Behind the scenes with FUNNY CAR driver...Mike Halstead
December 8, 2017
ATTENTION IN THE PITS! We are starting our Profiles of different individuals that are somehow involved in the world of Drag Racing. They can be drivers, crew, photographers, safety personal, track personal, fans, etc. Be sure and stay tuned and see who is being featured! We are super excited to launch our 1st Profile with the very talented NITRO pilot, Mike Halstead! We reached out to him and asked if he would write up some words on how he came to be involved with drag racing and his background. So without further ado...in his own words...DRAGSTRIP IRON PROUDLY PRESENTS...MIKE HALSTEAD!
My involvement in drag racing starts with my dad. He used to take me to OCIR when I was a kid. Always loved the funny cars from day one. Without knowing I sat in the Tryon and Ward car later in life to become good friends with Steve Tryon. He pointed this out a few years back in a picture I posted at OCIR. Fast forward to 1989 I was in big trouble for fighting in school and needed a way to get out of trouble. I went into Team C Speed Shop where Ronny Markum gave me an Injection Connection. I wrote Jim Maher of Good Vibrations that I needed to get out of trouble and that I loved funny cars. Jim took me on his team. Jim and the guys taught me all the stuff I needed to know to race. Soon I became the crew chief because of my dedication and after a few championship with the team I was offered a chance to get my license. After this is was all over. I was a back up driver for CIFCA and a few others. My first nitro ride was John Blanchards front engine fueler thanks to Adam Sorokin and Diego Zuniga. I did not race for him long because of his declining health. Next up was Ed Lenarths Holy Toledo Jeep NITRO funny car but I needed 1 full pass to complete my up grade on the license. Ed had other plans and I was out. Jeff G aynor seen this and asked me to drive for him but he said I have one pass to get my license and if I don't get it then I'm out. I made sure that pass counted. I will never forget it. 10 pm at Bakersfield I leave the line. Get it in high gear and immediately make a right hand turn all the way through the lights with the windshield fogged up. It ran a 6.99 at 220. I drove for Jeff for two years and won the 08 March Meet B field. Next up was the Bomb Squad that turned into Mike McCain's Nitro Angel. This was the most consistent car and the fastest I have driven to date. I stepped down from.the team to keep our friendship alive and moved on to Jim Broome's Candies and Hughes Team. I drove for them for 5 years until I had a job change and had to become a care giver to my mom. After moving from Broome's team Lee Jennings asked me to drive and that is what is current in funny car. Somewhere in there I left off driving James Hartley's transformer fuel altered / funny car. I drove for James until he sold the operation and this was before driving for Broome. In rear engine top fuel I currently drive for Mike and Christy Stewart and won this year's March Meet in the Mike's transmission RE/FD looking to defend my title next year. Soon I will be shaking down Troy Glenn's fuel altered and will take the controls for the March Meet as well or until Sparky is up and running. Sparky will be Troy's driver but it looks like I will have 3 fuel cars to drive at the 2018 March Meet. I can't think Tracy enough for supporting my racing habit through the years and look forward to getting her licensed up soon!