A racer at heart, Johnny Hightower started in the business of racing nearly three decades ago as the man behind the wheel. Less than 10 years into that adventure, Hightower stepped aside from racing himself and in 1998, went into the business of transmissions. His focus is simple, short track racing. And some of the best rely on his handiwork.
“We make two and three speed transmissions for short track racing,” Hightower told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We got people like Kyle Busch, Harrison Burton, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Anderson, Mike Skinner and others that use our product. We are just trying to build transmissions for short track racing.”
His company, Hightower Racing Transmissions, started off buying transmissions and modifying them, but for the past eight years every transmission that leaves his shop is an original. The transition from buying and modifying to building was an expensive one, but also one Hightower knew needed to be done.
“It cost a lot of money to buy all the machines,” said Hightower. “We spent a lot of money, but we’re just trying to make what the racers need. I couldn’t buy what I wanted, so we started making them and now we’ve been making the whole things for 8 years and doing pretty good.”
With his effort to meet the needs to today’s top short track racers, Hightower knows he must stay on top of technology and continue to evolve his product. Case in point, he is releasing a new transmission that is not only 12 pounds lighter, but has a raised bottom to give more ground clearance. The Quartermaster bell-housing is a ¾ an inch difference from the prior model.
“It just evolved, said Hightower. “The transmission I had before was raised up more. The transmission I used to modify; I made the bottom of them raised up some and then all this stuff has just evolved. The racers are evolving, so we make the transmission to meet them.”
Next up for Hightower is the development of a five speed transmission that will benefit road racing, drag racing and more. To learn more about Hightower visit hightowertransmissons.com
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo credit: Speed51.com