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 Mar 05, 2018 5:53 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Jeff Oppenheim, from Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Jeff was recommended to me by our friend and the admin of DADs Old-Fashioned Drag Racing group, Don Turner. Thanks, Don!

When I contacted Jeff, we ended up staying up just about all night exchanging stories and information. Time will not allow everything I learned about him to be put in my segment, but suffice it to say this is a guy who lives life to its fullest. Jeff has a degree in industrial engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He opened his own shop in 2004, and named it First Try Engineering. His friends that race with him are clients, competitors and buddies. the DADs group is a big family, and they all help each other all the time. He has so far raced at 27 tracks, but Quaker City Motorsports Park is his home track. Like me, Jeff is also deaf, and we both have learned to communicate articulately online. Chatting with him was a real pleasure.

His car is an '86 Chevy El Camino. It was originally a lawn maintenance vehicle in Maryland that Jeff purchased in 1999 when he was still in college. It had no reverse, but he drove it home. He's been working on it and racing it ever since.

Jeff has run Hot Rod Drag Week for 6 years now, but last year the car caught on fire when a little copper oil line broke and his car became a massive inferno in a matter or seconds. Once the fire got put out, it looked pretty messy, but Jeff's friends helped put it all back together with parts and donations and he was back on the street in a jiffy. When they asked him after the fire if he needed anything, he told them how about some barbecued ribs? He decided to leave the oxidized fender alone. It looks awesome and it still functions...the day of fire was new personal best at 9.69 that occured the morning of fire. He subsequently was presented with the spirit of drag week award. He used the rebuild opportunity to address some issues and improve upon what he had. He came back faster than ever.

He told me the roll cage was bent in house. Initially the body was finished by Jeff in 2001 with the help of his good friend Ernie Reece. So the existing paint has been on the car for a long time.

The engine was built by K-Tek performance. It's a 6.0 Chevy with Wiseco Pistons and Lunati rods. Holley intake with 160lb injectors controlled via a Holley efi, tuned by Mike Hamilton feeding the e85. It is a stock tank baffled by Jeff with triple Walbro 450 intank pumps. Air is forced into engine by a Borg Warner turbos 476r custom turbo kit built by First Try Engineering. It has an Isky camshaft with stock heads and dual valve springs. The transmission is a th400 built by Dishon Transmission. The rear end is a 9inch ford with 3.50 gears. The turbo back exhaust is 4 inch aluminum. Jeff built the custom headers himself.

The car has run a best of 9.34@142mph at the end of last year. Jeff would love to hit the elusive goal of 8.999 but he's happy with whatever the car runs as he just enjoys it for what it is. He would ultimately like to run a single digit average on dragweek but he's happy just to be driving and completing the week.

The car has parts from everywhere. The block is from Louisiana. The doors are from Texas, the rear end is from Houston that he acquired in a non-stop round-trip from Pittsburgh.

The traveling of racing has given Jeff a lot of opportunities to see many tracks. Between NMCA and dragweek, it has given him lot of great memories and even greater friends that he has met over the years.

Jeff donates his time and winnings to raise money for his local Toys-For-Tots campaign. He raised $2200 for the kids last year.

This is a great guy with a great story behind him and his hot rod. Jeff, 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 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:20 pm

Hey Jeff, I love the patina on the El Camino. Cool. :D :D :D

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

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:10 pm

Me, too, Wheelz! It's a REAL HOT ROD!!!!

My pick for Racers of the Week are Iggie and Amanda Boicesco, from Warminster, Pennsylvania. Boicesco Racing was recommended to me by our friend and former Racer of the Week, Derek Cesari. Thanks, Derek! As well all know, Division 1 is probably one of the most competitive divisions, and both Iggie and Amanda have won championships in their respective classes, Iggie in Super Gas and Amanda in Super Comp.

They attended the Mid Atlantic .90 Association Banquet Saturday where Amanda was awarded the championship and was the first female champ, as well as the first father-daughter duo to do so.

Amanda drives an outstanding 2002 Undercover dragster powered by a 582" BBC and ATI performance products trans and converter.

She's 22. She'll be graduating from college in May with a degree in accounting. She started racing juniors when she was 13 and got into her "big car" at 17. why Amanda picked accounting... "To hopefully be busy from January thru April then be able to race all summer!" Good call on that, Amanda!

She won her first Lucas Oil Division 1 race at Virginia Motorsports Park when she was 18 in 2014, then she won it again in 2017. Needless to say VMP is Amanda's favorite track. She also won the Dodge Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in 2016 and the Mid Atlantic .90 Association Championship in 2017.

Amanda gives thanks to her Dad for giving her the best chance to do well in this sport. They are by no means rich and Iggie puts a lot of hard work in to make do with the limited resources he has. He was a school teacher and Amanda thinks that is why he was able to teach her so much in such a short amount of time.

Iggie retired after 38 years working in the School District of Philadelphia.

He drives a 2017 Corvette roadster that is also powered by a 582" BBC and ATI trans and converter. This is actually the same Brogie Roadster chassis that he has raced since 1992, but he had a brutal crash in 2016 so he put on the C7 body.
Iggie was the 2006 NHRA Super Gas World Champ, the 1986 Division 1 Champion, In 1975 he was bracket racer of the year, and has since won 8 National Events, 14 Divisional events, and 6 Mid Atlantic .90 Association championships.

Iggie's the best...just to put Division 1 into perspective, he's won the World Championship and has finished second in Division 1 five times, most recently in 2015. He is also a 2-time Jegs Allstar.

The Boicescos would like to say thanks to their crew chief Bob Sener, their sponsors ATI, Dart, Hoosier, Strange, Road Runner Race Fuels, The Donhauser family, Engine Builder Gil Davis, Car builder Tom Goldman, and neighbor Derek Cesari, who is always on standby to come help them out whenever he is needed.

I personally love to see a family involved in the sport together. There is no doubt that Amanda inherited her father's passion for the sport, and we wish you both 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 19, 2018 6:21 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Sanoe Kaluahine from Hanamaulu, Kauai, Hawaii. Sanoe was recommended to me by our friend and the admin of the 808_FUEL page, Michael Baba Balbarino, who covers motorsports on the Garden Isle in its entirety. Thanks, Michael!

Sanoe is an 8th grader at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. She is an excellent achiever in her academics. She has received numerous academic excellence awards along with well-deserved race awards. Sanoe was presented the 2017 Jr. Sportsman Award at the Garden Isle Racing Association Christmas Awards Banquet for her exceptional portrayal of what sportsmanship is all about. Sanoe is always smiling win or lose. She not only Jr. Drag races, but also loves the hula and represented her halau at the keiki hula competition a few years back.

What I've learned from having been friends with the Drag Racers in Hawaii is that not only are the big car folks the best of friends and brothers and sisters in the family of drag racing, but the younger generation is an equally important part of their activities. The junior dragster league in Hawaii is extremely competitive yet all of the young racers are growing up together and the loving and giving attitude of their parents toward each other is passed down to them. It's hardcore drag racing, but it's also something that families young and old enjoy and participate in together. That, to me, is what it's all about. Sanoe, 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 draglist » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:41 am

Thank you, John! In addition to your amazing portion of the show (not to mention your amazing new graphic for the how -- NOT to mention the amazing art you send every week), we got it all worked out so that your portion of the show fully aligns with mine (and all the garbled audio is over)!
Bill Pratt
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:26 pm

Great news, BP! Thanks! Looking forward to Monday's show! Best, JB
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:17 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Scott Gamlen, from Saint James City, Florida. I was introduced to Scott at an open mic jam he hosted in the Bay Area that I was invited to play in the backing band for in 2008. He is without question the most dynamic, talented and engaging front man I've ever played for, and I enjoyed several years of playing in his great band here in the Houston area, along with the area's finest musicians that he hand-picked for his group. Getting to know him, I have found that he not only is a musician, songwriter and performer of great quality, but he has a fascinating life that I'll touch on in my segment tonight.

Scott's current ride is a1965 Mustang convertible which he named Sally. It was originally a 6-cyl car, and the previous owner "restored" it to Mustang GT specs in 2010.

It had a 289 A-code V-8, Toploader 4-sp trans, new springs, shocks, sway bars, bushings, GT badges and stripes, and Styled steel 15 x 7 wheels. The car had been repainted in original Twilight Turquoise Blue.

Scott got the car in 2014 and replaced the engine with a 347 crate engine (bored and stroked 5.0), with aluminum intake and heads, Holley 600 cfm carb, hyd roller cam, 400 HP, 400 TQ. Additional improvements are 4-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinon steering, T-5 5-speed o/d trans, Hydraulic clutch, a 9 in Currie rear end with 3.50 Tru-trac gears, 225/50 r 17 tires on 17x8 alloy wheels, and 2.5 in Magnaflow exhaust.
The car has a lot of performance goodies, but no scatter shield or roll bar so it is strictly a street rod. It looks spectacular, sounds good and runs and handles really well, it's all the hot rod he needs...

While he was at it, he had his wife Linda's truck restored to pristine condition as well. It's a 1996 Ford 150 XL, with a 300 ci, big six, making 150 hp. It used to be her work truck until Scott had it restored and painted to match Sally. It's a beauty; looks good sitting next to Sally at the cruises and shows, too. Needless to say, it's not a mulch hauler any more!

When Scott was 18, he purchased a '31 Model A roadster with a 312 Y-block engine. The car was poorly engineered and executed, still had the vintage Ford 3-speed and closed, torque-tube drive line. He blew up transmissions on a regular basis, and he kept several spares on hand. It eventually got to where he could change one in about 20 minutes!

He took the car to Island Dragway and ran it in B/SR. He had to flim-flam his way thru Tech: no scatter shield or roll bar. He found somebody in the pits with an extra roll bar, bought it for $25, and tack-welded it to the frame. Tech insp was a fluid concept in those days. He proudly painted on his number with white shoe polish and drove to the staging area. The launch was good, but the trans gave up on the 1-2 shift: no ET, end of outing. As every teen-age knucklehead knows, The answer to any performance problem is... More horsepower! Scott installed a Paxton supercharger on the 312. He could now destroy a transmission with out even shifting and soon ran himself out of transmissions. So...No more racing for the Model A.

Since the Roadster was not robust enough for racing, Scott found a buddy, Bradley, with a Flathead powered 1950 Crosley station wagon who was looking for a partner. It was a cool little car, well-designed and built. They raced it in D/A and took it to shows. It wasn't very quick, 13's, as he recalls, but it was very appealing and fun. They were cleaning and prepping the car in Bradley's garage for a show after a race weekend, which is a very labor-intensive and frustrating process, as we all know. Scott left late Fri evening, planning to return Sat morning to pack up for the show. When he returned the next morning, the garage looked like someone had thrown a grenade in there: stuff everywhere and bullet holes in the body and differential.

Scott said Bradley had numerous virtues, but not among them was impulse control. He had been detailing when frustration and anger got the better of him. Out came the 357 Magnum to slay the enemy. Mission accomplished. He killed the car. And the partnership. Scott decided any future collaborations would be with some one less volatile.

Fast forward to Spring 1963. Scott was pursuing a mechanical engineering degree at Duke University. He was in the engineering lab one afternoon working on a force vector problem with weights, strings, and pulleys. He was interrupted by a familiar cackling sound... a slingshot dragster slowly idling by. He ran out, flagged the guy down and introduced himself. He had acquired Connie Kalitta's 1950's original "Bounty Hunter," sans engine, and installed a 301 Chevy in it. Scott decided the dragster offered a more practical and entertaining solution to force vector problems and abandoned the string and pulleys and went drag racing again.

They went out to a local mom and pop drag strip to dial the car in. It was way out in the country: county road to farm road to private dirt road with a hand-painted sign that said "Drag-strip". The dirt road gave way to 1500 ft of asphalt that constituted the track. That included the staging area and a 1320' strip. The shutdown area was dirt: challenging when arriving @150 mph with only rear brakes During the week when the track was not being used for racing, some of the locals would do their testing there. Sox and Martin had their '63 Z 11 Impala there one day when Scott's team were testing. The dragster ran low 10's, 150 mph, decent for C gas dragster at the time, but Camaro times these days.

Scott doesn't remember racing the car or what he did with it after he left. The university did not recognize his practical engineering work as germane to his degree and he was not invited back for his Sophomore year.

He then turned his attentions to road racing and bought a Formula Vee, single seat, open wheel, tube chassis, 1200 cc VW engine. He had a good time SCCA racing at Lime Rock, Bridgehampton, Watkins Glen, entry-level racing at big-boy tracks. After two racing seasons, the military called: Scott was to report to Naval Air Station Pensacola for Flight training.

Airplanes filled his need for speed and he quit racing of any kind for 10 years. After Scott's military service, he got a job at Southwest Airlines as a commercial pilot.

By the late 80's Scott had enough discretionary income to pursue road racing again, this time with a Formula Ford from the Skip Barber racing school. No need for a car, or trailer, or mechanic. Just show up and drive a fully prepped race car at some iconic race tracks including Riverside and Sears Point. He was racing at Riverside as the bulldozers were turning it into a housing development. Kinda sad.

Scott actually took a couple of months off from work so he could go racing. He raced 6 times in the Skip Barber series and managed to crash at Bridgehampton, breaking the car and a couple of ribs. After contemplating the expense and pain involved, Scott "retired" from racing for good and contented himself with racy looking and sounding cars.

By the time I met Scott Gamlen, he had retired from his aviation career and was concentrating on creating music with his band "On-Time Airline". I was proud to be a member. I still wear the t-shirt and the hat, and I'll never forget his good nature towards everyone and the fantastic times we had together when he lived here in the Houston area.

Scott and Linda, we wish you good luck, safe racing (if you ever do it again), and the best of times in the future!
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby Wheelzman » Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:34 pm

Wow, Scott has a heavy dose of gearheaditis doesn't he John?????
Nice car and truck and what a story. Thanks. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:13 pm

Thanks, Wheelz. Scott is one in a million. He lives life to the fullest and is always open for suggestions! He's been a great role model for me in many ways. Best, WC1
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:35 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Lou Greco, from Edinburg, Pennsylvania. Lou was recommended to me by our friend Robert Shaner. Thanks, Robert!
Lou is an extremely dynamic guy. He competes and wins in several bracket series with his 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge, and he is the great front man of the Country band, Trainwreck. With all that going on, he stays close to his family, who always comes first, and he's well-known and successful in his region with both his musicianship and his drag racing.

The Judge has a square tube chassis. It weighs 3120lbs and has a 565 cubic inch engine.
It runs Trick Flow 365cnc heads and matching intake. It's a Dart big m block with Callie's crank, Carrillo rods and Wiseco quick 16 pistons. It also has an Apd max speed 1150 alky throttle stop carb.
The car runs on an Abruzzi trans and torque converter, feeding the power to a Ford 9" rear end with 4:57 gears.
The wheels are Weld v series double bead locks, hooked up to Mickey Thompson 15x33" slicks.

Lou's sponsors are Advance Auto Parts, Mickey Thompson tires, Trick Flow Specialties, Wiseco, Cometic gaskets, APD carbs, V's House of Horsepower, and Abruzzi Transmissions and Torque converters.

Lou has won 67 race wins since 2007.

He was the 2004 Quaker City Motorsports Park Top Street Champion, the 2007 5k Champion at Keystone Raceway, the 2012 IHRA Summit Super Series Champion at QCMP, the 2012 IHRA Division 3 Top runner up, and the 2016 Quick 16 Champion at Magnolia Raceway.

Lou's goals are to effectively compete at a high level at big money races, and to win more big check races.

Lou thanks his wife Jean Marie, his daughter Josie and his father and crew chief Dominic, who has been battling lymphoma but is now thankfully in remission, Tom Kundrik at Mickey Thompson, Mike Downs at Trick Flow, Marco Abruzzi at Abruzzi transmissions and torque converters, Vic Ellinger at Wiseco, Randy Scheuer at APD carbs, Bill Tishko at Cometic, Ronnie Vnuk at Vs House of Horsepower, Ed & Angie at Advance Auto Parts, and Pee Wee Miller at Summit Racing Equipment.

Lou told me that he's very fortunate to have such generous people around him.

As a musician, Lou has performed with multiple national country acts in the 1990s. He is a graduate of the Dana School of music at Youngstown State University. His band, Trainwreck, has been performing around 70 shows a year since 2005.

Check out Trainwreck country band on Facebook. I guarantee you will be blown away. They're great. Lou told me that God has blessed him, and I couldn't agree more. This is a special man who is living life to its fullest.

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