by Roger Larson
The DeForrest family of Coon Rapids raced at Brainerd International Raceway’s (BIR) Lucas Oil Nationals last weekend.
Larry DeForrest has come a long way from his early days of racing his 250-horsepower 1965 Chevrolet Nova at Minnesota Dragways in the 1970s as a member of the Midwest Modified and Super Stock Association. He and his wife, Karlyn, have three sons, Jason, Justen and Jonas, who grew up with racing in the family.
Larry and Karlyn purchased their Super Stock Chevelle in 1973 the same day that Jason was born. Therefore, for his entire life, Jason was helping dad with the car and attending races.
When Jason’s elementary school teachers would ask him what he wanted to be when grew up, Jason would reply, “I want to drag race like my dad.”
In 1994, Larry started his company, Arrow Components, with his sons Jason and Jonas. His company manufactures awnings, cabinets for race car haulers and pit carts.
When his dad and brother are traveling to race tracks, Jonas keeps things running smoothly back at the shop.
Larry now races a Super Stock 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier and his son, Jason, campaigns a 1987 Camaro, another Super Stock race car. Larry’s current hot rod develops 650 horsepower from a 400-cubic inch Chevrolet mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission with a 4.86:1 differential burning 108-octane racing gasoline.
He qualified the car in seventh place in the 36-car Super Stock field. Larry won the first round with an elapsed time of 9.345 seconds at a speed of 141.16 miles per hour. He won the second round before losing in round three and thus being eliminated from competition shortly before noon on Saturday.
Earlier that morning Larry suffered from a severe stomach ache and was hospitalized later that afternoon when it was determined that multiple gall stones were the source of his discomfort. Larry’s gall bladder was removed on Sunday morning and he was released from the hospital on Monday.
“He is doing well in recovery and will be back racing soon,” Jason said.
Jason was also racing in the Lucas Oil Nationals at BIR and trying to stay focused while being very concerned about how his dad was doing. Jason’s race car is a 346-cubic inch 1987 Camaro which develops 600 horsepower on 108-octane racing gasoline while using a 3-speed automatic and 5.57:1 differential gearing.
He qualified eighth and won his first round with an elapsed time of 9.705 seconds and a speed of 135.86 miles per hour.
In the second round, he broke a rocker arm in the engine and was unable to continue.
To compete in Topeka, Kan., next weekend, Jason has a lot of engine work to do this week involving pulling the pan and a cylinder head to check for damage and debris that may have been ingested into the engine. After winning his last event in Cordova, Ill., he is currently second in the standings with two meets remaining: Topeka, Kan., and Earlville, Iowa.
When asked about the most difficult aspects of drag racing, Jason said, “Getting time off to work on the car, the travel time and the money needed to compete at a winning level.”
He enjoys and respects the people he races against as he has an admiration for their racing skills, according to Jason.
During a race, however, Jason said, “I need to concentrate on the starting lights, know what unusual events may happen at the starting line, adjust for the weather conditions and of course, know my car well.”
Next weekend Larry (yes, he expects to race, too) and Jason hope to perform well in Topeka and move up the standings in Super Stock drag racing.