Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Here's where we go to kick back after the races with our pals. Pour a tall one, punch a few buttons on the jukebox, and relax...
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:32 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Wendall Nonaka, from Hanapepe, Kauai, Hawaii. Wendall was recommended to me by our friend Michael Baba Balbarino. Michael's 808_Fuel page is the most informative and colorful source of Drag Racing in the Hawaiian Islands. Thanks, Michael!

Wendall Nonaka is one of the winningest and most popular Drag Racers in the state of Hawaii. His win list goes on forever, and his feature has come in as #4 all-time for likes, shares and comments, behind Bret Kepner, Don Speer and Jim Wilson. Everybody knows Wendall and roots for him, as he has consistently showed the true character of a champion. I chatted with Wendall last week and he gave me some info on this great hot rod:

It's an '87 Buick Regal running a 355 small-block Chevy engine . Wendall put in a Powerglide transmission . He's had this car for about 14 years or so.
Wendall's friend Kevin and he back-halved this car in about a month, trying to make the first race in March of last year, spending some long hours after work to finish it and they got it done on time.

The car runs 10.70's at 123mph . It runs in the Super Pro Class.

Wendall sends thanks to his friend Calvin Tani who helped him start this Super Pro Class by inviting some neighboring island cars who just want to run electronics. So far, Wendall has performed magnificently on track. He's the man.

Wendall said Thanks again to Racin' & Rockin. He said it's an honor for having having him for something like this.

Wendall, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:41 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Michael Stanley, from Youngstown, Ohio. Michael was recommended to me by our friends with the DADs Old-Fashioned Drag Racing Group, Don and Sandi Turner and Gorden Jenkins. Thanks, ya'll!

Michael is a very popular and successful racer in his region. He sent me some fascinating data on his hot rod. I'll pass it along now:

He said: "We Race Our 1967 Camaro that was Originally was Built in the 70-80's by My Brother-in-law Alan Peterson. Alan had Muscular Dystrophy (MS) and built the Car from a Wheel Chair. I helped Finish it when I was 14 years old and I actually Raced the Car when I was 15 years old (yes before I had My Drivers license, LOL).

It originally had a 355 Small Block, with a Power Glide & 5.57 Gear and Ran 11.20's. Alan Passed away in 1982 and We stored the Car untouched for 30+ years. After I Got Married, had a few Kids and then when My Son showed some Interest, we decided to freshen the Car. What a Silly Idea! Over the next 6-7 Years the Build got Crazy & out of Control money-wise, and I realized I was building a Show Car to Race, with the Help of Scotty Emerson @ MSE Chassis Shop (Master Street Engineering)!

In the Current Day, our Team is called "M&M Extreme Motorsports" and We Race & Show Our 1967 Outlaw Street machine, all Steel with a full interior 3200lb Camaro that has a Round Tube Back Half Chassis with a Ford 9" Narrowed Rearend and a 4.56 Gear and 40 Spline Axels! Our Transmission is an air shifted Turbo 400 3 speed. The Transmission & Converter were Custom Built by Abruzzi Transmission in Warren, Ohio. Our Motor is a 555 CI Big Block Chevy with 2 kits of Nitrous from Minors Performance in Lordstown Ohio, and makes almost 1,000 Horsepower on Motor and with a 400-500 HP Shot of Nitrous Juice it makes for a lot of Fun!

To Date We have Run a best of 5.23 in the 1/8 mile and 8.20's in the quarter! We are just starting to learn how to Tune the Progressive Nitrous Controller and We know there is a lot more ET available!"

Mike said "I couldn't do what I do without My Super Awesome Family & Team - My Wife (Sherry), Son (Michael), Sister (Sis), Mom (the Team Cookie maker), my Brother in Law (Tom), Dave Slaughter, and Joey Bieganowski! It's a Family Fun Time every time We go Racing! We have been pretty Successful and had a Great Time Racing with the DADS Heads up "Run what You Brung" Racing Series at Quaker City in Salem Ohio and We have Won a few Awards at the Local Car Shows as well! I also Crew & Help Tune on a Pro-Mod Team that Races a Local Series as well as a few PDRA Races! Thank You for selecting Me for the Racer of the Week."

Michael Stanley, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:39 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Russell Izumo, from Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii. Russell was recommended to me by our friend Michael Baba Balbarino, whose 808_FUEL page on Facebook has the most up-to-date information on our sport in the Hawaiian Islands. Thanks, Michael!

Russell Izumo has been drag racing virtually all his life, learning the ropes at a young age. He started out with a Super Gas Chevy S-10 but he moved up in the last few years to his current dragster, which is a marvelous sight to behold. It runs as good as it looks, too. Russell told me it's a locally built chassis, measuring out at a 240" wheelbase. It was fabricated by Sportcraft Racing in Pearl City, Hawaii by Tom Brown and Kell Komatsubara.

Every once in a while a car or a dragster comes along that captures my imagination and I can't quit looking at it. I aksed Russell about the fantastic appearance of this dragster and he told me that it is a clear-coated Wrap. I thought it was one of the most beautiful color and graphic design schemes I've ever seen. It seems to tell a story. The motor in the dragster is a big block Chevy with not many mods to speak of, but it is tuned to perfection, and Russell's averages are ETs in the 8.30s at just under 160 mph. He said he's going to bump it up later but for now the car has been good for 5 first-place finishes in a row.

Gizmo told me that he plans to give his seat in the car to our former Junior Dragster Racer of the Week, Devin RK Almarzo, when he graduates from the junior league. He also mentioned that an upcoming Hawaiian Racer of the Week, Kelsie lida-Vierra is the first of the junior dragster racers to step into one of the big cars.

The Racers in Hawaii are a family, and they are bringing their kids into the sport with great care and integrity. Most of the racers are second and third-generation drag racers, and the sport has become a tradition with them. My hat's off to you guys. I'm thankful to be able to feature y'all.

Russell thanks his wife, his sons and his gang for their support. He can be found every day at his business, Nex Gen Diesel, of which he is the owner and CEO. The future for Russell, his dragster and the great drag racers of Hawaii looks terrific. I will continue to update the kids' progress when they move up to the big leagues.

Russell Izumo, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:32 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Michael Smith, from Revere, Missouri. I found Mike online while looking through the photos on a Sportsman page, and when I found him on Facebook, he accepted my offer to be featured. He has been a great racer in the Midwest for many years, and it's been an enjoyable experience getting to know him.

Mike's race car is called "Dragula". It was, named by his daughter when they were trying to come up with a fitting name to the black beauty. It's a 2000 Firebird with a 632 cubic inch Rehrer & Morrison engine running a single stage 350 nitrous kit. It has a new trans & converter and runs in Top Sportsman, Quick 8 and Quick 16, depending on the event.

Dragula has a Jerry Bickel chassis and was originally owned and raced in Pro Stock by V. Gaines. It was soon picked up by another sponsor and Rickie Smith drove the car to a win, ironically on Halloween Night in 1999 at the Matco Tools Supernationals in Houston. It went through a succession of ownership until Mike purchased the car from Scott Paluse Racing in 2015 and he went about making it into the first-class machine it is today.

Mike prefers to race eighth-mile tracks, and he told me his home track is Eddyville Raceway Park in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He has run 4.50s there, and although the car can run below 6 1/2 seconds at over 211 mph in the quarter mile on 4 stages of nitrous, he enjoys the eigth-mile setup and he keeps it all safe and together and is focused on running the eighth-mile tracks for the forseeable future. Mike also told me his daughter Avery will be joining the team this year in her own junior dragster which she named DRAGZILLA! I forsee another Racer of the Week feature on the horizon!

Dragula is not only a consistent competitor in Mike's region, it is an iconic feature to every drag race he enters it in. Eddie Munster showed up with the original Dragula coffin dragster and the Munster Mobile and a huge party ensued. He had 500 Dragula t-shirts made and sold every one of them. I believe that Dragula is a name that stands out as much as Nanook, the Winged Express, the Little Red Wagon and many of the famous cars that are instantly recognizeable by the name and not a sponsor decal.

Mike thanks Reher & Morrison for the outstanding engine that they provided him, and he particularly thanks Larry at that company. He said any time he calls them with any issue at all, they will drop everything and get on his question, giving advice and expertise to help with anything at all that he calls them with, any time. He highly recommends getting a Reher & Morrison engine if you're looking for a reliable and trustworthy racing motor.

Along with his wife Sara and his daughter Avery, Mike thanks his friend Wes Buck at Drag Illustrated and his tuners and crew chiefs W. R. and Eddie Buck for their excellent work on his engine, and Wes for doing all he does to promote the sport of drag racing. Mike brings his family and friends to the races. He prefers to bring folks that have never been so they can get the full impression that drag racing always does to first-timers. He always has a great barbecue for everybody in his pit, and going drag racing with Dragula is always a fun and unforgettable experience for everybody.

Mike, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future.
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:27 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Steve Plumb, from Moline, Illinois. Steve was recommended to me by his brother and former Racer of the Week, Tony Plumb. Thanks, Tony!

I chatted with Steve Sunday and got info about his car, which is a 1972 Chevelle with a 355 small-block Chevy engine. It has ported heads, a 622 roller cam and it's a good race car when he takes it to the strip. This is Steve's 4th car. The Top Sportsman 2002 Camaro project is ongoing; he told me it's the second car he is completely building.

Steve told me his bucket list is to do Drag Week this year with the Chevelle.

About being a Racer of the Week, Steve posted this on his Facebook page last week and I'd like to share it now.
"Ok after pondering on this for awhile.... this is pretty cool but I know plenty of others that deserve this before me..... I'm just a guy trying to race and enjoy something I really love.. I'll never make any money from it to profit on but then again there's a lot of worse things I can do!
Without prostock Jim Wilson and my Dad (Leon) this would have never happened and I'm forever grateful to the both of them for the reality of a dream!

I just want a really nice clean car and a group of kick ass friends to enjoy it with and have many laughs and great memories with!
Thanks for this honor, John, for my little piece of this shiny moment!"

My reply to Steve's post reads as follows:

"You guys and the entire Quad City Drag Racing Family and friends are PRECISELY the folks I'm looking to feature, and I love the stories and history of it all.

It's the guy parked over there on the grass with the blue Chevy (or Mopar or Ford) that's out there going rounds, and his wife and his buddies are helping him. THAT'S my pick for Racer of the Week. He's out here doing it on his own dollar because he loves being here, getting to have a good time with his family and friends, and he gets a few runs in while he's at it. In my world, It don't get no better than that. Y'all are great people and racers. Y'all know what it's all about."

Tony Plumb added these words to what Steve said:

"The cool thing about it all is that we will be going racing together! That in itself are what memories and dreams are made of ! I couldn't ask for anything better than getting to go racing with you and Dad!"

Steve Plumb is a great representative of grass-roots drag racing, and we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future, Steve!
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:38 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Lisa O'Connor Fischer, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lisa was recommended to me by our friends Don Turner and Gorden Jenkins. Thanks, guys! Lisa's graphic and intro is now #2 all-time on Facebook for likes, shares and comments. She is runner-upping to Bret Kepner, who is #1 but she's right there in that league with him, and I want to congratulate her and her friends who lit up Facebook over the last week with her feature. I was blown away when I saw that thing go viral. Then Lisa sent me an outstanding drag racing story. She's the real deal, folks, and she deserves the recognition for what she's accomplished.

Lisa grew up around cars, and would hang out at the local drag strip when she was in high school; she never raced but just mostly hung out with her brother and all his friends while they raced, so its in her blood. Lisa loves cars: all makes and models. She had a '67 Corvair in high school, then she had a few Mustangs, then she purchased her beautiful '67 Camaro SS. The story goes like this: she decided one day that she wanted to drag race but the Camaro was a very pretty all stock convertible (not the kind of car you race).

Lisa's brother had an '86 Buick T-type turbo V-6 and he offered to let her take it down the strip. Lisa was hooked. Within 1 year, she purchased her own '87 Buick Grand National. It was stock so she started adding mods, then before she knew it she was getting kicked out of the track, because she had no roll bar and her Grand National ran 10.65 @ 128 mph. Lisa refused to put a bar in the car, but of course she wanted to go faster so she found an '87 Buick Turbo T on the Buick board for sale with a blown up engine and an 8.50 cage.

She purchased the car and began transforming it into her fast street car. It took her several years to get the car the way she wanted it, and in 2015 she completed Hot Rod Drag Week, which is a 1 week race, driving the car 1000 miles to 4 cities, then racing in each city. A true test of a real street car. Lisa set the record for quickest Buick; she was also awarded quickest Six Cylinder, with her best 1/4 mile time in 2015 being a 9.62. In 2016 her best 1/4 mile time was 9.26 @ 148 mph.

The specs on Lisa's Turbo T are: It's a Buick V-6 Stage II engine, Champion Heads, a 76mn Precision Turbo, E85 fuel, a 400 transmission, 275/60 drag radial tires. Her best 60-foot time is 1.27 seconds. Lisa's goal is to get the car in the 8's in 2017. This lady is a huge gearhead, she wrenches on her car and does all her own research on what parts will be the best for her combo. She is proud to have built a true street car that holds the Hot Rod Drag Week Quickest Buick record!

Lisa, you did great, and we congratulate you on your achievements. We wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:33 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Matthew Seamarks, from Rushden, United Kingdom. Matt was recommended to me by our friend Andy Cowen, of C & C Engineering in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. Thanks, Andy!

Matt Seamarks has an excellent Super Street hot rod. It's a 1956 Ford 100 E, right-steered, with a small-bock 383 Chevy engine.

The car was built in Rushden by Chris Bishop and he raced it in pro et and super gas for a couple of seasons.. Since Matt acquired the car he has run a best et 10.55 @ 127 mph at his home track, Santa Pod. He's an old-school racer. Matt told me he runs this class without stops; he uses no transbrake, so in turn, no delay boxes, not even an MSD...it's a full no-gadgets car. He told me they teach Juniors to race without all the gadgets, so why not keep racing that way! He said only last season he connected a shift light for the first time, but only as a gauge for him to try to beat the light to the shift.

Last year at the Euro Finals, the car suffered a catastrophic engine failure and Matt said they still don't have enough money to build it back up yet. He needs a new block, pistons and rods, but he added there is no point in building the same engine over again, so he might was well try to build a better one. His engine program has come to standstill without having a useable block avaliable to him at this time. It will more than likely be next season before he returns if he can't find some sponsors. If anyone would like to help with sponsoring the car please do get in contact with Matt which ever side of the pond you are on! Matthew Seamarks on Facebook.

Matt had me make a full-color handout to help with his trying to put together sponsorship proposals, as he is racing on a very tight budget. Sometimes he has to run the series on less than a thousand pounds a year, and that's not a lot of money for a whole lot of racing. I hope he can find a good backer, because he has potential and he's a hard worker with a great focus and attitutde.

He asked me to remove the Union Jack on his graphic and replace it with the St. George Flag, which is the original English flag. I was happy to do that. He has the British Bulldog Spirit, and it's in keeping with his approach to his drag racing efforts. The Gingerman Racing logo was also added at his request. It's one of my favorite logo designs.

Matt said thanks to his Mum and Dad for all they do and continue to do!

Matt said he wants to come over to a race this season and I told him he's welcome to stay here with us at the Shrine to Bad Taste. He lives the life of a mechanic and he told me the Shrine would be perfect for that. I'm hoping he can make it over one of these days!

Matt, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby Wheelzman » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:36 am

Oh man do I love that little unit!!!!!!!!!!! Reminds me of the old Gasser class here at my home track and brings back memories of the good old days when I look at that car. Good luck Matthew on your quest with a tight budget, no electronics and the "TRUE" passion of drag racing. You are the roots of our sport. :D

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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:31 pm

Couldn't agree more, Wheelz! Matt is the real deal! Looking forward to hearing how his new engine is progressing!

My pick for Racer of the Week is John Ishibashi, from Kalaheo, Kauai, Hawaii. John was recommended to me by our friend Michael Baba Balbarino, whose 808_FUEL page has the most extensive and thorough coverage of Drag Racing and all motorsports in the state of Hawaii. Thanks, Michael!

John's '68 Camaro Top Gun race car is a marvelous hot rod, with one of the most beautiful paint jobs I've ever seen on a race car. John told me it's a relatively new paint scheme, as he told me a couple of years ago he crashed this car and after he repaired and rebuilt the car he had a local boy, Rylan Kapuy, lay down the base graphic colors. John’s friend, Richie Rapozo, color sanded and laid on the glassy clear finish which John said is similar to the previous paint scheme. He then flew in Alan Perreira of Sandy, Oregon to stripe and letter the car. To my eye, it's one of those cars you just keep looking at. The design, structure and color combination is perfect. It's one of my all-time favorite race cars.

John has had the Camaro for upwards of 37 years. It was his car in high school. Over the years he has upgraded and added to the car. For a while he put it aside and raced other cars, but he told me it's like going back to your first love, and he feels right driving it. His brother, Peter, motivated him to fix the Ninja after the crash and take it back out as his #1 race car. He attributes this decision to his brother's advice who was his crew chief and number one supporter ever since John started racing until his untimely passing a little over a year ago. Peter didn’t get to see the rebuilt Ninja, but he was definitely there in spirit when John returned to the track only for a second time after the crash and won at Mike Balbarino’s 1st annual Nostalgia Race on Kauai. I'd say he definitely made the right call.

The 565 cubic inch engine has powered John to numerous wins, and a best ET of 8.35 at a top speed of 167 mph. His hard-working crew includes Mike Foster and Jose Diogo. John has figured out how to get good freight deals on getting new parts and equipment shipped over from the mainland. That is one of the factors that makes drag racing such a special pursuit in Hawaii. The parts cost the same as they do in the lower 48, but it's the freight charges that run the price up, and John and other Hawaii racers have had to put more money together in order to keep their cars running the same as everybody else's...there are ways to avoid or cut down on costs, and John figured that out.

John thanks his wife, Del and his girls, Kristyn and Brittney, for their unending support of his racing efforts. He said he couldn't do this if it wasn't for his strong family bonds. They have been standing behind him all the way. The family comes out to the track when he races and cheers him on; as with drag racing all over the world, this is a family activity and it's handed down through the generations.

He still tows the car on an open trailer. It looks great and it's old-school. He told me almost everybody uses enclosed trailers these days, but there's something special about a race car showing up on an open trailer. It brings back memories of the days of old. I can't think of a better way to show that car!

John, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future.
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:31 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Jimmy Dolan, from Pawling, New York. Jimmy owns and pilots "The YeTTi", the world's fastest Ford Lightning. He's a member of the Mid Atlantic Street Outlaws drag racing group, and he was recommended to me by our friend and founder of the Mid Atlantic group, Duane Morris. Thanks, Duane!

Jimmy sent me some information about himself and his hot rod. It's a unique race car. Nobody would expect to see something like this go so fast and set records as the fastest one in the world, but that's a challenge that Jimmy decided to take on by thinking outside the box and having a vision like so many drag racers do.

To say the YeTTi stands out would be an understatement. It is just an incredible race car. Jimmy won the second event of the MASO group last year with the YeTTi. Here is what Jimmy told me:

" I'm honored that you have taken the time to create this and feature us! I cannot thank you enough." You're welcome, Jimmy. It's guys like you that make the sport so great, and your hot rod is one of the best. Jimmy said:

"We are going to dial the motor we have now in and hopefully get down in the 4.50s in the 1/8th mile and then we will step up our engine game! I'm sure people think it's crazy but here's my take ....if you beat me, ok well you beat a truck, HOWEVER if I beat you, then you got BEAT by a truck! It's cool to go to different tracks and people come over and are amazed by the truck.

The YeTTi was updated in last few months. Outlaw Racecraft in Coventry Ct, owned by Paul McDermott did the complete rebuild! Truck is tuned by Dennis Moore from Moore Racecraft in NJ. Our new engine program will be handled by Disomma Racing in NJ. The engine itself is a 417 cid Bennet build with twin 88 mm bullseye turbos. We are working on sponsors and hopefully companies will see how serious I am about my goal. Mid Atlantic Street Outlaws has become a great racing organization in a short period of time. Duane and Dave love this sport and it shows.

Unfortunately we went to Memphis and we had an issue with the motor which stinks, but that's racing. We're on it, and we plan to attend the first event of the MASO season next Saturday. My goal is to have the fastest non-Pro mod truck on Drag radials. We still have a stock front clip so we can run in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing series and other classes where we hope to be competitive. Outlaw Racecraft just built me a 25.2 chasis over the Winter in hopes of getting lighter.

Thanks to my wife Tara for allowing me to do this. Thanks to Joe Behensky who has been a blessing as far as helping wrench and keeping me calm and I want to thank you again John for featuring the YeTTi."

Jimmy, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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