Doug Herbert is a professional drag racer and owner of Doug Herbert Performance Parts. A resident of Cornelius, N.C., Herbert grew up in California and began racing in 1986. He made his first start on the IHRA circuit in 1991 and quickly racked up 20 event wins as well as four IHRA Top Fuel championships. Since 1991 Herbert, who is also an accomplished pilot, has competed in the NHRA. Doug founded B.R.A.K.E.S. in honor of his two sons, Jon, 17, and James, 12, who were killed in a tragic car accident in January 2008. In addition to owning and operating his high performance parts business, Herbert continues to race on the NHRA circuit and is highly involved in the day-to-day activities of B.R.A.K.E.S.
Tom Cotter is a born automobile enthusiast who began repairing and selling cars during his teenage years. Tom founded his own company, The Cotter Group, which he built into the world’s largest motorsport marketing communications firm. The Cotter Group specializes in public relations, marketing, promotions, hospitality, licensing, publishing and consulting. Cotter is an active road racer and competes regularly in vintage sports car races around the country. He keeps a personal collection of approximately 40 vintage automobiles and sports cars. Cotter remains a contributing editor to “Road & Track” magazine as well as a media consultant for Mercedes-Benz. He lives in Davidson, N.C. with his wife, Pat, and son, Brian.
Steve Johnson is owner of Steve Johnson Racing and a Pro Stock Motorcycle driver in the NHRA. Johnson, who resides in Birmingham, AL, has raced on the NHRA circuit since 1987 and, in that time, has scored five career victories. In 2008, Johnson scored his second win at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN, which is the most prestigious event on the NHRA drag racing circuit, as well as a win at the inaugural NHRA Nationals in Charlotte, N.C. Johnson, who grew up in Granada Hills, CA, is known for his outgoing personality and his efforts to promote the sport of drag racing. Away from the track, he enjoys riding dirt bikes, scuba diving, golf and attending NASCAR races. For many years Johnson and Doug Herbert have been close friends and Johnson spent a good deal of time with Herbert’s sons, Jon and James, for whom B.R.A.K.E.S. was founded.
Wanda Miller has held the position as President & General Manager of The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is one of the largest private clubs in the US for numerous years. Her duties included overseeing the finer dining restaurant and bar, membership sales, special event sales and marketing of The Speedway Club to NASCAR clientele, as well as corporate and social markets. Miller, who is originally from Gretna, VA, and graduated from James Madison University, was the first female to be named a Vice President at a NASCAR track. She lives in Davidson, N.C., with her family. She enjoys yoga and acupuncture and has interests in natural medicine, economics and politics.
Dave Dobson is a producer at ESPN Regional Television in Charlotte, North Carolina. A passionate racing fan from an early age, he has had the good fortune of working in Motorsports for ESPN and ABC since 1996. His ESPN resume includes coverage of NASCAR, Formula One, Indycar, and NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Dobson was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from Bowling Green State University, where he sang with the University Men’s Chorus and earned his varsity letter as the school mascot. He still makes frequent trips back home to visit family and friends – and to cheer on his beloved Cleveland Browns. Dobson lives in Charlotte with his wife and fellow singer, Susanna, and their two cats.
Patti Wheeler is the President and owner of Wheeler Television, Inc., a television production company specializing in motorsports for national broadcast and cable networks. She started her career at age 22 as a producer/director and later served as the Director of Motorsports and Executive Producer for TNN. Wheeler, was also the President of World Sports Enterprises which is the leading motorsports television production company in the U.S. Wheeler graduated from Belmont Abbey College and lives in Charlotte with her husband, Leo Hindery, Jr., and their two teenagers. She has been named one of NASCAR’s Top 25 Most Powerful People by the Charlotte Observer and was included on the Charlotte Business Journal list of Top Forty Under Forty.
Gerry Beattie, is the Director in Fleet Operations for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Before working for Coca-Cola Bottling, Gerry worked at Carolina Freight Carriers Corp and Palm Peterbuilt. He has been an avid drag racing fan for many years and enjoys watching Doug race. Gerry has two daughters Angela 26, and Christina 24. Gerry believes teaching our children the right way to do things is one of the best gifts we are able to give. “I get a lot out of helping Matt and Doug with the schools. We all need to volunteer for something we enjoy doing. I would be proud to be a part of making B.R.A.K.E.S. a nationwide Teen Driving Program.”
Richard Paysor has over 50 years experience in various executive office and entepreneur endeavors. After eight years with a Big 8 CPA firm he became Vice President- Taxes and Governmental Affairs with a multi-national Fortune 500 Company. Leaving the public area after tweleve years, he formed Trident Energy, First Capitol Associates and The Fairborne Group. These entities engaged in oil and gas exploration in Oklahoma, provided mid market merger and acuisition services and commercial real estate services for foreign investors. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Rusty Wallace, Inc- a diverse holding company involved in air transportation, auto dealerships and real estate ventures. He is a former Board Member of the Greater St. Loius United Way and The Darrell Gwynn Foundation. Mr Paysor is a graduate of Kent State university with a Bachlor of Science Degree in Business Administration.
Heather Herbert is Doug Herbert’s sister and Jon and James’ aunt. She is a lawyer and active duty Captain in the United States Army currently stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C. She is married to Major Michael Binetti and has two children.
Shirley Muldowney the “First Lady of Drag Racing” is an American pioneer in professional auto racing. She was the first woman to receive a license from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to drive a Top Fuel dragster. She won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 1977, 1980 and 1982, becoming the first person to win two and three Top Fuel titles. She has a total of 18 NHRA national events and was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1990. The 1983 biographical film “Heart Like a Wheel” was based on her life in drag racing.
Don ‘The Snake” Prudhomme
Ask even the most casual of motor sports fans who the biggest name in drag racing is and you are almost always sure to hear one name- Don “The Snake” Prudhomme. A true legend of the sport, Snake’s remarkable career began in 1962 with his first Top Fuel victory at “Smokers March Meet” in Bakersfield, Calif., before ending with 49 NHRA career victories- the sixth most in NHRA history- following his farewell “Final Strike Tour” in 1984. For his career, Prudhomme reached the finals 68 times, posting a remarkable 35 wins in 45 Funny Car finals rounds (.609 win percentage). Overall, he won 389 0f 589 rounds of competition for a .660 winning percentage.
Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen
Is an American drag racer who changed the sport with his Mattel Hot Wheels marketing program and won the NHRA U.S. Nationals during part of his 45 year career. He is listed as number 16 of the 50 most significant drivers of NHRA’s first 50 years. He recieved the nickname “the Moogoose” in 1964 from engine builder Ed Donovan. It was largely riginally used as a device to entice Don “The Snake” Prudhomme into a high-exposure match race.
McEwen won only five NHRA national events during his 45- plus-year career, but McEwen’s gift for gab and promotional ability made him one of the sport’s most influential and controversial figures.
As stated by Roland Leong, “McEwen was the smartest of the bunch. When he came up with the Hot Wheels deal using the Snake and Mongoose characters, it shook the world of drag racing big time. He produced a sponsorship package that allowed him and Prudhomme to buy the best equipment, pay expenses, make money and sell their image all over the United States. I hate to admit it but McEwen and Prudhomme showed us the way to the future. They were a lot smarter than most of us who didn’t see past the end of the quarter-mile.”