Written by Devon Boen
Wolf Point has its very own daredevil. Jeff Nelson has been drag racing since he was 20 years old and hasn’t slowed down a bit since.
Nelson, who owns Pro- Tire in Wolf Point, has a love for all things car- and racing-related. When he isn’t spending long hours at work fixing other people’s car troubles, he is busy building his own dragsters and entering competitions all over Montana.
Nelson has also passed his love of racing onto his children, Ashlee, Layne and Tyson. Nelson said all three race and they try to go to at least 10 races per summer.
The process for building a dragster can take an entire year. This long and methodical process is in stark contrast to the lightning speed achieved in split-second races. Nelson said one race only lasts about six seconds.
Even more shocking than the short time-span of the race is the speed the dragsters reach. Nelson said it was typical to go about 200 miles per hour during any given race.
This high speed naturally raises questions about the racers’ safety, but Nelson did not show much concern. He said so many safety precautions are taken and drivers are strapped into their vehicle so well that it is a fairly safe sport. He has remained safe throughout his racing career but not everyone is so lucky.
“I’ve never got close to crashing, but it can happen. I’ve seen some rollovers,” Nelson said.
It was apparent Nelson has a passion for racing and all things related, and it’s undeniable he is a thrill-seeker.
“It’s the adrenaline rush, and I just love to work on them and keep them running as good as I can, and it’s just about the thrill of the competition,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he and his children have won about six races altogether and securing a win comes right down to the wire.
“With this stuff, you’re talking about thousandths and hundredths of a second,” Nelson said.
The impossibly close races keep Nelson on his toes and keep him busy. He and his children travel all over Montana to compete.
“When I started, I did it more or less as a family deal. I love it myself, but my kids have enjoyed it and had good times,” Nelson said. “The plan sooner or later is to hit the road and enter big divisional races.”