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06192017 biondotsrWords/Photos Phil Hutchison

Peter Biondo, Stock Eliminator champ at the 2017 NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown NJ, saved his best run of the weekend for the finals against local favorite Bubba Linke from Old Bridge, NJ.

Biondo, driving his B/SA ’69 Camaro had a 0.014 reaction time coupled with a 10.372 on a 10.37 while Linke broke out in his C/SA Camaro with a 10.703 on a 10.73 dial. The E-Town win was Biondo’s 52nd career NHRA win.

From Maspeth, NY, Biondo had a bye run in the semis, which made a huge difference in finals. Using the solo run he fine-tuned his reaction time and dial with a 0.013 light and a 10.373 ET. Biondo said, “Getting the bye run was nice as I got to test the tree and try to get a 0.010 light and get the car set up for the final. That solo let me get aggressive for the money run.

“Bubba is a solid driver and puts down solid runs no matter who is in the other lane,” Biondo said. “I knew I had to be on my ‘A’ game but I felt confident going into the ‘tree and the car was doing what it should be doing all weekend. We had similar reaction times and going down track he was ahead of me at a thousand feet and I knew two things could happen. If all goes well he’s gonna break out or he’s gonna win.

“In round two,” Biondo continued, “I had Lee Zane and like all D1 races, it’s a stacked ladder. To win you have to get around racers like Zane and Joe Lisa and Linke. Lee is one of the best footbrake drivers around and fortunately for me I had the better reaction time and I was able to play the top end and get in front of him just a little bit taking the stripe by a hundredth and we both broke out but he broke out by more. That race was won on the starting line. If he had, my light he would have won.

“Racing Joe Lisa in round five, something must have happened to his car,” Biondo added. “It was getting toward the heat of the day and track temperature was getting up there. I was dialed in on the high side and my agenda was to drive to the stripe, as the conditions were getting crappy at the point. Lisa was way off his dial and he was late on the tree. I caught him pretty early which gave me the bye to the final.”

Known as one of the kings of the track weather station, with the changing conditions that ability came in handy. “It was a steady trend of track conditions getting worse throughout eliminations,” Biondo said. “My first qualifying run the car ran in the 10.20’s but late in the race the car was in the mid 10.30’s. It was easy to put your finger on as it was a steady change in conditions. Not like a race where it goes one way and then the other.”

Biondo continued, “These wins take on a new meaning now that I’m not racing as much as I used to. It was great having my family there for the win. Taking the car back to the trailer after the win with my two-year-old sitting in the passenger seat, I went to start the car and he said ‘Wait daddy, you get in the back and let me drive it back!’ He’s almost three years old and he’s getting into it and we have a newborn daughter Olivia in the family. And like I said, these wins take on a brand new meaning.

“I grew up at Englishtown watching my dad race sitting in those grandstands from when I was one-year old. Back in the ‘80’s before Jr. Dragsters and as funny as it sounds, my brother Sal and I were competing on Big Wheel bikes then. We raced to the 60-foot mark. There were some pretty intense races the Napp family put on then.

“My engine builder Brian Tilburg recently freshened the 396-cubic inch BBC and between Tom Kurucz going over the car and Tilburg I have one of most consistent B/SA cars in the county,” Biondo said. “When the car does what it should consistently each round it makes the driver’s job a lot easier. Other than that, a great group, including my wife Emily, Phil Monteith, and my partner in the Spring Fling series, Kyle Seipel, surround me. Seipel is my coach, he stays in tune with me and nobody knows my driving style like him. Even when he’s home he is contact with me round by round.”

Biondo added, “I want to thank Sparco for sponsoring me along with K&N Filters, ATI Performance, Optima Batteries, Biondo Racing Products, JEGS, VP Racing Fuel, Goodyear, and the Spring Fling and Fall Fling Bracket Races.”

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