Jeremy McCormick - A Winner from Day One
By Jim Luikens
Not only was Jeremy a racer at age 12, he was a winner. Way too young for a driver's license, he began his racing career by piloting a Honda Trail 70 at Northern Michigan Dragway in Kaleva, Michigan. In fact, he won Super Pro Eliminator, and its $500 winner's check, the very first time he ever competed. Although he admits today that he was really too young to understand the significance of what he had accomplished it seemed like a big deal to everyone else at the time.
From Kaleva, Jeremy advanced to Central Michigan Dragway's (now Mid Michigan Motorplex) Jr. Eliminator. This eliminator saw 15 to 20 competitors every week, all on motorcycles and all under 16 years old. Other standouts from Central's Jr. Eliminator of that era (which predates Jr. Dragsters) were Mike and Jeff Ledford, two other young racers that would go on to achieve a fair amount of renown in their later years.
After two seasons in the Bantam he purchased his first dragster, a rolling chassis that had been raced by local hero Jerry Arnold. Now racing on the 1/4-mile tracks at Stanton and Martin, Jeremy recorded elapsed times in the high seven-second range using just a 355 CID small block Chevrolet for power. He raced this car for three seasons, racking up quite a few local wins along the way.
Desiring to continue his ascent in the world of drag racing he next purchased a used dragster from South Carolina. However, this wasn't just any old dragster. It was the world championship car of Bennie Ulmer. Jeremy raced this car locally for two years with a 500 cubic inch Chevrolet engine. It was primarily used for bracket racing with the occasional foray into Top Dragster.
Eventually the car was upgraded to use nitrous and its debut run was 7.11 seconds at 190 miles-per-hour, a remarkable achievement in Jeremy's eyes considering how little he actually knew about using nitrous. This was also the first car that Jeremy took on the road, hitting an occasional IHRA event that was close to his home.
Jeremy is sold on the benefits of EFI and has used it exclusively since 1998. He uses the FAST system and likes how easy it is to make tuning or timing changes. In 2003 he purchased the car that he races to this day. It is a 2002 Undercover chassis that was never raced prior to his purchase. Still loyal to the concept of EFI, his FAST system now sits on top of a 598 CID big block Chevrolet.
After getting to know the car in 2003, Jeremy made the decision to seriously chase the IHRA Top Dragster World Championship in 2004. While he didn't win the title in his first try, consistent late round finishes propelled him to a great fifth place in the final 2004 points standings. Hoping to improve on his fine finish of a year ago Jeremy is following the IHRA trail again in 2005.
The 2005 season has brought a mixed bag of results for the McCormick team so far. At the Tri-State Points meet in Hamilton, Ohio Jeremy won the Top Dragster/Top Sportsman Shootout that is conducted on Saturday night but bowed out in the second round on Sunday. Moving on to Cordova, and a double points opportunity, he went down to the final six cars in Saturday's Shootout but lost in the first round on Sunday. Considering the double points that were available, there couldn't have been a worse time to be a first round runner-up.
At the divisional event in Milan, Michigan the team suffered some rare (for them) parts breakage when their transmission failed in the second round. While 2005 hasn't shaped up like a championship year to-date Jeremy has had just enough good finishes to remain optimistic. He also notes that he has nearly a full compliment of nationals yet to run.
Jeremy is grateful for the support that his parents, Jerry and Marcia, provide along with that of his girl friend Kristina. In fact it is not uncommon for his father to work on the car by himself during the week if Jeremy is tied with sports for Kaitlyn or Madisyn, his daughters. And while he wouldn't mind racing Pro Stock some day, just as his father once did, Jeremy is content to stay in Top Dragster. After all he has made some great friends in that class and there's still a T/D World Championship to be won.