Fastest In America: Memphis Win Over NOLA Ignites Controversy


For the second time in as many seasons of the Discovery Channels’ “Street Outlaws Fastest In America” spinoff reality show, the team from New Orleans, headed up by the likes of Kye Kelley, Lizzy Musi, Jerry Bird, and Scott Taylor, faced off in the winner-take-all finale against Jonathan “JJ Da Boss” Day and his crew from Memphis. And in what has quickly become a heated topic on the world-wide web after its airing Monday evening (the show was filmed near Casper, Wyoming in late July) Memphis repeated and collected the $100,000 in a decisive 8-2 victory.

Kye Kelley and JJ Da Boss

The shows’ format, as it was in season one, pits 12 teams from around the nation in an elimination format, until only one team remains — that group then faces Memphis for the right to be crowned the fastest street racing team in America. Day hosts and flags the race, using traditional Memphis-style street racing rules (water burnouts, chase-is-a-race, and so on).

Few could argue — even Day and team Memphis itself — that New Orleans has more powerful and capable machines in its lineup, but the street serves as the equalizer, and on that night in July, it was indeed the equalizer. The New Orleans team struggled to get ahold of the rugged concrete on the closed-off State Highway 257. Memphis, meanwhile, seemingly had it all figured out, leading to its lucrative triumph and undefeated record in the “Fastest In America” series.

Because they had to endure three rounds of racing to make it to the finale and Memphis had not raced at all to that point, NOLA undoubtedly had more data and experience on the Wyoming road than did Memphis, but it proved all for naught when the two teams actually lined up.

Viewers immediately took to the web after the season finale, certain that New Orleans’ loss was scripted into the show or Memphis had created favorable conditions. Others defended the outcome, contending that everyone had to race the same road, and you either adapt or you go home empty-handed. The New Orleans contingent was quick to respond, asserting repeatedly that it did not, nor ever would, throw a race. But its members also suggest that the race may have been skewed in Memphis’ favor from the outset.

Said Kelley in response: “I’m not even gonna’ speak on tonight. I will say we weren’t paid to lose. I will also say I’ll never participate in anything else that rules get changed, roads get altered, or we don’t get to test where we are racing if the other team is allowed to. I will also never race a team that their team leader heads the rules and flags the race. You screw me once that’s on you, you screw me twice that’s on me. You screw me three times I’m just an idiot and I can promise you I’m not an idiot. NOLA is the fastest team in the land with no hustling, just straight up putting them on the line and beating down the pavement like men.”

Taylor added his own take, commenting: “The two main things I keep seeing floating around the net is that we just didn’t adapt well when the road got moved up and the other thing that bothers me the most is people are saying we took a dive. I’m going to start with the easier of the two. There are several reasons team NOLA struggled in the finals. I can list them but in my opinion it’s all just excuses, but in this instance I will share so y’all know what happened.’

1: [The] road got moved to a section that was very grooved up and it wouldn’t hold any rubber.

2: [The] burnout box was moved back 70-feet away from starting line which keeps us from attempting to lay rubber down during burnout.

3: It’s hard to win when you have your flagger leading the opposing team.

4: They lined all eight cars up and put us on a seven minute timer so we couldn’t make changes to the cars to adapt to the road condition.

“We don’t make excuses and that’s all those things I listed are. The only reason I shared them was to answer the second thing that I wanted to talk about: we would never take a dive, EVER. We fought to the last second trying to win. If you know me you know how competitive I am. Whether we are racing to lunch or across the yard or riding go carts with the kids, winning is all I think about. It’s in my blood, I guess. We lost and we will learn from it. No excuses we will lose again and we will win again.”

No doubt a little drama is good for ratings, and you can certainly view the race from two very different perspectives: NOLA wanted to put its high-powered cars on a section of road it had previously “worked-in”, while Memphis clearly performed better — and likely knew that would be the case — on the slicker surface. In the end, drag racing is about making the most of the conditions you’re presented with, and taking other factors out of the equation, Memphis was better on that night. But did they get hustled? If you tuned in and have an opinion, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Musi Racing Set to Continue Partnership with Newell INX

MOORESVILLE, NC — After a successful first year as partners, Musi Racing announced today that Newell INX, a designer of state-of-the-art automotive wash mitts, has returned as a sponsor for the 2021 season.

The company will support the Musi Racing team, led by star driver Lizzy Musi, as well continue its partnership with Pat Musi Racing Engines.

“It’s a company that really believes in us and it’s exciting to have them on board,” Pat Musi said. “They’ve got a lot of great ideas, and Newell INX is a company that wants to partner with us and grow with us. It’s a great relationship and we’re thrilled to see it continue this year.”

Newell INX and its Newell Wash Mitt was created by owner David Newell, offering a unique and top-quality product that has undergone extensive testing.

The company spent more than 18 years in researching and developing the ideal automotive wash mitt, focusing on comfort, performance and durability. The finished product, which was developed from high-quality carpet materials, is a wash mitt that doesn’t wear out, offering a deeper and safer scrubbing experience each and every time.

After visiting the Musi shop, David Newell saw the company and race team as an ideal partner to showcase his product.

“I had some ideas and met with them, and I saw an opportunity where we could help each other. They’re such great people and I’m really excited to work with them again this year,” Newell said. “Lizzy’s done a great job racing and the Street Outlaws deal has really taken off. It was a great way for my business to link up with a top driver and team, but it’s a family deal, too. The whole team is full of amazing people and there’s so much potential. I see a big future and I’m really looking forward to 2021.”

Musi Racing and the team at Pat Musi Racing Engines have raved about the Newell Wash Mitt, including Ralph Musi, who helps manage day-to-day operations at the shop, and Pat Musi, who called the product ahead of anything he’s seen in the category.

In that regard, it gives Musi a top of the line product to go along with his top of the line engines, which is something he looks for when establishing partnerships.

“We saw a lot of durability in this product and it’s pretty exciting,” Musi said. “You can’t find anything else like this product, and working with companies who create the best of the best is always what we look for. There’s a lot of big things in the works for 2021, and this is one of them.”

About Newell INX

A 113 year old Cotton Mill is where Newell Inx. has been working on their revolutionary wash mitts finally ready for public release.Designed and manufactured in the USA, these light-weight wash mitts will be the last mitts you ever have to get, now available for purchase.After 18 years in research and development, Newell Inx, a leading US manufacturer of cleaning products, is calling their new products: the “Newell 1 Mitt” and the “Terry Cammon Mitt”. Newell Inx spent years testing these mitts for comfort, performance, and durability. Both mitts hold the perfect amount of soap and water, and easily discard dirt and grease when rinsed to provide a deeper and safer scrubbing experience, With the Newell 1 and Terry Cammon wash mitts, anyone can get his or her car to look professionally cleaned.Other uses for the mitt include cleaning boats, jet skis, golf carts, UTV’s, countertops, tables, and even showers and bathtubs. Find out more at

About Pat Musi Racing Engines

Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Pat Musi Racing Engines is a one-stop shop for sportsman engines with a Pro Mod pedigree. Pat Musi Racing Engines controls every component of the engine, from in-house manifolds to custom cylinder heads. Pat Musi has been at the forefront of electronic fuel injection (EFI) technology for over two decades, and that experience is available to every customer with custom-designed EFI systems, exclusive software and individualized tuning. Whether going rounds in Super Comp or setting records in Pro Nitrous, each customer receives the same quality and workmanship Pat Musi Racing Engines is known for worldwide. For more info, please visit

Musi becomes first woman to win in NPK

The Capital Sports Report

The second event for the 2019 Street Outlaws No Prep Kings season was held this weekend at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire. The event was held on Friday and Saturday.

Lizzy Musi went to the final round against her boyfriend Kye Kelley. She defeated him in the Honey Badger — it was previously named Aftershock — to win the $40,000 prize.

Drag Racer Lizzy Musi driving Aftershock at New England Dragway
Lizzy Musi driving Aftershock (Photo by Lizzy Musi/AB Media)

With the win, Musi became the first woman to win in the Street Outlaws No Prep Kings series. Musi will now bring her winning momentum into the PDRA North-South Shootout May 30-June 1 at Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville, Maryland.

“[Being] First female to win a NPK event is an honor!,” Musi said. “I had to race against some of the fastest cars on No Prep, no wins given. Every round was a battle! 3rd round I lost to Doc, but by the rules they told all winners and losers to come back up to the starting line. Losers of 3rd round was able to do a lucky draw whoever drew chip 4 was out. I actually had some luck for once and got chip 1. If it was any other racer racing for 40k and had one more chance I am sure they would have taken that chance.

“This was the first NPK event my Dad and mom came out to and it couldn’t have been better. It pretty much was the perfect outcome. Both had a lot of fun and enjoyed seeing all the fans. I think my dad is a fan of no prep now thanks for all your help this weekend! Couldn’t have pulled this race off without you guys! Pat Musi Racing Engines, Pat Musi, Elizabeth Agneta Musi”

Earlier in the race, Musi was eliminated. However, due to a reported “buy back,” Musi was able to regain an opportunity and she used this to her advantage.

“Every racing organization has their own rules and ways of racing,” Musi said. “This is how NPK does theirs. NPK pays 40k to the winner at each event, 9 events total. Giving a racer a chance to win 360k throughout the whole season. That’s a lot of money on the line to race for and everyone is out their to cut each other’s throat. Just straight facts.”

She is the second driver to win in New Hampshire. On Friday was the final round from the first race that got rained out at Maryland International Raceway on May 4.

Ryan Martin — who has won several races in the series — won the postponed final round.

Lizzy Musi to be Featured During Monday’s Street Outlaws: Fastest in America on Discovery

For those wanting to see plenty of Lizzy Musi in action on Street Outlaws: Fastest in America, Monday night is the time.

The star racer and her Pat Musi Racing Engines-powered Edelbrock-equipped Lucas Oil “Aftershock” Camaro will be featured heavily during tonight’s episode on the Discovery channel. It premieres at 8 p.m. EST and includes Musi and Team NOLA competing against Team Iowa as both squads race for a shot at $300,000.

Filmed at an undisclosed concrete road in Wyoming earlier this summer, the series has been a huge hit with teams and drivers vying for the title of the “Fastest in America.” On Monday, Musi gets her first shot this season to showcase her talents to a national television audience.

“It’s the first time this season that our team is featured and we actually race, so we’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be an exciting episode,” Pat Musi said. “This series and the whole Street Outlaws deal is a whole other way to get drag racing out there and it’s doing a good job of it. There’s millions of viewers interested each week and tonight should be good.”

Musi and the rest of the participants spent an extended time on location in Wyoming filming the season, which debuted on Oct. 19.

In all, 12 of the fastest street racing teams in America competed for the massive payday, which led to exciting racing and plenty of drama off the track as well. Musi said that will be apparent during tonight’s episode as NOLA and Iowa battle it out for a chance to advance to the next round.

“Iowa was talking a little junk, but I can keep up with the best of them,” Pat Musi joked.

Filming was a challenging ordeal considering the time away from home and racing more than 5,000 feet above sea level, but it was a worthwhile solution in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has already led to some standout racing against a picturesque backdrop, and the Musi Racing team did its best to take advantage of the opportunity.

“It was a grind being away that long, but Discovery had a great idea to film in Wyoming and it was a cool scene,” Pat Musi said. “The racing was intense. Everybody is trying to take each other’s heads off. It was a last-minute deal for us, too, but we managed to make some really killer runs. For just a couple weeks notice, I thought we did really well.”

Lizzy showed her worth on the Street Outlaws scene a year ago, piloting the Musi 959-powered “Aftershock” Camaro to three wins on the Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings circuit.

That helped build her already huge fan following, and she’ll have a chance to grow that in the coming weeks on Street Outlaws: Fastest in America.

“We proved ourselves in the No Prep Kings deal,” Pat Musi said. “We adapted there and we proved them wrong on a lot of things. She’s a great driver and I think a lot of people will continue to see that.”

Construction Underway on New Musi Racing Facility

Musi Racing will soon have a new state-of-the-art home near Mooresville Dragway.

The race team broke ground in September on their new 9,000-square foot building located near the dragstrip and construction has progressed quickly since then. The scheduled opening date for the building is slated for early 2021.

The new building will be the race shop for the Musi Racing cars, which include the Frank Brandao-owned Edelbrock/Lucas Oil “King Kong 7” 2018 Dodge Dart and the Edelbrock-equipped “Aftershock” Camaro, both driven by Street Outlaws star Lizzy Musi. Customer cars will also be kept at the new facility as they come through, while Pat Musi Racing Engines will remain in its current 10,000-square foot building near downtown Mooresville.

The two shops will be within ten minutes of each other, giving Pat Musi easy access to both, and a world of opportunities with the new facility.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun and we’ve got a lot of good ideas for this building. There’s definitely a lot of excitement coming,” Pat Musi said. “We were really crunched for space and this new building gives us a great spot for the race team and to set up cars for customers. It’s all coming together really well.”

Musi originally bought the land near the drag strip three years ago and the time was right to add the new building to house the race team, especially with Lizzy Musi’s growing popularity on Discovery’s Street Outlaws.

Musi won three straight races in the Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings series last year, and was busy filming for the new season of the original Street Outlaws series for a majority of the summer.

She’s also been a regular frontrunner and multi-time event winner in the PDRA Pro Nitrous class, and the new building will give fans an opportunity to see the cars up close and purchase Musi Racing merchandise.

“If people want to come and visit the race shop, we will be able to give them a tour, they can buy a t-shirt, all that,” Musi said. “It’s going to be a really good deal here and we’ve got a lot of ideas. There’s a lot of things coming and it’s going to be a nice thing for our team.”

Musi also envisions a relationship with Mooresville Dragway, giving the team quick access to test their cars as well as customer cars.

It means a lot of major things are on the horizon, with Musi looking forward to spending the offseason getting things moved in and setup in the new facility. The unfortunate postponement of the open house that was planned to celebrate Musi’s 50th year in business now allows time for the building to be up and running for the rescheduled date, which is still to be determined.

To get to this point, Musi also praised a talented team that has helped this latest project come to life.

“All of it is a testament to the team and all the guys at the shop,” Musi said. “It’s all come together really well and everyone’s done a great job since we’ve been here in Mooresville.”

Women of Power 2020: Lizzy Musi is Making Her Mark in No Prep Kings

Lizzy Musi was met with mixed reception when she jumped into the no-prep scene in 2018. Hardcore no-prep racers wondered if she’d catch on after a handful of successful years in PDRA Pro Nitrous competition. Her father, legendary doorslammer racer and engine builder Pat Musi, wasn’t even a fan of his daughter going no-prep racing at first.

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #155, the Women of Power Issue, in April of 2020.]

But after Musi won three consecutive races on the Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings tour last season, nearly everyone has come around to the idea of Musi not only competing in no-prep, but also running at the front.

“I actually had a lot of heat thrown at me,” Musi says of her intro to no-prep racing. “’Oh, look at this Pro Mod racer coming in here. She thinks she can run over us. Who is she?’ But I kept my head down and knew what to do. My dad always told me, ‘Run your race car, not your mouth,’ and that’s what I did.”

Musi’s sweep of the Epping, St. Louis and Boise races helped her finish fourth in the No Prep Kings championship points. The success was due in part to Pat coming on board at the Epping race to tune the “Aftershock” Camaro previously campaigned by Lizzy’s boyfriend, Kye Kelley. Pat stayed on for the rest of the season after being thoroughly impressed by the whole scene.

Musi and “Aftershock” are set up for even more success in 2020. Pat brought the nitrous-assisted, Musi-powered Camaro in-house at Musi Racing in Mooresville, North Carolina, where it’s undergone a series of upgrades. That includes a trip to nearby Robert Hayes Motorsports, where Hayes beefed up the chassis to improve the car’s driveability, an issue that Musi worked around as much as possible last season.

“It came out almost like a brand-new car,” says Musi, the first woman to win a No Prep Kings event. “When we went to go make the first hit in testing at Orlando, I was a little nervous because I’m used to that car doing whatever it wants to do. First pass it went straight down, and it was actually the fastest I’ve ever been in that car. That was a really positive note to start off with and we kept knocking away at it. If we could win three races in a row last year, I know we can win a lot more than that this year.”

A major change for Musi this year will be a reduction in the number of PDRA races she’ll attend. Rather than running the full schedule in Pro Nitrous like she has since 2014, Musi will only attend the races that don’t overlap with the No Prep Kingsschedule. It’s a move supported by her major sponsors, Edelbrock and Lucas Oil, but Musi still has mixed emotions about it.

“We love running that car,” Musi says. “We love it, we have fun, and that’s where I started. But this year, we’re making a full commitment to the No Prep Kings series. We’re doing that because the purse you’re racing for is huge. You’re racing for $40,000 at each of the nine races, then there’s another race that pays around $20,000. That’s a lot of money on the line.”

The No Prep Kings series has opened Musi up to a new fanbase as well, as the popular racing personality has seen her following increase exponentially since first appearing on Discovery’s No Prep Kings show.

“This whole Street Outlaws deal, I had to get used to it,” Musi says. “I have a racer mentality. I was raised like that. I never really cared about cameras or attention, I just want to go out there and race. That was the mentality I had. It took some getting used to, but I love the fans. Without them, I don’t think I’d have the same motivation.”

Musi Racing Partners With SRI Performance

Musi Racing Engines has paired up with SRI Performance in a two-year agreement. (April Bryant photo)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Musi Racing has announced a partnership with SRI Performance through 2021, pairing two standout companies in North Carolina’s racing hub.

With the partnership, SRI Performance will provide materials and products for Musi Racing, enlarging its footprint in drag racing.

That includes the “Aftershock” Camaro driven by Lizzy Musi in Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings competition, which is aired worldwide on Discovery.

“SRI Performance has been wanting to get more involved in drag racing and this was a great opportunity for both of us. They’re a great company and we’re excited to get the chance to work with them,” said Pat Musi. “They’re the supplier in our area for parts and supplies and it’s a go-to spot for a lot of people, so it’s nice to have the chance to work with a group like that. They really like the Street Outlaws scene and wanted to get involved there as well.

“It’s a group of good people. I want to partner with people I believe in, and we believe in SRI.”

With a long history of success in many different types of racing, SRI Performance has built a strong name in the industry as a top supplier of high-performance parts and professional racing products.

The partnership with Musi Racing will now allow them to build their drag racing presence.

But the company knew they needed to work with a trusted and successful name, and Musi Racing, coming off a banner season in 2019, certainly fit the bill.

“The Musi family name is legendary in drag racing,” SRI Performance owner Greg Fornelli said. “As Stock Car Steel and SRI continue to expand our presence outside of the stock car world, we agreed that Pat and Lizzy would be a big help in getting our name out there. With Pro Mod and no-prep racing exploding in popularity, we couldn’t help but look into a relationship with a successful team that’s based right here in Mooresville.”

“Stock Car Steel and SRI are proud to partner with the Musi family, and we’re looking forward to announcing some exciting things that will come out of this relationship. We’ll have plenty to talk about in 2020 and beyond,” added Jim Goff, VP of Operations at SRI Performance.

DI CLASSIC: Change is Good for Lizzy Musi

Born and raised in New Jersey, 23-year-old Lizzy Musi moved south late in 2012, as her father, doorslammer legend Pat Musi, relocated his family-owned-and-operated horsepower factory to Mooresville, North Carolina. Though not quite ready to declare herself a newly minted southern belle, the second-generation racer says she’s happy with the change in scenery.

[Editor’s Note: this story originally appeared in DI #84, the Hottest Issue, in February of 2014.]

“The weather is definitely nicer, especially in the winter, and I like the southern-type attitude, a lot of people are very friendly,” Musi says. “But what’s really cool is there’s so much racing going on down here; it’s incredible. We’ve got Mooresville Dragway about 12 miles from us and if I walk out of my house sometimes they’ll be racing or testing there and I can hear the burnouts. Or sometimes I’ll be standing outside the shop and hear the other race shops near us running their dynos. I just think that is so cool.”


With her dad stepping away from front office duties to concentrate on building horsepower out back, Musi has largely taken over day-to-day operations at Pat Musi Racing Engines (PMRE), which counts among its clients Pro Nitrous veterans John Hall, Tommy Franklin and Robert Patrick, as well as 2013 ADRL Dragstock winner Jason Harris and defending NHRA Pro Mod World Champion Rickie Smith.

“It’s really a family effort, a family team here,” Musi explains. “I handle mostly the parts and part orders and invoicing and e-mails and all that; my sister and my mom do the paperwork stuff and my dad gives me the orders. So it’s basically like a big teamwork deal.

“It’s busy and it’s crazy, especially when my dad is gone helping customers. He goes all over the world and it’s a lot of work when he’s gone. A lot is going on at once. Sometimes we need more people, but most of the time we can handle it. We’ve just got to get the work done. Phones are ringing, you’ve got to get this down to shipping, you’ve got to order this, you’ve got to do that, you’ve got to get this. But I can’t complain, because we’re busy and that’s a good thing.”

Business-wise, the move couldn’t have worked out better and Musi is dedicated to maintaining the momentum while juggling the demands of her PMRE duties with a rapidly developing driving career.

“I think overall through last year, we had a great year. We had a lot of people running good and a lot of great customers, a lot of new customers, so it was a phenomenal year. We’re running fast and I think we’re on our game, so we can’t stop now,” she says.

“That’s really what I learned from my dad. He works day and night. If it’s Christmas Day, he’ll be working, plumbing a manifold or doing something on the motors; he’s 24/7. That’s what inspires me the most about him; he really has heart in what he does and he gives heart to all his customers. Anything they need, he’ll be there for them. That’s what means a lot to me and it’s what I want to bring to the business, too.”

For the last couple of years, Musi has been bringing that same sense of dedication to the track. Five years removed from making her last competitive drive down a drag strip—at 16 in a Jr. Dragster, no less—Musi made her Top Sportsman debut at the 2012 ADRL season opener in Houston, where she proved to be a quick learner, qualifying team owner John Lee’s 1969 Camaro fifth and even winning her first round of eliminations before suffering a surprising spinout at the end of her burnout that disqualified her from round two.

“I’m mad, but I’m also embarrassed,” a visibly upset Musi admitted at the time. “Something happened with the chip that’s supposed to control the RPMs for the burnout. I don’t know if it wasn’t turned on or something went wrong with it, but I heard and felt the engine just keep going up and I tried to ease out of the throttle, but it just got away from me. I was mad because I wanted to go a lot farther.”

Then came the incident that for a brief time made Musi one of the most famous drag racers on the planet. While qualifying for just her second Top Sportsman race at Tennessee’s historic Bristol Dragway in April 2012, her car crossed over from the right lane and wound up on top of the left guardwall where it made a perfect pirouette before taking out the top-end TV camera as it ended up on the wrong side of the wall. That the camera caught all the action—even after its operator jumped over the wall to safety on the track—made for the perfect viral video.

Within days, Musi’s name and likeness made the rounds worldwide. The crash video was an instant hit on, quickly racking up multi-million views and leading to coverage from several mainstream television, print and online news outlets, including Fox News, USA Today and The Daily Mail in Great Britain.

“To be honest, I’m kind of glad that’s all died down. It was fun at the time doing all those interviews and appearances; it really was a great experience, thankfully because no one got hurt, but I don’t want to only be known as, ‘that chick that crashed,’” Musi says. “I want to win races and championships and be known for that eventually, instead.”

Needing a replacement ride for Musi, Lee soon picked up a former Dewayne Silance-owned ’68 Camaro from Jerry Bickel Race Cars just a few weeks after the Bristol event. At the ADRL race in St. Louis that June, Musi made a then-career-best 4.15-seconds pass in the new car to qualify fourth, then went on to win two rounds on race day. More important to her, though, the weekend’s performance made a statement.

“I know after what happened in Houston and then the crash in Bristol, some people were wondering if I could drive a car like this, so it felt really good to make some runs like that and get that all behind me,” she says.

With a much more stable car to work with, Musi and team then set about building experience and becoming one of the consistently quickest entries in the ADRL Top Sportsman ranks, typically qualifying their bright red, Edelbrock-backed Camaro in the top five and dialing in with 4-teens for race day. As her rookie year came to a close, Musi reached the semi finals for the first time in the season ender at Dallas and finished an impressive eighth in points.

Then came 2013 and she picked up right where she left off, qualifying a career-high second at Rockingham, North Carolina, to start the season, followed by a third-place start at the next event in Cecil, Georgia, before the race was canceled by rain. Regardless, the tone was set for Musi, who made another second-place start at Cordova, Illinois, followed by her first number-one-qualifier award at Richmond, Virginia, where she again made it to the semis and left the track on top of the Top Sportsman points list.

The second half of the season began late in June at Martin, Michigan, where Musi once more started from the number-two slot and reached the semi finals, but after ADRL took the month of July off, she came back in August at Memphis with an off weekend that resulted in a first-round exit after qualifying sixth.

After that came an also disappointing return to Rockingham, where Musi redlighted away her chances in the opening round of the special-event Battle for the Belts before qualifying number four for ADRL’s prestigious Dragstock event, but made another early exit from round one. Regardless, she counts that event as one of her most memorable of the 2013 ADRL tour.

“I’ve got to say Rockingham is probably my biggest fan base out there. I mean, I had a pretty long line when I sat out there and signed posters,” she recalls. “I really love the fans; no matter how we do (on the track), they just make my whole day, my whole race. I just love talking, being able to talk to them and interact with them. They’re like the most important thing to me. Really, I love them. It’s a joy to be out there and just associate with them and give them attention because without them, you know, where would we be?

“They still bring up the whole blue car thing (from Bristol), but I think this past year kind of made up for that whole deal,” she adds. “So it’s good to hear that. Now I can hear more about me doing good than that whole incident.”

And while it’s always heartening to hear from young girls and women who gain inspiration from her on-track results, Musi admits she also gets plenty of attention from male fans, both trackside and online, but says it can be difficult to deal with at times.

“It can get a little crazy,” she says. “Some people are like, ‘Why don’t you write your number on the poster, too?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh God, no!’

“Then on Facebook, I get ‘Do you want to go on a date?’ and these messages, I can’t even answer them; sometimes my inbox, my Facebook inbox is overwhelmed. So I just let it go right now. Then there are some that are like, ‘What would it take for a guy like me to go out with a girl like you? Please respond to me.’ I mean, there are some pretty desperate ones. And I don’t want to be mean or anything; I just don’t know what you do about the situation. I mean, I’m really not the kind of girl that wants to strut her stuff or something like that. I’m just me. That’s all.”

In her personal life, Musi says she’s dated a couple of fellow drivers over the last few years, but nothing serious and nothing lasting, something that’s as much by design as chance.

“I think it’s just because there’s a lot going on for me right now. I kind of really need to focus. Even my dad sat me down and said we need to focus on this business, focus on the racing, because right now we are doing really good and we’ve got to keep focusing to keep things going,” she says.

“It’s a lot on me. The personal life, I like to go out—or I would like to go out and socialize and stuff—but we want to be successful and be in this racing, so you kind of have to make it a full-fledged deal, give all your attention to it. It’s a little hard on me sometimes, but honestly, if I could be at the track every day I would. It’s just an enjoyable environment to me. I love being there.”

Leaving Rockingham, Musi had slipped to third in the season standings, but less than one round’s worth of points out of the lead and essentially left to battle with four other drivers for the championship at the final race of the year in Houston. Unfortunately, disaster struck.

“The last couple of races we were fighting transmission problems, so it was kind of iffy on what was going to happen. We should have taken that trans out and checked it out, but that’s our mistake and we fought that part of it and we learn from our mistakes,” Musi explains.

“But it was a bummer that we fought that problem because we came out there pretty strong at the last race. We actually went testing and we made three passes in it and it went dead straight down the track. I mean 4.06, 4.08 and a 4.09 and I was like dead on the tree. I had a .010 light, a .012 and a .009 light, so I was like, ‘Wow, this could be the race right here; we’re on top of it!’ And then we go out there for first qualifying round and the car just zinged in high gear. It’s crazy. I don’t know. It was just a shocking thing. It just bounced out of gear and just like that it was all over.”

With rain cutting short qualifying in Houston, just two rounds were completed to set the fields and unable to make repairs in time, Musi missed out on eliminations and finished the season a disappointing, but certainly respectable fifth in points.

“I had a great team behind me and I want to thank John Lee for giving me that. We did our best. In the racing industry, anything can go wrong motor-wise, car-wise. You know you’ve just got to be on top of everything and I think we did really good overall,” Musi says. “It was definitely kind of a bummer at the last race when we had some transmission problems that cost us that race, but other than that, I think overall we had a good year.”

With the 2013 season over, Musi says she and Lee mutually agreed to part ways, primarily because she had the opportunity to step up this year to Pro Nitrous with the newly formed Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA), piloting the same 2009 Dodge Stratus her father last drove in 2011 for car owner Frank Brandao. Still, she knows she’ll miss her Top Sportsman days.

“That class is a blast. All the people that race in it, it’s like one big family,” Musi states. “There are a lot of heavy hitters in that class; Ronnie Davis, Aaron Glasser, William Brown, Bruce Thrift, all those guys, they’re great guys. If you need help, they’re there for you. We all help each other out and I think it’s more enjoyable when you know you’re close with the people you race with, that you like racing with them. When you’re on track, you feel more comfortable racing. So it’s almost like a joy. They make it more fun.

“But Top Sportsman is a really tough class, too. I mean, you have to be dead on your reaction time and your dial in, so you’ve got to be majorly consistent and it just makes you a better racer. It’s a very competitive class. So I really enjoyed racing in it. I learned a lot.”

Musi won’t be alone in representing the family business with the PDRA this season, too, as little sister Tricia will make her race driving debut in yet another of their father’s old rides. Twenty-one-year-old Tricia will enter Top Sportsman competition in the 1997 “Popeye” Firebird, now owned by Pennsylvania’s Don Ream.

“It’s going to be a pretty busy deal going on. She’ll be running the fuel injection on a Musi 632 engine, almost a similar setup to what I ran and I’m excited for her with that,” Musi says. “It’s going to be cool to have her out there; we need more girls out there racing.”

And there’s still a chance Musi’s own Top Sportsman days aren’t quite over, as she reveals she may enter a couple of NHRA Top Sportsman events this season, “just to get some quarter mile runs under my feet.” For the time being, however, her focus remains on making the transition to Brandao’s Jerry Bickel-built Stratus, outfitted with an EFI Musi-built 903 cubic incher under the hood that’s backed up by a Bruno automatic transmission carrying a Marty Chance torque converter.

“My dad is really the one that put that deal all together. He brought it up to Frank (Brandao) about me maybe driving the car and Frank was all gung ho about it, so I’m really grateful that he wants me to drive his car. I’m really thankful for that,” Musi says. “And we have a couple of sponsors that stepped up to the plate to help us, too. Edelbrock again wants to help out this year and then we have Lucas Oil that my dad had the previous years when he raced, so I think it’s going to be a really great deal.”

Still, Musi realizes there will again be the naysayers, people questioning whether she’s ready to step up to the quicker, faster Pro Nitrous class, wondering if she’s capable of facing hardcore professional drivers, maybe even whispering behind her back that she only got the ride because of her father. She doesn’t care.

“You know what? I’m going to do what I’m going to do, I’m going to listen to what my dad tells me to do, take it step by step, not going to jump into anything. I want to make sure I’m comfortable and ready to go. So we’re actually going to do some testing for a couple of weeks down in Florida when he comes back from Qatar, which is late February.”

First, though, the Stratus had to be adjusted by Bickel’s shop in Moscow Mills, Missouri, to fit Musi’s much smaller frame than her father’s.

“I feel like a little shrimp in my dad’s car,” she says, still referring to it as “his” car. “I had to send out the gas pedal to Bickel and it looks so funny now because they put an extension on it. They made a whole new pedal for me so I can reach it, and then they have an extension on the steering wheel for me, too. So I feel like a little midget in there, but they did a great job and it’s comfortable for me now.”

And though recognizing the intimidation factor of racing against the likes of past Pro Nitrous champions and race winners, Musi says she’s found a level of comfort in the seat and looks forward to the challenge.

“No question there’s some major heavy hitters in that class; it’s going to be pretty crazy,” she admits. “But it’s going to be so cool running against those people. I grew up watching them race, so it’s going to be really cool to have a chance to run against them.

“And without a doubt I definitely feel more comfortable in the car. It’s like, when you’re at the track, you’re at the track, but when you’re in the car, it’s a totally different ballgame. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me I feel like when I’m in the car nothing else matters; everything is blanked out. It’s just total focus on getting down that track, doing everything that I need to do in the car and being consistent in everything I do.”

Realistically, Musi says she’s mainly looking to gain experience this year, but with a car her dad ran 5.92 at over 241 mph in 2011 at Budds Creek, Maryland, she knows the potential is there to make some noise—and maybe break a few hearts along the way.

“Seriously, I want to do good runs, make some good passes, get some good reaction times, qualify and maybe go some rounds at a few races. I would love to win, absolutely, but I think overall for this year, it’s just about taking my time because it’s a whole new deal. I have to get used to everything all over again,” she realizes. “I want to make some fast runs. Then let’s see what happens.”

Lizzy Musi Caps 2019 Season With Semifinal Appearance at PDRA World Finals, Top-Five Points Finish

Lizzy Musi and the Musi Racing team wrapped up a successful 2019 Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) season in Pro Nitrous with a semifinal finish at last weekend’s PDRA World Finals at Virginia Motorsports Park.

It gave the star driver back-to-back semifinal appearances to close out the 2019 campaign in the Frank Brandao-owned Edelbrock/Lucas Oil “King Kong 7” 2018 Dodge Dart. Coupled with a final-round showing earlier this year, it marked another top-five points finish in the loaded Pro Nitrous class for Musi, putting a stamp on a solid PDRA season.

“You obviously would like to get a win to end the year, but all in all it was a pretty good weekend,” Pat Musi said. “The car ran well and Lizzy did a great job driving, it’s a tough class and the wins don’t come easy. We’ve had great support all year from Edelbrock and Lucas Oil, and I can’t say enough about those partnerships. To finish in the top five, we’re pleased with that and the car made a lot of great runs this year. It’s been a good year in the PDRA, and this sets us up nicely for next season.”

Musi qualified third at the race with a run of 3.659-seconds at 208.20 mph, dialing it up to a 3.640 at 207.85 and a 3.645 at 207.34 mph to pick up a pair of round wins. She was even quicker in the semifinals, going 3.639 at 208.46, but fell in a razor-thin matchup with a finals appearance on the line.

But it was good enough to give Musi a top-five points finish by a single point, fueling the Pro Nitrous operation with some momentum heading into the offseason.

Musi, though, still has a chance to end her 2019 on a winning note, as she’ll race this weekend at Texas Motorplex in Dallas for the Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings finale. She’s already piloted her Edelbrock-equipped “Aftershock” to a trio of wins earlier in the season, and a fourth victory would be a remarkable end to her first full season on the No Prep Kings scene.

That will conclude a busy month of racing that included a pair of PDRA races and two No Prep Kings events, but Musi balanced it all in impressive fashion. Her PDRA year featured a number of highlights, momentarily setting the E.T. record in the class on a pair of occasions, including a career-best blast of 3.615 at 208.62 mph. Musi will continue to have the speed record (209.23 mph) heading into 2020, as the team will spend the winter working toward another big season.

“It’s really been a busy year, but Lizzy has handled it really well going back and forth between the two cars,” Musi said. “To win three straight races like she did in the no prep world, it says a lot about her and the team we have. Overall, it’s just been a really good year in both series and we’re excited to see what we can do next season.”

Pat Musi On Recent Nitrous Successes: “We’re Not Done Yet”


On Saturday afternoon, second-generation and multi-talented racer Lizzy Musi stormed to the quickest 1/8-mile nitrous oxide-assisted Pro Mod pass in history during the second round of eliminations at the PDRA Fall Nationals in Darlington, South Carolina. Musi, in a winning effort, clocked a 3.615 at 208.62 mph, and nearly equaled it a round later with a 3.618 in the quickest side-by-side Pro Nitrous race ever, opposite of Jim Halsey (Halsey’s 3.623 defeated her on a holeshot). For her father and renowned engine builder, Pat Musi, it was the latest in a series of record-breaking performances by competitors relying on his horsepower to dominate the headlines in the latter half of the 2019 season.

In fact, Lizzy’s lap wasn’t even the only nitrous Pro Mod record set with Musi power that day.


For Pat, a legend in his own right who has earned as much of a reputation for his engine building and tuning prowesses as he did as a champion driver, that success has been the result of equal parts teamwork and old-fashioned hard work.

“We’re lucky that we work with customers who really work on their combination. We had some guys who moved to the superchargers who were saying it’s the engine, the engine, the engine. It’s not always the engine; the engine is a proven combination and I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve got, and we’re going to get better,” Pat says. “Over the winter we’ve got some stuff lined up to R&D and dyno, and it’s just going to keep getting better. The engine that all of us have is the latest and greatest, but we’re working on the cars, and it’s all of it — I mean from the front bumper to the rear bumper.”

We’re just working on the cars, working on the tune-up, just nitpicking it. We‘re not going to quit….we’re going to keep at it and keep creeping up on it, because we’re really on to some stuff.

At the same time Lizzy was resetting the 1/8-mile marks, four hundred miles North of Darlington, another Musi customer, Harry Pappas and his driver, Dean Marinis, were shattering the 1/4-mile record book with their 1969 Camaro at the Superchargers Showdown at Maryland International Raceway with an incredible 5.57-second, 255 MPH blast. Lizzy’s and Marinis’ marks came just one week after longtime Musi-powered racer Rickie Smith claimed his latest NHRA Pro Mod victory at St. Louis, and two weeks after radial-tire racer Marcus Birt clocked the quickest 1/8-mile nitrous run in history and Tommy Franklin reset the 1/8-mile nitrous Pro Mod record, both at the Shakedown Nationals in Virginia. To say it’s been a whirlwind would be an understatement, but despite all the public pessimism in the offseason about nitrous cars, Pat’s confidence never wavered.

“It takes a while to get everything together, and the gains that we’ve made are marginal, because they’re a hundredth at a time, but they add up. I was talking to Dean this morning and he’s already asking when we’re going to test over the winter. We’re not done yet. You watch: in Virginia, we’re going to get into the 3.50s. We’ve heard from the other teams that they’re all coming loaded…well all I can tell them is they better, because we are,” Musi says matter-of-factly.

Musi and his staff in Mooresville, North Carolina are working on development of new in-house cylinder heads and camshaft profiles for the 959 cubic-inch engines that, in time, should help propel customers to performances even greater than those established in 2019. But beyond the numbers, it’s the impeccable reliability of the engines that gives Musi pride.

“That’s part of my work as an engine builder. Everybody asks me if I read plugs — I don’t. They want to know how I come up with my tune-up….well I come up with the tune-up when I disassemble the engine and fix the things that I think are a weak link and constantly evolve and work on it. I think that’s part of our success: that we don’t have to worry about the motor. I’m not saying we can’t go out there and hurt a piston, but something pretty well has to go haywire. We’re just really able to keep our stuff together, and I couldn’t be happier about that part of it,” he says.

“Our motor came back in one piece,” Musi goes on to say. “We went two .61’s in a row and we’re ready to go to Virginia with it. Other teams have reached their edge and they’re trying to jam nitrous in them, and that’s not the way to do it, because they’re blowing them up trying to keep up with us. We’re just working on the cars, working on the tune-up, just nitpicking it. We‘re not going to quit….we’re going to keep at it and keep creeping up on it, because we’re really on to some stuff. You’re going to see a fifty in Virginia, and I hope it’s us.”

You watch: in Virginia, we’re going to get into the 3.50s. We’ve heard from the other teams that they’re all coming loaded…well all I can tell them is they better, because we are.

Beyond the continual development of the cars and engines, Musi cites the people he has in his corner that make the difference, noting how Justin Elkes of Modern Racing has taken to Lizzy’s no-prep Camaro “as if it were his own,” and Pro Mod racer Chad Green offering the use of his hauler so that Lizzy can attend an upcoming No Prep Kings filming as recent examples.

“We have strong teams and everyone pulls together. We all work together — me, Chad, Dean, we all pull for one thing,” Musi says, noting how his core group of customers work in unison for the greater good of the nitrous combination, from Pro Modified to Radial versus The World and Lizzy and Kye Kelley’s No Prep Kings efforts. “That’s what makes a good team: surrounding yourself with good, reliable people,” he says.

The high of these fall months haven’t been without their lows, however. 

In September, Green, for whom Musi serves as crew chief, was injured in a high-speed crash at the NHRA U.S. Nationals that brought his season to early conclusion. Green is recovering from his injuries and plans to return in Gainesville next spring. And following back-to-back No. 1 qualifying efforts and his aforementioned victory at St. Louis, the NHRA controversially penalized Rickie Smith and the rest of the nitrous cars a whopping 75-pounds — a topic that quickly changes Musi’s tone.

“What they did to Rickie Smith was a punch at him and a punch at me as an engine builder. How in the world can you penalize our nitrous combination and not penalize the blower cars, when they were dead even? Everyone saw it, everyone knows it. I mean how can you explain it? Rickie and Mike Castellana were back and forth, within a hundredth of each other…how much closer can you get? So you penalize us and don’t touch those cars. Without using any curse words, I was really nice to Ned [Walliser, NHRA Vice President, Competition], I’ve been a gentleman, I’ve been trying to work with him to get some 959 guys to come over. But I called him up and said, ‘you’re going to hear the Pat that you’ve heard about now.’ He said, ‘well what do you mean?’ And I said, ‘what in the [expletive] are you looking at?’ ”

“Can you blame me for being pissed?” Musi goes on to say. “This was a direct hit at Rickie and at me…that’s how we feel about it. We’ve had it with NHRA. I don’t give a damn what they do…I’m not interested in going to that circus. Chad is going to run over there next year and I’ll help him all I can, but me bringing Lizzy over there…no way. I’m predicting now that they’re going to ruin this class now that they’ve taken it over. That’s my prediction and I hope I’m not right, because I love Pro Mod with all my heart, but I won’t race the rulebook.”

Those challenges, however, cannot possibly overshadow a season marked by incredible — perhaps ‘stunning’ is the proper terminology — performances in the face of increasing cynicism from the outside. It’s redemption at its finest, as Pat Musi and those he surrounds himself with have, in short order, removed any doubt as to the ongoing vitality of the nitrous oxide engine combination. And if it gets better from here, you’d better hang on to your hats.