Brea, Ca—It is going to be a very exciting week prior to the team gearing up for the U.S. Nationals August 28 - Sept 3rd, in Indianapolis, IN. Each Labor Day weekend, NHRA racers and fans converge and share their passion at Lucas Oil Raceway. Just outside of Indianapolis in Clermont, the "Big Go" is the biggest, oldest, richest, and most prestigious drag race in the world.
To start the fun, on Tuesday August 28th Lombardo Racing will be teaming up with the Outback Steakhouse, located at 7525 US 31 South, for an awesome opportunity to display the actual Good To Go NAPA Batteries Top Alcohol Funny Car. John will be signing autographs for all the customers and hopes to enhance the “Outback” experience. There will be opportunities for pictures with the car and John, as well as raffles for team Lombardo Race apparel.
Friday, August 31st, the team will get the car ready for the first two qualifying assaults at 12:00pm and 3:00pm. After the excitement of being back in the car and charging at 260mph John will be honored to throw the first pitch and help team mascot "Rowdie" usher in the Indianapolis Indians last regular season Baseball game. This will take place at Victory field, located within White River State Park on the southwest side of downtown Indianapolis, at 7:15 p.m. Immediately following his pitching debut he will be signing autographs in the concourse and handing out Outback Steakhouse blooming onion coupons.
Saturday, September 1st Rowdie will be joining John at the track and making a special appearance for an autograph session scheduled at 1:30pm at the team Lombardo Race Trailer. "Drag Racing for NAPA, Lucas Oil and the rest of our partners at the U.S. Nationals is a privilege and a pleasure. Sharing the NHRA excitement with fans at Outback Steakhouse, cheering the Indianapolis Indians into the playoffs, three days of qualifying then battling the best cars in the country on Monday makes the "Big Go" just that. We'll be ready!"
Keep tuned in to our Facebook and Twitter pages for times and more information about each event taking place during the U.S. Nationals Week!
NHRA’s Northwest Nationals last week in Seattle easily provided one of the more interesting weeks of racing to date. Our trek actually started two weekends prior at Sonoma, where we runner upped at the Lucas Oil Divisional. Saturday night at the Sonoma Nationals we broke bread wine country style with Ron Capps, Vincent Nobile and the Mountain View Gang, NAPA Jobbers, and some of GPC’s best. Sunday the fans and drivers alike were greeted with some of the nicest weather possible; a welcome change from record highs in Chicago and Norwalk. Bart Riebe throws a great party and genuinely enjoys quality time with his customers. He and Jay were kind enough to include us in their festivities, talking drag racing and auto parts in most of the third floor of the starting line suites.
Monday and Tuesday are for travel, wash, and staging the rig. Interstate 5 is a bit bland through most of California but the further North the prettier it gets. I love the response from the thousands you see on the road: they pull up, look at the life size NAPA Lucas Oil Funny Car on the rear door and trailer side, then slow up and take photos with their phone, speed up to pass and give a thumbs up, and hold their NAPA hat up. Can’t help but remind you how infectious this whole program is.
NHRA, in some sort of a “clairvoyant/pay it forward” move, parks us first in line at the main entrance to the pro pits. We had unbelievable traffic throughout the event, handing out several thousand of our 24x18 posters. Wednesday night it was three hours south to Tygard, Oregon for a customer event with the Portland D.C. A little indoor go karting, BBQ, sign some race swag, and an especially enjoyable meet and greet. Most of these folks were Auto Care Centers and knowledgeable mechanics; they wanted to talk tuning, data, the gearhead side. It was more like bench racing with your pals.
Thursday is set up, tech, and bolt some new widgets on the hot rod. You see we’ve been right there e.t. wise, meaning not lacking in horsepower, pretty much all year: Q2 in Gainesville, Q2 in Chicago, low of first round Houston, low of Q3 and E1 at Sonoma. It has been all about making good tuning decisions and driving well on race day. However the Whiteley car made a statement at Sonoma with a 5.50 and 5.53 in E2 and E3 telling us we need to find some power.
Thursday evening we joined 225 NAPA Jobbers and Auto Care Centers for some wheel to wheel karting at K1 Speed. Mike and his team at the Seattle D.C. were the best of hosts, allowing Ron Capps and me to pull winning tickets for our team jackets, race tickets, and two Las Vegas race weekend packages. We finished with two runoff heats including the 12 fastest drivers and a championship race with the “quick six”. This was a first class event!
Friday is for qualifying. Trying a new combination for Q1 at a national event is like the ultimate test for the tuner. You definitely don’t want to be too aggressive and start the weekend with a pile of scrap metal. Go too soft and it will shake and not make it far enough to get a read on the fuel system. With all our new changes, Jeff nails it right from the start and we go 5.57/258 for #2 in the show-on the checkout pass! It’s safe and doesn’t hurt a part. With only two cars in the 5.50’s I can’t emphasize how big this run was.
We went 5.65 in Q2, third quickest of the session and stayed #2. Having clearly gone the wrong direction we’re very encouraged by a little larger tuning window and the car still made a very functional run. Saturday brings hotter ambient and track temperatures; Q3 we go 5.62 alongside Whiteley’s 5.60, putting an exclamation point on qualifying with again the quickest runs of the 16 car field.
Round one we draw #15 qualifier John Evanchuk. (Queue the sci fi music.) We fire, do the wet, back up as normal. I pull up, center the car and notice Evanchuk dead at the end of the wet. His crew made a gallant effort to return after oiling the track in Q3, but with him now stuck on the track we figure their problems persisted. He’s way out there, clearly too far for us to safely run. Good news is we’ll have a single, bad news is we’re waiting, building heat in the clutch. For nearly a minute we’re idling, clutch in, doubling the length of the normal staging process. I catch the staging lights flicker as his car is pushed backwards through the beams. I see the top light on the other side of the tree and figure the starter was signaling all clear. I bring the motor up, leave on the amber, and the clutch immediately locks up and smokes the tires. With nothing to gain I idle down the track. Evanchuk wanders down there to a 6.97; I figure NHRA let him run his car for checkout purposes. Then no win light in our lane. (The sci fi music gets a little louder.) Turns out we were not on a single run; NHRA, in the interest of preserving the drag race, held me behind the starting line, pushed him back and allowed him to stage.
Evanchuk is declared the winner and goes on to win the EVENT with a 6.58! I’m normally pretty politically correct, but we worked hard for our opportunity to race for this event title. We (myself , my team, and our sponsors) were burned down on the starting line and robbed of this opportunity. I don’t fault the starter for making every effort to run both cars; but we were held too long and near as I can tell everyone present thought we had a single. I drove the race with this same belief.
My uncle has one of the best sayings ever, “you can get better or you can get bitter!” Because of the points and financial ramifications the sting is going to last a while, but we will channel the energy to our racing efforts. On the 1,150 mile ride home I peered apprehensively at the passenger mirror, figuring for sure Rod Serling was riding shotgun.
Leaving the Twilight Zone, next stop is the "Big Go", the U.S. Nationals at Indy. There's not a more important race to me personally, a big week is planned and we'll be ready. We appreciate your support.
John Lombardo Jr.
It's good to be back in SoCal, (for a few days). Three events in the last four weekends, planes, big rigs, 260 MPH funny cars and July is just about "toast"!
First stop was Johnson Controls in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for an employee meet and greet and plant tour. The Power Solutions group, (Optima, NAPA Batteries, among several other majors worldwide) represents a small part of the impressive technological and ecologically friendly missions they're dedicated to achieve. European based OEM car parts, massive climate control systems, (some geothermal)-these folks build some cool stuff.
Then it's Chicago for the Route 66 Nationals and Jeg's AllStars. We ran well and went a round in each show, but after qualifying #2 in possibly the stoutest field of 2012, we had better in mind. Division 7 won it's first ever Jeg's team overall championship and the trophy and bragging rights are on tour with the West Coast gang. Two separate national weather service storms; wind, rain, and lightning that Hollywood would struggle to upstage kept it "interesting". It was cool to team up with Capps and Nobile to communicate NAPA's Fallen Heroes fundraising and awareness efforts-the campaign and cause were very well received.
Load 'em up, grind some gears in the big rig and head to Woodburn, Oregon for the 35th annual Les Schwab Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series shootout. With the help of the Livingston Family, LuAnn booked the front row spot, the paddock area, and the tower suite to host our Sunday group of 150. We did three separate radio interviews Friday, hyping the Lucas Series, the track, NAPA, Les Schwab, and the rest of our marketing partners. We qualified fine but bowed in first round by a hundredth. Being a glass half full kind of fellow, this gave us the rest of Sunday to enjoy visiting with some fantastic people. Spot one gave us a ringside seat for the semi and final rounds, still a very successful outing. We intend to win every race we enter, but regardless of the outcome we will work to ensure that all of our guests feel welcomed and appreciated. We signed more handouts and posters than at most national events, this was a really nice hit for a divisional. I believe LuAnn has event photos on our site.
Monday we serviced that motor and clutch, broke down the circus and headed to Sonoma. Our NAPA contingent sent 75 to mix it up with our friends and family. Funny how easy it is to get folks to Vegas or California's wine country...
We qualified #3 with the most consistent car on the property, making the first five attempts without a blip on the radar. Our 5.64 in Q3 was low e.t. and the only pass in the 5.60's. The Whiteley car got really mean and serious in the semis with a 5.508, then used a 5.53 to earn the event win, we grabbed the runner up honors. We thoroughly believe that going to the final represents a lot of hard work, winning it is certainly a bonus. No long faces if it doesn't go your way, drag racing delivers enough of those days. We found a rhythm there that will help us in upcoming contests.
We'll work events for NAPA Saturday night at the national in Sonoma, Wednesday and Thursday nights of the Seattle race, then take a serious run at the Northwest Nationals Wally. Racing or marketing, (and hopefully going some rounds), we'll do our best for the support you have committed. On behalf of our team and a large contingent of NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing fans, thanks for all you do!
Lombardo gearing up for big guest counts at Woodburn Dragstrip
Brea, Ca – Keeping up with the momentum from Chicago, Lombardo Racing has traversed the country to Woodburn, Oregon to compete this weekend at the 35th Annual Les Schwab Challenge NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional. Continuing on with NAPA’s support of the “Get Back and Give Back” program we will be running the same special “Fallen Warriors” appreciation color scheme that we debuted in Chicago at the Route 66 Nationals. NAPA Batteries, Starters, and Alternators have partnered with nearly 20,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores and Auto Care Centers to raise awareness and financial support for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
Sunday we’ll host over 150 special guests from Les Schwab Tire and marketing partner Johnson Controls. JCI/Power Solutions supplies premium quality NAPA Legend and Optima Batteries, a key line in every store and repair facility. The team looks forward to giving them a warm welcome and great race experience.
“Racing in the Northwest is killer. It’s extremely pretty at Woodburn and Seattle, the air is good and both tracks are excellent. The Wilson NAPA Store Group always comes out in force, this year Les Schwab has the (Lucas Oil Drag Racing) bug and is sponsoring the event and attending eliminations on Sunday. JCI/NAPA Batteries is sending a group from the Portland plant and we’re running the Fallen Heroes car. We’ve qualified at the pointy end of the grid and gone rounds here, our team will be ready. Thanks in advance to the folks at Woodburn Dragstrip for their hospitality and a fast, smooth, track surface-it’s among the best in the country.”
Thanks very much to our primary sponsors NAPA Auto Parts, NAPA Batteries, Pro Series Starters and Alternators, Lucas Oil, NAPAFilters.com and partners NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, New York, New York Hotel & Casino, JE Pistons, Mechanix Wear, and Twin Palms. Thanks for having us aboard! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updated news @lombardoracing.
Brea, CA-- With less than 8 days until the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Lombardo Racing is preparing their 260 MPH NAPA Top Alcohol Funny Car to debut a new look. Lombardo, along with other NAPA drivers Ron Capps and Vincent Nobile, will be driving special “Fallen Warriors” appreciation color scheme cars for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is a leader in supporting the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. The (non-profit) Fund has provided close to $120 million in support for the families of military personnel lost in service to our nation; and for severely wounded military personnel and veterans. These efforts are funded entirely with donations from the public; hundreds of thousands of individuals have contributed.
The entire Lombardo Racing team is honored to display such a patriotic scheme and is proud to represent this very important cause. The new color scheme will also be displayed during the Jeg’s Allstar race. This separate eight car shootout is held within NHRA’s Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, IL. John Lombardo Jr. earned the Division 7 title and a shot at the 2012 Jeg’s overall and team championships.
Before all of the weekend’s events take place, Lombardo will be meeting up with Team Kalitta Top Fuel dragster pilot David Grubnic for an autograph signing. Both cars and transporters will be on display in Power Solutions’ Glendale Campus; where employees will get the chance to meet both drivers and become more familiar with their NHRA Drag Racing involvement.
Power Solutions/Johnson Controls manufacture for NAPA Batteries, Optima Batteries, and a wide array of automotive products for OEM’s and the aftermarket. This event is scheduled to take place June 26th between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
After leaving Las Vegas with two black eyes and a bloody lip, Houston was a significant and welcomed improvement. Our second round result won't warrant any cartwheels, but we're close. It feels like we're paying our dues, getting all of the little things heading the right direction in this fairly new program.
We made two qualifying passes Friday, both before the two fuel (pro) sessions. We shook in low gear on both hits, but recovered for 6th going into the last one Saturday. Now it's one more shot, then the fuel cars, and first round. The reason I keep bringing up the nitro powered cars is twofold- the cars lay down big time rubber and NHRA understandably prepares the track in a far different manner around these sessions. You could leave your car alone, keep lining up for the runs and it will change incredibly. Sometimes you wonder if that's what you should do...
Anyway, we're close to making it so we continue to "tinker" with the power and clutch, but shake again in Q3 and end up 8th. We'll line up with Texan Steve Burck for first round and the right to run on Sunday. One more fuel session, the track continues to improve and we pour the coals to it. We go 5.60 for the round win and second quick of the whole field-this will work fine!
Sunday brings more challenges. Because of our soft qualifying spot we draw Tony Bartone for round two, one of the guys you hope to see towards the final. Bartone and Jackson had run as quick as 5.53 so we looked for several more hundredths from Saturday's successful pass. It wasn't there, we had gone past the window. We both shook again in low but their car recovered earlier and nicked us by 8 hundredths. Houston was just plain tricky for us. The air was pretty good, the racing surface had some teeth, but water grains over 120 may have narrowed our tuning window.
Bartone killed the field in qualifying but never made a good run in eliminations. Jay Payne couldn't find the combo in qualifying but got it together in eliminations and brought the Wally home to California.
We made five functional runs and had a car to go low e.t. of first round. We're right there with some of the best cars in the country, we just need to execute.
NAPA was well represented, our congratulations go out to Vincent Nobile and the Mountain View Tire Team on their Pro Stock victory and to Ron Capps and DSR for runner up in Funny Car.
Thanks very much to our primary sponsors NAPA Auto Parts, NAPA Batteries, Pro Series Starters and Alternators, Lucas Oil, NAPAFilters.com and partners NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, New York, New York Hotel & Casino, JE Pistons, Mechanix Wear, and Twin Palms. Thanks for having us aboard!
I'm proud to report that Pro Series Starters and Alternators and Lombardo Racing will be working together for the remainder of the 2012 season!
NAPA Pro Series Starters and Alternators, a division of Motorcar Parts of America, is a supplier of premium quality remanufactured rotating electrical parts to several of NAPA Auto Parts distribution centers, stores, and AutoCare Centers throughout the Western Division. Pro Series and Lombardo Racing teamed up for the 2010 and 2011 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series campaigns; earning a Division 7 Championship, three overall wins, two Jeg's Allstars titles, and a sixth place national finish.
We've raced together from Pomona to Seattle, Indy to Dallas, and many places between. We've worked store displays, NAPA meetings, military bases, car shows, and cruise nights. We've enjoyed collaborating and implementing effective sales promotions with Rick Mochulsky, Cecilia Escalera, and the rest of their talented team. The Pro Series Starters and Alternators logo is prominently located on the hood and front fenders of our 260 MPH Funny Car and I'm looking forward to representing one of the best programs NAPA has to offer.
Please visit Lombardoracing.com for the latest team updates and upcoming events. Be sure to sign up on our fan page for all the latest news from the Lombardo team.
All the best,
John Lombardo Jr.
At arm’s length:
Having worked for the Lombardo Family off and on for the last 40 years, I have always been close enough to get dirty but not in the direct line of fire. So when I was asked to help out on a little trailer maintenance in 2012, I jumped in with both feet. A day before the rig was to leave for Gainesville, Florida a shortage of crew members that could attend arose, so I found myself in the shotgun seat bouncing down the highway with John. Now we have lots of history together as we were first introduced when John was about 10 years old visiting his dad in LA on summer vacation. That led to numerous employments (nepotism) over the next 20 years as we were deep into the Auto Parts Business in those days. So we got right to discussing the 2012 TAFC plans and challenges. With a different car and 3 new crew members plus the addition of a hospitality area with a hospitality director (Luann Bishop) things were really going to be different this year. After 5 hours of making to do lists and wishful thinking lists we settled into the I10 east bound looking for that overnight stop in Deming, New Mexico.
After a 5 hour stop over outside of Dallas for a little Trailer upgrade at Competition Trailers it was back onto I20 next stop Gainesville.
Having done a little bit of this tour thing in my younger days I was struck by how much the road trip has changed you no longer have the luxury of stopping where ever you want and seeing whatever u want, the rig is too big and to awkward to u turn or pull over just anywhere, leaving those "truck stops" as the place to look forward to.
So here we are sitting in the Sportsman Parking staging lanes @ Gainesville waiting our turn to the Sportsman Land. To say nothing is recognizable is an understatement my last trip here was in 1972 with the Ram chargers Nitro FC that we stuffed in a drainage ditch at the end of the race track when the driver try to slide it around the corner resulting in all night thrash with parts flown in from Detroit. Finally we are parked. So now it's up to John & I to assemble this new hospitality awning and arrange our pit area piece of cake. It's now 9:30 PM truck washers have finally finished we can now do a quick hand wipe down and we will be good to go to the Jacksonville Airport to pick up the Crew that got rerouted due to weather. Its 2:30 AM back at the Hotel ready for a good night’s rest.
Thursday Breakfast its almost 7:00 AM some small talk with the crew then off to the track, today is a once over of the car from top to bottom having just come from Phoenix and winning the Regional Race. Its 4:00 PM Jim Adolph and I are off to the Don Garlits International Hall of Fame Banquet and induction ceremony, this was one of the lures that made this 2500 mile trip thinkable. One of my Best friends (Bob Brandt) and one of my x Employers were being inducted into the hall of fame, so after a hour of socializing the ceremony is on. Now Brandt and I became friends when we both worked for "Wildlife Racing" that would be the Snake & the Mongoose in those days there was no social networking quite to the contrary the "Snake" rules required no contact with other crews under any circumstances, Bob and I broke that rule and have remained best friends for 41 years so it's ironic that I find myself sitting at Bob's # 2 table in front of the "Snake". It's quite remarkable that after all this time DP is humble and actually seems to appreciate all that Bob did to help him win so many championships. As the ceremony ends I work my way thru the crowd to the long line waiting for autographs from none other than "Fast Eddie" Schartman. I stick my hand out and ask if he remembered me he says “No " his memory wasn't what it used to be, "I said I'm an X employee 1968 /1969 and he said "Alan Gillis" that probably made the whole trip worthwhile after 54 years with no contact what so ever. Schartman was my first exposure to what Money and the best that money could buy was all about, we had the rig of the day and all the SOHC parts we wanted or needed in the best possible condition, attention to detail didn't stop at the car, weekly manicures were required, you needed to look and act professionally at all times.
Its Friday morning time for action, Jeff reaches into his Tune up bag dials in a 5.863 then a 6.122, either Jeff missed it by a mile or we've got a problem / Bad fuel pump costs us a piston so all eight are pushed out and serviced. Into that tune up bag Jeff goes again this time the outcome is a 5.544 @260.36 we are in the top half of the field. What is so noticeable these days is the attention to detail especially the valve train parts on a TAFC. Being the newest and oldest of the crew I get the oil dripping bottom end job and now the computer in the trailer has just crashed so I am drafted for that job too. After servicing the Transmission / new clutch / and all rod & main bearings we are ready for another pass.
It's Saturday we draw the Hool brothers first round who just happen to be pitted right next to us, now I'm new to this alcohol world but these Hool guys are what Drag racing is all about they go out of their way to be friendly and helpful to everyone they come in contact with especially me. We get by them with the best run we have ever made just missing that 5:40 world but we are into the show for Sunday.
It's Sunday E2 we get the Permatex guys after a great staging battle that actually put some fun back into these sometime boring slot cars we get the win light so it's on to E3. But here comes the rain so the race is called till Monday. So it's time to trim the budget with a layover, motels / airplanes / rent a cars / $$$$$. Jim Adolph is off to Daytona for a motorcycle event and I am on an Airplane back to California.
Leaving John, Jeff, Tim, Russ & LuAnn with winning the race, no such luck we lose lane choice, roll the dice and smoke the tires and give the race away.
Next stop Vegas for a regional race and the following week the Nationals.
Frank Manzo Andy Bohls John Lombardo Jr. Intreview
TAFC Rnd 2 Gator Nationals 2012
Good or bad, in Drag Racing things happen very quickly!
The Las Vegas regional races are known to be among the toughest in the country. They're scheduled back to back with national events to encourage competitors to travel and produce higher car counts. We had 16 drivers fighting for 8 starting spots. NHRA has also changed some of the points meets to two qualifying sessions instead of three. One little bobble and the second session becomes a do or die scenario.
We tested with some new parts on Friday and had our guard up for "surprises". After two promising hits we were fairly encouraged and decided to stay on that course for Saturday. We had an electronics issue in the first session and ended up 8th with a 5.79, which we were sure wouldn't hold through Q2. It didn't and unfortunately we were unable to improve and missed the field. This was just a tough outing.
Thankfully we can put it behind us right away. For the second year in a row we clinched the Division 7 Jeg's Allstars. The separate eight car shootout is held on Saturday of the Chicago race, where some of the toughest teams in the country battle for individual and team points, the Jeg's sponsored purse, and of course bragging rights! We're also right back at it this weekend in Vegas for the national event. Our car proudly features "Good To Go NAPA Batteries" and we will be just that. Last year our "Good To Go" car went to four finals in five events, we aim to pick up right where we left off.
Thanks very much to our primary sponsors NAPA Auto Parts, NAPA Batteries, Lucas Oil, NAPAFilters.com and partners NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, New York, New York Hotel & Casino, JE Pistons, Mechanix Wear, and Twin Palms. Thanks for having us aboard, we'll keep digging!
LOMBARDO AND CREW ARE GEARING UP FOR THE NHRA
SUMMITRACING.COM NATIONALS IN LAS VEGAS
Brea, CA--Although the Las Vegas Regionals did not give way to the best weekend for Lombardo and his crew, the team is far from finished. With this weekend behind them, all focus has shifted to the upcoming NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals set to kick off this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The NAPA crew is already busy making changes and working hard to get the NAPA car ready for the event. When asked about this weekend, Lombardo simply stated, “It’s always disappointing when you don’t get the run you’re looking for, but we won’t let that discourage us. We’ll just work that much harder to make next weekend a success!”
This weekend the Lombardo TA/FC team will be sporting the NAPA “Good to Go” Legend Batteries logo prominently on the car in support of the upcoming NAPA battery promotion.
The 13th Annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals will kick off with a driver autograph session, hosted by Lombardo Racing sponsors, New- York New- York Hotel & Casino. John Lombardo will be among the drivers there, ready to meet fans and sign autographs. The event is scheduled to take place on the Brooklyn Bridge, in front of the hotel, Thursday evening from 6-7:30.
Lombardo Gainesville Report
There's no way around it, Gainesville, FL is a big road trip. But it's one of the smoothest and quickest tracks in the country, and it's early placement in the schedule makes it a tone setting kind of event. Each year the East Coast hitters (and pro cars) flex their muscle at the Gatornationals with big E.T.'s and speeds while most of us in the West wonder what we could run in that "mineshaft" air. This year we got our chance and produced a semi-final finish on our first visit.
Tire Kingdom and NAPAFilters.com co-sponsored this event, so we (more than a little willingly) made the trek to promote the NAPA Filter sales event as well as Lucas Oil, NAPA Batteries, and the rest of our partners. This is probably the part I like best: most would be thrilled with qualifying #2 to Frank Manzo, running a career best 5.50 at 260 mph and racing to the semis, but we (collectively) feel that we had a car to go to the final and we came up a bit short.
We qualified second with a 5.54, equaling my best lap ever. There's 18 cars on the property, when you wheel in the #2 spot on your first visit to the Gators, folks take note of your program. That hard charge doesn't exactly come with the just reward of an easy round one match, the Hool Brothers out of Wyoming are tough. They go a respectable 5.67, but Jeff Lirones, Tim Ebbett, Russ Pottenger, Jim Adolph, Mike Rios, and Alan Gillis all had their hand in a 5.508 at 260 mph lap for the right to run on Sunday. When do you see a crew kicking the pavement after their quickest e.t. ever? When it's less than a hundredth from a 5.40!
Todd Veney in the Permatex Make A Dream car advances, with lane choice we'll stay in the right. He's down about a tenth and is looking for every advantage available. It seems that some of his sponsor's silicone has him stuck in the first light, so we sparred awhile and I went in, (with the threat of rain I didn't want to be the guy holding the whole event to Monday...). Todd used most of his auto start allotment, grabbed two hundredths at the tree but we covered him at the big end by half a car. Our 5.64 wasn't the lap we had in mind and I gave up lane choice to Gill in the semis, but we're continuing on. Todd unnecessarily apologized after the run, said he just didn't want to go in first today. There's no rule saying either driver has to stage first, but if/when you hang someone out with their 526 inch engine at 7000 rpm it might be a good idea to keep your helmet on a little while after you get out of the car. It seemed like a long time, it may not have been, I'll check it out this Sunday on ESPN2.
The mist turned to intermittent drizzles and after six hours of fighting NHRA reluctantly postponed the semis to Monday at 10:00.
The track had all the appearance and indications to be stellar, as good as it had been all weekend. It even felt like it had some teeth in the wet burnout. The tough thing about tuning these cars is you can't just "lay up". If you go too soft tire shake will punish your equipment and e.t. slip. Unfortunately we overpowered the left lane and smoked the tires. Gill ran 5.57 and earned a trip to the final. Manzo was knocking the tree down in eliminations but pushed it to .011 red, Ferro would meet Gill. Repeating his victory from last year Ferro went 5.55 from the left.
We're scoring points early and the Las Vegas Regional and National Events are just around the corner.
Thanks very much to our primary sponsors NAPA Auto Parts, NAPA Batteries, Lucas Oil, NAPAFilters.com and partners NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, New York, New York Hotel & Casino, JE Pistons, Mechanix Wear, and Twin Palms. 2012 is well underway and I'm extremely proud of our progress. Thanks for having us aboard!
LOMBARDO NAPA FILTERS TEAM HEADING TO
GATORNATIONALS FOLLOWING WIN IN PHOENIX
Brea, CA—With the Tire Kingdom Gatornationals less than two weeks away, John Lombardo and his NAPA Filters crew are working hard, to build on the momentum established at Firebird Raceway in Arizona. Lombardo’s strong second qualifying position in Phoenix set the stage for his win over Jay Payne in the final round, giving the SoCal native his first Wally of the 2012 Lucas Oil Drag Racing season. With the addition of new crew chief, Jeff Lirones, and a new race car, the 2011 Division 7 champ is confident and excited about his team’s chances in Gainesville.
Lombardo Racing is sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, NAPA Batteries, NAPA Filters, NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, New York, New York Hotel and Casino, JE Pistons, and Twin Palms.
LOMBARDO RACING NEWS
Lombardo Racing scores in first 2012 Lucas Oil Pacific Division event
Much is new, for our series and team, but I'm certain winning will never get old. We're proud to report a victory in Phoenix, an early points charge, and a strong showing for NAPA, Lucas, and all of our valued marketing partners.
After significant research, consideration and deliberation, NHRA and Lucas Oil decided late in 2011 to restructure the divisional and national points structure for Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car. Clearly their intent was to produce full and competitive fields at tracks and markets where these five second, 260 mph beasts best belong. The new Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Pacific Division combines 6 and 7 and features events from Phoenix and Vegas to Mission, B.C., Canada! We've got some ground to cover and serious teams to battle. Payne, Gordon, Gasparrelli, Hough, Bellemeur, Westerfield, Thompson, and others will bring national event and divisional championship experience to each and every LODRS fight.
In just our second race with crew chief Jeff Lirones we went the distance and held up (their) impressive run at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. This crew and car hasn't lost a single round there in four straight seasons! We tied for low e.t. in qualifying with veteran Jay Payne at 5.615, he edged us out based on MPH. First round Sunday paired us with fellow Southern Californian Mark Woznichak. "The Woz" laid down a 5.68 in his gorgeous new car, we went 5.64 for one of the best matches all day. Next we get former Division 6 champ Brian Hough from Oregon. Brian had his hands full early on but still went 5.78. Jeff and crew dialed in a 5.65 and earned us a shot at Jay Payne in the final.
If they go the distance, the ladder calls for the first and second qualifiers to meet in the final. Lane choice is no longer a factor, it's first to the finish line stripe or settle for runner up. Jay and I grabbed all of the margin available (short of turning out the top bulb) and it's off we go. Our 5.71/257 mph edged his 5.80/252 for the Wally, the early Pacific Division lead, and a nice national points boost.
On behalf of our team and all of us at NAPA, congratulations go out to Megan McKernan. Driving Jerry Darien's (A Fuel powered) Top Alcohol Dragster to score her first Wally, she and starting line ace Joey Severance put on a fantastic 5.37 to 5.48 show in the final!
Thanks to NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, NAPA Batteries, NAPA Filters, NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, New York, New York Hotel and Casino, JE Pistons, and Twin Palms-we're proud to represent you on and off the track!
All the best,
John Lombardo Jr.
Greetings and welcome to 2012!
After some considerable changes and an off season that seemed to pass quicker than ever, we officially launched 2012 last weekend at the Winternationals in Pomona. We certainly had plans to go deeper than round two, but all in all I'm quite pleased with our progress.
We rolled in with new crew chief Jeff Lirones and new crew members Tim Ebbett and Russ Pottenger to join Jim Adolph and Mike Rios. Plus all new car, tune up/combination, hospitality program, paint scheme, and refreshed sponsor lineup featuring NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil Products, NAPA Batteries and NAPA Filters (.com). As much as we would love a few races to get comfortable and acquainted, the 2012 points chase won't allow that casual approach-we intend to get right after it. Jeff and his results oriented crew are former Division 7 Champs and have finished 3rd in the world-they prepare and race to win.
We put the NAPA/Lucas Oil Funny Car fifth in the program with a respectable 5.61 at 248 mph, (first full pass in the O'Bannon Hadman Monte Carlo). First round brought a familiar pairing, Steven Gasparrelli. Steven cut a good light and went 5.75 but we repeated and won the round with another 5.61, earning the right to race on Sunday with the big show.
The ladder was like old home week in Alcohol Funny Car. Daniel Oliver won first round in Randy Goodwin's hot rod, (the car I licensed in a few years ago). They hadn't run quicker than 5.71 all weekend. Sunday morning the air was a few feet better and the track continued to improve with each pro session. Figuring a high 5.50 would win this round we stepped on it for 2-3 hundredths and went 5.57 right down the middle of the groove, didn't hurt even a spark plug. One minor problem though, eventual event winner Oliver and Goodwin improved two tenths and ended our day with a stellar 5.52. It was certainly an excellent drag race and I believe one of only two 5.50 battles of the meet.
So we ran my third quickest pass ever and didn't hurt a part all weekend. Consistent laps at this pace will win a lot of drag races this year. We had excellent traffic in our pit and hospitality area Thursday through Sunday. Thanks very much to our primary sponsors and product partners NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, New York, New York Hotel & Casino, JE Pistons, Mechanix Wear, and Twin Palms-2012 is here and we're ready!