In the third edition of “Friends That Make Us Fast” it’s hard to not love this young man’s story (yeah he’s older than me, but everyone is older than me). From cutting grass, and sweeping the floors to driving the shop’s house Top Dragster car and is usually the guy you talk to when you call APD. That’s right, we’re talking about Joe Hessling! If you know carburetors, you know APD. From blow-thru turbo and centrifugal supercharger applications, to big cubic inch nitrous pro mod’s and top dragsters, and even throttle stop carburetors for .90 racing, all the way to a footbrake alcohol carburetor APD kinda does it all! But how he got there is a little different than your typical application and piss test.
“I was working at a local speed shop in town and John needed some parts ran over, it was kinda late but I got em there and he started showing me around. It was pretty cool as a high school kid who is big into cars, and my dad raced, to get to see that stuff.” It wasn’t too much longer until Joe had a job at APD either. “He [John Kyle] was in the middle of the Black Widow tapered spacer program and needed to push out an absolute ton of em so the CNC machines ran 24 hours a day popping those things out. Well, John needed someone to watch them and take the parts out, then throw in a new billet block to start over and hit the “Go” button. Needless to say I was thrilled to be that guy and I was working nights while in school.” But that wasn’t all he did starting out, he also cut the grass at the shop and at John’s house. Fast forward 10 years and here’s Joe now.
From CAD drawings, CNC operations, carburetor & engine building, to ordering parts and taking customers orders Joe is a large part of APD. “Ya never know who’s going to call next or what they’re building. Between customers ideas and our ideas, there’s always really cool stuff going on in the shop.” One idea that has taken the market by storm is the ProCharger Top Dragster & Top Sportsman setup. “Dan Davies from Diamond Race Cars called us and said he wanted a really fast bracket car with a ProCharger on it. So we came up with a carb for it and made some other adjustments in the fuel system as well and sent it out to Dan. He loved it and we had no idea what a monster we started!” Now APD is the leading fuel delivery system for Top Dragster cars between nitrous and ProCharger entries. Joe himself is even running Top Dragster! “Yeah the APD house car is pretty sweet. (I could hear his grin over the phone) It’s a 250 inch American Race Cars TD Chassis with a Full Floating Nine Inch Moser rear end. It features one of our Brodix BB3xtra headed engines with a F1X-12 Race Drive setup, and a complete APD fuel system with a Hughes drivetrain and Hoosier tires. We just wanted to build a bullet proof bracket car, then go race it in Top Dragster. I drive it from the trailer to the lanes, down the track, off the track, and back to the trailer while I wave at all the guys getting pushed/towed. It’s a really cool car.” It’s so cool he scored himself a Top 10 in NHRA National Points last year and a JEG’S All Star victory in TD. “I’ve won the JEG’S Northern Sports Nat’s and a $10k at the Michigan $50k but the JEG’S All Star win to me is the coolest.
When I asked him what his favorite project has been at APD it was kind of a no doubter right off the bat, “The ProCharger stuff is really cool and is way more successful than we ever dreamed up, but the single coolest project I ever got to be on is without a doubt the Max Speed Carburetor!” For those of you who don’t know what the Max Speed Carburetor is get ready to have your mind blown. It’s a carburetor, with a built in throttle stop, and you can control both the “wide open” and “on the stop” fuel curves separately making it the cornerstone of any winning .90 combination! How bout that? Using some technology from today’s fast moving motorsports industry, and some from the 1970’s it is a bit like combining the Space Shuttle and the Mayflower but it is absolutely the fastest carb out there and the most consistent you can get your hands on. “With times between rounds of 5-10 hours sometimes having the advantage of the overall consistency this carburetor offers is almost unfair.”
“We worked really hard on the Max Speed Carb and I think it showed. Luke went out and right off the bat won the 2013 Super Comp World Title, the he won the 2014 Super Gas World Title while Edmond Richardson won the Super Comp World Title that year. 2015 it was Kevin Brannon in Super Comp and that kind of solidified the fact that it’s not just a gadget. To count how many Wally’s that thing has won is something outrageous and we’re just happy that our customers have that advantage over the rest of the field. There’s still a lot of work to be done on it in the future and we’re consistently making that combination better and better so be on the lookout for new and improved things.
I asked Joe what are the two coolest things about working at APD and he said “It’s the people I get to work with like Luke, Tommy, Edmond, the Moser family, and the Brotherton family, along with Scott Shafiroff, Scott Duggins, and the late Tracy Dennis. Not to mention I’m a kid in a candy shop when it comes to the freedom we have at the shop to have an idea at lunch on Monday, and before you go home on Friday it’s out of the CNC machine in your hands.”
I don’t know about y’all but I’m jealous of Joe! So the really cool thing about working with these companies is how much they love to give back, Joe told me that if you share this article on FB and you use the hashtag #APDRacing you’re entered to win any brand new carburetor of choice from APD! Just kidding I made ALL of that up, but if you need a carburetor maybe you should give APD a shout. You can find em on the web at www.apdracing.com
‘Till next time, keep it shiny side up y’all!