Cody Perkins, nicknamed “Flash”, triumphantly returned to Salt Lake this week from Topeka, Kansas, as the Top Alcohol Dragster at the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) Summer Nationals. The race was held on Sunday, May 29, where Perkins clocked his best time of the year: traveling a quarter of a mile in 5.37 seconds, traveling 263.15 mph.

Flash, a graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering here at the U of U, has been racing professionally since 2006. He was the NHRA’s rookie of the year in the top alcohol division, which is the second fastest division below top fuel.

When Perkins was a Mechanical Engineering student, his senior design project was building a billet aluminum carbon-fiber injector. According to Perkins, this contraption is, “the throttle-body mechanism that maximizes the intake area that was previously unexploited by earlier designs. It increases the air that goes into the supercharger, which allows you to make more power and go faster.” When Perkins arrived on the racing scene with this new device, no one new what it was, but it worked. And worked well. Perkins still uses the device on his dragster.

Flash’s team is family-operated and his parents have been racing since before Cody was born. When Cody turned 18, his father gave him his first drag racer. Now, Cody’s parents serve on the crew, as does his grandmother (79) who still packs parachutes, cleans engine parts and tools, and drains oil. Flash is the driver, engine builder, and tuner. This was Flash’s, and the family’s, biggest win so far.

Photo courtesy of Bob Johnson Photography