Andrea Coddens was simply excited just to learn from drag racing legend Frank Hawley when she attended the prestigious Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School with her husband, Rob, in January. But by the time the memorable two-day course was over, Coddens ended up amazed with the parallels between drag racing and her other hobby, martial arts.
The Eagle, Idaho natives train in the Chinese Martial Art Northern Kajukenbo Tum Pai, which is a form of Kung Fu. An avid student and instructor for nearly five years, Andrea will test for her black belt this year under the tutelage of Si Gung Greg Hart from Hart’s Martial Arts. But while martial arts and drag racing may appear on different sides of the spectrum, Andrea noticed a number of similarities after two days at Hawley’s Drag Racing School.
“We were truly amazed at how many parallels there were between all that Frank was saying and all that we have experienced in our martial arts journeys,” Andrea said. “Dragons in the martial art world are known for their fierce power and vast wisdom and to be a successful racer, you must have wisdom. Yin and Yang is all about balance in all aspects of life, and in the race world we want power and speed, but you must find that balance between the extremes of speed, power and agility. That balance point is constantly changing as we make new modifications and try new ideas.”
“Finally, in martial arts you learn that distractions do not exist and concentration can be laser-focused. Truly successful racers are able to achieve this state of no mind, of simply being in the moment. The school was just a great experience and we learned so much from him.”
Outside of martial arts, the Coddens run an auto performance company called Adrenaline Truck Performance.
Rob was already a standout on the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) – winning the national points championship in Super Street in 2012 – and now both will be competing in NHRDA in 2013 following Andrea’s certification at Hawley’s Drag Racing School.
Rob, who will race an El Camino in the quicker Pro Stock class this season, came away impressed with what he learned at the school, even as an experienced racer.
“I always believe in getting educated by the best, but it was a tremendous help and something I would highly recommend for people who already have their license and have been racing all their life,” Rob said. “Frank has a great way of teaching that works with people across the board. He is calm and well-organized, and he obviously knows what he is talking about. It was a big help for me going into a new class with a new car.”
In addition to gaining experience using a trans brake at the school, Rob said the mental lessons taught at Hawley’s Drag Racing School were extremely valuable. For Andrea, who will start her rookie drag racing season driving her husband’s old truck in the Super Street class this year, Hawley’s extensive teaching allowed her to feel instantly comfortable behind the wheel.
“Coming into the school, I wanted to learn as much as I could. I was very nervous and that first run, I thought I was going to squeeze the steering wheel off the car. But Frank does a great job of keeping you calm and I had so much fun,” Andrea said.
“I really loved the idea of focusing on the positive, which is something he talked about. A lot of it was clearing your mind and just focusing on racing.”
But as many benefits that Andrea got behind the wheel during the two-day school, the lessons learned in the classroom environment also proved to be incredibly important.
“There were so many great lessons he taught in the classroom,” Andrea said. “He really made you feel comfortable.”
The ultimate goal for Rob’s El Camino is to run in the high 7-second range at 175 mph this season. After attending the school, it’s something he thinks could happen in part because of the new lessons he learned.
“I’ve always done fairly decent against the competition I went against, but this class will really allow me to come up with a better gameplan to have continued success,” Rob said. “The class gave me a lot of great ideas, and things I would have never thought about.”
It also left both with a number of memories and moments that they won’t soon forget.
“An experience like this will last a lifetime,” Andrea said. “Frank is a person that I hope will always stay in our lives somehow.”
To view our Super Class video or obtain more information on all available classes, dates and locations for Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School, visit the school’s website – www.frankhawley.com – or call 866-480-7223 (Outside U.S. 678-804-8835). The school’s also on Facebook, Twitter @Frankhawleydrs and YouTube.