Our exclusive feature on the latest drag racing venture from two very skilled Southern Ontario Craftsman…..

The reputation for impressive and homebuilt drag racing products continues for the Niagara-area father and son racing team of Joe and Tom Bene.

Tom and Joe Bene with their latest home-built creation.

This Stoney Creek Ontario-based duo, who have been dabbling within the sport of drag racing together for over 20 seasons, have for 2017 unveiled what is arguably their most impressive machine yet.

Earlier this season (during Cayuga’s Nitro Nationals) driver Tom Bene entered his newly built GTO Top Sportsman car into competition for the first time during the Napa Ultimate Showdowns Series portion of that marquee annual event.

This GTO is in fact the 5th complete race car that the duo have hand built during their careers, it is a Rick Jones blue print car with a body from Five Star that encompasses both modern tech with some tried and true components.

“We built the car in our shop over an 8-month period — but that was about 2 years ago,” Tom revealed. “Right after it was completed – we had traded our ’68 Camaro TS car for a new Top Dragster. Then we started doing so well with that dragster that I didn’t want to get out of it. But then earlier this season we decided to finish off the new GTO and take it out and play with it.”

“This car was built front to back and 100% by my Dad and I – even the paint,” Tom continued. “And while we like racing the dragster — I’m really a door car guy at heart. We built the car for Top Sportsman with the Napa Ultimate Showdown series in mind. That circuit will be our main focus and we felt it was important to support them.”

Tom and Joe did install a very proven motor combination into their new GTO, a 500 CID BBC with a single four barrel and one stage of nitrous. Tom revealed that particular motor was in fact first built 15 years ago by Gary Cunningham and it amazingly has 400+ pulls down a drag strip on it!

Tom and Joe are pretty excited about the possibilities for their new car. Their reputation as being both savvy and successful racers within Southern Ontario is already well known and they sure have some very vast experience which they can incorporate.

“We’ve learned a lot of tricks over all those years of racing,” Tom added. “For sure there is some extra satisfaction racing a homebuilt car – it’s really nice to show off what is really all our own work. This car has some extra safety items too so I’m very comfortable driving it.”

The GTO has been pretty impressive too so far. It hit a 7.08 secs at 198 mph on what was only it’s second ever run. The team is targeting consistent 6.8 secs elapsed times for Top Sportsman class racing events.

The Bene’s, who are both licensed mechanics, remain a independent racing operation – funding their Bene Motorsports racing operation though their own general repair shop while also receiving some help from Tom’s Uncle, Frank Bene (Excel Tool & Die).

In addition to their new GTO — Bene Motorsports also race a highly competitive Top Dragster…

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler