Behind The Scenes — Gary Fratus

October 12th, 2011

Text by Bill Holland

It takes concentrated effort to put on a successful drag racing series. Most of us are familiar with the roles of the drivers, crew chiefs, mechanics, race officials and publicists that comprise the NHRA Full Throttle Tour. But there’s one key component of the equation that labors in relative obscurity, but clearly helps keep the show on the road, the field reps of the various sponsoring manufacturers. Whether there is a need to get a new set of tires, weld a broken bracket, replace a valve train component or get a case of oil, it’s all there on the Manufacturer’s Midway, the world’s largest portable speed shop.

One of the more familiar faces on the Midway is Gary Fratus, who’s celebrating his 20th year on the circuit in 2011. For the past six seasons, Fratus has served as the go-to guy for noted driveline products manufacturer Mark Williams Enterprises, a long-time NHRA major sponsor who posts contingency awards for axles, driveshafts and disc brakes. Prior to signing on with M-W, Fratus worked 19 years for midway stalwart Jack McCormack, representing a variety of companies.

If there’s one trait that has placed Gary in high regard among competitors and others in drag racing’s tight-knit traveling community, it’s his willingness to provide assistance above and beyond the call of duty. His is certainly no 9-5 desk job. And working into the wee hours to help a racer get his car in shape for the next day goes with the territory.

It’s been said that Fratus has a heart of gold, which is entirely fitting for a guy born in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Fascinated by all things mechanical, Gary was attracted to auto shop in high school and followed that by attending the National Automotive/Diesel College in Nashville. After a stint working for a local steel mill, Fratus enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent eight years maintaining the engines and powertrains of various military vehicles. Sorry, no Tony Schumacher T/F car at the time, but Gary did manage to get some quarter-mile time in with a ’62 Chevy.

Gary’s introduction to drag racing came during his Owensboro, Kentucky, high school days at the hands of a neighbor, Cooper Hayden, who at the time had a ’57 Chevy Gasser. If the name sounds familiar to drag fans, it’s because Cooper went on to campaign a series of high roller Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the ’60s and ’70s, and also became a respected builder of fiberglass F/C bodies.

After mustering out of the army in 1974, Gary opened up his own automotive/diesel repair shop in Owensboro and spent the next decade or so toiling away on various highway-bound vehicles for a living and having fun with a couple Falcons that ran in the Modified Production category. But the lure of Big Show drag racing was always there, and he brought his talents to the Midway. In 1989 he cast his fate with a local competitor with high aspirations, Dester Cambron. The Kentucky body shop operator decided to go Pro Stock racing and Gary signed on as his crew chief. Although they didn’t have the resources of the big guns in the class, the Bluegrass State team was competitive and qualified at a number of important events. Cambron dropped off the circuit after several years, which saw Fratus again seeking employment on the manufacturer’s side. But the racing bug was still there.

When the Sport Compact craze exploded during the millennium, Gary was tabbed by the late Shawn Carlson to oversee the clutch and driveline on his NHRA Championship-winning Mopar entry. Alas, the Sport Compact Series was but a short chapter in NHRA drag racing history, and Fratus soon found himself back in familiar territory, the Manufacturer’s Midway.

Today, Gary gets to make good use of his many decades of mechanical and racing experience as a field representative for Mark Williams Enterprises. One of the more popular items on M-W’s menu is an exchange program for 9-inch Ford third members. Racers can simply swap out their carriers at the track for a fresh race-ready unit with a new set of ring and pinion gears. And if a particular unit is not on the shelf, chances are Fratus can put one together on the spot. Being able to provide a hands-on contribution to racers gives him great satisfaction.

His expertise is a benefit to racers, as well as to those performance enthusiasts who view NHRA national events as a great opportunity to seek technical assistance from factory personnel. And for those who know him on the circuit, as the Midway’s resident joke teller he’s always good for a laugh (or a groan). But above all he genuinely enjoys what he does going from race to race, living in the motor coach that tows M-W’s display rig, and working with racers. Gary Fratus is one happy camper–literally and figuratively.

Tags: , , ,

Advertisement

2,685 Responses to “Behind The Scenes — Gary Fratus”

  1. garcinia cambogia extract pure naturecove (http://garcinia NULL.cambogia NULL.extract NULL.pure NULL.naturecove NULL.garciniacambogiaoz NULL.com) says:

    garcinia cambogia extract pure naturecove…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  2. gcf garcinia cambogia formula australia (http://gcf NULL.garcinia NULL.cambogia NULL.formula NULL.australia NULL.garciniacambogiaoz NULL.com) says:

    gcf garcinia cambogia formula australia…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  3. funeral payment (http://www NULL.flashlawyer NULL.net/2014/08/22/car-funeral-insurance-insurance-jason/) says:

    funeral payment…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  4. garcinia cambogia pure extract 1600mg with 60 (http://garcinia NULL.cambogia NULL.pure NULL.extract NULL.1600mg NULL.with NULL.60 NULL.garciniacambogiaoz NULL.com) says:

    garcinia cambogia pure extract 1600mg with 60…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  5. product review (http://geographerblogs9 NULL.appspot NULL.com) says:

    product review…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  6. dock box Mounting brackets (http://murielangdon NULL.buzznet NULL.com/user/journal/18908572/nine-incredible-bait-freezer-12/) says:

    dock box Mounting brackets…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  7. losing weight on hcg maintenance (http://dorcaebsworth NULL.buzznet NULL.com/user/journal/) says:

    losing weight on hcg maintenance…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  8. Adoption Network Law Center contact (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/playlist?list=PLBACE37E885C23C9A) says:

    Adoption Network Law Center contact…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  9. http://teenyweenyurl.com/Iphone5Unlock704428 (http://teenyweenyurl NULL.com/Iphone5Unlock704428) says:

    http://teenyweenyurl.com/Iphone5Unlock704428… (http://teenyweenyurl NULL.com/Iphone5Unlock704428 NULL. NULL. NULL.)

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  10. garcinia cambogia extract pure walmart (http://garcinia NULL.cambogia NULL.extract NULL.pure NULL.walmart NULL.garciniacambogiaoz NULL.com) says:

    garcinia cambogia extract pure walmart…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  11. simply click the following post (http://comercioeletronico NULL.org NULL.br/wiki/index NULL.php?title=Quickly_Choosing_Pest_Control_In_North_London) says:

    simply click the following post…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  12. weight loss with hcg in charlotte nc (http://eulanlzujrts NULL.buzznet NULL.com/user/journal/18902885/make-product-ferrari-hcg-weight/) says:

    weight loss with hcg in charlotte nc…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  13. hcg homeopathic diet (http://hcg-drops-hcg-weight-loss NULL.blogspot NULL.com/) says:

    hcg homeopathic diet…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  14. hcg weight loss plateau (http://www NULL.kiwibox NULL.com/verlenedadswel/blog/entry/117007591/attention-hcg-weight-loss-evansville-in/?pPage=0) says:

    hcg weight loss plateau…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  15. Fiberglass marine coolers on sale (http://frigibar NULL.tumblr NULL.com/) says:

    Fiberglass marine coolers on sale…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  16. orton gillingham tutor wilmington nc (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=5GNi8CK-ow8) says:

    orton gillingham tutor wilmington nc…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  17. self-Storage Companies publicly traded (https://www NULL.rebelmouse NULL.com/krystynajmqc/things-to-appear-for-whilst-yo-549338098 NULL.html) says:

    self-Storage Companies publicly traded…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  18. Vemma (http://julieandrewsonline NULL.com/phpinfo NULL.php?a%5B%5D=%3Ca+href%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww NULL.youtube NULL.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D08_d_qR3mnk%3EVemma%3C%2Fa%3E) says:

    Vemma…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  19. hcg weight therapy (http://estel3820 NULL.buzznet NULL.com/user/journal/18902893/three-enticing-ways-improve-weight/) says:

    hcg weight therapy…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  20. Wedding Gift Ideas Etsy (http://onlog NULL.Com NULL.br/ajuda/index NULL.php?title=Bridal_Shower_suggestions:_Wine_Tasting_Bridal_Shower) says:

    Wedding Gift Ideas Etsy…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  21. http://yacon.syrup.weight.loss.reviews.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract.com (http://yacon NULL.syrup NULL.weight NULL.loss NULL.reviews NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    http://yacon.syrup.weight.loss.reviews.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract.com… (http://yacon NULL.syrup NULL.weight NULL.loss NULL.reviews NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com NULL. NULL. NULL.)

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  22. Pest control operator (http://gsdsn03 NULL.cafe24 NULL.com/xe/?document_srl=401790) says:

    Pest control operator…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  23. homeopathic diet (http://estel3820 NULL.buzznet NULL.com/user/journal/18902888/better-hcg-weight-loss-online/) says:

    homeopathic diet…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  24. Repair Faucet Pompano Beach Real Estate (https://www NULL.rebelmouse NULL.com/analisagutman/how-to-use-repair-faucet-butte-670929679 NULL.html) says:

    Repair Faucet Pompano Beach Real Estate…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  25. click here (http://svdhm NULL.info/kim-kardashian-sex-tape/) says:

    click here…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  26. http://yacon.syrup.nutrition.information.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract.com (http://yacon NULL.syrup NULL.nutrition NULL.information NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    http://yacon.syrup.nutrition.information.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract.com… (http://yacon NULL.syrup NULL.nutrition NULL.information NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com NULL. NULL. NULL.)

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  27. Above all pest control (http://Sito-web NULL.org/pluming-ideas-everyone-needs-know-about) says:

    Above all pest control…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  28. best yacon syrup on the market (http://best NULL.yacon NULL.syrup NULL.on NULL.the NULL.market NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    best yacon syrup on the market…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  29. authentic yacon syrup Benefits (http://authentic NULL.yacon NULL.syrup NULL.benefits NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    authentic yacon syrup Benefits…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  30. authentic yacon syrup sweetener (http://authentic NULL.yacon NULL.syrup NULL.sweetener NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    authentic yacon syrup sweetener…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  31. terramazon organic yacon syrup (http://terramazon NULL.organic NULL.yacon NULL.syrup NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    terramazon organic yacon syrup…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  32. amazon yacon syrup dr oz (http://amazon NULL.yacon NULL.syrup NULL.dr NULL.oz NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    amazon yacon syrup dr oz…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  33. how to become a secret shopper (https://medium NULL.com/ null@null SecretShopping/how-to-become-a-mystery-shopper-77e7752502e5) says:

    how to become a secret shopper…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  34. best yacon root max (http://best NULL.yacon NULL.root NULL.max NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    best yacon root max…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

  35. 100 yacon syrup dr oz (http://100 NULL.yacon NULL.syrup NULL.dr NULL.oz NULL.wheretobuypureyaconrootextract NULL.com) says:

    100 yacon syrup dr oz…

    Behind The Scenes – Gary Fratus « Drag Racer…

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.