Business owner, race promoter and sportsman racer phenom, Peter Biondo, put together thirteen awesome rounds of competition during the NHRA Div 1 event in Englishtown, New Jersey to bring home both the Super Gas and the Super Stock victories. With his latest feat, Biondo currently holds down the top spot in the country in both categories and has his eye on double 2011 NHRA Lucas Oil National Championships.
2000 Firebird NHRA Super Stock Driver Peter Biondo
Peter Biondo's 1963 Corvette Roadster NHRA Super Gas Car
Prior to heading to the New Jersey event, Biondo had just wrapped up a week long race at the U.S. Nationals, where as he puts it, "there was quite a lot of drama" with his Super Gas car.
"We had put a new motor in it and at the first race out, it was running great. 168-169 MPH and in a Super Gas car, that's quite a lot of MPH," he said. "We won the first race out with it, but when we got it to Indy, we were really struggling. It went anywhere from 9.80 to 10.07 [9.90 Index]. So between time runs at Indy, we were changing everything we could think of trying to get it figured out. Mr. "K&N" himself, Steve Williams was one of the guys who came over to our pit to try and help, along with fellow K&N racers, Gary Stinnett and Tommy Phillips and pointed out to me that I didn't have very much space between the carburetor and the scoop. There just wasn't much room there for it to breathe. We ended up taking the spacer out and putting an air pan on and a new K&N filter system, that was all molded in and we picked up a lot."
"Let's put it this way, I was set up to run a 9.90 on my first pass [time run] at Englishtown and I ran a 9.73 at 172 MPH," he continued. "So, problem solved. I was ecstatic and I knew from the seat of the pants going down track that it was a better run and wasn't detonating at the finish line like it did at Indy. The car was just flawless from there on in and we took it from there."
Right off the bat, first round would be somewhat of a special one for Biondo. "I certainly didn't have a gimmie the first round," he pointed out. "I had to run a guy that my seventy-four year old dad used to battle it out with, let's say thirty years ago. Ken Bowers is a smart guy, that's for sure. I had a twelve light and got to the finish line first with a little bit of room. He had a twenty light and dumped to a ninety-two. [9.92]"
Biondo notes that although the car was now running great, the weekend wasn't without its chaos. "Right when they called us up for third round, I went to start the car and my starter failed, so I had to change it," he said. "I was a little bit lacking on help that weekend, especially with having two cars in and it seems like everyone went home on Saturday night, so I had to go ask my neighbor to come over and help me change it [laughs]."
"Probably the biggest round though in Super Gas was the fourth round against Jason Kenny," he confessed. "He is very well respected and the reigning Div 1 champ and that round was for the bye into the final. I knew that if I wanted any chance at winning the championship, I had to win this race. So to get by Jason, it was a two-for-one and a very big round. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for him, he missed the tree bad and I was .008. That made my life easy going down track."
With the earned bye, Biondo laid down a near perfect run during the semi-finals in his '63 Corvette Roadster, that should make anyone shake in their shoes, .003 light with a perfect 9.900 ET.
"Well, when you are going to run Mike Sawyer, you better be ready," Biondo said of his semi-final timeslip and his final round competitor. "He's kinda low-key, doesn't travel too much, but without a doubt I would put him easily in the top five in the country, if he traveled every year. He's tough, nothing seems to faze him and it's the second time I've run him in the final and fortunately, it's the second time I've beat him. It was a very close run."
Biondo put together a .010 package and didn't leave much room at all for Sawyer in the Super Gas final, forcing Sawyer to take .003 at the stripe and breakout by .006 to Biondo's beautiful 9.902.
"Things were just really clicking in the Super Gas car," he said of first win of the weekend. "I was pretty hungry for it, so I was aggressive on the tree. I knew it was do or die and I was double-oh a few times on the tree. I wasn't really messing with the [delay] box much, because I wanted it pretty bad. If I was going to get beat, it was going to be by a very close race or a really close redlight on my part."
Over in Super Stock, Biondo was having the same kind of race, winning rounds and lots of them. "Our Super Stock car is pretty unique in that it's powered by a 428 Pontiac engine; there aren't too many Pontiac engines out there in Super Stock. I had to abort one of my qualifying runs because the car was shaking really bad. It turned out that I had lost one of the wheel weights, so the wheel was completely out of balance. So it really wasn't a great feeling going into first round, not being exactly sure if it was really just that or something in the drivetrain that caused it, there was still that question mark in my brain saying, I hope that was it."
Unlucky for Biondo's competition, that's all it was and he went on to pound through seven rounds in his GT/DA '00 Firebird. "Because of having to lift in that last qualifying pass, it put me in a really good spot on the sheet, which that was just total luck," he said.
"The guy I ran first round, had to abort his run, so that was like a bye run there," he said of his fortunate spot of the ladder and the pairings that followed. "I had an actual bye in round two and it just went from there. It was a lot of rounds jam-packed into a little bit of time, so it was really exciting."
Biondo saved one of his best lights of Super Stock eliminations for the final in which he treed his good friend, Anthony Bongiovanni and sewed up his second victory of the weekend.
"I can't thank Steve Williams from K&N enough for not only all his time and help with the Super Gas car at Indy, but also for all that K&N does for sportsman drag racing year in and year out," he added. "You can't put that many rounds on these engines in a weekend like that without being protected with K&N oil and air filters. And the seven MPH I picked up in the Super Gas car after Steve's help with the new K&N filter configuration is just awesome."
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