Team News

Scroll down to read the latest news, straight from the teams.

Are you part of a team with a press release you’d like to share? Send it to winlightnews@gmail.com for consideration.

__________________

__________________

KAREN STALBA, TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER

Quick Karen Stalba Buckling in for Brimming Second Half of Exceptional Season

Karen Stalba at the 2021 NHRA Gatornationals. Photo courtesy of Auto Imagery

HAMMONTON, N.J. (August 16, 2021) – A fruitful first half of the 2021 season of NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series (LODRS) is in the books for the Stalba Motorsports team, and the multi-car family operation has a jam-packed calendar in the weeks ahead. Top Alcohol Dragster standout Karen Stalba is leading the charge for the team that includes husband and eight-time division champion Tom Stalba and their active Jr. drag racing kids, Paul and Emily. The “Fastest Mom in South Jersey” will be breaking into the second half of the season with one of the quickest Top Alcohol Dragsters in the series.

“We’ll start in the Northeast, and then it’s like a world tour for us,” said Stalba, who noted that the team will launch into a strenuous span of seven races in eight weeks, beginning August 20-22 with the LODRS regional event at New England Dragway.

“We’ve worked together as a family to get everything prepared for this next stretch of races. Everybody pitches in, and my crew chiefs have been driving down from Massachusetts to work on things,” Stalba continued. “We definitely feel ready to build on the success that we’ve already experienced this year. It’s been great, but we’re ready for more.”

Stalba, with crew chiefs “Mean” Gene Gallant and Bob Smullen at the helm, has so far raced to four low qualifier awards and two final-round appearances on the season. The 2011 Division 1 Top Alcohol Dragster champion had been away from the category since 2018 to focus on family and business, but immediately upon her return for this year’s LODRS regional event at Gainesville Raceway – the “Baby Gators” – Stalba knew she was in for one heck of a ride.

There at Gainesville Raceway, Stalba qualified loftily in the No. 3 spot. Geared up to go fast, she was right back in form the following weekend at the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season-opener at Gainesville with the fastest Top Alcohol Dragster on the property. Stalba blazed to a then-career best 5.172-second pass at 280 mph to lock down the No. 1 qualifying position, and she raced to the semifinals on Sunday at one of NHRA’s most esteemed events.

Another No. 1 and semifinals appearance were secured at her next scheduled event, the final NHRA Southern Nationals at soon-to-be shuttered Atlanta Dragway. Two weeks later, Stalba was No. 1 again and rocketed to the final round at NHRA’s spectacular NGK/NTK Performance Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, recording career-best numbers along the way with a stellar 5.147, 282.07.

The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk came with another runner-up followed by yet another low qualifier award for Stalba, this time at the Norwalk regional race with an impressive 5.161 blast to reset the Summit Motorsports Park track record.

Stalba is holding onto a Top 10 spot in the Top Alcohol Dragster national standings as she enters the latter half of a banner year. Now a four-time finalist at the national level, the humble yet fired-up A/Fuel campaigner is closer than she’s ever been to victory.

“We haven’t won yet, but we’ve been close,” said Stalba with a modest grin and a grateful nod to supporters Lucas Oil Products, NGK Spark Plugs, and Hussey Copper. “I know that as our program continues to come together, the wins are going to come. I’m confident in my car and these guys, and it’s good to know that they’re confident in me and just as excited for what’s to come.”

Upcoming events for Stalba Motorsports (currently scheduled):
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, New England Dragway, August 20-22
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Maple Grove Raceway, August 28-29
NHRA Camping World Series, U.S. Nationals, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, September 1-5
NHRA Camping World Series, Maple Grove Raceway (Reading, Pa.), September 9-12
NHRA Camping World Series, zMAX Dragway (Charlotte), September 17-19
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Virginia Motorsports Park, September 24-26
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Cecil County Dragway, October 8-10

For more information, visit karenstalba.com

Stalba Motorsports on Facebook

Karen Stalba on Instagram

__________________

__________________

DON O’NEAL, TOP SPORTSMAN
Media Contact:
Don O’Neal
Director of Motorsports
910-237-3825
don@streetwaymedia.com

O’Neal Expands Partner Roster for 2021 and beyond

Photo provided by Streetway Media and Marketing

Evansville, IN – June 18, 2021– Litens High Performance, an Original Equipment leader in automotive tensioning products for domestic and import vehicles, announced today that they had entered a relationship with NHRA Top Sportsman drag racer Don O’Neal.

For the past year, O’Neal has been testing a tensioning Kit developed by Litens for use with the Magnuson supercharger in O’Neal’s 2017 Camaro. Litens High Performance will soon be offering this kit to the public in their line of high-performance belt drive products.
With over 40 years of experience developing accessory drive and vibration control products, Litens has the people, know-how, equipment, and products to do the job right. In the extreme environments of the high-performance world, this becomes even more critical. With Litens High-Performance products, you get parts you can rely on and a name you can trust!

O’Neal, who finished seventh and eighth in the NHRA’s national Top Sportsman standings in 2017 and 2018, will compete with a 427 prepared by Oakley Engine Performance. His race car, a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro, will be powered by a Magnuson supercharged Chevrolet 427 LS engine utilizing the Litens High-Performance LS tensioning kit and VP Racing Fuels. In addition, the engine will use a set of NGK racing spark plugs and NTK Sensors.

“I prefer Litens based technology and resources to develop what is needed to make horsepower, that we need,” O’Neal said. “We don’t have time for any mechanical failures; we need our belts to stay tight and on the engine so that we can complete the run. With the stock system, we could get two, maybe three runs before we would need to replace components. This new system has allowed us to pull off 30 to 35 successful passes without changing a thing!”

O’Neal’s new car, branded with Litens livery, will be unveiled at NHRA Camping World 15th Annual Summit-Racing Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park on June 25th weekend in Norwalk, OH, kicking off an aggressive racing schedule for the next five months.
“Drag racing has become technology-driven,” O’Neal went on to say. “Power transmission we can count on is paramount in today’s high-performance world.”

Top Sportsman cars are among the most interesting in all drag racing from a technical standpoint. The rules allow for supercharged, turbocharged, and nitrous oxide-injected engines. The vehicles are full-bodied and typically complete their quarter-mile pass in seven seconds or less, routinely surpassing 200 miles per hour. The Top Sportsman category is part of the NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series for sportsman racers. It is among the fastest categories in sportsman drag racing.

O’Neal said, “We made the switch from the factory setup to Litens to gain more control over the belt during the run. This new engine/vehicle combination is an opportunity for us to communicate the product message, the brand story of our partners, and their OEM quality to everyday people. It’s our goal to help create customer loyalty for Litens. These are products we’ll be putting into play, and they’re also products everyday people use in their own vehicles.”

One racer who has already made it to the Winner’s Circle with the Tensioner Kit is David Barton, who has scored 2 Wally’s utilizing the kit in 2021. The collaboration between Barton, O’Neal, and Litens is paying dividends, and O’Neal is ready to get his going in 2021.

Keep up with Don O’Neal during the year on social media:
Don O’Neal Racing on Facebook
Don O’Neal Racing on Instagram
Don O’Neal Racing on Twitter

About Litens High Performance

Litens Automotive Group is a respected leader serving the global automotive industry. We are a company founded on innovation, with numerous patents (including the “first-ever” accessory drive automatic belt tensioner) that revolutionized the design and efficiency of modern automotive powertrains.

For nearly 40 years, our commitment to excellence has earned us a reputation for providing reliable, highly engineered solutions to every major global OEM. Our scope and depth of capabilities allow us to have extensive control over the entire product realization process to ensure that our parts are designed and produced to the highest quality, function, robustness, and most competitive cost. Our commitment to excellence is recognized through numerous customer awards for engineering, value, manufacturing, quality, and delivery.

Streetway Marketing & Media LLC represents drivers in the motorsports market. Streetway develops business, marketing, and public relations programs for companies in recreational vehicles, motorsports, and consumer goods.

__________________

__________________

JB STRASSWEG, TOP DRAGSTER
Media Contact:
Streetway Marketing & Media, LLC
Don O’Neal, Director of Motorsports
910-237-3825
don@streetwaymedia.com

Photo by Alky Alex Photos/Alex Owens provided by Streetway Media and Marketing.

Strassweg Tows Partners to Winner’s Circle at Columbus, Runner-Up at Indy

(08-10-21) Evansville, IN – JB Strassweg drove to the winner’s circle at Columbus during the NHRA North Central Division Event at National Trail Raceway, and at the next race he secured a runner-up during the Indianapolis Divisional. Strassweg was flying the colors of Meyer Distributing and Equal-i-zer Hitch.

“Starting the year with solid outings has positioned us with opportunities to finish the year strong again in the standings,” Strassweg said. “Being able to find the winner’s circle early on with our team of partners is always great.”

Photo by Alkey Alex Photos/Alex Owens and provided by Streetway Media and Marketing

Strassweg, CEO of Basden’s American RV, spends weekends traveling across the country driving his Meyer Distributing Top Dragster at over 210 mph. Strassweg’s 2020 Miller stands out as one of the quickest and fastest nitrous cars in the country for Top Dragster. Adding the Equal-i-zer livery with the Meyer Distributing colors will make one eye-catching ride chasing a National Championship in NHRA’s Camping World Drag Racing Series.

“We have been selling hitches at the track and educating along the way to ensure racers know what they need to protect their investments and, more importantly, their loved ones as they travel,” Strassweg concluded.

Strassweg will continue to chase round wins while carrying the banner for Meyer and Equal-i-zer during the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor in Topeka this weekend. Follow along on NHRA.TV.

Original Equal-i-zer Hitch joins Streetway Marketing and JB Strassweg

Photo provided by Streetway Media and Marketing

(06-17-21) Evansville, IN – 2020 was a challenging year on and off the track for the motorsport’s world; however, it ended with a Top 5 finish for JB Strassweg in Top Dragster and a new partner 2021 and beyond, The Original Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch.

“We ended 2020 with solid performances on the track, and we are kicking 2021 off with a new partner in Equal-i-zer Hitch, along with Meyer Distributing.” Strassweg continued, “Equal-i-zer is a great American Family-owned company. We sell them every day in our store, and they are keeping us safe traveling across the country; we are ready to educate fans and racers on Equal-i-zer,” Strassweg stated.

JB Strassweg, CEO of Basden’s American RV, spends weekends traveling across the country driving his Meyer Distributing Top Dragster at over 210 miles per hour. Strassweg’s 2020 Miller stands out as one of the quickest and fastest Nitrous cars in the country for Top Dragster. Adding the Equal-i-zer livery with the Meyer Distributing colors will make one eye-catching ride chasing a National Championship in the Camping World NHRA Series.

“We are over the moon excited to have the Equal-i-zer brand on board; Meyer customers can order Equal-i-zer, you can order online, and you can call us up and order the Equal-i-zer products. The ability to haul the weights we do across America; it is a comfort to have the security of Equal-i-zer on the job.” Strassweg concluded.

“This new partnership is an amazing opportunity for us as we showcase the Original Equal-i-zer hitch in this new arena,” says Rich Elliott, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Original Equal-i-zer hitch. “We are happy to join a team with a history of exceptional performance, as that matches our level of commitment to create the safest hitch in America.”

JB will debut the Meyer Distributing and Equal-i-zer Hitch Top Dragster at the NHRA Summit Nationals in Norwalk, OH, on June 25th weekend; this will kick off the points chase for the Streetway Marketing team for 2021.

To learn more about JB Strassweg, Equalizer, and Streetway Marketing, log onto or follow-on

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StreetwayMedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/equalizerhitch

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/equalizerhitch

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jb.strassweg

About (Equal-i-zer)

First built in 1947 in Salt Lake City, the Original Equal-i-zer® Sway Control Hitch is the pioneer in weight distribution and sway control trailer hitches in America. Manufactured in the USA, it is the only hitch with Integrated 4-Point Sway Control™️, an advanced system that integrates sway control and weight distribution into one unit. The result is superior sway control performance, excellent weight distribution, exceptional quality, and ease of use.

The Equal-i-zer hitch transfers trailer tongue weight back to the axles of the tow vehicle and acts like a bridge that alleviates the load being put on the rear axle and distributes it back to the front axle of the tow vehicle. This action helps keep the tires on the road, which gives improved steering, braking control, and helps reduce stressful towing situations, and works to keep you safer on the road.

The Equal-i-zer hitch eliminates the need for add-on sway control devices. With the Equal-i-zer hitch, you can make a tight turn at the gas station or back into your camping spot without disconnecting anything from your hitch. The Equal-i-zer hitch works with almost any RV, horse, cargo, boat, and utility trailer, including trailers with surge brakes. Towing with America’s Favorite Hitch gives you confidence, peace of mind, and the best protection for your journey™.

Streetway Marketing & Media LLC represents drivers in the motorsports market. Streetway develops business, marketing, and public relations programs for companies in recreational vehicles, motorsports, and consumer goods.

__________________

__________________

JIMMY DEFRANK, STOCK AND SUPER STOCK

NHRA Drag Racing
Photo: Auto Imagery

 

Q&A With Jimmy DeFrank

POMONA, Calif. (Jan. 30, 2020) – 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 in 2020, the Southern California native and Chief Operating Officer at California Car Cover participated in a Q&A 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

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

Q: 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.

859273_10151485512664491_1360877235_o
Photo from California Car Cover/DeFrank family archives, 2013

__________________

__________________

Five-Time World Champ Jimmy DeFrank Humbled by Success, Grateful to Continue Racing Journey

Photos: Auto Imagery

NHRA Drag Racing

POMONA, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2017) – The 2016 season of NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series was another to remember for Super Stock racer Jimmy DeFrank, and he is more eager than ever to jump into a whole new year of doing what he loves. The pilot of the DeFrank & Sons Racing Chevrolet Cobalt accumulated a large amount of points towards the big trophy last year, and in the end, he and his team scored their fifth Super Stock world championship and 13th overall division title. In total, the Chatsworth, California-based racer heads into the 2017 season with 19 national event titles on his scorecard and 45 division wins.

At the heart of DeFrank’s team is a small but powerful group – he and his father, Jim DeFrank Sr., and longtime Crew Chief Davey Allison. The ’10 Cobalt flying the colors of California Car Cover, California Car Duster, and Golden Shine Car Care, brought in a total of 681 points through their combined efforts, and DeFrank was 88 marks ahead of his closest competitor at final tally.

Victory at the season opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona set the tone for the season. DeFrank’s eight claimed races for the year included trophies earned at division events in Fontana, Calif., and Woodburn, Ore., final rounds at the earlier Woodburn event and Sonoma national, a trip to the semifinals at both the Phoenix divisional and the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, and a quarterfinals finish at the spring Las Vegas division race.

Drag Racing

Strong Start
Pomona has long been a favored race for DeFrank, a Southern California native who scored the very first win of his career at the NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in 1995, the season in which he made his debut as a Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competitor. In 2016, DeFrank earned his fifth Winternationals trophy at the NHRA season-opener with a final-round defeat of Fred Moreno.

“I truly believe that the first race did set the tone for us in 2016,” said DeFrank. “It’s always – well, at least it is in most cases – important to have a national event win when looking towards a national championship. At that time, we weren’t necessarily thinking about a championship, but that race did end up being a key factor. We always look forward to Pomona, and 2017 won’t be any different. That first race comes with less pressure than the rest, actually. We’re nervous and just trying to get back into the swing of things, but it’s not a points crunch. Towards the end of the season is where you start to feel the pressure.”

Overcoming Obstacles
The 2017 season will mark the 20th anniversary of DeFrank’s first Super Stock national championship, and the veteran driver will readily admit that no year in racing is perfect. He stresses the importance, though, of learning not to beat yourself up when you stumble and instead challenge yourself to do better the next time.

“This past season I made some mistakes in Boise, Idaho, at the Division 6 event, and then again at the Woodburn Division 6 race in July. I lost focus in a terrible fashion in Boise second round and in the final at Woodburn. I was late with .060 lights, and I was very mad at myself and worried that those two instances may cost us dearly in the big picture. As a team, though, we immediately put those races behind us and did not dwell on them. We just moved on to the next event, and I think that was very important.

“After we wrapped up the championship, I struggled again. I let the fire die down some, and that was absolutely a terrible thing to let happen. I was relieved that the points chase was over, and I did not give 100% at the last couple of races. That is not acceptable, and if I’m fortunate enough to win another championship in this way, I won’t let it happen again.”

Stopped in Sonoma
After starting the season with a win at the Winternationals, DeFrank had a milestone ahead of him. The Pomona victory was the 19th national event win of his career, and No. 20 was within reach. This past summer brought about a near miss at another favorite race for DeFrank, the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. There, DeFrank has three times visited the winner’s circle at the national level, and in 2016 he was charging towards another but fouled out in the final round.

“I struggled getting a good light in Sonoma, and then I pushed too hard in the final and it bit us,” admitted DeFrank. “It was my fault, but again, as a team we put it behind us and moved on to Indy. We felt thankful to even make it to the final round in Sonoma, and we lost to a good friend and one of the best drivers, Justin Lamb – so we were not upset. I was thankful for those 84 points and another great race at a great racetrack. We knew that race would be a keeper, but again, we left there hoping that losing that final wasn’t going to cost us in the big picture.”

Adrenaline at Indy
The annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis is the most anticipated race on the NHRA tour for both class and national event eliminations. DeFrank was honored to win the main event trophy in 2010 and score a final-round finish in 2015, and this past season, he left with the SS/BS class title and locked into a semifinals finish during eliminations on Monday to bring home even more points towards the championship.

“Indy is so exciting, and it is so special for Stock and Super Stock. It is the race that my dad always looks forward to more than any other the entire season,” said DeFrank. “It is our vacation, and we truly enjoy it as racers and NHRA drag racing fans. Indy is a race you work for all year long, to make your cars fast, and to also try to drive your best. We were very excited to win class as there were some great competitors in SS/BS with us, and then to make it to the semifinals in the big race was huge. We were let down to not make it to the final or win the race, but when we stopped and looked at the situation, we were thankful for those 83 points. As I said before, we learned this year to put those disappointments behind us and move right along to focusing on the next event. That, in itself, was a big deal for us.”

Cashing in at The Strip
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is another racetrack filled with memorable moments for DeFrank. Las Vegas is where he scored the second national event double of his career with 2015 victories in Stock and Super Stock at the spring race. In all, the CEO of California Car Cover has reached six Las Vegas national event finals and has three national wins at the racetrack situated just outside of the glittering lights of one of the most infamous cities on the planet. It is also where he has sewn up more than one championship, and in 2016, it was again where the final results were determined.

“Just like it was in 2009 and 2012, the championship was decided in Las Vegas,” said DeFrank. “To tell you the truth, I was shocked when we finally sewed it up. I couldn’t believe it, and I’m still not sure it’s completely sunk in. We are beyond thankful that we were able to hang onto this championship and even get to race at all. I was nervous throughout the weekend, but I knew that we did try our best and that we still had a couple of races left to gain points if we needed to. When it was finally over and we had won, we were all so relieved and excited.

“I was actually sitting in the RFC [Racers for Christ] church service on Sunday morning when our competitors were racing in Las Vegas and Rockingham, and my dad came into church and told me. Yes, he did stay for the rest of the service, and it was the perfect place to be since we felt so blessed.

“I was very humbled to get to win this championship and stay ahead of some truly terrific racers. All the racers in the top 10 were equal, in my opinion, and we were just fortunate to make some good runs and get the breaks when we needed them.”

Drag Racing

The Game Plan
The DeFrank & Sons Racing team took a different approach to 2016, and that, says DeFrank, was a major contributing factor to the outcome of their efforts.

“This season was different in that we only ran one car,” said DeFrank, who has regularly raced in two categories on the NHRA tour, hopping between his trusty Super Stock Cobalt and the team’s Stock Eliminator ’69 Camaro. Although the two-cars/one-driver formula has brought measurable success, including two national event doubles (the Las Vegas double-up in 2015 as well as a two-trophy finish at the Winternationals in 2013), DeFrank felt it was necessary to scale back and zero in.

“At the end of the 2015 season, I was a touch let down because we struggled during the last handful of races in both Stock and Super Stock,” said DeFrank, who has claimed a total of four national wins in Stock Eliminator and 15 in Super Stock. “We were rushing around a lot to make runs in qualifying and eliminations, and that seemed to take away from our performance. It was like we had 90% attention on each car instead of 100%, and we started this past year determined to devote all of our efforts to one car.

“That’s similar to my business personality as well; I like to focus on one task at a time and then move on to the next. Most of the great NHRA champions will most likely disagree with me, but I prefer racing just one car. It gives me more time to look at everything and make those important decisions. Thankfully, my dad and Davey went along with that line of thinking, and it actually went okay in 2016. I have no idea if it will ever work again, but I think that we would all agree that it worked this time.

“I have to give credit to my dad and our crew chief, Davey Allison. They worked so, so hard to realize this goal and dream. We race in an equal three parts as a team, and we all won this together with equal effort and focus. We three have raced together since the first time I went down the track in 1995. We also focused on just one car when we went after championships in 2009 and then in 2012 towards the end of the season. I remember our friend, Jeg Coughlin, going down to one car and focusing on Pro Stock in a couple of his championship seasons, and it worked well for him. So thank you, Jeg, for that great example.

In Good Company
DeFrank is just the second driver in the history of the class to win five Lucas Oil Series Super Stock championships; Northeast rival and friend Peter Biondo was the first to accomplish the feat with his fifth Super Stock series title earned in 2014.

“I am so honored to be mentioned alongside my friend Peter Biondo because of both the person and the racing champion that he is. Peter is truly the best in our sport, yet he still takes time to guide his friends along the way,” said DeFrank, who finished No. 2 to Biondo in 2014 and battled against him for the title in 2000, 2001, 2006, and 2007, finishing not far behind his pal each time.

Division 7 Driver of the Year
At the conclusion of the season and in addition to achieving the Super Stock national title, DeFrank was awarded the Division 7 Super Stock crown and was honored as the division’s Driver of the Year.

“I was very humbled and honored to receive that award, and it meant a lot to me for Division 7 Director Mike Rice, his staff, and our peers to present that to our team,” said DeFrank. “That award wasn’t just for me – it was for my dad and Davey, too, because we put those round wins and race wins together as a team. We lose together and we win together, but we always have fun. I was proud to clinch a national championship for Division 7, and I hope that our division can win another one next year in at least one category.”

What’s Next
The only time DeFrank’s Stock Eliminator ’69 Camaro saw the light of day in 2016 was when friend Jeff Adkinson wheeled it at the final national event of the year. This coming season, at least tentatively, DeFrank has other plans.

“I’m hoping that my brother, Tony, will join us for a few races in 2017,” said DeFrank, who raced with his brother frequently in the early years of his career and trailed him by just one position in Super Stock points in both 2002 and 2003. In 2005, the brothers squared off in the final round at the Sonoma national event with Jimmy taking the win. Tony has six Super Stock victories in 10 final rounds and was undefeated in final round performances from 1993 to 2003.

“Other than hopefully seeing my brother wheel the Stocker here and there, we haven’t made any solid plans for 2017,” DeFrank continued. “We will probably race both cars, but we’ll try to trade off races with them so we are only racing one per event. It’s still open for discussion, though.

“Right now, I’m just grateful for what we’ve been able to accomplish. When I was standing up there on the stage at the banquet, I was still in shock. This is a very special feeling, and it is truly an honor. I always dreamed of winning a championship, and now to be able to say we’ve won five – it just does not even seem real. I am so very thankful to get to live these dreams and to do so alongside my family and friends.”

Five Keys to Championship No. 5
1. Tons of prayer power by all of us
2. Teamwork in equal parts and with equal focus between myself, my dad Jim, and our Crew Chief Davey Allison
3. When something bad happened, we thought about it, learned from it, then immediately put it behind us
4. Getting the breaks when we needed them
5. Strong focus and desire on racing, and expanding that focus and desire to the big picture of a championship when it became a possibility

Five Goals for 2017 and beyond
1. Have fun with family and friends
2. Chip away at the performance of our cars
3. Continue to learn consistency in driving style and with the runs we make
4. Get my brother, Tony, to some races
5. Win more races if we have the chance

Drag Racing

In Gratitude
“First, I have to thank God for the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful and loving family that even has the opportunity to race,” said DeFrank. “I’d like to thank my mom Loraine, for her love and prayer support; my dad Jim, who leads our race team, is very detailed with every single racing item, and makes all the big decision behind the scenes and at the track; my brother Tony, for his love and encouragement, for watching all business activities at California Car Cover when we are away, and for teasing me so bad when I lose that it makes me try harder the next race; our Crew Chief Davey Allison, for everything he does to help us be at the races and win – he did the best job he has ever done this year, and it showed as we all won this championship together; my mentor Jeff Taylor, who has been helping us win since I first started and has taught me so much – I don’t think we would have won this many races or championships if Jeff wasn’t in our lives; Tom Kerr; Steve Decker; Wally Bose; Bo Butner; Randi Lyn Shipp; Jeff Adkinson; Willie Evans; Jeg Coughlin; Kyle Seipel; Peter Biondo; Justin Lamb; and every person at Racers for Christ.”

DeFrank also thanks his sponsors, including California Car Cover Co., California Car Duster Co., Golden Shine Car Care, K&N, Red Line Oil, Phoenix Tires, RFC, Jeg’s, Jim Butner Auto, CFE, Pro Trans, Comp Cams, Jeff Taylor Performance, VP Race Fuels, and Biondo Racing.