“Jimbo Factor” Produces Milestone 

For the aspiring Canadian Nitro Express Top Fuel racing team the addition of Jimbo Ermalovich paid dividends during last weekend’s NHRA Super Nationals event at Englishtown…

Jimbo Ermalovich

Ermalovich, who gained notoriety as the crew chief to the late great Al Hofmann, and who has been instrumental in helping turn the Top Fuel racing fortunes of Paton Racing, lent his talents to John LaPorte’s camp during that race.   The end result was that for the first time in that team’s short history – they qualified for an NHRA national event race. 

While their 4.220 secs (#16) did not exactly rotate the earth – it did put them and their veteran driver Fred Farndon in the program and gave them self confidence.  

In round #1 on Sunday they managed more improvement.  They carded a quite decent 4.050 secs lap – but that was versus overall NHRA Full Throttle points leader and pole qualifier Del Worsham; who won easily in the other lane at 3.830 secs driving the unlimited funded Al-Anabi dragster.

“Both Barry Paton and Bobby Lagana have been very supportive of our effort in the T/F class,” said team owner John LaPorte.  “Before I approached Jimbo I made sure I had Barry’s blessing.  Barry felt it was best for everyone involved to have two Canadian Top Fuel teams out there.”

John LaPorte's Nitro Express dragster qualified at Englishtown

“Jimbo will be a consultant for the rest of the season – in conjunction with Barry Paton,” John continued.  “He (Jimbo) just exudes confidence and that quickly transpired through our whole team – from the driver on down.  He made this fun for us.”

Three wise men? (Jimbo, Fred & John)

John confirmed that while Jimbo did not do a wholesale change to the race car he did make a number of significant changes. 

“He is excellent on the mathematical aspect of this and had everything calculated down to the 10th.  He double checked literally everything on this race car.”

The qualifying effort was also a rewarding one for ageless Fred Farndon who is originally from Toronto.   It marked the first time he had qualified for a NHRA national event race since Pomona 1974. 

“That was my first goal — get Fred a car that would qualify,” LaPorte added.  “I’m so proud to have done that for him.  Everyone on this team worked very hard to make it happen.  Our next goal is the 3-secs zone – but we will still be taking just baby steps forward.”

The next racing appearance for John LaPorte’s very fast improving team will in fact be in Canada — during the upcoming Canadian Nitro Nationals at Cayuga – July 1-3rd. They will be part of that race’s 4-car Top Fuel program.  During that event they will be providing even more support for their important cause:  www.WoundedWarriors.ca

Posted by:  Bruce Biegler – Photos by:  Bruce Biegler