Lavern, California native Ryan Priddy was introduced to drag racing when he was just 3 or 4 years old. His father used to take him to the Pomona Raceway. And for his 16th birthday, his dad got Ryan a 1970 Nova.
“My dad and I worked on it and I used it to race in the high school series at Pomona," recalled Ryan. "I moved up to Palmdale to race and got a little quicker and a little quicker. Then I got a super pump dragster and started racing in that.”
Through a shared love of drag racing, Ryan (shown at right) met Nick and Irene Mitsos, the owners of Mountain View Tire and Auto Service. By 2010, Ryan was running the Mountain View Racing operation.
Today, Ryan is the driver of the Mountain View Racing COPO Camaro.
We asked him if drag racing requires any special personality traits. “I’ve been racing for probably 20 years and to this day there’s not a run that doesn’t get me riled up or a little nervous. But you need to learn to be calm and cool. What helps me is always staying busy. I still work on the car. I help to change the motor. I chill the motor down. That’s how I keep myself focused and motivated. The adrenaline starts to kick in when we’re in the staging lane, a few cars from the starting line. But once I’m at the line, I’m usually pretty cool.”
In 2019, the Mountain View team made the switch to the SAMTech.edu Factory Stock Showdown Series after racing Pro Stock cars for many years.
“Factory Stock is newer. It’s something we’ve never done before, and it’s a challenge; a lot different than racing Pro Stock cars,” said Ryan. “Also, just like my ’70 Nova, this car does wheel stands and I have to shift it on my own. The other cars are automatic shifts. So, in the SAMTech cars, there’s still a lot of driver ability involved, and it’s just super exciting.”
When he’s not at the track, Ryan shares his skills in the Mountain View Performance Shop. “We work on cars for other drivers in the Sportsman class. We have our own engine shop. I’ll help with pulling motors, fabrication work, and other jobs.”
He says the strength of the Mountain View Racing team begins with personal relationships. “I love Nick and Irene, Chris, Paul, Michael. They’re awesome people. And our racing team guys Eric and Bobby are just awesome, too. We’ve gelled very well. We always have a good time and lots of laughs. We share the same commitment to excellence as the team in our tire stores. We go at it 110%.”
(The video above features action from the 2019 NHRA Norwalk Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.)