Sportsman Spotlight: “Crazy Craig Dales” and His ’89 Beretta

Photo Provided By Craig Dales

Photos provided by Craig Dales. After purchasing the Beretta, Craig concluded that it needed a color change. He opted for a blue based custom wrap from Proline Wraps in Los Angeles.

Racing is more than a hobby for Craig Dales, he feels that it is a vital part of his life. “I love to drag race and it is half of my life today,” said Dales. His 1989 Chevrolet Beretta was built by Jim Cowen of American Racecraft in Glendale, Arizona. Craig resides in Riverside, California, and he takes part in the all of the Summit Series events as well as many others. With the Spring Fling wrapping up in Vegas less than one month ago, Craig is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to race the Beretta against more fierce competition. If things go well this season and the sponsors come through, his next plan to is compete in Top Sportsman.

Craig takes part in the Summit Series events at Auto Club Dragway in Fontana. He loves his '89 Beretta because it is consistently quick.

Craig purchased the car almost five years ago, and according to him, the car was in great shape but needed a color change. In 2016, the Beretta underwent a powerplant upgrade when a Steve Schmidt, 565 cubic-inch monster was installed. This engine made it through an entire season, and it is again ready for competition in the 2017 season.

A single Holley 1150 carburetor feeds the potent engine while a Willie Martin-built Powerglide filled with a Continental torque converter transfers power to the rear tires. Those rear tires are Hoosier’s 32 X 14.5 15W  mounted to a set of 14-1/2-inch wide Centerline wheels. In the front is another pair of Centerline wheels also wrapped in Hoosier rubber.

Craig's Beretta has run a best of 8.18 seconds at 167 mph at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. The Willie Martin-built Powerglide transfers the power of the 565ci Schmidt engine to a 9-inch rear differential filled with 4.87 gears and Mark Williams axles.

Since racecars require a lot of maintenance, Craig entrusted Dave Beckley of Mountain View Performance to handle the chassis monitoring and tune up, which coincidentally, uses parts from Chris Alston’s Chassisworks and Lamb Components. According to Craig, it took Jim Cowen at American Racecraft approximately 8-months to complete the initial build of the Beretta. Regardless of the time frame, Jim built a quality racecar using some of the best parts available.

Photo Provided By Craig Dales

When Craig purchased the Beretta approximately 5-years-ago, he said all it needed was a color change. Obviously not a fan of the yellow and blue combination, he opted for blue-based paint scheme. “I got exactly what I wanted. there are not too many of them around”, said Craig.

Although Craig did not complete the initial build of the Beretta, he made certain that he selected knowledgable professionals to keep on top of the maintenance. ” I prefer to have professionals do the work,” added Craig. Willie Martin, owner of The Ed Martin Garage, Inc. does the majority of the work required on this race machine. Without Martin’s expertise and help from Don Higgins handling the Crew Chief Pro Software, Craig states that he would not be able to compete at this level. “I learn something new every time I go racing, I can’t get enough”, he added.

Craig tries to make sure that he is at the drag strip with the Beretta at least once a month during race season. He is a self-described Chevrolet fan and drag racing addict, who also owns a 1968 Chevrolet Malibu wagon and a 2009 Yancer dragster.

Are you a Sportsman racer? Do you want to read about other Sportsman racers? If so, click here and check out the rest of our weekend warriors. If you want to be a part of our Sportsman Spotlight, tell us all about your car by contacting us at

About the author

Lauren Camille

Lauren is a graduate of California State University Fullerton, and has experience working for several enthusiast publications. She enjoys drag racing, classic Fords, and vintage Lincolns. She currently races a 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback, and has a soft spot for 1960’s Lincolns. Currently, her collection includes: ’04 Cobra Convertible, ’65 Mustang Fastback, ’04 F350 6.0 diesel, ’96 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a ’87 Jeep Wrangler. She provides insightful content as a freelance writer for Power Automedia.
Read My Articles

Hardcore Chevys in your Inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Chevy Hardcore, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.