Two-time and reigning PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champion Johnny Pluchino will race with Feather-Lite Batteries as his primary sponsor for the rest of the 2023 season. The expanded partnership begins this weekend at the PDRA North vs. South Shootout, June 15-17, at Maryland International Raceway. Kelling Equipment Repair will also continue its support of Pluchino as an associate sponsor.
Feather-Lite has been a longtime supporter of the Pluchino Racing team, and the company’s lightweight batteries have been used to power the electronics in Pluchino’s Kaase-powered 2013 Ford Mustang for several seasons.
“We’ve been working with Feather-Lite for years,” Pluchino said. “They build the lightest, strongest, most durable battery in my opinion. We only rely on them. As a racer, a reliable electronic component is second to none because once you’ve lost an important round of racing one time with a battery or some sort of electronic component failing, you want the best. We didn’t win five championships having mishaps like that. You just can’t afford them.”
Feather-Lite Batteries, a J&J Motorsports Inc. company, was started by racers looking for a safer, better battery with reliability and more power. As such, the company specializes in batteries for racing applications, though they also offer batteries for motorcycles, street cars, motorhomes, boats, and more.
“Feather-Lite Batteries is excited to expand our partnership with the Pluchinos because they are a great family racing team, the true heart of what drag racing is all about,” said Jonathan Pickett, President/CEO, Feather-Lite Batteries. “Johnny has been a part of our marketing efforts since he started racing in Pro 632. John [Pluchino] and Johnny believed in our products from the beginning, and that trust has built a great relationship. So, when Johnny came to us and asked if we knew anyone who might be interested in partnering with them moving forward, I looked at my wife (Jeneane), and without hesitation we told Johnny, ‘We will do it!’ The Pluchinos are like family, and you do anything you can to help family.”
A powerful, lightweight battery is especially useful in Mountain Motor Pro Stock cars, which use large, naturally aspirated engines to power racers to elapsed times in the low 4-second range in eighth-mile competition and the 6.20s in quarter-mile competition.
“MMPS shows the capabilities of our product because these 820-plus cubic-inch motors are not easy rotating assemblies to get spinning,” Pickett said. “Most of the racers in this class that use our batteries are using our FL-1690, which was originally designed for the Gray Motorsports NHRA Pro Stock team. Another great part of MMPS is the fact that it is one of the few classes that is part of the starting lineup of every major drag racing association in North America.”
Kelling Equipment Repair, based in Lagrange, Ohio, has been a part of the Pluchino Racing team since 2022. Owner Keith Kelling also attends many of the PDRA races and is quick to lend a hand to the small, tight-knit team.
“Keith’s been a friend, a crew member, and his company has been a supporter of us this year and dating back into last year,” Pluchino said. “He’s been a huge part of our program. We’re extremely thankful and excited for our relationship with him and his company.
Pluchino is going into the halfway point in his PDRA championship defense season this weekend. Maryland International Raceway, host of the North vs. South Shootout, is a special place for the Pluchino family. Johnny’s father, John Pluchino, won the legendary Mountain Motor Nationals at the Budds Creek, Maryland, track years ago. It’s also where Johnny made his Extreme Pro Stock debut in 2019, and he’s won there in Pro 632 and Extreme Pro Stock competition. He goes into the North vs. South Shootout as the defending event champion seeking his first win of the season.
“For a minute, it feels like you forget what it feels like to be in the winner’s circle at a race,” Pluchino said. “You get humbled quick in this deal. But we’re pretty confident that we’re a stone’s throw away at this point. We think we’ve been running better than we’ve done this year, had some really tight races, and I think Maryland is the ingredient we need at this point to just get us over that hump. It’s one of those tricky racetracks. There’s big swings over there from day to night. We’re gonna have a good car count, and we’ve got some experience there. It’s a Northeast racetrack. We’ve been up and down that place many a times, and I think the experience is gonna pay off.”
Pluchino and the Feather-Lite Batteries ’13 Ford Mustang will make three qualifying passes on Friday before rolling into eliminations on Saturday. Fans can follow along on FloRacing.com or on the Pluchino Racing Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/PluchinoRacing).