Michael Malmgren says he views himself as a perfectionist, referring to the fact that he works very hard, approaching all things in his life with an exceptional degree of gusto. There's nothing neutral about this K&N sponsored Swede from Arild. As the driver of the Malmgren Racing Pontiac Grand Am, he is also the team manager and President of the European Pro Stock Racers Association – and he is highly regarded for his skills in both arenas.
Michael Malmgren and the Malmgren Racing Pontiac Grand Am.
After having the fastest car all weekend, setting the low ET and top speed, Malmgren missed winning the Santa Pod Main event by a heartbreaking four-thousandths of a second.
Malmgren has been racing since 1980, and he's one of Europe's most experienced drivers. He is funny and easy-going, with the sort of confidence that can only be earned through accomplishments. Career highlights include; two back-to-back FIA Pro-Stock Championships in 2002 and 2003, first non-American to win a national event in USA, first non-American to set a NHRA world record in USA, and his most memorable - the first European to drive a Pro-Stock car into Holley six-second club. When he is not racing Malmgren sells high quality prefab houses for Myresjöhus, the most popular brand of new houses in Sweden, and they're a team sponsor.
Santa Pod Raceway in Bedfordshire, England is the home of European Drag Racing and host to the televised FIA European Drag Racing Championships, Malmgren Racing had yet another successful weekend there, taking home a hard fought for second place. Malmgren had the fastest car all weekend, setting the low ET and top speed, yet they missed winning the event by a hole-shot.
"I had a very good light at 0.041, but my competitor had 0.034 and you have remember that we don't have led lights on our Christmas-tree," explained Malmgren.
"We ran about same ET, so I lost by four-thousandths of a second. I made all my runs this weekend within one-hundredth of a second, but he (Micke Callin) pulled off his personal best ever in the finals (6.78).
In Europe teams don't have fulltime employed crews, they all have day-jobs and race as hobby, so hard work and commitment is a given.
"During the off-season we went over the JBRC Pontiac GTO from top to bottom, and we spent a lot of time also talking to my good friend Jerry Bickel at JBRC regarding car changes. Also, every winter of course I want my car totally refinished, cleaned, so it looks like new. I am known for having the best looking car out there. It doesn't make it any faster, but it makes my sponsors look good," says Malmgren.
"The same goes with my team/crew, with support from Oakley we are all looking good, including me with my new SFI 15 Oakley Factory Pilot driving suit."
Malmgren's reaction times have improved enormously this year, believing first and foremost that it is "all in your head."
"I am not afraid anymore off going out there and risking a red-light. If you are, that's what makes you late at the lights. We have also tested different linkage positions for better reaction. There are so many factors to consider and we have tried to improve them all."
Malmgren's relationship with K&N got its start in 2009 at the Performance Racing Industry Show when he had a chat with Bob Harris.
"We decided to promote K&N's high quality filters in Europe, and also to be the first overseas team to run their new (hood) Scoop. We can already see after the first race that it has helped the engine breathe better. Also, we of course use the K&N oil filters, as they are high flow and very efficient. My street car is a BMW 645 and even that now has a K&N air filter."
A part of Malmgren's normal twelve to fourteen hour work days includes attending Trade Shows for his main sponsor Lahega. Lahega is the largest car wax and industry chemicals manufacturer and supplier in Scandinavia.
"For example we put the whole rig on display inside the yearly Truck Show in Jönköping, Sweden. This is the biggest trade show for Truckers in Scandinavia. We will also attend several others trade shows, so that is good for everybody involved in with Malmgren/Lahega Racing, and all the exposure we get allows us to keep racing."
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