ACE Manufacturing
Rob Atchison's Blog


Atchison Racing came into existence in the late fifties and early sixties when Bob Atchison started drag rag racing at St. Thomas Dragway near his hometown of London. Bob began racing his street car and then built a "Henry J" powered by an Oldsmobile engine. This fueled the fire for Bob's quest for speed until he built a string of dragsters ending up running Top Fuel throughout Ontario,Michigan and New York State. 1964 Bob started Atchison Machine Service to fill the need of local racers of a for a local quality machine shop to work on performance engines. Bob also constructed complete turn key race cars from Altered to Dragsters while successfully campaigning his own Top Fuel Dragstser. Over the years, the engine building business grew and expanded that Bob stopped building complete race cars. With the business continuing to grow and consume Bob's time, he reluctantly retired from driving after the local tracks either closed or stopped racing Top Fuel. After a few years, he was asked to come and help a friend at the local oval track; soon after he purchased his own car. As they raced and became more dominant in the Late Model stock car class, he then bought another car. Now with a two car team, they successfully campaigned throughout Southern Ontario. He quit racing in the mid seventies to concentrate on raising a family and concentrate on expanding and growing his business. The business continued to grow and expand into the Diesel engine market.

The Torch is past to "The Next Generation"

In 1994, after Bob's son Rob joined the company on a permanent basis, they decided to start drag racing together. With Rob driving, they campaigned the For Wheels Auto Care Camaro throughout the 1995 racing season winning two Super Pro events and numerous runner ups, finishing 9th in points at Grand Bend Motorplex in his rookie season. During the end of the 1995 season, they purchased a Top Alcohol Funny Car, less motor and transmission, to compete in the Quick "16", Pro Comp. Eliminator, with Supercharged Chevrolet and Automatic Transmission.

In 1996 they won the Pro Comp. Championship at Grand Bend Motorplex and continued to thunder. In 1997 they campaigned the car in Quick "16" races in Indiana, Michigan and Ontario with frequent #1 Qualifiers, with a best time of 6.53@208.00 MPH. In July 1998 they purchased their first true Top Alcohol Funny Car and began making test runs in September and October to learn the new clutch and transmission combo. The 1999 debut for the new car was at the IHRA Prolong Winter Nationals March 12-14 in Darlington, South Carolina, was quick and exciting. The 6.155@225.32 MPH qualifying pass put Rob into the #9 qualifying spot. The 6.155 was the quickest run ever by a Chevrolet powered Alcohol Funny Car. Rob went on to win "Best Engineered Pro Car" at the IHRA Amalie Oil Nationals at Cordova. Rob qualified # 5 at the IHRA World Finals with a 5.99 on his way to finishing 10th in points. The 2000 season began with the team looking to improve on their 10th place IHRA points. Rob set The Grand Bend track record with a career best 5.93 second pass. He also captured his first career # 1 qualifier at the inaugural Mopar Canadian Nationals. Rob finished 7th in points consistently qualifying in the top half of the IHRA fields.

Rob and Crew were off to their best start in 2001 and were in 3rd place in IHRA points heading into the Mopar Canadian Nationals at Grand Bend Motorplex. The season then became “The Crash and Burn Tour” !!! During first round of qualifying at Grand Bend the car suffered a magneto failure causing a terrifying chain of events. The failure caused the engine to cross fire popping the burst panel and supercharger breaking a fuel line which in turn caused a methanol fire. This melted the air lines to the shifter pods on the transmission sending the car into low gear at 200 MPH causing the engine to explode with an oil fire. With a great driving job with parachutes burning and the car engulfed in flames Rob managed to stop the car and jump out unhurt thanks to his Simpson Driving suit and on board fire equipment. The fire crew did there best but the car was a total loss. After missing the next event the team returned with the backup Oldsmobile Achieva and clawed their way back into the top ten. In late August with new associate sponsor Erickson Manufacturing on board the team headed into Norwalk, Ohio looking to improve their position in the standings. After qualifying well bad luck again struck the team. During the first round of eliminations Rob got into some residual oil left undetected on the race track causing him to fight with the car and pulling his chutes late. The car would not stop and went off the end of the track at approximately 175 mph. With no sand trap to slow the car it struck a ditch sending it airborne flipping end over end and crashing hard completely destroying the car. Thanks to the Simpson safety equipment Rob managed to come out of this horrific crash with only a very painful broken tailbone and a few bruises.

The 2002 season was a return to form for Rob and Crew. New sponsors Erickson Manufacturing and PRIDE Fighting Championships, new cars and new truck and trailer. 2002 also brought aboard West Coast Transportation, Team Truck Centre and Ultimate Touch Custom and Collision.The new cars featured a new paint scheme designed by fellow Canadian Stu Wotypka. The paint was masterfully applied by Branko and Paul of Ultimate Touch. The new trailer is hauled by a TEAM Truck prepared Freightliner Condo-Conventional modified to seat six in air-ride comfort. The team performance continued to improve with Rob continuing to qualify in the top half of the field. Rob set a career best ET with a 5.836 second pass at the AC Delco Canadian Nationals. Rob was 4th in the IHRA points chase when disaster struck at Epping when the magneto again failed causing yet another fire destroying the Pontiac. With the help of sponsors family and friends the team returned to Budd's Creek and then Rockingham with the "Stealth Car" named for it's flat black primer paint job. The team qualified well and ended the 2002 seasson 5th in points.

Championship Years

Rob suffered a setback early in 2003 with the sudden and unexpected death of Pride Fighting's President. He was the supporter of the racing and the sponsorship fell through when he died. The team missed the first race in San Antonio because of bad weather at home would not permit the hauler to be loaded or move. The next race the team went to Rockingham and qualified # 1 before with a career best before the race has been rained out and rescheduled to October. 2003 marked the addition of new product sponsors Crane Cams,FlatOut Gasket, Hoosier Tire,Mother's Wax ,Ringers Gloves, Tool and Cutter Supply and Weld Wheels to Atchison Racing. Brent and Connie Erickson and the Erickson Family became the primary sponsor just before the Mopar Canadian Nationals and Rob and the team responded with their first IHRA victory setting the Grand Bend track record 5.727 seconds.

Erickson Manufacturing became title sponsor for the balance of 2003 at Grand Bend in early June. In July a deal was struck to keep the Erickson name on the "Door" for 2 more years plus an option year. Armed with the knowledge that the team had a secure sponsorship deal they blasted their way through the competition winning 6 races, finishing runner-up at 2 races,setting 7 track records, qualifying # 1 an unbelievable 9 times and finishing with a winning percentage of .860 in 11 races. Winning their first career championship.

The 2004 season began with the team qualifying well but facing a red hot Mark Thomas who started the year with 4 straight victories. The team trailed by 147 points at the halfway point and a lot of people had wrote the Erickson Manufacturing Team off in the Championship defense. A great team never quits and when a champion is down but never out because he is the champion. The team started what is one of IHRA history's most remarkable comebacks as they won 3 races and had 5 runner-ups on their way to their 2nd and "Back to Back" Championship. Along the way the team scored 9 # 1 qualifiers and went to 8 final rounds becoming the first IHRA Funny Car team to go to eight finals in back to back years.

The 2005 season began with a track record setting performance at San Antonio with the Erickson Manufacturing teams first Texas Nationals victory. Rob and Crew continued throughout the year to qualify well with 9 # 1 qualifiers and 9 low et's for the event in 11 races. The team also won 7 races and scored 1 runner-up on their way to their third straight championship. Rob's 16th career victory placed him 4th all-time behind Jimmy Rector as well as making Rob the Canadian Career leader in IHRA wins. Rob was also voted by the race as as Canadian Pro Driver of the Year and his father Bob was voted as Canadian Crew Chief of the Year. 2005 also saw the Atchison Racing Team honor the Canadian War Veterans by donating the rear quarter panel of the Funny Car to Torchbearers and the "Year of Veteran" on their way to victory at the Canadian Nationals at Toronto motorsports Park. At the final race the team became the first ever IHRA Alcohol Funny Car to run a 5.60 with their record setting 5.685 in the final pass of 2005. Rob and the team also set the record as being the only IHRA Alcohol team to appear in 8 finals in three consecutive seasons

Erickson Tie Downs and Tow Straps renewed in the fall of 2005 with Atchison Racing for 3 more years beginning in 2006. The new commitment from Erickson brought forth the new Monte Carlos and a complete new engine program. Not a team to rest on past performances the team sought new territory and set the IHRA MPH record at Epping on their way to victory at 249.09. The year was filled with new challenges as the team struggled to find their consistency and wound up 2nd in points. The learning curve bodes well for the future as the Erickson Monte Carlo is extremely quick and very fast.

With continued support from Erickson Tie Downs and Tow Straps and the many wonderful sponsors Rob and Crew look to expand their race schedule to include some NHRA races as well as the IHRA Championship chase in 2007. The team ran hard and struggled with consistency as the new motor program made new challenges in hooking the car to the track. The team again finished a close second to Mark Thomas and look forward to 2008.

The 2008 season continued to be a challenge as the crew struggled to get the horsepower to the track to get back the consistency. In early May Erickson announced that their sponsorship would not be renewed for 2009 as they planned to expand their business through different modes of advertising. The team started testing new clutches at the mid point of the year and made progress when a 4th championship seemed out of reach. The team finished third in points and prepared for 2009.

2009 marks the beginning of a new era at Atchison racing. After 6 great years with the Erickson Manufacturing family ACE Manufacturing of Bittern Lake Alberta stepped into the program to expand the teams appearance in Western Canada. Although IHRA never officially announced the fact Alcohol Funny Cars and Nitro Funny Cars were dropped from their program in 2009. The team will get their feet wet in NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional races in 2009 and hopes to expand their schedule to NHRA National events in 2010.

2010 begins a whole new motor program as the Team Ace Racing Monte Carlo that will be raced in Western Canada and Western United States and the Atchison Racing Monte Carlo who will race in Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States will feature both PSI Screwblowers and will run in full NHRA trim. There is no more IHRA Alcohol Funny Car class so Rob will remain 2nd in career victories to old friend Mark Thomas and his IHRA miles per hour record will stay archived in the record books. The teams will race 2 NHRA National Events in 2010 with each car racing an event.