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Spotlight on Sportsman Drag Racers From the Chevy World

Straight Line Spotlight

Bruce Biegler Dec 18, 2018
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Maple Grove Mastery
For two consecutive years, an impressive Connecticut-based Chevrolet team has been victorious at the marquee NHRA national event hosted by Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania. With former Pro Stock racer Tom Martino at the controls of the H/Altered-classed 2008 Chevy Cobalt, car owner Ken Voight and his team have visited victory lane for Competition Eliminator in both 2017 and 2018. Ken bought the Eastexas-built machine in 2009, and its present form is powered by a 290ci powerplant built by Tom Martino Race Engines. That high-winding mill pumps out 800+ hp, and has powered the car to multiple national records (in H/A and G/SM). But this versatile team can run their Cobalt in multiple classes depending on which engine program they choose for any given race. Ken credits his son Ken Jr. and brother Tim for a lot of his race car’s success. He also dedicates his drag racing exploits to the memory of his late brother Bill, who was heavily involved with his team. Rick Rollinson and Bill Ursini are also valued crewmembers that help ensure the Cobalt is ready for every run. The very formidable team is based out of Voight Automotive and Performance in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

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European Elite
Major league drag racing within Europe during 2018 produced a popular championship title for a fan favorite, and one of the most familiar, Pro Mod cars. Owned by Magnus Petersson (Malmö, Sweden) and driven by Jimmy Ålund (a multi-time FIA Pro Stock champion) Petersson’s supercharged 1951 Chevy was dominant while winning Europe’s FIA Pro Mod title last season. This one-of-kind race car has seen quite an evolution. It was first conceived way back in 1996 with construction happening at Bert’s RaceCars in Norrköping, Sweden. Magnus acquired the car in 1998, and has been diligent with many modifications to it. However, he confirmed that 85 percent of the race car’s chassis tubing is still original. The “Old ’51” has featured blown alcohol engines for most of its life and the modern-day version includes a Jan-Cen 526ci program, which features Petersson’s personal twist. The car has recorded best times of 3.80 at 198 mph (eighth-mile) and 5.81 at 244 mph (quarter-mile). Prior to clinching the 2018 FIA Pro Mod title the team placed runner-up in 2017. Sponsors include Summit Racing Equipment, Abbekas Akeri, Swerink, Hudik Plat & Gasol, Composite Design, Jan-Cen Racing, and Gripen Industri & Marin. The team includes Robert Palsund (crew chief) Håkan Lindegren, Petter Greborn, Pamela Palsund, and Jennie Serler.
Photo by Roger Gorringe

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Going Green!
Drag racing fans attending Midwestern NMCA events can not help but be impressed by a couple of attention-grabbing and very fast Chevy S-10 trucks—both from the Chicagoland area.

Wadsworth, Illinois, is home base for a super impressive 1994 model that is appropriately and affectionately dubbed the Flyin’ Pickle. Owned and driven by Michael Roemer, this was originally a street truck driven by Michael’s father, Phil, who did all of the race truck’s chassis, fabrication, and wiring. Using a 25.5 chrome-moly ’cage and 275/60R15 drag radial tires, Roemer runs his machine primarily within the NMCA’s eighth-mile Xtreme Street class. Well known for its rather “mongo” burnouts, the S-10 features a Tony Bischoff-built 440ci, 23-degree-head Chevy engine with nitrous injection (using a Steve Johnson-sourced NLR AMS-2000 controller). The truck features a Powerglide by Pro-Formance Transmissions and a ProTorque torque converter.

Roemer has run a best time of 4.72 at almost 150 mph in legal class trim. His team’s great presentation is topped off with stunning green paint by Jim Plimpton (Authentic Auto Body, Cudahy, Wisconsin) and his list of sponsors include Chicagoland Equipment Service, Holeshot Parts and Performance, BES Racing Engines, Pro-Formance Transmission, Menscer Motorsports, ProTorque Converters, Induction Solutions, TRZ Motorsports, NLR Electronics, and RC Components.

Joe Malfeo (Fort Worth, Illinois) races his 2000 S-10 primarily within the NMCA Open Comp class, but in ET brackets as well. Joe’s truck, which he personally built (from frame to paint), features an alcohol-burning 427ci engine (Midwest Engine Tech, Mokena, Illinois) and was new to the area’s drag racing circuit in 2018 after he began construction in October 2017.

Joe is a regular racer at both Route 66 Raceway (Joliet, Illinois) and US 41 Motorplex (Morocco, Indiana), and this truck has run a best time of 10.38 at just shy of 130 mph.

Malfeo’s race team is sponsored by Elevated Construction Company, where he is senior project manager, and his crew consists of his wife, Pam, and crew chief and brother Gino Malfeo. Joe dedicates his racing ventures to the memory of his father, Joseph, who passed away in 2017.

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