Q&A with Super Stock ace Jimmy DeFrank

NHRA Drag Racing
Photo: Auto Imagery

Jimmy DeFrank, a five-time Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series world champion, scored the 50th win of his career in his 62nd final round at the last division race of the 2019 season. Fired up to get back on track, the Southern California native and Chief Operating Officer at California Car Cover took the time to chat with WinLight News ahead of the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, a race that DeFrank has won six times – including a double-up victory in both Super Stock and Stock in 2013.

WL: What did it feel like to reach such a milestone last fall at the division race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
JD: I’m so glad we were able to get our 50th win last year and that we were able to get it at one of our very favorite tracks. It meant a lot to all of us, and I hope we can reach more milestones with race wins or championships soon.

WL: What does your race schedule look like for 2020?
JD: We’ll start the season at our home track, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, then from there we’re planning to head to the second race on the NHRA tour, Phoenix. Our plan right now is to attend seven national events and eight Lucas Oil division events this year.

WL: Throughout your career, you’ve raced Super Stock, Stock, and Comp; which cars and classes will you be racing this season?
JD: I will be racing our 2010 Chevy Cobalt in Super Stock in the class of SS/BS. Our friend, engine builder, and my mentor, Jeff Taylor, will be driving our 2015 Chevy Camaro COPO in Stock Eliminator.

WL: Is there any one race that you’re most excited for?
JD: I love all of them, but I would say the one I’m most looking forward to is the U.S. Nationals in Indy. I missed the race in 2019 because a good friend was getting married, so I’m excited to get back there this year.

WL: Who makes up your team?
JD: Dad Jim, mom Loraine, brother Tony, Jeff Taylor, Patty Taylor, Dave Allison, Tom Kerr, and myself.

WL: Is there anything that you have yet to accomplish in your career but would like to check off this year?
JD: I’m actually thankful for everything, and there isn’t anything I feel I’ve missed out on. It’s a dream to be in a championship chase, and perhaps we can be in one again someday – maybe even in 2020.

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Photo from California Car Cover/DeFrank family archives, 2013

5 for Fun

Best racing memory:
Winning the 1997 World Finals in Pomona to clinch our first of five national championships. A close second is winning the U.S. Nationals in 2010.

Favorite day of the week:
Sunday. Although we work many weekends, we do get to go to church, relax, and spend time with family on many Sundays. It’s also a day that Golden Girls is on all day. 🙂

Dream vacation:
Maui, Hawaii

Superstitions or weird routines:
I do like a very detailed, very consistent routine. I listen to Elvis gospel music at the races, and I’ve worn the same brand of tennis shoes and same style of hat since 2009.

What you do to get in the zone:
Practice on my Biondo practice tree and listen to either Elvis gospel music or the soundtrack to the Rocky movie.

Look for DeFrank in Super Stock at the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 6-9, 2020. Results for all categories will be posted throughout the weekend at Drag Race Central.

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