One of the most relentless and determined drag racing teams based from Canada will turn an important page this coming 2015 racing season….
First founded by successful Toronto-area businessman and long time quarter-mile enthusiast, Spiro Kontos, in the mid 2000’s , SK/KonRodz Racing will see a passing of the torch again this year.
The NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team has had a solid reputation and played an important role in the sport for first introducing and also nurturing a number of talented new drivers through it’s history. That includes but is not limited to names like Jason McKnight, Cassie Simonton and Sean Bellemeur. That tradition will continue this year, when Spiro’s own son, 20-year old son Stefan, takes the controls of the team’s newest race car.
After campaigning Chevy-bodied Funny Cars very successfully over the past few seasons — SK Racing has announced plans to upgrade their operation even further for 2015. At centre ice to all that is the soon to be acquired Ford Mustang formally raced by California’s Jay Payne.
This development came to fruition following the recent sale of last year’s Monte Carlo and also because of a close personal relationship between Jay Payne and SK Racing’s crew chief, Randy Anderson.
“Randy, who Jay’s brother in law, mentioned that we talk with Jay to see if his car was for sale,” Stefan explained. “Jay is a great racer and is known for having the best of the best when it comes to equipment — so it was a no brainer. We started talking about it in Vegas (last fall) and things got more serious during the holiday season and it all came into place. We will be taking delivery of the new car some time after Pomona or the Phoenix divisional race.”
“We purchased the car as a roller as we plan to use our own existing engine program that Randy Anderson has developed over his time with our team,” Stefan continued. “We had a lot of power last year but as time changes and technology advances we felt that in order to put it to the track and run like we should — we needed to update our car and purchase something newer that’s set up differently. Randy is always working on finding new power not only for us, but for his long list of clients that he sells parts and develops fuel systems for. He has some exciting things in the works right now. When they do come out, and we start pushing the new pieces, we’re expecting to see some great results.”
For Stefan, who has been the SK Racing team manager over the past couple years, his evolution into the drivers seat is both challenging and exciting.
“I’ve always been interested in driving,” he continued. “We’ve always had some great drivers in our cars but now that I’m older and I’ve been around it more it’s something that I think I’m ready for. Now that my school schedule with University is a little more flexible (3rd year Business/Strategic Marketing student at Ryerson University in Toronto) I’m able to travel more and my summer break starts earlier than in high school. I’m also a lot more serious about racing — I just feel it’s time I give it a shot — much to my mother’s disapproval” (LOL!).
The plan for Stefan and the team is for sure calculated going forward. They will step back from the torrid pace of previous season campaigns and instead have established realistic short and longer term objectives for 2015.
“The plan is to get things going in the spring — and just take it slow. I have a few key people helping me, Jeff Arend, Sean Bellemeur, and our tuner Randy are three people that I’m lucky to call friends and they are extremely experienced as drivers. They’re going to work with me to get me comfortable in the car.”
“So our exact 2015 racing season is up in the air for right now,” he affirmed. “We’ll see how quickly I progress in the car and go from there. Right now my goals are realistic; I need to get my license and that will take a few sessions at the track. My ability in the car is also something we’re going to measure once we start the licensing process. Ideally, we would like to attempt to race the Las Vegas and Pomona event swings at the end of the year – but I need to become capable and competitive as a driver – first.”
Stefan and Spiro will continue forward with solid backing from a variety of valued associated backers. Those sponsors include: CRC Automotive, Aerodine Composites Group, Clean Boost Performance Oils, NGK Spark Plugs, Clevite, Goodyear Tires, Sparco, Bell Racing USA, Advanced Power Systems, Aeromotive, Ford Racing.
For more information on SK Racing click: HERE
Post and Photos by: Bruce Biegler