Sam Blue has always liked drag racing.
The Red Wing resident felt the need for speed early in life. To avoid any run-ins with the local police, Blue took his 1972 Chevy to Rock Falls Raceway in Eau Claire, Wis., to bracket race when he was in high school.
Before long, Blue and his father made the trip to Frank Holley's drag racing school in Florida where he earned a license in Super Comp and then one in Federal-Mogul Dragster.
"I was always a hot-rodder," said Blue. "I would hot rod everything from the lawn mower to my car. So to curb that energy, I got into organized drag racing."
From the moment the 25-year-old Blue sat behind the wheel of a Federal-Mogul Dragster he was hooked. His first complete pass was 6.20 seconds at 198 mph, but that was enough. He knew what he wanted to do. Although he was given the opportunity to drive the Federal-Mogul Funny Car he declined.
"I would have chosen to drive the funny car if I'd had guts to climb up under the body, but I couldn't do it," said Blue.
All that changed when veteran Federal-Mogul Funny Car pilot Pat Austin was displaying his Red Wing Shoes-backed funny car at the shoe store in Red Wing. Blue struck up a conversation with the Austin team and attended a couple of races with them. After that, he was itching for funny car action.
"Pat taught me everything about racing a funny car," said Blue. "I don't think I'll ever be as good as he is, but I've got to try."
In 1996, Blue made his Federal-Mogul Funny Car debut at the NHRA national event in Brainerd. He had just purchased a car from the Austin team and had never made a pass during competition. In his first race he beat his mentor, Austin, in the semifinals.
Last season Blue drove his Sturdiwheat Pancakes-backed Federal-Mogul Funny Car to a third-place finish in the West Central Division point standings and ninth in the national point standings. Now in his fifth full year of competition, Blue is aiming to win the division crown.
He will get a chance to continue his quest at the NHRA Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series event at The Colonel's Brainerd International Raceway June 9-11. He was runner-up at the event last year. The race is the second of six events in the NHRA's West Central division.
Blue has always liked to race in Brainerd because he has always done well at the track in both divisional and national event competition. This year he is excited about racing at CBIR because he has added Red Wing Shoes as an associate sponsor and is looking forward to showing it in front of the hometown crowd.
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