:::::: Feature Stories ::::::

THEY’RE NOTHING SHORT OF AWESOME

11-6-06-custerslaststand.jpgAt first glance they may seem an unlikely duo; Mike Castellana, with
his clipped New York accent, and Shannon “Iceman” Jenkins and his cool
Alabama drawl. But, since 2001, when the pair pooled their resources to
become Awesome Motorsports, they have become the most formidable
nitrous team since the inception of Pro Modified.

Last season was arguably their best as Castellana claimed the 2005
Torco Racing Fuels Pro Modified championship and Jenkins finished in
second place. “It wasn’t because of an E.T. advantage,” explained
Jenkins, the architect of their ascendancy. “It was just a solid year
of good racing. We were never the Number 1 qualifier.  We qualified
well, but as these new blown teams develop, (they have) really
accelerated this year.”

 

 

FIVE DECADES OF DRAG RACING EXCELLENCE

11-2-06-gustin.jpgIf you haven't arrived there yet, you probably have little idea of what
we're talking about. But if you have, if those years have slipped by,
then you probably have the same feelings as Roger Gustin.
    
With the 26th Annual Super Chevy Show just completed in Gainesville,
FL, Gustin, CEO of the series, is now on the eve of celebrating 50
years in drag racing.
   
While he may not be as visible to the fans as he was when campaigning
on the track, all the way up to those jet-powered Lava Soap-backed
cars, Gustin continues to guide the Bowtie series at drag racing stops
throughout the country. It involves 18-hour days and constant travel.

SKUZA'S NEVER-ENDING FIGHT TO RETURN

10-31-06-dean.jpgIt's been nearly three years since Dean Skuza last piloted a Funny Car
down a quarter-mile drag strip. And while the Ohio native would love
nothing better than to return to the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series
tour, he also wants to do it on his terms.

"We want to do it the right way," said Skuza, who is hoping to put a
package together that might have him back in a nitro coupe by the
beginning of the next season. "We've passed on some things that just
weren't strong enough, either financially, or they didn't have a lot of
legs do it.

THE VEGAS JACKPOT by Jon Asher

asher05.jpgA lot of things took place at the AC Delco Nationals in Las Vegas this past weekend, some of which has already been reported here on Torco’s Competitionplus.com already, while other items will be brand new.

Friday’s PRO Board of Directors meeting was highlighted by the first appearance of new Board member Bill Miller, he of connecting rod and Top Fuel fame. A thoughtful, extremely intelligent man, Miller’s voice was a breath of fresh air for the Board, as we’re hearing he spoke out on the issues while at the same time offering the organization a fresh perspective on drag racing’s problems. Miller replaced John Force, who resigned before his term had expired.

We’ve also heard that Kenny Bernstein will serve a third two-year term as the organization’s president at the specific request of the Board. Pro Stock driver Vieri Gaines will reportedly join the Board, which already includes Pro Stock racers Warren Johnson and Mark Pawuk who, while not competing in Las Vegas (or at the Finals in two weeks), flew in specifically for the meeting.

JERRY TOLIVER'S PLAN TO RACE AGAIN

10-26-06-toliver.jpgA persistent Jerry Toliver is determined to soon get back into the NHRA
Funny Car fray. With some good fortune and the sealing of a new
partnership, he might be back in the saddle to open the Powerade Drag
Racing Series next year.

“We’re very close at completing a deal for 2007 and beyond,” Toliver
said from his race shop in Temecula, Calif. “Hopefully we can get it
done real soon.

ORLANDO WORLD STREET NATIONALS

10-26-06-orlandostreet.jpgIt's a virtual "Hot Rod Reunion" in Orlando for each of the REAL World Street Nationals events.  

Everybody that's anybody in fast door slammer drag racing shows up in Orlando and then a hard core, hammer down, wide open, drag race explodes into action.  No jets, no circus acts, no throttle stops or delay boxes.  No bracket racing, no "boom box" contests, no bull, no "test runs", no dragsters, no practice and NO CRYBABIES!  Every run counts at the big dance. Every run counts at the big dance.

BILL REICHERT - CHAMPION

10-24-06-monkeybusiness.jpgFor Bill Reichert, it was just a matter of completing some unfinished monkey business.

Down and out after a disappointing run at the spring Gatornationals,
the veteran Top Alcohol Dragster driver returned home to Owosso, Mich.,
to assess his situation. “We had run several 20s (5.20-second runs) but
we red-lit in the second around. And that just devastates you,” said
the 55-year-old Reichert. “You pride yourself on being a good driver …
and the job really isn’t that hard.”

MIKE ASHLEY'S SECRET WEAPON

10-23-06-mikeashley.jpgDrag racing is a sport where how you start is just as important as how
you finish. In fact, it often can be the difference between winning and
losing.

Because of it, competitors will do almost anything in chase of that
hole-shot advantage. 13-time champion John Force takes a quick dose of
oxygen, while others spend hours on the practice Christmas Tree.

Mike Ashley, a former AMS Pro Mod champ who is now in his second year driving a Funny Car, has found a different method.

SHOP WALL MOTIVATION by Greg Stanfield

10-20-06-stanfield.jpgThe last month or so has been a very good stretch for Team DBP and the
PiranaZ GTO. We still haven’t broken through for our first Pro Stock
win, but I think it’s safe to say we’re getting very close. People have
asked what we’re doing differently, and most seem surprised when I
answer “nothing”. We’re still doing our own engines, and I’m still
working with the same crew.

If anything has changed, I’d say it’s that we’re finally getting to
race in air that lets us show the power we’ve had all along. And thanks
to the Reading and Richmond rain-outs, we’ve gotten to spend a little
more time at the shop than we otherwise would have. And that’s allowed
us to keep our best parts & pieces fresh- even if we’re logging
serious overtime!

STILL WAITING FOR AN AN ANSWER

10-18-06-pacificraceway.jpgJason Fiorito and Pacific Raceways
officials are taking small, gradual steps toward relocating its quarter-mile
drag strip.

The hope is to get the OK from King County to amend the motorsport facility’s
conditional use permit that would allow a new strip to be built and sunk into
the ground on the west end of the 320-acre property. The NHRA-sanctioned track,
located in South Puget Sound, about 30 miles outside Seattle, is home to 300 events each year.

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