Tim Tindle has run the gamut during his relatively short drag racing career, but the successful site contractor from Santa Rosa Beach, Florida has found a home in X-DRL Pro X-Treme, while his son, TJ, is turning heads as a rookie in X-Treme Pro Mod. We caught up with Tindle on his way to Maryland International Raceway for the inaugural X-DRL Mayhem at the Creek, where the veteran driver has a chance to take home two wins in one weekend.
X-DRL: How did you end up racing fast doorslammers?
Tindle: I've raced just about everything. I ran IHRA and NHRA in the late '90s, then ran some Top Dragster. We ran naturally-aspirated stuff, nitrous, blowers, a little bit of everything really. Then I started to get interested in the door car stuff. Back in the early 2000s I owned a 10.5 car that we ran mainly at ORSCA races and a few of the outlaw races around home. Joey Martin was the driver and I just owned the car. Again, we ran blowers, nitrous and turbos, just experimenting with the different combinations.
There's always the desire to go faster, and that's how we got to Pro Mod. I bought all of Mike Ashley's equipment and went NHRA Pro Mod racing in 2005. That's when I started driving fast door cars, and we've just been getting faster and faster.
X-DRL: That eventually led to Pro X-Treme.
Tindle: Yep. I actually got sort of burned out running NHRA Pro Mod. So when the eighth-mile Pro X-Treme stuff came along, it was a nice change for us. Plus the Pro X-Treme cars are just so quick; I love it.
X-DRL: Do you prefer Pro X-Treme over Pro Mod?
Tindle: Well, I really like them both. I love the excitement of Pro X-Treme. It's side-by-side, anything goes, with the fastest cars out there. If it's anything to do with a blown car, I think I like it. Quarter-mile, eighth-mile, whatever. It doesn't matter. I like to race blown hot rods.
X-DRL: You recently teamed up with Danny Rowe to run his second car in NHRA Pro Mod. How does driving that car one weekend transfer over to your Pro X-Treme car the next weekend? Do you think it helps you as a driver?
Tindle: It's totally different. But you know, I think that's why I like it. I got burned out before, just doing the same thing over and over. I think the excitement for me comes from running all these different classes and driving the different types of cars. I just left Norwalk, where I got to drive a clutch car, and now this weekend I'm driving an automatic. That keeps me on my game for sure, and I think it helps me be more aware of what's going on in the car.
X-DRL: You've worked with some great tuners over the years, from Chuck Ford to Mike Janis to Quain Stott. Now you have Frankie and Paul Taylor turning the wrenches on your new Pro X-Treme '67 Mustang. What has the experience been like working with the Taylors?
Tindle: Man, just awesome. Those two are probably the coolest guys I've ever been around. They're great people and they just happen to know how to make a whole lot of horsepower. I have a lot of fun racing with them. They haven't put me in a slow hot rod yet. I just get in that thing and drive, and I know it's gonna be fast.
X-DRL: Your 18-year-old son, TJ, has joined you on the X-DRL tour this year as a rookie in X-Treme Pro Mod. What are your impressions of his performance thus far behind the wheel of your former Pro Mod ride?
Tindle: Watching TJ this year has really been an awesome experience. I promise you, the happiest moment of my life was watching him win his first race in Belle Rose. Standing on the starting line and watching him run is better than being in there and letting go of the button myself. I'm sure other father and son teams know what I'm talking about. You just can't describe it.
X-DRL: Of course, TJ didn't just jump into a Pro Mod at age 18. When did he start racing and how has he progressed to Pro Mod?
Tindle: TJ was the youngest ever to win the championship in 330-ft. outlaw heads-up Jr. Dragster. He won that when he was 12. He ran that deal for several years, setting records, winning races and winning championships. He won the two biggest races of the year, at Indy and Bristol, on holeshots! He's a bigger kid though, so by the time he was 17 he had to get out of the Jr. Dragster because he had outgrown it.
He wanted to jump right into Pro Mod at 17 years old, but his mom put a halt to that real fast. So we got him into some high four-second bracket dragsters last year, and he did really well with that. Then over the winter we finally got my wife talked into letting him make some test hits in the Pro Mod. We did extensive testing, just getting him comfortable in the car. He's just a natural. The first lap he made in competition earlier this year was a 3.95. The sky's the limit for him.
X-DRL: How long do you plan to drive now that TJ is behind the wheel?
Tindle: I'm that guy that's gonna be driving these things until I'm 80 years old! I sure won't quit until TJ and I are in the winner's circle at the same race, and that's definitely gonna happen soon. I don't think I'd want to quit then, either.
X-DRL: You're on your way to Maryland International Raceway for the first time.
Tindle: We sure are, and I'm looking forward to it a lot. I've been hearing for a decade about how awesome Budds Creek is and I can't wait to get there and see it for myself. To be honest with you, it couldn't come quick enough. When we left St. Louis, I was ready for Budds Creek the next weekend.
X-DRL: Besides being your first time to MIR, you're also going to have the opportunity to win twice this weekend when you and Brandon Pesz run the postponed finals from St. Louis.
Tindle: That's right. We're definitely shooting to win both races. I don't go to a race with any other mindset. I don't go to a race to come in second. Brandon has had a fast hot rod all year long, so it's gonna be a good race. I just have to make sure I do my job on the tree. Anything can happen, and that's why you run the race. Whoever wins the final from St. Louis is also going to grab the points lead, so there's more on the line than just the race win. You've got three or four other guys that are just a round or two of racing behind us, so we need every round we can get. This deal is gonna come down the very end, and it should get really exciting.
2013 X-DRL SCHEDULE
April 6-7: X-DRL Spring Nationals, Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, Tulsa, Okla.
April 26-27: X-DRL Thunder Valley Madness, Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn.
May 17-18: Bash On The Bayou, No Problem Raceway, Belle Rose, La.
June 14-15: X-treme Gateway Showdown, Gateway Motorsports Park, St. Louis
July 26-27: Mayhem At The Creek, Maryland International Raceway, Mechanicsville, Md.
Sept. 20-21: Thunder in the Heartland, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Indianapolis
Oct. 4-5: Southern Slam, Montgomery Motorsports Park, Montgomery, Ala.
Oct. 25-26: X-Treme World Finals, zMAX Dragway, Charlotte, N.C.