Years ago, a little boy named Harvey Emmons III, better known to friends and family as “Speedy," prayed for a baby sister… Not too long after that, Speedy’s prayers for a sibling were answered, albeit a little differently than he expected. How so? Well, in lieu of getting that baby sister he'd been hoping for, Speedy got, not one – but, three brothers – instead!
Since the triplets' names hadn't been completely decided upon when they were born, the new brothers were affectionately called “A”, “B” and “C”, to represent their birth order. Today, these brothers are better known as Terry A Emmons, Jerry B Emmons and Gary C Emmons, and, along with older brother, Speedy, comprise the ultra- successful team of Emmons Motorsports, based in Pasadena, Texas.
Growing up around drag racing and the automotive business, it was a natural transition for all four brothers to follow in the footsteps of their Dad, Harvey Emmons Jr. In the early years, when the brothers weren’t in school they were doing odd jobs at the dealership making about twenty-five cents a day. When the family wasn't working, they could often be found at the dragstrip watching Dad race his 1967 Chevy Biscayne. And today, the brothers can still be found at the dealership, as well as dragstrips around the country.
After 40 years, the family has built Emmons Motor Company to one of the largest, most well respected dealerships in the Houston, Texas area, and their race team into one of the most successful sportsman teams in the nation, racing NHRA and IHRA Stock and Superstock classes.
While nobody ever forgets their first racecar, it can be said that some are more memorable than others. Each of the brothers got their racing start driving one of the three 1977 810 station wagons the family owned. At 19 seconds in the quarter mile, the wagons weren’t exactly “fast,” but they served as great vehicles in which the Emmons brothers could learn the nuances of the sport.
Soon after, Speedy graduated to an NHRA Stock Eliminator 1969 Camaro Convertible, and, in 1984, at the age of 16, became the youngest-ever NHRA National Event champion (a record he still holds to this day). Quite simply put – from that moment on, the legend of the Emmons' Brothers was born.
Just as older brother Speedy was taking the team to the next level, the triplets were also hard at work building their resumes. Most notably, the final round of the 1989 Bracket Finals held at State Capitol Dragway in Louisiana featured two 810 wagons and two Emmons brothers battling it out for the trophy. When the clocks stopped, it was Jerry taking home the trophy and Terry claiming runner-up.
While the triplets are identical, Jerry Emmons is quick to tell you they actually do look different and have very different personalities. Jerry is known as the quiet one, while, Gary is more serious and Terry is the extrovert. Still, outside of family and close friends, most people have a hard time telling the triplets apart. On that note, years ago at the Bracket Finals things got testy when a driver thought Terry was racing two cars in the same class. An easy mistake, given the nature of identical triplets, all driving similar 1977 wagons! Only when the rest of the brothers arrived to see what the commotion was about, did the other driver realize they really were triplets.
Today, the Emmons brothers have eight racecars in total. At the beginning of each year, the team decides on the car/driver combination, which is then maintained for the season. In addition, and due to the limited number of cars that fit into the team's transporter, the team decides who gets to compete in one or two classes at each event.
For this season, Jerry will drive a '69 Chevy Camaro in Super Stock and a '69 Chevy Camaro in Stock, both of which his dad purchased both back in the early 80s. Speedy will drive an '05 Chevy Cavalier in Super Stock and a '69 Chevy Camaro in Stock. Terry will drive a '69 Camaro in Super Stock and Gary will drive either a '96 Pontiac Firebird or an '03 Cavalier in Super Stock, and a '98 Pontiac Firebird in Stock. The big block '69 Camaros are all equipped with 375 hp/396 ci big blocks topped with Chevrolet Performance Parts aluminum cylinder heads (P/N 12363408), and intake manifolds (P/N 19131359). To learn more about these parts, head over to ChevroletPerformance.com to locate a dealer in your area.
With the demands of running a successful business, one brother is always missing from each race the team attends as someone stays behind and tends to the dealership. The only exception to this is the NHRA Houston National Event that is close to home.
The team's strategic approach to their business also translates to their racing operation. At least once a week the brothers meet to discuss racing. After each race all the runs are debriefed and key points are discussed. Each member of the team gets to learn from one another's driving decisions and actions (good or bad). Why they won, why they lost, and what they could have done differently win or lose, making, "the team," as well as each individual, a stronger competitor.
For the Emmons brothers, this unique approach has proven successful, as collectively they've won an astonishing 103 races. And, in addition to the races won, there are a number of notable accomplishments for the team including, the aforementioned Speedy being the youngest-ever NHRA National Event Champion at the age of 16, Gary being the youngest national event finalist at the age of 15, the first ever all-brother final in NHRA history with Gary and Speedy competing, and Terry and Speedy both winning their respective categories at the same national event.
The Emmons brothers are class guys. With their success in business and racing, combined with their love of family, they are great role models for the sport of drag racing. And while Speedy and his brothers are happy to talk racing or business, I might suggest a small piece of advice: Be sure to figure out which Emmons brother it is that you're talking to before you get too far along in your conversation!