Born in Philadelphia and raised on the quiet streets of a middle-class neighborhood, Derrick Townes is a self-proclaimed “regular guy” who is anything but average, and has a passion for speed. A licensed electrical contractor by trade, Derrick started working for an electrician at the age of 14. He started his own electrical company, Townes Mechanical Contractors, Inc., at the age of 18 which he still owns and operates today. Derrick is also a longtime member of Local 98 Electrical Union.
His interest in racing began at a young age. His need for speed grew rapidly as he raced anything he could get his hands on from bicycles to remote controlled cars as a kid. He purchased his first performance car, a 1980 Corvette, at the age of 18 and modified it to run faster in his back yard with friends. Derrick has a profound appreciation for the sleekness of design, aerodynamics, and overall performance of the Corvette and has owned several in his lifetime. Working with the Corvette sparked the beginning of his desire to own and operate his very own racecar and, perhaps, one day to compete professionally.
His very first racecar was a 1966 Nova with a 468 cubic inch motor. He sold this car in an attempt to obtain a race car which was lighter in body weight and equipped to reach even greater speeds. He wanted this car built by a professional race car builder and he began researching the intricacies of vehicle bodies and builder’s of racing engines of that caliber.
His next vehicle was a 1967 Corvette-bodied, all out race car with a tube chassis and fiber glass body built by Suncoast Race Cars of Florida. This car housed a 712 cubic inch motor built by Sonny Leonard from Lynchburg, VA., which produced over 1400 horsepower. Unfortunately, this vehicle was destroyed when it veered out of control and struck a wall during a race. Derrick walked away from this race unhurt and more determined, not only to race again, but to come back stronger and faster. In order to accomplish this Derrick sought out the help of six (6) time IHRA world champion, Pro Mod racer, Scotty Cannon. Derrick spent a full year volunteering with Cannon and crew in order to learn the ins and outs of professional racing before purchasing his next car.
Derrick now drives a Pro Mod 1968 Camaro built by Vanishing Point Race Cars in Telford, PA, (a company that currently holds the world record ET and MPH in Pro Mod racing), with a supercharged, blown-alcohol motor that produces over 2500 horsepower. With twice the power of his old car, its carbon fiber body is very light in weight and has the ability to reach even greater speeds. With the assistance of Cannon, Derrick has been able to reach speeds only dreamed of by the average “weekend racer”. His best elapsed time to date is 6.32 seconds @ 228 mph in the ¼ mile, and he continues to learn and grow as well as improve his driving and tuning abilities. He currently is an active member of Cannon’s crew and travels all over the United States and Canada working with both Cannon and his son on their world record setting Firebird and record setting Superbird. Cannon has also taken an interest in Derrick’s progression and travels with, or meets him at various venues to offer his assistance. They maintain a close friendship and Derrick considers Cannon a mentor. At any given time, Scotty Cannon is just a phone call away to answer questions, give advice, or just talk.
Derrick describes his experience as a level up from sportsman racing and says that the exposure gained from racing with Cannon was “one of the most exciting things he has ever had done”. Derrick continues to learn under Cannon’s tutelage, and is determined to succeed. Derrick currently maintains a small crew made up of his father and a few close friends who are dedicated to see him reach his goals. When he is not working with Cannon, he is actively seeking advice, reviewing past footage from previous races, and working hard at perfecting his hobby. He is currently an active member of the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association and, in his first year, ended the season ranked #5 in points.
Derrick’s next goal is to compete at an even higher level and he looks forward to the challenges of professional racing.
ABOUT DERRICK TOWNES