Kyle Cultrera considered 2011 a year of learning, and it was an incredible period of growth for the 21-year-old Eliot, Maine-raised drag racer. The year included a plentiful schedule of Lucas Oil Drag Racing and Full Throttle Series events in both Super Comp and Competition Eliminator, and the tireless, motivated driver filled in the gaps by competing in bracket races as often as possible.
His enthusiasm paid off as the 2011 season culminated in dual top 10 finishes in NHRA’s Northeast Division with third-place honors in Comp Eliminator and racing events. The year was even more monumental for the Mechanical Engineering student as he got comfortable in the seat of the Comp Eliminator H/EA Bantam owned by Al Ackerman and Dave Ring, and just three months into the challenge, he earned his first victory in the ultra-competitive category at a points meet in Atco, N.J.
With such a fruitful year of experience behind him, Cultrera is more than ready to dive headfirst into the 2012 season and continue to grow, learn and gather more trophies. A recently announced partnership with innovative cargo management system manufacturer TuffRail™ is setting the young driver up for even more success as they will be supported for the full season, and in a win-win situation, Cultrera and the team will make themselves available to demonstrate the ease and effectiveness of the TuffRail™ system at each event.
“Last year, I really feel that we learned so much,” said Cultrera, a two-time national event winner. “We struggled with dialing the Super Comp dragster, and over the winter we have been studying all of the things that hurt us last year on both cars. We’ve found a lot of the issues and been able to sort them out. Where we struggled will definitely show improvement. There is also technology available that we are looking to tap into that will make the Comp car even faster, and I can tell you that we’re really looking forward to that.”
Ackerman, who also competes in his own Competition Eliminator entry, has been elbow-deep in preparing the Cultrera-piloted Bantam, and the addition of sportsman veteran Charlie Yannetti to the team will ensure a smooth flowing program with plenty to pull from in the trove of brain power. Cultrera has overseen the refreshing of the Super Comp dragster and been working on tying up all kinds of odds and ends, including working with Carl Robinson to get a brand new set of Mickey Thompson tires to roll on.
“I’m just really excited about this year, and I can’t wait to get it going,” said Cultrera. “Now that we’ve been to all of these different tracks in the Comp car, going back the second time is going to really allow us to perform. Having a year under my belt should mean that I won’t make as many mistakes. I have a whole year of seat time, and I made a lot of runs last year. I’d really like to get right back into my groove and keep working from where I was.”
The plan is to start strong and never let up, beginning with the debut of both cars at the 4-Wide NHRA Nationals at Charlotte’s illustrious zMax Dragway. Continuing with a very full schedule will keep them hopping and, the team hopes, well in contention for event victories and championship titles.
“It’s tough to call out what you’re going to do because even with all the stars aligned something can happen to derail your plan,” said Cultrera. “But the Comp car is plenty fast enough to be in the top 5 in the world, and I would like to call this a year of redemption after missing out on the top 10 [nationally] in both cars in 2011. This season, we’re planning to do things a little different because we have such a fast car, including going to some of the hot summer races like Topeka – where all the cars slow down – in an effort to save our index.”
Cultrera also intends to get his sister, Lauren Cultrera, into the Super Comp dragster and bracket racing in the late spring or early summer, and he looks forward to sharing some of the knowledge that he has gained in his still blooming career.
“It’s going to be a great year,” said Cultrera. “We’ve worked hard over the winter to improve our program, and we’re setting up for a really strong future. We can’t wait to get back out there and get started.”
With the TuffRail system installed in their new Gold Rush trailer, Kyle Cultrera Racing is ready to hit the trail. They offer extreme gratitude towards their supporters, including Scott and Cliff Moberg and TuffRail; Rick Pollard and Independent Boat Haulers; Al Ackerman; Dave Ring; Carl Robinson and Mickey Thompson Tires; Adam Lambert and Penske; Tom Vigue and 3V Performance; Abruzzi Racing Transmissions; Joe Pando and MSD; Todd Paton and Racepak; Arnie Martel and Speedco; Aeromotive; and K&N Filters. The Cultrera family would also like to extend sincere appreciation towards Bruce Deveau of The Racer’s Mind, and they wish him a speedy recovery.