Featuring Lizzy Musi, John Force, Ian Tocher, Tommy D’Aprile and more…
It’s once again time to check in with all the incredible people that comprise the drag racing community.
QUOTABLE: “When you accomplish something like 400 races, that’s representing a brand and that brand is a never-give-up attitude.” NHRA Pro Stock Motorcyle’s Steve Johnson
PRO NITROUS PALS: Pat Musi Racing Engines president Lizzy Musi poses for a photo with engine shop customer Marcus Birt as the two wait for their second qualifying session at the PDRA Spring Nationals at Darlington Dragway.
BACK IN ACTION: Among the first stops during DI Senior Editor Ian Tocher’s return to the track was the pit area of Extreme Pro Stock veteran John Montecalvo, where he snagged this selfie with Sonny Leonard and Todd Hoerner of Sonny’s Racing Engines, and Montecalvo himself.
FORCE THROWS CUBS FIRST PITCH: While in town for the NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Illinois, 16-time NHRA Funny Car world champion John Force threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Chicago Cubs vs. Tampa Bay Rays game at Wrigley Field. Both Force and the 2016 World Series-winning Cubs are sponsored by Old World Industries and its PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid brands. Following the game, Force and John Force Racing President Robert Hight, visited a local Advance Auto Parts store to sign autographs and meet with fans.
HELPING HAND: PDRA Pro Boost driver Tommy Gray lends a hand to competitor Marc Caruso after the chutes deployed on Caruso’s Roots-blown ‘14 Camaro while sitting in the staging lanes.
MR. AND MRS. TURBO TODD: Feared PDRA Pro Boost pilot “Turbo Todd” Moyer and his wife, Kathaleen, stand alongside the Pasadena, Texas driver’s Xtreme Racing Engines-powered ‘15 Camaro in advance of a qualifying pass at Maryland.
MAKING THE CALL: Jon Salemi reviews a last-minute tune-up change for the supercharged “Purple Reign” ‘68 Firebird piloted by his wife, Melanie Salemi, in PDRA Pro Boost competition.
DOORMAN: Knoxville, Tennessee-based NHRA Top Dragster wheelman BIll Earnest is all smiles as he prepares for a qualifying attempt in his showstopping Total Garage Store Top Dragster.
STATUS UPDATE: NHRA alcohol racing legend Frank Manzo, tuner for the Mike Castellana-driven AAP ‘17 Camaro Pro Mod, gets a starting-line update from NHRA chief starter Mike Gittings during a break in the action.
BO KNOWS JONNIE: Two-time NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car world champion and current Funny Car standout Jonnie Lindberg stopped by the Summit Nationals winner’s circle to congratulate his friend, Pro Stock winner Bo Butner, decked out in his “Bo Knows Pro Stock” t-shirt.
BADER BOYS: Summit Motorsports Park track president Bill Bader Jr. poses for a photo with his 23-year-old son, Evan, who’s being groomed to one day take over the reigns at the storied Norwalk, Ohio, facility.
GET LOW: PDRA Pro Extreme star and longtime DI columnist Tommy D’Aprile smiles for the camera as he and his Mel Bush Motorsports team wait in the staging lanes to make a qualifying run at Budds Creek.
THOMPSON TALENT: What do Jim Curtis and Thompson Raceway Park have in common? They were both born in 1958, of course! Curtis not only grew up at this vintage northeast Ohio drag strip, he’s also managed it for over a quarter-century. Through the years he’s seen everyone from Snake and Mongoose to Grumpy Jenkins and Sox and Martin put on great shows at Thompson. These days the track is famous for the Gasser Reunion, as well as a popular heads-up series known as Asphalt Wars.