So you can just imagine how thrilled the St. Louis-area native was when that first ADRL win came earlier this month in Extreme Pro Stock.
â€œEverybody says Cloud Nine, but Iâ€™m on Cloud 13. Itâ€™s just indescribable. This is the highest high Iâ€™ve ever had. Itâ€™s incredible and amazing, and thatâ€™s not close to describing how Iâ€™m feeling,â€ DeFlorian said.
Oddly enough, it was a year ago at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park when DeFlorian announced he would be driving a new 2012 Camaro built by Jerry Haas Race Cars (where DeFlorian has been employed for more than two decades) for the 2012 season.
A year later, DeFlorian was celebrating in the winnerâ€™s circle and what a memorable occasion it was after the longtime ADRL racer picked up his very first ADRL win.
DeFlorian went 4.086 at 174.78 mph to beat Matt Bertsch in a matchup of first-time finalists at the Summer Drags VIII and hand the Black Diamond Motorsports team, owned by Karen and Kevin Bealko, its first ADRL victory as well.
It was a year ago when the Bealko team officially gave DeFlorian a chance and itâ€™s already been a tremendous ride.
â€œWho would have thought that a year from that point that we would wind up winning that race,â€ DeFlorian said. â€œWe had a personal vengeance to go up there and qualify andhopefully take it all the way through.â€
U.S. 131 Motorsports Park has long been a nightmarish track for DeFlorian, who struggled mightily in his ADRL Pro Nitrous career at Martin.
Things werenâ€™t exactly brilliant heading into Martin this year, either, even after setting the world E.T. record with a 4.01 in June at his home track in St. Louis.
He remarkably didnâ€™t qualify in Virginia in late June, but the team put things back together in a hurry.
â€œWe couldnâ€™t seem to get all the pieces of the puzzle together and then Virginia couldnâ€™t have been any worse,â€ DeFlorian said. â€œWe had to get our act together and we finally put it all together for this race. Itâ€™s an incredible bunch of guys on this team.â€
The win moved DeFlorian back into the championship hunt heading into this weekendâ€™s Dragstock IX at zMAX Dragway.
Four rounds separate DeFlorian and points leader Cary Goforth, and DeFlorian certainly takes plenty of momentum in the ADRLâ€™s debut in Charlotte.
The team was brilliant in Martin, qualifying No. 4 and knocking off 2012 event winners Dean Goforth, Todd Hoerner and Cary Goforth to get to the finals, running as quick as 4.10.
â€œIâ€™ll stack this team up against anybody out there. These guys are good, committed and dedicated to this job,â€ DeFlorian said. â€œThey want to win as bad as the drivers and that makes a big, big difference. It takes a team owner like Kevin and Karen to make this happen and weâ€™re very thankful for that.â€
But Bealko took care of that and the team dynamic at Black Diamond Motorsports has been incredible since then.
â€œIâ€™m never speechless, but Iâ€™m almost speechless over this,â€ DeFlorian said. â€œThis is just an amazing thing. This is something Iâ€™ve dreamed about. Iâ€™ve been trying to get one of these things for so long.
â€œI have to thank Kevin and Karen for just giving me this opportunity. This is something Iâ€™ve always wanted to experience and itâ€™s beyond my wildest dreams.â€
In the winnerâ€™s circle, DeFlorian savored every moment of a celebration that was a dream come true.
Heâ€™ll have no problem getting motivated for Dragstock, but DeFlorian was also impressed with the outpouring of support from his fellow XPS racers, including Dean and Cary Goforth and many, many more.
â€œIt says a lot for class and the people in the ADRL. The ADRL is a great place to race, and the ADRL really makes this a lot of fun,â€ DeFlorian said. â€œThere were a tremendous amount of people congratulating us and thatâ€™s something I will treasure for the rest of my life.â€