Maddi Gordon, daughter of two-time NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Funny Car champion Doug Gordon, has been working as the full-time clutch specialist on the Gordon family’s Camaro for the past three race seasons.
Maddi is now 19 years old, the same age her father was when he took over the seat of the family Top Alcohol Funny Car from his father, Mike Gordon. It seems like a familiar story; the passing of the torch from one generation to the next. Mike started racing in the TAFC class in 1986, Doug took over in 1994, and now Maddi will take the wheel in 2024.
Prior to working on the team’s Beta Motorcycles Morro Bay Cabinets entry, Maddi was busy in the Junior Drag Racing Association series. From the time she started racing at the age of 10, to the conclusion of her junior career in 2022, Maddi collected 47 race wins, two NHRA Division 7 championships, two ANRA Track Championships, and a Western Conference Finals championship.
In preparation to take over the driving duties in 2024, Maddi made seven attempts in the team entry during a two-day session at Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield, Calif. The hope was to get enough qualifying passes to upgrade her competition license, but the track conditions proved too difficult to maintain traction past 200 feet. Despite tricky conditions, including track temperatures that ranged from 130-150 degrees, Maddi took advantage of every run to practice the burnout and starting line procedures.
“I feel really comfortable with the burnout and staging. Hopefully, we’ll do some Monday testing and get my license there,” said Maddi. “I had a lot of fun this weekend, and I loved it getting to finally drive the funny car.”
Although she has an abundance of seat time in Jr. Dragster and Jr. Comp, the TAFC has a completely different operation for the driver. Maddi has been studying in-car footage of her father over the last six months, learning all the steps.
Doug was elated with the progress his daughter has made, “Maddi did great, she did everything right and got to experience some tire shake and tire spin. It’s a bummer we couldn’t get the car down the track because she was ready to take the car further, for sure.”
The team will continue to look for opportunities throughout the season to give Maddi more seat time and make the required licensing passes. Their next scheduled race is the Lucas Oil Series regional event at Denver’s Bandimere Speedway on June 16-17. Doug Gordon and team will then return to Norwalk to defend their 2022 victory at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, June 22-25.