John Gaydosh is incredibly passionate about driving his Gaydosh Performance Pro Stock Camaro. He has a crew of volunteers working hard to get his Maryland-based independent team to as many races as he can. But a damaged motor last week almost forced him to drop out of the of this weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
“I’ve probably had an hour sleep in the last 72 hours,” Gaydosh said. “I started working the minute we pulled out of the pits in Englishtown. I started ordering parts and making arrangements to get everything fixed in time for Bristol.”
In Round One of the NHRA Summernationals Gaydosh beat rookie Tanner Gray on a holeshot. The joy of winning was quickly extinguished when a problem was discovered with the motor. It had dropped a valve, broke a piston and destroyed the cylinder among other things. Gaydosh could only watch the second round from the sidelines and start planning for the next race.
“If it wasn’t for my friends, I would not be here. Kenny Delco and Alan Prusiensky offered help right away. Alan let me come to his house at 11 at night to get working on the motor,” Gaydosh said. “We may be competitors on the track, but us small independent teams stick together and we are there for each other.”
Gaydosh is also celebrating his and wife Tina’s 23rd wedding anniversary this weekend. They’ve spent every year celebrating at Bristol and he did not want to break that tradition this year. [06/15/17]
Wilkerson wasn’t happy with his car’s performance at E-town.
This weekend’s trip to Bristol Dragway for the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals will provide Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson the opportunity to win at the facility for the first time in his career. Wilkerson, a 20-time nitro Funny Car winner on the NHRA tour, has only four active racetracks where he has yet to claim victory in the category.
He is still looking for his first win of 2017, and in moments this season, Wilkerson and Team LRS have seen great power that comes with great promise. He and his determined crew know it's coming; it's just a matter of getting all their ducks in a row.
For Wilkerson, that means switching to their back-up car ahead of the Thunder Valley Nationals.
"I think our car was bent or maimed, somehow, so I've already talked to [car builder] Murf McKinney. He has a brand-new car for me, it's just not quite done. This one [the car Wilkerson drove in Englishtown last week] is doing things I don't think it should do," said Wilkerson, who made two sub 4-second runs in qualifying at Englishtown but battled a blazing racetrack and argumentative clutch the remainder of the weekend. [06/15/17]
Local hero Andy Jensen
Maple Grove Raceway will host the Outlaws Rumble at the Grove on Saturday, June 17. Local Pro Mod racers will go up against some “reality TV” stars.
Also on the schedule along with the Mid Atlantic Street Outlaws are Top Dragster, Top Sportsman, King of the Street and a special Radial Tire Shootout. [06/15/17]
On June 6 the ANDRA announced that the CEO of ANDRA recommended a new structure, which the Board approved.
It will see ANDRA concentrating on its role as a sanctioning authority while continuing to manage the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.
The new structure will be headed by a General Manager in a leaner organization. Current Competition Manager Brett Stevens has been appointed as the acting General Manager to commence in June.
Grant Goodall, the current CEO, has agreed to join the ANDRA Board as an Independent Director commencing in July.
“The streamlining of ANDRA will allow it to concentrate on member services,” Acting Chairman of ANDRA Terry Jongen said. “The Board appreciate that Grant has recommended his own position be made redundant in the best interests of the sport and ANDRA. Grant has been an excellent contributor as the CEO of ANDRA and has achieved a great deal given the role was part-time and in a difficult period.
“The Board look forward to Grant's continuing contributions as a Director and a mark that there is confidence in going forward with the sport and ANDRA into the future. ANDRA remains a not for profit member based organisation.” [06/15/17]
This coming weekend at the NHRA Thunder Valley race, Australian Top Fuel Harley-Davidson rider Benny Stevens is set to have the ride of his life racing against some of the best nitro-burning Harley racers in the world.
At the age of 23, Stevens was diagnosed with testicle cancer. Thankfully a serious bout of chemo killed off all the bad cells. Then at the age of 27, his biggest hurdle came when he crashed heavily during a warm up for a Quad Bike stunt demo. He busted up quite a few bones in his wrists and ankles and had a lengthy stay in hospital.
But the real battle came a month later when doctors broke the news that the bones were not mending. The doctor gave Stevens two options.
“I needed to get on with my life,” said Stevens. “Spending more time on my back in the hope that this might work was not an option for me. I just told the doc to remove the foot.”
Earlier this year while racing in the Australian National Drag Racing Association Championship at his home track of Perth Motorplex, Stevens was talking to Terry Stewart from Shaker Products in the US, and before you could say “Happy Days” a deal had been done with Mike Bahnmaier Racing and Stevens will be racing in the U.S.
Asked the difference between this week’s bike and his one at home, Stevens said, “Well the difference between both bikes is huge. This bike I am riding, is a newer bike, with all the bells and whistles. Engine componentry, chassis design, it's a completely different gorilla all together and I can’t wait to throw a leg over her.
“This could be a once-only opportunity so my plan is to give it my all and hope for the best,” said Stevens. “Racing against the likes of Jay Turner and co is going to be huge and I can’t wait to twist the grip on the NHRA stage.” [06/15/17]
Ken Etter (near lane) took the win over Phil Mandella Jr.
Racing partners Wayne Taylor and Ken Etter each won Southern California Drag Racing Association Stock/Super Stock titles June 10-11 at Auto Club Dragway.
The first race of the DNB Engineering Stock/Super Stock doubleheader weekend race saw Wayne Taylor drive his ’99 Sebring past Tim Seymour’s ’16 COPO Camaro in the final. Ken Etter, the series champion the last two years, defeated Phil Mandella, Jr., in the final. Johnny Calvert and Chad Langdon were semifinalists.
Reigning SCEDA Super Comp champion Ryan Diosdada had a great weekend, winning on Saturday with a final round .005 package to defeat James Warden, and on Sunday he went to the final round only to lose to Tom McBride who picked up his first win of the season.
Saturday bracket race finals included Ashley Harvey defeating Elliot Franco in the Meziere Electronics class, David Walker’s ’30 Ford beat Candy Larsen’s ’17 VW in the Sportsman final, and Daniel McClelland beat Trevor Hayes in the No-Electronics bracket.
Tim Seymour drove his ’16 Camaro to the No-Electronics class win over Brent Thalasinos on Sunday.
Sunday finals also saw Ashley Deuschle drive her ’63 Corvette past points leader Don Mehling in Meziere Electronics and Charlie Allen beat Brittany Van Horn in the Sportsman final. [06/15/17]
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 6 - JUNE 2017
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