Auto Tech teacher wins drag race two years in a row

Oxford High School auto technology teacher Dan Balsley and his car ‘Possum? have once again won the educator’s division of the Annual High School Drag Race Event, hosted by the Milan Dragway and the Army National Guard on May 3.
This is the second year in a row, and the fourth time overall, that Balsley has won this race with his 1964 Dodge Polera.
‘I’ve been running this same car since 1982,? he said. ‘I’ve had it since 1979.?
The High School Drag Race Event is set aside just for high school students and their instructors to race at the Milan Dragway. After competing in three time trials, the cars are placed into brackets and then set to run a straight quarter mile race track, two at a time and side-by-side. Educators are placed in a separate bracket from students, and around 40 vehicles competed in this year’s instructor class.
Three Oxford High School students also participated in this year’s races. Sam Brown took his 1966 AMC Rambler and ran in the 14.50s, while Dan Dunhum drove his 1969 Chevelle and ran in the high 17.00s. Justin Corbin was the only Oxford student to qualify for second round eliminations with his 1999 Ford Lightning, which ran 14.70 ET in a quarter mile. Around 15 other Oxford High School students attended the event to cheer on their classmates.
‘This really is a motivator for the students,? said Balsley. ‘I wouldn’t still be doing this if it wasn’t for them.?
The students provide their own vehicles and work on them in their spare time either at home and at the high school auto shop. When preparing for a race, the students really focus on their vehicles? reaction times and consistency.
‘It gets them excited about the cars and performance quality,? Balsley explained. ‘They come to me asking how they can improve this and make this faster and we end up talking about the technical aspects.?
‘This also gets them racing where it’s allowed and controlled, instead of just out on the streets where they could get hurt or in trouble.?
Photos of the ‘Possum? and Brown’s Rambler, as well as additional information on the races, are available through the website