Schultz, Paul Gast and others in
person. There, he subscribed to the Prostar Report and began to
follow the sport. He couldn’t wait for the next issue each month as
he studied every page and dreamed of someday racing Pro Stock
After college he was obsessed with getting into the motorcycle
racing business. He remembers a quote from Bob Hope saying, “Go do
what it is you love and you will learn to find a way to make money
doing it.” Fred took that to heart and enrolled at MMI, the
Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Florida. On the day school was to
start, an Uncle who was in Florida called Fred and needed to be
driven back home to Connecticut, so school was put on hold. When he
returned to Florida he began playing with his own bike. One day he
needed an air line, so he made a trip over to MRE. While he was
there he asked if they needed help. After reviewing a resume that he
conveniently had with him, Jay Regan offered Fred a job in the
While working at MRE he built a big tire Kawasaki with the help of
George Babor of Babor Performance Motors, which happened to be next
door to MRE, and started racing in Bradenton. In 1997 Fred’s dad
gave him one of the best Christmas presents he could have received.
He enrolled Fred in the Frank Hawley Pro Stock Bike School in
Gainesville, FL. He enrolled in the class of January 1998 and this
is where he met George Bryce III, Angelle Seeling, and John Myers.
Throughout the school, John Myers was his biggest cheerleader. Fred
remembers that John was on the return road to greet him after every
pass encouraging him and telling him what a great job he was doing.
On a side note from the school, while Fred was there, Nina Henderson
did a story on Fred about his experience at the drag racing school
entitled “As the Worm Turns.” Fred asked her to not use his name but
soon people found out and starting calling him “Worm.” Now you know
the story behind the nickname.
Shortly after, John Myers left Star Racing but encouraged Fred to
call George and work something out. John said, “My bike is just
sitting there collecting dust, it needs someone to ride it.” So
taking John’s advice, Fred promptly wrote out a proposal and mailed
it to George. Assuming it was just one of dozens of other proposals
that the Bryce’s had to consider, he thought he was rejected. Two
months later he had a call on his answering machine from George
Bryce. He drove to Americus, Georgia, where they worked out a deal
for Fred to work with Eddie Davis at the parts and sales counter
taking over Mike Espe’s job allowing Mike to work in the back on
engines. Fred and Jackie would represent Star Racing at the Prostar
events with Fred riding John’s old bike while George and Angelle
continued racing at the NHRA events.
With heavy heart, he gave Jay Regan his resignation saying, “I
appreciate you giving me the opportunity to work in the industry,
but my passion is wearing leathers and burning rubber on the track.”
Even though Jay counter-offered with a Pro Mod ride, Fred’s heart
was set on competing on a Pro Stock bike. So after a year and a half
of service at MRE in September of 1998, Fred moved to Americus.
In 1999 Fred exploded onto the Prostar scene during a time when
Prostar’s Pro Stock class enjoyed more than 40 riders per year. Fred
became Star Racing’s contingent at the Prostar events taking on and
beating seasoned Prostar and NHRA veterans like Paul Gast, Antron
Brown, Steve Johnson, Shawn Gann and more. He made it to the semi’s
in his first four attempts, but was frustrated and wanted a win.
Both Jay Regan and George Bryce advised Fred to be patient, “You
have to get to the point that you believe you can win. Once it is
done, it will come easier.” The next event was the Trim-Tex
Streetfighter Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago. Fred finally
made it to the final round and beat NHRA’s golden child, Steve
Johnson, and went on to win every event for the rest of the year,
also winning Rookie of the Year honors and the Pro Stock
championship. Paul Gast told Jackie Bryce that he couldn’t believe
that he was getting beat by a grandma, girl, baby, and parts guy,
referring to Jackie and her mother, Corrine Grewcock, who was at the
races to baby-sit Julie Bryce. The parts guy reference was Eddie
Davis, all of whom were regulars at the Prostar events with Fred.
After that day in Chicago, Fred would continue to qualify #1 at
every race for the next two seasons. He also kept the win streak
alive until he was sent to the NHRA Memphis event as a blocker for
Angelle Seeling in order that she could win the NHRA championship.
He did his job and faced her in the final round. I guess winning
that day was not an option?
After the success of having two championship seasons in a row, Fred
decided to park the bike for lack of the sponsorship needed to move
up to NHRA. He also was waiting for Star Racing to launch their
“soon to come” Buell Pro Stock debut in which he was tagged as the
pilot. When the time finally came in 2003, Fred made the jump to
NHRA and earned a #8 plate despite constant rule changes that
resulted in slowing the non-Harley’s down. As with the strategies of
each NHRA silly season, Chip Ellis was given the Buell ride in 2004.
Life went on and today, Fred is a Real Estate Consultant for Keller
Williams Realty in Palm Harbor, Florida serving the Tampa Bay Area.
Whether you know Fred personally or not, he would love to hear from
you. His website is www.fredcollis.com and he loves networking with
the people from drag racing, be it fans, participants, sponsors, or
even former competitors.
One of Fred’s regrets is that John Myers did not live to see the
Champion that he helped create in Fred Collis. But I would like to
think that it was John looking down on Fred from above that finally
gave him the confidence that he was a Champion. For two wonderful
seasons, Fred filled some really big shoes.
Other areas of interest:
RESIDENCE: Clearwater, FL
SPOUSE’S NAME: Kristi
CHILDREN’S NAMES: Sean 11, Hunter 14 months
OCCUPATION: Real Estate Consultant @ Keller Williams Realty
HOME TRACK: Gainesville & Atlanta
TEAM NAME: Star Racing
CREW MEMBERS: Jackie Bryce - Crew Chief, Eddie Davis -
Mechanic, Corrine Grewcock - baby sitter, and Baby Julie Bryce.
SPONSORS: Star Racing, Snap-On, Goto Uniforms, Vanson
Leathers, JK Signs
1999 AMA Prostar Pro Stock Champion
2000 AMA Prostar Pro Stock Champion
SEMDRA Top Gas Champion
1999 AMA Prostar Pro Rookie of Year
1999 AMA Prostar Crew Chief of the year (Jackie Bryce)
GOALS: To build my Real Estate Business to the point that my
family and I live very comfortably so we can enjoy what the world
has to offer.
INTEREST OUTSIDE OF RACING: Family, Boy Scouts, and Hunting
FAVORITE FOODS: Cheeseburgers, and Italian
FAVORITE MOVIES: I like the shoot em up type. As they say
DAILY DRIVER: Chevy Tahoe
CLASSIC BIKE: 100th Anniversary Harley Softail Duece.
FIRST MOTORCYCLE: 1979 Suzuki 100 Enduro
HERO: I have many call me sometime I love to share.
Final Thoughts, I want to thank my Mom & Dad for believing in me and
always letting me pursue my dreams. Also, My Uncle Dan & Aunt Fifi
who helped me to live my racing dream of being a Pro Stock
Motorcycle Champion and to them I am very grateful.