DeFrank Set For Memorable Milestone Year In Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

Discussion in 'NHRA Headlines' started by John Kernan, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Fifteen years ago, a youthful Jimmy DeFrank took the podium at the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series awards ceremony for the first time. As the winner of the 1997 Super Stock world championship, DeFrank was a humble and polite young man. The past decade and a half hasn't seen much change for the Southern California native in terms of general disposition off the racetrack, and when it comes to his demeanor as a driver, he has certainly kept up a winning pace.

    Before earning his first world title, DeFrank was the 1996 Super Stock champion in NHRA's Pacific Division, and to date he has accumulated three Super Stock national championships and a remarkable nine division titles – the most recent of which was earned last season behind the wheel of his California Car Cover Co. SS/BS Chevy Cobalt.

    In a breathtaking chase for top Pacific Division honors that came down to the last Lucas Oil Series event of the season, DeFrank won the race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and locked up the title. The victory also ensured a top 10 finish in the national standings – he was fifth in the category – for the 13th time in his career.

    "We were thankful for and pleased with how the 2011 season started and ended last year," said DeFrank, who kicked off the year with a final-round performance at the opener at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway Pomona and saw the inside of four final rounds in total. "We struggled in the middle of the season, but we were able to get our program back on track with that win in Las Vegas – our first in Super Stock at that track – and a trip to the semifinals at the season-closer in Pomona.

    "We wanted more, but at the same time, we were very, very happy to make a comeback. At that final race in Las Vegas, we all pulled together to make the win happen as a team. Jeff Taylor, Dave Allison, Tom Kerr and my dad Jim worked so hard to make our Cobalt perfect for that race, and they really won it for us."

    During the so-called off season, DeFrank and his family celebrated the holidays joyfully with "our large Italian family and a lot of food," but also put in six- and seven-day work weeks during the busiest time of the year at their Chatsworth, California-based California Car Cover Co., a mail order car care and accessories company providing an ever-expanding array of unique items available on their website and in the free printed catalog provided when customers phone 800-423-5525 or sign up on www.calcarcover.com.

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    DeFrank, his brother Tony, and their parents Jim and Loraine – along with a large group of friends – also returned to Las Vegas for one weekend in January to attend the Division 7 champions banquet.

    "One of the neatest parts of racing has to be the great friends and the memories that you make with them on and off the track," said DeFrank.
    "Our good friends Kyle Seipel, Peter Biondo and Jeg Coughlin Jr. all attended the banquet, and we spent some fun times together there and had a lot of laughs.

    "Kyle is a funny and crazy guy, and as the four of us stood together, he kept saying that we had 14 world championships between us (Kyle has
    zero) and 36 divisional championships (Kyle has 10 of those). He is a wonderful friend, and I was so thankful that Pete and Jeg flew in from the east coast for the banquet. They are the two best racers of these times, in my opinion, and will be for many years to come. I'm looking forward to rooting for the three of them in 2012."

    As for DeFrank's own program in the new year, Jim Sr. and crew chief Allison had a plan in motion as the 2011 season drew to a close and already have the DeFrank & Sons cars well prepared – the team will continue to campaign the Cobalt in Super Stock as well as the family's B/SA '69 Camaro in Stock Eliminator, and the Stocker has been improved with aftermarket rocker arms that should increase reliability and put an end to the breakage issues of the past, particularly, DeFrank hopes, during those critical elimination rounds. The team also has an improved strategy for the Cobalt.

    "One of our weaknesses in Super Stock has been trying many different components at the races instead of just in testing, and we got off track from our reliable, winning combination last year," admitted DeFrank. "We are hoping that we learned a valuable lesson, but we still keep in mind that Stock and Super Stock are performance-based classes, and we need to continue to try new things to make the cars quicker and faster to keep up with the competition that gets tougher year after year.

    "On a personal note, most of the time the reason we lose is because I make a poor decision or simply make a mistake. I'm hoping I can do a better job in 2012 and remember what I've learned in previous years, and I'm also going to work on increasing driving focus and leaving business in the trailer or at the office. The big thing is that we are going to start off having fun and getting comfortable again, and we'll go from there."

    The cars are all shined up with Golden Shine Car Care products and are waiting patiently beneath their California Car Covers before the team hauls them out for a few practice runs in Las Vegas before the first race of 2012, and the tentative plan for the season is to attend 10 national events and 8 divisionals.

    Brother Tony will keep the office back home at California Car Cover on track and rolling along with mom Loraine, who will continue to provide massive prayer power. The traveling team will include dad Jim at the helm with Dave Allison as crew chief, Tom Kerr in the co-crew chief capacity, and good friend Jeff Taylor on board offering guidance.
    Longtime family friend Taylor will be there "to hit me on the head when it looks like I'm about to do something goofy," laughed DeFrank.

    As the 2012 season begins, the DeFrank & Sons team would like to acknowledge the continued support of California Car Cover Co., California Car Duster, Golden Shine Car Care Products, K&N, Redline Oil, Phoenix Tires, Jegs, Racers for Christ, CFE, Jim Butner Auto, Jeff Taylor Performance and Pro Trans.

    "I think that as each year passes, I am appreciating the time with my dad and family and friends at the track more and more," said DeFrank.
    "Life goes by fast, and racing gets a touch harder each year. But as I get older, I worry less because now I realize that it's supposed to be fun. I'm thankful that we can do this and win some rounds here and there, and it would be great to win some more races, too."

    From: Kelly Wade

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