Thumbs up after a first round win!

Let me tell you something about this Jerry Bickel built Camaro, Its AH-MAZING! I have driven a bunch of different cars, quality cars too, and this Camaro is just in a league of its own. This Saturday night at New England Dragway we had some of the trickiest conditions I have ever raced in.

The air was cool and dry which allows the engines to create the most amount of power possible. This would be great news except for the fact that the Sun was non-existent. When the air is cold and the sun is hidden this limits the heat on the surface of the race track. A drag racing surface needs heat for the Traction Compound and rubber to create a good bond with the tires on the race car.

With this being said I must give a lot of credit to the entire New England Dragway staff. They had the racetrack prepped to perfection and from what I could tell got the most out of a tricky day.

This day did not go as smoothly as our results may have shown. During the first qualifying run just as I pulled the parachutes the engine lost power. We bring it back to the pits and my Dad does his normal maintenance routine. We lift the valve covers off and this is what we find:

Broken Rocker Arm.

We were lucky it was only a single broken rocker arm.  We have these in stock. It caused no other damage.  Unfortunately in engines that produce the kind of power and RPMs that this one does, parts fatigue is common. Luckily we found it, replaced it and were able to press on.

This particular race was a Special Night show race called the Funny Cars under the Stars and New England Dragway does a great job of filling the pits and the stands to put on a great show. If I had to guess there were probably 7-10 thousand people in attendance. I love that environment. I get to interact with the fans, sign autographs and teach people about the sport that may be coming for their first time.

Talking with a fan while packing the chutes.

As far as the race goes we had some tough competitors along the way. In the Semi-Finals and Final Round we had to race the two guys that are in first and second in the New England Dragway Top Sportsman Points. In the Semi finals I had Wayne Horton whose record speaks for itself. He has won just about everything at this track for the last 10 years. The matchup was everything we both had expected. The margin of Victory at the finish line was 4 thousandths of a second which is equivalent to 12 inches.  

Results Sheet.

It didn’t get any easier in the final round. We had Ron Gregoire, who is a good friend and competitor, which drives a car my father built. In between the Semi and Final rounds we had to wait about two hours. What little sun there was had set, the air got even cooler and the Dew had set in.  Again I give a lot of credit to the New England Dragway staff for keeping the surface safe even with the dew. Fortunately for us we got the win. It was an exciting ride down the track at 200mph, at night, with a vapor trail coming off the windows and wing. This is what the side window looked like after the run.

Dial in smearing off from all the water in the air.

When we towed back to the trailer we were greeted by all my friends and family that had come to support. I am so grateful for all of them. We took group pictures and then loaded up.

Winner Circle Photo

Our next race is next weekend at Lebanon Valley Dragway. We will try to keep the streak alive there. So far the new car is 9-0 in Eliminations!

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there!

This race win is dedicated to all the “dads” on my crew who have been looking after me as if I were their own for a long time now.  Steven Giannetti, Mark Monroe, Lee Roby and my “real” Father John Ondrejko!



In car video from our first round win against Bob Bacon:


Thanks for Reading,


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