2nd “Near Miss” for KonRodz Team
Cassie Simonton took Canadian car owner Spiro Kontos’ car to it’s 2nd NHRA national event final round appearance in a span of only 7 days – yesterday at Norwalk Ohio….
In the eyes of Cassie Simonton, team owner Spiro Kontos, and the Kon Rodz Racing team, their luck has finally turned around. An early season filled with rare parts failures and first round losses is in the rearview mirror as the Canadian Top Alcohol Funny Car team leaves Summit Motorsports Park, the site of their second final round appearance in a row.
“Obviously you need luck in drag racing sometimes. We had some bad luck earlier in the year, but that’s behind us. We were lucky first round. Randy and the team saved me in the second round, but we came back and had a good run in the semi-finals. I think our luck is finally changing for the better,” Simonton said.
The weekend started off with “Sassy” Cassie’s best qualifying start at a national event, 3rd with a 5.71. First round was perhaps the race decided most by luck. Simonton was on a great pass before the car just went silent around half-track. Opponent Brian Harvanek smoked the tires early and broke the blower belt, preventing him from chasing down the Kon Rodz machine. Cassie was late in the next round, but was able to drive around Ray Drew when his engine expired before the finish line, 5.643 to Drew’s 5.79. The car had bracket car consistency, running 5.642 to Chris Foster’s 5.67 in the semifinals.
Cassie would line up against east coast heavy hitter Paul Gill in the finals of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. She left the starting line first, but smoked the tires early. That very first Wally will have to wait for another race.
After Cassie and the crew put in multiple 16-hour days between Chicago and Norwalk to prepare, the second consecutive final round appearance was worth all the effort.
“This weekend was surreal. After everything we went through getting ready for this race, to start off qualifying with the #3 pass and reach the finals again was so rewarding for everyone. It’s been an amazing two weeks. I think we have a really good thing going, so that Wally should be coming soon,” claimed the Minnesota native.
The wait to go after that coveted NHRA trophy won’t be long, as the next race for Kon Rodz Racing is in just two weeks in Columbus, Ohio. The fourth race on the team’s Lucas Oil Series schedule will give them another chance to run for a trophy and earn more NHRA Regional points. Before that, the crew will have a much-need and well-deserved week off.
Kon Rodz Racing is a NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team owned by Spiro Kontos, competing in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. 25-year old Cassie Simonton drives the team’s 3,000 horsepower Chevy Monte Carlo funny car. Spiro, Cassie, and the whole Kon Rodz Racing team would like to thank the following sponsors for their continued support: Lucas Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Goodson, BAE, Goodyear Tire, Clevite, Mac Tools, Artist ButchM, and ithreesixty Music Infused Apparel.
Posted by: Nate Van Wagnen
Photo by: Cyclops Photography