to give a little speech. AMSOIL Racing: Can you talk about your status as a stock world-record holder? Piatek: It provides a great sense of accomplishment to attempt and set a record in elapsed time and miles per hour in eighth- or quarter-mile races. The requirement to submit to a post-race engine teardown proves that the achievement is accomplished within the rules. The engine is partially taken apart and various measurements are taken by IHRA inspectors to ensure it was built within the set specifications and rules. The rest of the car is also inspected. It's a tribute to the driver, engine builder and product manufacturers associated with the accomplishment.
Records can be broken by others or they expire after two years, as mine did. I did not set any new records in 2013. I will have to wait and see if the opportunity to attempt it is feasible in 2014.
Piatek plans to put together a combination for the stock class in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). The IHRA allows respective factory-spec crate engines to be used as a substitute for the original engine option; NHRA only allows engines that were originally available in a particular year and model. Though the project has been stalled, Piatek has been looking for an affordable NHRA-legal car to purchase. "This would not only give me more opportunities to race," Piatek said, "but it would provide additional exposure in more markets for my sponsors."
Look for Piatek in 2014 when he will continue to race for the top spots in the IHRA series and work to meet his long-sought goal to capture another IHRA World Championship. Behind the Wheel of Piatek's 1975 Dodge Dart Sport
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