PMRA Pro Mod – Top Five Season Review

1) Rocky DiLecce – Champion

 It just couldn’t get much better for Rocky Di Lecce in 2013.

The Pro Modified racer from Mississauga, Ontario won a record-setting five events for one season in the Pro Modified Racing Association, winning the Championship Point Award Series in fine style.

 Di Lecce also captured a special Pro Mod Invitational held at Maryland International Raceway in September in an inaugural Canada-versus-USA matchup, besting some of the finest Pro Mod teams in the Eastern US.
This year went well, I am happy with it, said Di Lecce, who has now completed his second full year of PMRA competition. But I have still a ways to go, he continued. I was still on a learning cycle this year.
For a new racer in the Pro Modified ranks, Di Lecce, a former OSCA champion, has been a quick study with solid qualifying attempts at all PMRA events in 2013, and a consistency that brought he and the rest of the Metro Infrastructure Inc. team success.
And he said this success would not have happened without the help of his team. These guys worked so well throughout the year, he explained. They were so thorough, provided a solid car, and helped so much.
Di Lecce qualified fourth for the season opener at Martin, Michigan, and took the final round over fellow PMRA racer Jay Santos of Halton Hills, Ontario. For the next three events, all held on the Cayuga Dragway of Toronto Motorsports Park, Di Lecce qualified number one on the ladder, and also powered his Camaro to victory at each race, eliminating Jeff Roth of New Dundee, Ontario, Bruce Boland of Stoney Creek, Ontario, and Derek Hawker of Corbyville, Ontario in the final rounds.
For the fifth race, the first of two held at the Grand Bend Motorplex, Di Lecce started number two on the ladder, but went rounds, meeting up and beating Boland once again in the final. For the season closer, he qualified number one but was eliminated in the first round.
In two non-points PMRA races held in 2013, Di Lecce qualified number one during the IHRA MOPAR Nitro Jam Nationals at Grand Bend, racing until the semi-final, and then went laps with some of the best from the Eastern US in September to win the first International Pro Mod Challenge held at Maryland International Raceway.
When asked about his plans for 2014, Di Lecce said the focus will be on reducing weight in the car.
We were good for power, he noted. But we are going to lighten up the car. We are always looking to improve.
With Angelo Aceto as crew chief, the others in the winning team include Emilio Aceto, Kevin Cooper, Tony Presto, Michael Aceto, Robbie Cesario and Nadia Di Lecce. The team is sponsored by Metro Infrastructure Inc. and Midway Automotive. The Camaro recorded trips down the quarter-mile in the 5.9-second range at over 242 mph this year.
The Camaro is powered by a 526-cubic inch Brad Anderson (BAE) supercharged hemi coupled to a Lenco Drive in the Tim McAmis Race Cars chassis. The car features a Waterman Racing Components fuel system and Kobelco supercharger.
I want to thank my sponsors and especially my crew, he said. A special thank you to Al Billes for his reliable horse power, and I want to thank Hutch’s Transmissions and Neil Chance Convertors. 

Rocky DiLecce’s PMRA Championship season was one of domination.

 2) The Grainy Brothers – Second Place

Long-time veteran competitors Jack and Sonny Grainy had an admirable year with the Pro Modified Racing Association, finishing second in the Championship Point Award Series for 2013.

With Jack Grainy driving the Grainy Brothers Camaro Pro Modified, the team from North Tonawanda New York qualified for the season opener in Martin Michigan third and ran some laps to the semi-final.

Qualifying sixth for the next race, at the Cayuga Dragway of Toronto Motorsports Park, Grainy was out in the first round, but for the next event, also at Cayuga, he made it to the semi-final again.

For the fourth race, the Canadian Nitro Nationals at Cayuga, he started fourth on the ladder and was eliminated in the first round. He was also eliminated in the first round after qualifying seventh at the next event held at the Grand Bend Motorplex, and the team finished the season at Grand Bend with a sixth qualifying spot and a first-round loss.

In two special non-points PMRA races held this year, the Grainys made the trek to First Annual International Pro Mod Challenge in Budds Creek, Maryland in September, knocking out number one event qualifier Tim O’Hare of Delaware before losing in the second round.

Earlier in the season, the team qualified for the special Pro Modified race held during the IHRA MOPAR Nitro Jam Nationals at Grand Bend in July but were first round victims.

One of the original teams from the start of the PMRA, the New York-based team races with a G-Force Race Cars 1967 Camaro with a Mike Stawicki Racing 521-cubic inch Brad Anderson (BAE) Supercharged Hemi for motive power, backed up by a Lenco three-speed. The Camaro sports a PSI Screw-type Supercharger and a Stawicki fuel system.

Sponsored by Niagara Auto and Grainy’s Automotive, Sonny Grainy is the crew chief, with Jack Grainy Jr., Heather Grainy, Krysta Grainy, Joey Warren and Aggy Mudra assisting.

3) Bruce Boland – Third Place

– Veteran Pro Modified Racing Association driver Bruce Boland has been known for showing up at the track with a new race car each season. He has always been able to get the maximum out of his race cars, and 2013 was no exception, as the Stoney Creek Ontario driver placed third in PMRA Championship Point Award Series.

Starting with his 1953 Corvette Pro Modified for the season opener at Martin, Michigan, Boland qualified number two but could not make the elimination rounds. After doing some damage to his car during testing for the next event at the Cayuga Dragway of Toronto Motorsports Park and not being able to compete, Boland got back in the hunt qualifying fifth for the next event at Cayuga, and going into the semi-final.

He also qualifying fifth for the next race, and once again was eliminated in the semi-final.

For the next event, held at the Grand Bend Motorplex, the driver of the B&B Racing entry qualified fourth but went laps and was taken out in the final by winner Rocky Di Lecce of Mississauga, Ontario.

For the final PMRA race of 2013, also at Grand Bend, Boland qualified his new car, a 1968 Pontiac Firebird, in seventh but was eliminated in the first round.

Aside from the six points races on the PMRA schedule this year, the Pro Modifieds also took part in two other events, and Boland made a good showing at both high-profile races.

He placed second in the IHRA Nitro Jam Nationals Pro Mod race held at Grand Bend in July, losing to 2012 PMRA champion Eric Latino of Whitby, Ontario in the final. He also went to the final in the inaugural International Pro Mod Challenge held at Maryland International Raceway in September, eliminated by this year’s champ Di Lecce.

Boland has competed each season in the PMRA, which has now completed its ninth year of operation. He has set several records during this time, including winning the championship a record three times.

His latest car is the Vanishing Point Race Cars Firebird powered by an ERD 526-cubic inch Hemi with a PSI supercharger, a Jon Salemi-tuned Waterman fuel system and a Lenco three-speed transmission. He has gone down the quarter mile in the six-second range at speeds approaching 240 mph with this combination.

Dennis Veillette, Brad Short, Ron Pierce, Roger Jongerden and Tim Hoffman were the crew for the B&B team this year, with sponsorship from Backwoods Excavating & Float Service, Excel Motorsports, Pro Racing Fuels, NGK Spark Plugs, A&A Auto Parts, and Double D Construction.

4) Derek Hawker – Fourth Place

Driving a new car for most of the 2013 Pro Modified Racing Association Series, Derek Hawker placed fourth in the Championship Point Award Series for the season.

Hawker, of Corbyville, Ontario competed in all of the PMRA points races of the year, using his 1963 Corvette and then a new 1968 Firebird-bodied Pro Modified after a crash during the season.

He qualified fifth with his Corvette at the season opener in Martin, Michigan, and was eliminated in the semi-final. He did not participate in eliminations during the second race after crashing his Corvette at the Cayuga Dragway of Toronto Motorsports Park, but with his new Firebird ready to go for the next event, qualified third and was taken out in the first round.

Hawker’s luck improved during the Canadian Nitro Nationals at Cayuga, qualifying second and making laps until the final round where he lost to winner Rocky Di Lecce of Mississauga, Ontario.

For the next race, held at the Grand Bend Motorplex, Hawker qualified seventh but could not make the elimination rounds, but for the next and last race, also at Grand Bend, he qualified fifth and went to the final round once again, only to lose to Paolo Giust of Osgoode, Ontario.

The Firebird body sits on a Vanishing Point Race Cars chassis and is powered with a supercharged Alan Johnson 481-cubic inch engine with a Lenco three-speed transmission. The fuel system is from Atchison Machine and a PSI screw supercharger sits atop the engine, and so far the car is capable of low six-second passes at 235 mph.

Sponsored by Hawker Construction, Pennzoil and Empey Tire, crew chief for the team is Scott Sager, with Corrie Hawker, McKenzie Hawker, Brittany Hawker and Eli Mayhew making up the rest of the crew.

5) Paolo Giust – Fifth Place

Competing in his first full year of Pro Modified Racing Association competition, Paolo Giust made a fine showing finishing the 2013 year fifth in Championship Point Award Series.

The highlight of the rookie’s season was a race victory during the year.

Giust, from Osgoode, Ontario, drove the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray Pro Modified owned by him and wife Shannon at five of six events during the year, the ninth full season for this popular Pro Modified drag race series.

Although Giust did not race in the opening PMRA round at Martin, Michigan, he qualified for the next events with his Corvette, which features a Brad Anderson (BAE) 526-cubic inch supercharged Hemi engine sitting in an LJ Chassis and coupled to a Bruno’s Automotive Products, Inc. – Lenco transmission and utilizing a Resolution Racing Service fuel system.

Giust qualified fourth and seventh respectively for the first two shows on the Cayuga Dragway of Toronto Motorsports Park, but did not get into eliminations due to mechanical issues. But after starting sixth during Cayuga’s Canadian Nitro Nationals, Giust made some laps with the Corvette, getting into the semi-final before his day was finished.

The team, with crew chief Jamie Clarmo along with Shannon Giust, Jamie Petric, Matt Maxsom, Sherri Clarmo and Joe Kavanagh, worked hard and qualified third for the Stratford Spectacular Weekend at Grand Bend Motorplex for the next race, posting a 6.369-second, 230.47-mph pass, but success eluded the team which was eliminated in the first round.

Giust thanks the efforts of Jim Salemi of G-Force Race Cars, Jon Salemi of Resolution Racing Services, and Mike Stawicki of MSR Engines for their efforts in his success.

But success did come their way for the final race of the year, held at Grand Bend. Qualifying third once again, Giust went all the way for his first PMRA win, taking out Derek Hawker of Corbyville, Ontario in the final.

Giust, who has also raced in the PMRA’s companion series, the Quick 32 Sportsman Series, is sponsored by Chew-That Pet Food & Accessories, Fromm Family Pet Foods and Clarmo Auto Repair.

The Annual Night of Champions Championship Point Award Series Banquet for the Pro Modified Racing Association (PMRA), the Quick 32 Sportsman Series and the Pro Bike & Sled Series (PBSS) will be held at the Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre in Burlington, Ontario on Saturday, November 16, 2013.

Posted by:  Tim Miller

Photo by:  Bruce Biegler