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LOMBARDO RACING NEWS
 
2013 News

Seattle, WALombardo wins Thunder Valley, Regional Championship and heads West for the Gunfight!

Announcers love to have race stories to hype. Racers love the challenge and excitement to tune and drive our 3,200 horsepower 260 MPH Funny Cars. Gear head fans love to have end of season drama. As it is so aptly put, 2013 "all comes down to this!" Here's how the stage was set for an epic national points hunt and Central Region finale.

With just two 2013 points meets remaining, last minute charges produce strong fields. Noble, Oklahoma could culminate the Central Region contest, and the upcoming Vegas regional show November 1-3 will put 2013 in the books. Eleven cars entered Noble to qualify for eight starting spots. Jeg's Allstar Champ Dale Brand, national event winner Kris Hool, and multi time Regional Champs Williams Brothers Racing highlighted a respectable grid hosted by a state courageously recovering from going rounds with Mother Nature.

Two qualifiying "hits" to set the field gets your attention, having a little trouble in the first timed lap will spice it up, and a twenty degree temperature swing will double even the most seasoned tuners' blood pressure-we had all three! Friday afternoon we review notes from last years win, pay particular attention to the wet burnout on new tires, and roll up to stage. Motor up, roll in, no stage lights. Roll a little more, still nothing, the tree is still dark-stress level doubles. One more click and I'm sure we'll leave before the tree is activated, which results in no time. Conversely, if you don't trigger the tree your 526 inch engine stays at nearly 7,000 rpm until you run out of fuel or patience. The next surprise is the green light; which makes no sense but signifies the tree is activated. It's the best part of a bad scenario.

So I swap feet (dump the clutch, floor the throttle, release the brakes, and look for the groove) and launch the car. As I'm approaching one second into the run thinking, hmmm, green light means we'll get an e.t. slip, could be okay. Then about 1.5 seconds out we lose traction, I pedaled it once to no avail, and with all of the abnormalities I elected not to further abuse the engine and transmission. That put us a solid 11th and dead last with only one more shot to make the show. So here's the long and short of our situation: we didn't get a proper staging sequence and qualifying opportunity, it was an (unintentional) malfunction that warrants consideration of allowing us another pass. Though certainly not a perfect leave our car did go out 100 feet or so before it failed. And if we received the arguably unfair advantage of another qualifying run, our competitors would be upset. We asked for a ruling: NHRA officials believe (in error) that the light flickered before it kicked the breaker, and more importantly cited that we did receive an e.t. slip. Knowing there was no perfect solution we elected to focus on making the second run count, hopefully relegating this mess to yet another racing story. With 75 mph winds on the way we took the awning down, covered and strapped all of our pit equipment, and hoped for a little mercy.

We returned Saturday a.m. thankfully to no damage, but a thermometer 20 degrees lighter and another one of those do or die shots we continually proclaim to be our last. Jeff analyzes, assesses, and tunes for the tricky conditions. Tim, Russ, Dolph, and I triple check the car and head for the lanes. We're first pair, on a single, so we'll have the track to ourselves and know quickly the next chapter of our story. 5.62, 260 MPH, low e.t. and top speed, topped only by making the show! The last pair in qualifying saw Brand go 5.61 for low. For first round, Jeff used our Q2 benchmark data and excellent air to go 5.59 261 for (then) low e.t. of the event and a win over dragster convert Billy Davis. For the second time in as many sessions, Brand "raises us a hun" with an impressive 5.58.

Second round Sunday morning is a "double down" against second place Kris Hool. If we win the round it's a bit of breathing room, go two more and we clinch the regional championship. We leave with identical reaction times, our 5.61 covers his first round echoing 5.65 in one of the best matches of both alcohol shows. Kris is disappointed but four hundredths margin, that's just a great drag race. On the other side of the ladder Brand overpowered the track, pedaled skillfully to a 5.72 but McVey was on queue with a 5.65 for a trip to the money round.

The Funny Car and Dragster finals will be near the end of the show, several hours after the semis. It's great to be the featured cars, but as time clicks by and so many different classes run, it's tough to read the racing surface changes. Our time comes, the pre-race routines are complete, pre-staged lights are lit. Motors up, bump 'em in, big ambers and throttle pedals! We're out a couple of hundredths ahead, McVey has dialed in some power to come after us but goes up in smoke early. We're too aggressive at 125 feet or so, but the momentum allows a 5.79 pedal job, the event win, our second LODRS Regional Championship, and 21 points added to the national tally. After a shaky start, back to back wins at Thunder Valley has brought this outing right around!

Onward to the West. Manzo is the national points leader by nearly four rounds, but a title is not clinched. We follow in second place, with Westerfield, Pomponio, Whiteley, and Bartone all battling for coveted top five spots. So Manzo will make the rare trip to join 24 Alcohol Funny Cars at the Toyota Nationals in Vegas next week. This will be one of, if not the strongest TAFC fields I've ever seen. All the West Coast hitters will be there. Pro Mod Champion Von Smith will add to the drama, rejoining Rick Jackson Racing for Vegas and Pomona Nationals. Like I said at the top, for three successive weekends the announcers will have plenty to hype, we'll have the normal "first round jitters" times ten, and the fans will see the most aggressive performances yet!

We wouldn't be racing without you, thank you very much for the opportunity to represent you: NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, NAPA Batteries, NAPA Filters.com, NAPA Power Supreme, NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, CP Carrillo, Crower, Midtronics, Mechanix Wear, Mountain View Chevrolet, NYNY Hotel and Casino, Raymond's Trophy, and Twin Palms!

- John Lombardo Jr.

 
 

Seattle, WALOMBARDO CLINCHES CENTRAL REGION CHAMPIONSHIP

LEXINGTON, Okla. – Aaron Tatum and John Lombardo Jr. scored wins this past weekend for the Thunder in the Heartland NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Thunder Valley Raceway Park.

Tatum, out of neighboring Oklahoma City, came out of the No. 8 and final qualifying spot to take home the Top Alcohol Dragster title beating No. 2 qualifier James Stevens, Gothenburg, Neb.  Tatum clocked in at 5.801 seconds, 248.20 mph in the final while Stevens lost traction early in the run.  Tatum knocked out No. 1 qualifier James Thompson in round one then laid down his best pass of the day against Randy Meyer in the semifinals; 5.471 seconds at 260.49 mph.  The win is Tatum's first this season.

California racer Lombardo locked up the NHRA Central Region Top Alcohol Funny Car Championship with his second regional win in four final rounds while also jumping to second place in the NHRA Lucas Oil National Championship.  Qualified No. 2, Lombardo took out Billy Davis in round one, then Kris Hool in the semifinals before meeting Scott McVey in the final.  The second generation driver went straight down the track clocking in at 5.793, 257.95 for the win.  McVey shook the tires and slowed to an 8.056 second pass.

Two more local racers Ronald Gibson, Norman, Okla., and Tim Wilson, Oklahoma City, took home trophies as did fellow home state racer Mike Hudson, Broken Arrow, Okla.  Gibson and Larry Eidson, Mineral Wells, Texas, were dead even at the start in the Sunset Racecraft Top Dragster but Eidson suffered mechanical problems and Gibson went on to an easy win running 7.130 seconds at 184.84 mph.  Wilson took the early lead in Super Street with a .023 second reaction time and never looked back, taking the win over Rustin Mayse as both drivers clocked in at 10.929 seconds.  Hudson beat the red lighting Michael Nash in the Sportsman Motorcycle class presented by Harley-Davidson running 9.310, 135.80 mph.

Reigning Super Gas national champion Jeff Lopez was better at both ends of the track in his win over Raymond Miller in Super Comp as was Tom Schmidt who outlasted Trent Wilson in Orteq Top Sportsman.  Lopez went 8.913 at 156.60 and Schmidt clocked in at 6.850, 203.34 mph in his '63 Corvette.

Other winner's included Shaun Vincent in Comp Eliminator over Donald Thomas; Tony Cowell with a hole shot win against Vic Penrod in Super Stock; Jacob Pit downed Thomas Marlow in Stock; and Jason Lynch was near perfect in Super Gas running 9.902 on the 9.90 dial against Chase Huffman.

The event was the last in the South Central Division but racers can travel outside the division in hopes of scoring additional points leading to national, regional, and divisional championships. 

The following are the final results from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Thunder in the Heartland event at Thunder Valley Raceway Park:

TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER:

Round 1

5) Randy Meyer, Spring Hill, Kan., 5.432, 255.46 def. 4) Monroe Guest, Bixby, Okla., 5.474, 249.10

2) James Stevens, Gothenburg, Neb., 5.499, 244.56 def. 7) Michael Manners, Willis, Texas, 5.595, 249.44

3) David Brounkowski, Cypress, Texas, 5.415, 256.41 def. 6) Forrest Fair, Haughton, La., 8.517, 95.96

8) Aaron Tatum, Oklahoma City, 5.606, 258.91 def. 1) James Thompson, Vernon, Texas, 10.655, 78.32

Semifinals

Tatum, 5.471, 260.49 def. Meyer, 9.032, 128.93

Stevens, 5.447, 246.03 def. D. Brounkowski, 5.418, 250.97

Final

Tatum, 5.801, 248.20 def. Stevens, 8.902, 97.74

TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR:

Round 1

4) Scott McVey, Winnipeg, Manit., '06 Monte Carlo, 5.649, 253.52 def. 5) Steve Griboski, Centennial, Colo., '09 Mustang, 10.687, 88.43

2) John Lombardo Jr., Brea, Calif., '06 Monte Carlo, 5.592, 260.94 def. 10) Billy Davis, Rogers, Ark., '09 Mustang, 7.625, 121.26

6) Kris Hool, Casper, Wyo., '06 Monte Carlo, 5.659, 257.73 def. 3) Kirk Williams, Glenwood, Iowa, '04 Firebird, 5.733, 224.15

1) Dale Brand, Sully, Iowa, '06 Monte Carlo, 5.588, 256.41 def. 8) Mark Billington, Prosper, Texas, '06 Monte Carlo, 5.877, 247.04

Semifinals

McVey, 5.658, 251.18 def. Brand, 5.720, 255.10

Lombardo Jr., 5.613, 260.94 def. Hool, 5.674, 256.77

Final

Lombardo Jr., 5.793, 257.95 def. McVey, 8.056, 93.98

COMP ELIMINATOR

Shaun Vincent, Omaha, Neb., '02 S-10, C/TA, 8.400, 155.19  def. Donald Thomas, Amarillo, Texas, dragster, C/ED, 7.272, 179.67

SUPER STOCK

Tony Cowell, Hudson Oakes, Texas, '81 Camaro, GT/JA, 10.409, 120.93  def. Vic Penrod, Walters, Okla., '68 Camaro, SS/HA, 10.472, 121.76

STOCK ELIMINATOR

Jacob Pitt, Mansfield, Texas, '69 Barracuda, C/SA, 10.535, 122.01  def. Thomas Marlow, Mesquite, Texas, '69 Camaro, G/SA, foul

SUPER COMP

Jeff Lopez, Bedford, Texas, dragster, 8.913, 156.60  def. Raymond Miller, Spring Hill, Fla., dragster, 8.920, 162.19

SUPER GAS

Jason Lynch, Pleasant View, Tenn., '10 Cobalt, 9.902, 166.85  def. Chase Huffman, Burleson, Texas, '76 Chevette, 9.896, 141.04

SUPER STREET

Tim Wilson, Oklahoma City, '72 Nova, 10.929, 114.35  def. Rustin Mayse, Grandview, Texas, '67 Nova, 10.929, 114.78

TOP SPORTSMAN

Tom Schmidt, Lindstrom, Minn., '63 Corvette, 6.850, 203.34  def. Trent Wilson, Castroville, Texas, '68 Camaro, 7.121, 178.50

TOP DRAGSTER

Ronald Gibson, Norman, Okla., dragster, 7.130, 184.84  def. Larry Eidson, Mineral Wells, Texas, dragster, 9.631, 86.08

SPORTSMAN MOTORCYCLE PRESENTED BY HARLEY DAVIDSON

Mike Hudson, Broken Arrow, Okla., '92 Kawasaki, 9.310, 135.80  def. Micheal Nash, Texarkana, Texas, '12 Koenig, foul

 
 

Greetings all-

No individual event means more to an NHRA Drag Racer than the U.S. Nationals. Dubbed years ago the "Big Go," last weekend marked the old school test of teams nationwide. Growing up it was understood you earned the right to enter this prestigious race. "If our stuff is fast enough we'll take it to Indy. If not, we stay on the West and work on it-period." We're leading the national and central region championships; I believe we deserve to enter. But our fifth place qualifying effort and semi-final finish fell short of our goals and potential.

Monday directly following the Topeka Regional, where we were #1 qualifier, low e.t., top speed, and earned a runner up finish to Western points leader Jay Payne, we arrived to the U.S. Nationals marathon. We teamed up with Outback Steakhouse and NHRA for a display and customer event. At home or on the road, we need little more than an excuse to enjoy the great food and service at Outback. Maybe next year we'll print one of those maps like the old school "RV" folks did, coloring in each of their stores we visit...

Tuesday was for set up, park, tech, credentials, check in freight, sort and prepare spares, etc. It was hot and humid, so a couple of bench racing and water breaks helped us keep pace through the afternoon. Wednesday morning was for parts store duties, then to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. We were welcomed by over 100 future Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series fans who asked some of the best questions I've heard, especially for their age. The safety talk and autographed posters, handouts, and hats were a hit, but they really responded to our new in car camera footage. This was a neat group, Juan and his team are making a difference in a lot of young people's lives.

Thursday our midway vendors were open and available, more car and spares work, preparation pays dividends. The Snake and Mongoose Movie debuted in Indy, couldn't miss that original footage and my Dad's 1978 run to the semis! The rest of our crew landed late in the evening. Friday morning we're ready for battle. As expected it's hot early in the weekend, with track temps ranging from 115-130 degrees the first three qualifiers. We ran in 4th-5th with Manzo, Whiteley, Foster, and Hagen; not bad but really not where we felt we belonged. Still more focused on our race day setup we aimed for just a good, solid run in Sunday morning's predictably quickest of the weekend session. We went a nice and smooth 5.60 to remain 5th, as most all of the top ten cars improved. We won first round with a 5.70 over Todd Veney's Permatex entry. Second round we stepped back up with a 5.62 and covered Fred Hagen's 5.68.

The semi finals marked only the second time we've lined up against Frank Manzo in NHRA competition; coincidentally the other was this same round exactly two years ago. Ignoring all press release (polished spinning and bragging) protocol, let's give credit where it's due: Manzo is the winningest driver in all of NHRA Drag Racing. If you want to win races and be the champ in TAFC you have to beat not only the best in the class, but the best in the sport. And many believe these all manual machines to be among the most difficult to drive. Frank put seven hundredths on us in qualifying. We closed the gap a bit with a 5.59 to his 5.55, for probably the second best drag race of the day. His 5.66 to 5.67 victory over Whiteley was likely the only one better.

What LODRS countdown? Indy marks a championship "line in the sand" for Top Alcohol teams competing in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. In an effort to establish "geographical parity" we get to claim the best 7 of our first 10 nationals and best 3 of our first 5 regional races. This is the time of year when drivers and tuners that struggle to calculate a tip on a $100 dinner bill suddenly turn into mathematicians, "counting down" competitor's remaining races and their championship points impact. Example: we're first or second but the team in 6th has two nationals to claim and can drop two first round losses. The drivers in 3rd, 4th, and 7th have qualified in the top half at the last three and run well in the heat. 5th and 8th go to 62% of Midwest finals, netting wins at 43%. It's seemingly endless. I see a new crew position, "Team Stat Guy," but nothing will change. We all claim to pay no attention, we're just focused on winning rounds, yeah right.

Here's my take: Manzo is in a great spot with two national races left to claim. Bartone, Pomponio, Westerfield, Payne, and Whiteley, and our team are hopefully going to enjoy a fantastic battle through Pomona. We're in good shape and hope to clinch the Central Region Championship at Noble, Oklahoma early next month. Perspective helps to quantify progress; a couple of years ago we were pleased to show well and have a shot at the top ten. Now we're right in the hunt for our second regional championship and best national finish to date. Let's go to Dallas next week and lasso us a Wally and a Winner's Stetson!

Thank you to all the Lombardo team sponsors; NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, NAPA Batteries, NAPA Filters.com, NAPA Power Supreme, NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, CP Carrillo, Midtronics, Mechanix Wear, Mountain View Chevrolet, NYNY Hotel and Casino, Raymond's Trophy, and Twin Palms!

- John Lombardo Jr.

 
 

Greetings allSeattle, WASeattle, WA

It's common to observe things in batches of three, but the 25th Annual Northwest Nationals was at least for our program, stuck on two. Here are a few examples:

Two hits: after 37 days dry, the rain came five minutes before our session Friday, limiting us to two qualifying runs.

Two important honors: 5.54 at 263 MPH earned us top speed and low e.t. of the event.

Two rounds of eliminations for us: we ran another 5.54 in a first round bye for low e.t. of eliminations, then missed it by just a tick against Gasparrelli to fall in round two.

Second in the standings: after Seattle we're #2 in the nation, just 11 points behind Tony Bartone.

Twice low with NAPA Filters: we've run three races this season featuring NAPA Filters. We scored a win at Woodburn and twice, at Gainesville and Seattle we've qualified #1. Coincidentally Dan Askey attended both of these events.

Two wins for Nobile: Team Mitsos/Mountain View enjoyed their second in a row at Seattle. It's a great time to "get hot" in that points chase!

Too many Italians: half of the top ten national drivers share Italian heritage. What is it about Alcohol Funny Cars that attract this preponderance of pasta lovers? I believe all of the gesturing while speaking develops the coordination necessary for steering, parachutes, fuel shutoff, and hand braking.

Two finals for Bellemeur: Sean Bellemeur made his first pass in the 5.50's and fought his way to a second Seattle runner up finish. His first big Wally is not far away, an achievement which will be well deserved by his team.

Next up is a regional race at Topeka, Kansas then the most prestigious event on the circuit, the U.S. Nationals at Indy. All of us want to win Indy, I'm shooting for that father and son achievement, I hope this is our year.

"Thank You" to all our sponsors NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, NAPA Batteries, NAPA Filters, NAPA Power Supreme, Mountain View Chevrolet, Mechanix Wear, NGK Spark Plugs, NAPA Belts and Hose, New York, Hoosier Tires, New York Hotel and Casino, CP Carrillo, and Twin Palms.

- John Lombardo Jr.

 
 

Greetings all!Team Lombardo Wins at Woodburn!

One of the things we love so much about the Top Alcohol classes in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series is our participation in both national and regional NHRA Events.  Our ESPN2 televised "big show" national races routinely attract the best cars in the country battling for 16 starting positions.  Regionals however typically host only a few "top 10" cars and entries from teams less traveled.  

14 teams trekked to Oregon last weekend for Woodburn's 37th annual Les Schwab Challenge, producing the second quickest field in history.  Clint Thompson's impressive 5.60 was low qualifier and it took a 5.66 to make the show!  Only at Sonoma in 2009 was the bump lower at 5.65;  coincidentally our NAPA/Lucas Oil car was #1 there with a 5.60.  Just to give you an idea of the slug fest this racer run track attracted, we had nine former division champions and seven of the current top 10 cars in the country--at a points meet!

NAPA Filters joined forces with John Randall, his Portland D.C. sales team, the Wilson Store Group, and our own LuAnn Bishop to host a huge customer contingent of new and returning Drag Racing fans.  With three rounds of qualifying on Saturday, the same number of do or die elimination matches Sunday, and hospitality right between our pits and the starting line, the show literally circled our group all weekend.   

Though nothing more than a 1/4 mile landing strip on paper, each of these tracks is made unique by the racing surface and weather conditions present.  The "air" is exceptional in the Northwest, so the challenge is to work within the level of grip available, especially to get the car through low gear.  We smoked the tires on our first hit.  We were in (really) good shape to half track in Q2, but one misstep and a burst panel ended that run.  Here we are pitted front and center with a tent full of guests and one shot left, making true our "NHRA Drag Racing is exciting!" claim.  Jeff, Tim, Russ, Dolph, and I made Q3 a conservative but straight and fast 5.65 for #7.  Not in a long time have we been that thankful to be #7.  Former national champion Jay Payne also bumps in on his last shot with a 5.66.

There's no easy draw on Sunday's ladder.  We figure making the show is like winning round one but points are not so tallied.  After a tough Tulsa outing we need a get well weekend.  Jeff tunes on the softer areas of our settings and we go 5.62 for a round win over Doug Gordon and low e.t. of eliminations.  Sean Bellemeur in one of his family operations strongest and most consistent efforts beats Chicago Champ Annie Whiteley.  Bellemeur has now been 5.64, 5.65, and 5.67 and we know consistency is king.  By second round we were up 10 degrees ambient and over 130 at the starting line.  We went 5.70 down an increasingly trickier track, they struggled with shake, another win light and we're going to our fourth final of 2013.  Former national champion Jay Payne goes 5.75 in the semis over Gasparrelli, but our run earns lane choice in the final.  

All weekend dragsters ran before funny cars.  Shawn Cowie won the emotional Top Alcohol Dragster Final in his first race back from serious injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash.  Now it's time for the funny cars.  Jay is a long burnout guy, claims they're fun and one of the reasons he loves these cars.  Meeting at the tree, final adjustments and double checks complete, we light the first light.  I rap the throttle, no response; oh that's right Jay's not a "rapper."  Bring the revs up and go in and he'll be right there with you.  This veteran won't hang you out unless you've stirred the hornet's nest with him.  One deep breath, bring the motor up and roll her in final round style.  He's right there and we're within two hundredths at the tree.  Neither team risked throwing it away with major tuning changes, our 5.70 at 260 mph covers his 5.75 by 11 feet and the NAPA Car wheels to the winners circle!

We earned a Wally, 85 points, and the pleasure of drawing Jason Pruett's entry from the customer raffle bucket.  His trophy came in the form of a NAPA Master Tool Chest donated by NAPA Portland (now that's a serious goody bag)!  

As we celebrate our 60th anniversary at Jackson's Auto Supply / NAPA Auto Parts in Brea, a strong third in LODRS National points, and the lead in the Central Region, special thanks go out to our customers, store and race crews, sponsors, and suppliers.  To NAPA Auto Parts, NAPA Filters, NAPA Legend Batteries, Lucas Oil Products, NAPA Power Premium Plus Starters and Alternators, CP Pistons, Mountain View Chevrolet, NAPA Belts and Hose, Hoosier Tires, NYNY Hotel and Casino, NGK Spark Plugs, Twin Palms, Raymond's Trophy, and Midtronics Inc. thank you for allowing us to represent you on and off the track.

- John Lombardo Jr.

 
 

Lombardo Racing Announces NEW "App" for the track…

Brea CA. - The battle continues to heat up in Top Alcohol Funny Car as NAPA/Lucas Oil pilot John Lombardo Jr. closes the gap on national points leader Dan Pomponio. This weekend America's Heartland welcomes the "Big Show," the NHRA Mellow Yellow series to Topeka Kansas.

NHRA Drag Racing fans and all at Team NAPA can now stay up to speed on all the latest Lombardo Racing action. Team news, photos, updates, special events, schedules, even round by round results will populate the brand new Lombardo Racing App.
"We are excited to launch our brand new app here in Topeka. As our team, sponsors and fan base continue to grow we need to provide them a simple, easy, interactive application so they can get all our team updates, information, sponsor links, and special communications. Smart phones continue to amaze through connectivity and function-I get text messages now before we can tow back from a run. Grab our app and we'll send 3,200 horsepower's worth of NHRA/Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series your way, wherever you are!" said Lombardo Jr.

Just scan in the QR code and in about the time it takes John Lombardo Jr. to make a quarter mile pass in his 260 MPH Top Alcohol Funny Car, you will be "Good To Go" with the new Lombardo Racing App, giving you full access to everything Lombardo Racing.

"We're hosting a group of Jr. Dragster drivers and their families from Mokan at this weekend's Kansas Nationals. Our pits will be lively with drivers and stories from drag racing's future. I hope you follow our progress, we're looking forward to a long weekend of racing!"

Download your new Lombardo Racing App and be part of the excitement that is NHRA Mellow Yellow / Lucas Oil Drag Racing.

 
 
 

Lombardo Racing "hits it" at Houston for runner up

Greetings All

Prior to each NHRA national event competitors receive several "notices":  Don't forget your pit pass, no waste oil in the bushes, and of course a run schedule that has to be approved by mother nature, the oil down gods, and the fate of the unforeseen.  For the Houston race there were two of particular interest: only two qualifying runs (one Friday and one Saturday), and due to live television coverage there may be some "ongoing adjustments."

In what I would call a "Q1 warm up lap" our strong off of the trailer car was back.  We motored to 5.57 / 259 for #2 to Rick Jackson's Centre Point Collision Mustang driven by fellow Irishman Tony Bartone.  We were pleased for sure with a solid starting point and some fuel system data to navigate the tricky, water grain filled gulf air.  Westerfield, Gasparrelli, Ferro, and Whiteley were each about a hundredth back respectfully.  It's no surprise these six cars ran well, but all within six hundredths in Q1?  Did Pro Stock merge with Alcohol Funny Car and I missed the memo?

NHRA battled drizzle all day.  With a little break in the action and thanks to Ray Drew and the Pro Sportsman Association, Lucas Oil hosted several of their series drivers for a well attended autograph session on the midway.  We took several boxes of team hats and raffled off apparel to the many spectators.  We look forward to these autograph sessions to continue at our upcoming LODRS events.   

The clouds shed inches overnight, in fact Houston experienced flooding that made national news, but at 5:00 a.m. Sunday a peek from the room luckily called for sweatshirts, not galoshes.  NHRA and ESPN2 just might wiggle their way out of a tight one!  The Safety Safari had the sun on their side but truly saturated soil underfoot.  Water continued to percolate through the speckled track surface for most of the morning, and as classes were cut competitors packed up and prepared to leave.  Have you ever found a comfortable spot next to a boat launch ramp?  Substitute huge tractors dragging rigs nearing 100 feet long from the mud producing similar entertainment and huge ruts, all at our fellow competitors expense-bad deal.  This alone was a motivator to race all day!

A little after 10:00 the track driers won the battle against the wet and Alcohol Funny Cars will be first to race.  We're paired with Jirka Kaplan in the Davenport tuned converter car from Canada.   They run well and have the only car in the field allowed to use electronics to stage and launch.  Perfect.  If first round is not challenging enough, we'll roll up on a green track next to an .010 average leaver without even the warning sound of normal engine RPM.  Throttle up, stage, and off we go.  A couple of car lengths past our burnout tracks the motor comes up, turns the tire, and drives us to the right.  I counter with all the left these straight line cars possess.  It's not better but it's not worse; the wall is still close but no longer approaching.  Let's hit the 1-2 shift, calm this thing down, and wrestle it back to the groove.  That worked for a couple of tenths but as long as the throttle was to the mat this was going to be an e-ticket ride.  Persistence paid off, we won with a lane choice earning 5.62, second quick of the round.

Normal service, opening ceremonies, two full rounds of pros, and E2 is on a whole different racing surface.  We meet Terry Ruckman from Colorado who is rejoining the series but already back to speed.  Jeff dials us in a 5.59 at 262, right down there for the win, (then) low e.t. of eliminations, and lane choice over Jay Payne in the semis.  The live TV schedule allows us 50 minutes to tow back, body off, car up on stands, drain oil and puke tank, refuel, inspect chutes, transmission out, install and zero fresh clutch, inspect rockers and push rods, adjust valves, remove oil pan and check the main and rod bearings, replace pan, lines, add five gallons of fresh oil, off the stands, body on, pack chutes, update fuel and ignition settings, push back, and up we tow.  NHRA was ready for us.  Okay, they were waiting for us.  We rolled right to the water box, suited up on the live feed, and hit the switch.  Payne improves by over a tenth with a 5.58!  We were on time at the green and Jeff, Tim, and Russ delivered a 5.56 at 262 MPH for low e.t. of eliminations and our third final round in five 2013 races!  Another quick turnaround and right to the water box we go.

Jackson and Bartone, who couldn't buy a break the first three events this year, had a pretty interesting day.  Round one Tony goes .000 on the tree and wins with a 6.34.  They earned a bye in round two and ran 5.68.  In the semis Ferro grabbed an early advantage but nipped a cone, Tony wins with a 5.99.  Don't get me wrong, this is one of the quickest, fastest, and hardest running cars in the country, they're just grabbing a bit of luck they're owed from Pomona, Phoenix, and Vegas 1.  

As scripted in qualifying #1 Bartone and #2 Lombardo meet in the final.  Our matching but slower .995 60 foot times indicate we both rolled in deep.  We had a couple of hundredths early and they grabbed three back at the big end, producing a drag race the fans paid to watch, again.  5.59 to 5.62 and we're runner up by less than a hundredth of a second!  It was an inch at Pomona and about four feet here, not much margin at 260 MPH!  Congratulations to the Centre Point Team with back to back wins they're right back in the national points hunt. 

With five runs between 5.56 and 5.62 and low e.t. of eliminations, our crew continues to impress with performance and consistency.  To borrow a couple of old school drag racing terms, we "hit it" pretty hard at Houston, our car was "stout," and for most of Sunday we were "on one!"  We're #2 in the national points.  Now we'll see if we can "keep the party rolling" at Topeka in a couple of weeks.  

ESPN2 coverage of the Houston Event is scheduled for Sunday Evening at 7:00 Eastern. 

Sincere thanks to our partners for allowing us to represent you on and off the track!         
NAPA Auto Parts
NAPA Legend Batteries
Lucas Oil Products
NAPA Power Starters and Alternators
NAPA Filters
CP Pistons
Mountain View Chevrolet
NAPA Belts and Hose
Hoosier Tires
NYNY Hotel and Casino
NGK Spark Plugs
Twin Palms
Raymond's Trophy

- John Lombardo Jr.

 
 
 

OUTLOOK NAPA feature:

"Ending the season with a win is big. Starting a campaign with a win is fantastic," said John Lombardo Jr., owner of Jackson's Auto Supply in Brea, California, and head of Lombardo Racing.

Competing in the NHRA Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Funny Car, Lombardo won at the NHRA Finals in Pomona last November and repeated his success at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona at this year's Winternationals.

"I'm staring at book ended Pomona Wallys at my NAPA store and couldn't be more proud of our team, or team NAPA!" he said. "We are proud we were able to help promote the NAPA Filters Big Event at Gainesville – on the the smoothest and fastest tracks in the country!"

Click the image to download the PDF (1.8MB)

 
 
 

Lombardo Is “Good To Go” at the Strip.

Las Vegas NV – At stop number 4 of the NHRA Mellow Yellow series in Las Vegas this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, competition is at an all-time high making for some of the best drag racing in recent years!

Take Top Alcohol Funny Car (TA/FC) national series points leader, John Lombardo Jr.... The 2011 Division 7 champion launched into the 2013 season with one thing on his mind… Winning and Winning Big!

With already one win, and one runner up under his belt, coupled with two number one qualifying sessions, and 2 to 1 odds to win this weekend’s event, John Lombardo Jr. is “Good To Go” for the 2013 TA/FC season.

With the greatest sponsors in the sport behind him, seasoned crew, and set up, John Lombardo Jr. brings a dynamic to the sport of drag racing that will make a true fan out of anyone.

"You hear drivers talk about having a good car; it's the right thing to do and proper way to credit your crew.  Thanks to NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, and NYNY Hotel and Casino, Lombardo Racing is bringing to Vegas a car that in the last four outings has two wins, a runner up, and low e.t. of all four races, the quickest and fastest passes the class has seen in years, and the national points lead.  Proud is an understatement.  If we stay on our game, my grin will be visible from the grandstands!"

Free T-Shirt!When Lombardo Jr. is not running the quarter mile at 260 MPH, he owns and operates Jackson’s Auto Supply in Brea California one of the largest NAPA distributors on the west coast.

Be part of the excitement that is NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing. Join John Lombardo Jr. and Lombardo Racing this weekend at “The Strip” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Be one of the first 50 people to come to the Lombardo Racing pit with "any NAPA" receipt and receive a FREE Team Lombardo T-shirt.

Special Thanks to our sponsors:
NAPA Auto Parts, NAPA Filters, NAPA Legend Batteries, Lucas Oil Products, NAPA Power Starters and Alternators, CP Pistons, Mountain View Chevrolet, NAPA Belts and Hose, Hoosier Tires, NYNY Hotel and Casino, NGK Spark Plugs, Twin Palms, Raymond's Trophy

 
 
 

Lombardo Racing wins Pomona back to back!

Greetings and welcome to 2013! Ending the season with a win is big. Starting a campaign with a win is fantastic. Doing both, going back to back at our home track is tough to describe, it's just settling in. I have a few really cool Pomona memories and thanks to my team, sponsors, and family the file is filling up fast!

In 1983 I was 16 and my Dad allowed me a couple of days of "Pomona flu" from school to help work on the funny car. The World Finals ran at the Fairplex, as we had lost Orange County the end of 1982. As I recall we had a little weather, ran the race and were about done loading the trailer when my Dad and Sondy went to visit with Raymond and Holly Beadle. Shortly after they all roll up in Raymond's car. They're meeting Prudhomme for dinner and want to know if we'll join, (yeah I think I can clear my schedule for that...). My Dad starts to get out to drive the truck and trailer to the restaurant when Raymond shouts a few street directions my way, looks at my Dad in true Texan form and says "Johnny and Jason (my little brother) will bring the rig and meet us there."

Now you have to understand this was a perfect, current year dually and 42' Chaparral Trailer with a complete funny car operation and I was 16. Knowing I was in the presence of my idols, Dad gave me the "be careful" look and said "we'll see you over there." One of the top ten dinners of my life followed (though I can't recall what we ate) listening to Dale Emery, Raymond, the Snake, and my Dad bench race. For the two years following my Dad drove the Blue Max. I hadn't realized until recently that between NHRA, IHRA, and the match races they ran 30 races per year. A grueling schedule for certain, and not once did I see my Dad lose his composure.

Fast forward to 2007, I was sick again but this time with "TAFC Flu." Dolph and I were in the stands about 750 feet down track watching Friday night's cold and damp qualifying session. Most of the cars were in trouble by half track, all were (probably too) desperate to put a good lap on the board. The drivers able to hang on to the finish were rewarded with a 250 mph dark blast into the shortest shut down on the national event tour! I remember thinking to myself, "I want to do this, but do I want to do that?" By the World Finals 2009 I was licensed and going rounds in one of the most important and historic race tracks in the country.

In the couple of years following I enjoyed solid outings at NHRA's birthplace and home track. Until March of 2012 my quickest e.t. was a 5.54, coincidentally coming in one of those "mean air but bring your a game and keep it in the groove or pay the price" kind of sessions. That was a great lap and still one of my more exciting rides. Great leave, solid move through low and second, the motor was screaming in high gear, the shift light comes on and blinds me right before the finish line, I lifted and threw the chutes just as it got dark. That 3/4 of a second or so it takes to blossom and pound you into the shoulder straps felt like an hour!

The World Finals 2012 was a career kind of weekend. Jeff Lirones and his crew, having won here back to back were no strangers to Pomona success, but the combination of performance and consistency impressed even their inside group. Number one qualifier, low e.t. every session, three of four rounds in the 5.40's, the event win, low e.t. of all of 2012, eighth best run of TAFC ever, eighth team ever to run in the 5.40's, and a last weekend launch from eighth to fifth (tie for fourth) in national points. Jeff, Tim, Russ, Dolph, Mike, LuAnn, and Alan simply checked every box, and they did it at home where we could enjoy celebrating with friends, family, and customers. Though it has been said in our pits we don't like the truth to get in the way of a good story, the World Finals 2012 versions won't require much doctoring.

Strangely enough the normally rain plagued Winternationals last week brought beautiful SoCal weather, actually not too dis-similar to November. Q1 we were ready, but tried to take a bit too much early and didn't make it. Q2 we looked for a spot in the center of the tune up and put our name on the middle of the board. We lined up for Q3 and a few track delays put is in the "tuners lick your chops" air. But a mistake in the clutch can kept us from being able to capitalize. Westerfield and DeVour made the pass of their career and landed their first low qualifying effort. Being #9 set the stage to run four Southern California drivers, we all live within 20 minutes of each other. As great as it is to race our pals, lining up against Bellemeur, Westerfield, Gasparrelli, and Rupert really put the pressure on us. These are solid cars and all four of these guys can go .025 on the tree while adjusting their face shield! As cliche as it sounds, need to give credit where credit is due: Jeff, Tim, Russ, Mike, Dolph, Alan, LuAnn, our sponsors, crew at the store, and my family contributed to give me a car that went 5.53, 5.51, 5.53, and 5.55, low e.t. of each round, each would have set low e.t. of the event and the event win. To say it has been a pleasure to drive would be an understatement.

All of the rounds were interesting in different ways. Bellemeur is an ace at the starting line and had gone 5.65 pedaling it in qualifying. Westerfield is so quick I swear he's able to bend the beams until the green comes on and was low qualifier with a 5.56. I went .020 in round two and left second! Gasparrelli has years of experience, has won this race multiple times, and went 5.58 the round prior. Rupert's worst light of the day was around an .030 and they went 5.63 in the semis. There was no room for any mistakes. I'm staring at book ended Pomona Wallys at my NAPA Store and it feels fantastic! Thank you Jeff Lirones, Tim Ebbett, Russ Pottenger, LuAnn Bishop, Mike Rios, Jim Adolph, Alan Gillis for all you do, and our corporate partners for believing in us, it's our pleasure to represent you.

Thanks very much to our sponsors:
NAPA Auto Parts
NAPA Filters
NAPA Legend Batteries
Lucas Oil Products
NAPA Power Starters and Alternators
CP Pistons
Mountain View Chevrolet
NAPA Belts and Hose
Hoosier Tires
NYNY Hotel and Casino
NGK Spark Plugs
Twin Palms
Raymond's Trophy

Best,
John Lombardo Jr.

 
 
 

Pomona CA - 2013 Release

Have you ever experienced a weekend with a lady that you just couldn't get out of your mind? You know, the perfect weekend. It's ironic we'll spend Valentine's Day weekend kicking off the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at the Winternationals in Pomona.

In November I had the event of my life with the only woman that leads me astray from my lovely wife-my NAPA Funny Car. At the World Finals we were #1 qualifier, set low e.t. every session, ran the quickest TAFC pass of 2012 all competitors-all events, won the event, and moved into the top five in national points. It was by all accounts a perfect weekend and a stellar way to end our 2012 season.

Was it coincidence that the NAPA Filters Camo Cap girl was bigger than life on the hood of our 263 mph hot rod in November? Maybe it is true that "luck be a lady." What I don't have to question is how fortunate I am to share the company of many fine ladies! Please don't get the wrong idea; I mean my lovely wife Michele, daughter Jordan, sister Jenna, Sondra, Sheryl, and LuAnn were with us in November and will be back this weekend.

During the off season I caught up on some store projects, enjoyed tinkering on a few mechanical upgrades on the car, and cheered Ryan and Jordan on at many of their high school soccer games. LuAnn and I worked with our marketing partners on 2013 concepts and plans, setting specific goals and creating action plans necessary for a productive season.
Last Saturday we worked a display for NHRA at a local Hooters Store (more ladies), promoting the race this weekend and the local NAPA Store in Covina. Being out with the race car, visiting with fans, and of course parking and setting up today at Pomona brings the excitement of racing to life. The new season is upon us with fresh graphics, new art and apparel, all points reset to zero. When the crew chiefs hit the starter switches silly season subsides. Rebounding from nasty hail last Friday, SoCal has beautiful, nearly 80 degree weather slated for our fantastic fans. Seemingly unaffected by the temperature there's nothing like the chill and goose bumps of the motors firing on the last note of the Star Spangled Banner.

The performance numbers speak of the accomplishments Jeff, Tim, Russ, Mike, and Jim have delivered for the NAPA/Lucas Oil funny car. It's a pleasure to drive the car they provide, made possible by the support and belief you place in our program. Thanks for allowing us to represent you again this season now let's go NHRA Drag Racing!

Thank You to all our sponsors: NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, Good to Go NAPA Legend Batteries, NAPA Filters, NAPA Belts and Hoses, NAPA Power Premium Plus, NGK, Twin Palms, NYNY, Raymond's Trophey, CP Carrilo, Clevite, Hoosier Tires and Jackson Auto Supply!

Be sure to follow the team on Facebook and Twitter: Lombardoracing and at www.Lombardoracing.com

John Lombardo Jr


 

 
 

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