Biondo Closing In on 7th NHRA National Championship
Maspeth, NY: After a blistering start to his 2014 season that included a combined 4 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series wins in Stock and Super Stock and a rare double victory at the SummitRacing.Com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, 6-time NHRA Champion Peter Biondo took some time away from the NHRA tour. He spent most of the summer months at home alongside his wife Emily, as the coupled anticipated the arrival of their first son, Saverio Michael Biondo who was born on August 15.
“All of my friends ask where the name Saverio came from,” Peter explained. “It originated in Italy and has been passed down through my family starting at my great grandfather, all the way down to my father and my brother. They shortened my brother’s name from Saverio to Sal somewhere along the way. Emily and I thought it would be meaningful to continue this legacy. We couldn’t be happier with Saverio. We are in love with this little guy and look forward to what the future brings him.”
During his sabbatical, Biondo was not a complete stranger to the race track. He made his way to the annual Northeast 4-Day at nearby Atco Raceway for an event that he calls one of the most enjoyable times he’s had at the race track in recent years.
“I raced with a great group of guys, including Kyle Seipel and TJ Coughlin, who made the trip in and we hit a Yankee game the night before. The high point for me was watching my good friend Vinny Dimino dominate and win two out of the five huge events that weekend; that’s a difficult feat to pull off!”
Peter made some noise on the track himself, advancing to the final round of one of the $25,000-to-win main events, where he fell .003 short to his friend Kevin Brannon.
“The competition was exactly what you’d expect in today’s bracket racing world. I liked my chances going into the final: I had seven reaction times between .001 and .011, but I got left on in the final.”
Kevin “Rabbit” Brannon was .001 to Biondo’s .014, and won despite Biondo’s perfect 5.970 on his 5.97 1,000’ dial in.
“He was all over me going down the track. I felt my best option was to hit the nitrous and drop, which I did, and went dead-on. But Kevin drove it to perfection and got there by .003 for the ‘w’.”
Three weeks later, Peter clinched the NHRA Division 1 Super Stock championship (his 14th division crown) by advancing to the final round of the LODRS event at his home track, Old Bridge Township Raceway in Englishtown, NJ.
“The pressure was on and we picked up a lot of points there, which we really needed,” Peter expressed.
Rather than finish out his season at familiar east coast events, Peter made the slightly unconventional decision to take his rig west in an effort to capture the NHRA Super Stock World Championship.
He explained his decision: “Right now, our biggest challenger is my good friend Jimmy DeFrank. I felt like racing at Vegas was a good move because that’s where Jimmy’s last claims would come; being entered in the same events would put things more in my own hands.”
At the JEGS Pacific Sports Nationals a week ago, Biondo and DeFrank were paired on the ladder to square off in a huge round 3 matchup with championship implications. In a battle of heavyweight champions, Biondo prevailed with a clutch .012 reaction time, and ran 9.97 on his 9.94 dial-in to cross the finish line first by a mere .009-of-a-second.
“That was the most intense round of the season by far. As good of a friend and person as Jimmy is, he is also extremely talented with a great program. It was a great feeling to get that round win.”
With just three races remaining, Biondo is in the driver’s seat with an 85-point lead over DeFrank and a 140 point lead over Joe Santangelo. As significant as that lead may seem, Biondo isn’t comfortable just yet: both DeFrank and Santangelo are former world champions, and both have had magical late season runs to capture a title in the past.
“I like our chances, but I intend to earn more points,” Biondo explained. “If I don’t, my lead is at risk. I know both of those drivers very well, and they are both capable of turning on many win lights.”
Biondo put his season in perspective. “For 95% of the rounds this season, I feel I drove very well and I hold a great score (Biondo currently has 690 Lucas Oil NHRA points), but I’d like to finish this more than ever. The older you get, the more responsibilities you have, and the harder it is to commit to chasing the championship. Winning the title the same year as my son being born would mean a lot to Emily and me.”
Peter works at his family’s business, Biondo Racing Products and also promotes and manages the Spring Fling Bracket Race in Las Vegas, NV and Bristol, TN along with partner Kyle Seipel. In addition to Biondo Racing Products, Peter wished to recognize K&N Filters, JEGS, Goodyear, ATI, Sparco, Digital Delay, Numidia Dragway, and BracketRaces.com for their continued to support.
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