John Montecalvo has always appreciated the winnerâ€™s circle. A World Championship in 2009 and another in 2010 and then a second place finish in 2011 are evidence of a team familiar with winning. However, it may be the 2012 season that makes Montecalvo and team appreciate the winnerâ€™s circle more than ever. In an unheard of season for the Championship team, theyâ€™ve not only been out of the winnerâ€™s circle, but often sidelined after first round. Fortunately, the Memphis Drags would change all that, and, in the words of Montecalvo â€œweâ€™re back.â€
Montecalvo qualified 12th with a 4.136. From the back half of the field he would set the pace on race day, posting top speed and low ET of the weekend during eliminations (4.056, 178.50). In round one Montecalvo would face Dean Goforth who never makes it easy on his competitors. It was a close race as the two were within a hundredth of each other leaving the starting line and only three thousandths different in ET. Montecalvo was on the better side, however, and advanced to round two. There he took on Todd Hoerner, who has already earned his Minute Man for the season. Monte knew he would need a good run and was on his driving game with a near perfect light (.001). His JM Racing Camaro was right there, too, with a 4.089, second quickest of the round. It was in the semis where
Monte laid down the pass that took top speed and low ET, and the New Yorker would need that to take out Cary Goforth. In the finals Monte was once again on his driving game with a .009 light. All he needed was to go green as his competitor, Pete Berner turned it red. Montecalvo eased down the track to take the win light.
â€œItâ€™s been a long time, but weâ€™re back,â€ told a relieved Montecalvo. â€œLast year in nine races we had been to five finals. This year in eight races we had six first round losses. Needless to say, itâ€™s been a difficult adjustment. Iâ€™ve got to hand it to the Jeff Dobbins led team consisting of Justin Belfance, Sam McCrary, William Cavallo and of course my lovely wife, Lois Anne. Through our struggles this year they never lost focus or their positive attitude and thatâ€™s what led to our win in Memphis. They made this car a pleasure to drive. That makes my job of driving seem easy, and I did a pretty good job of it this weekend, I must say!!â€
Montecalvo, indeed, had a great weekend behind the wheel, and has regained his confidence for the remainder of the season.
On a more somber note, Montecalvo reflected on the loss of competitor and comrade Bert Jackson, who lost his life one year ago in an on-track accident. â€œWe would like to dedicate this win to the memory of Bert Jackson. Sunday was the one year anniversary of his passing. We still miss him at every event and think of him often. It is bittersweet to dedicate this win to his memory.
â€œOur team now has a new found motivation,â€ Montecalvo continued. â€œWe canâ€™t wait to get his RJ Race Cars Camaro to Norwalk! Not only do we have a great team working on this car, but we have some terrific manufacturers supporting us. Pegasus Trailers, RAM Clutches, Braswell Carburetion, MSD Ignition and Sonnyâ€™s Racing Engines have stuck behind us this season and helped us return to the winnerâ€™s circle. Our goal for the season is to set records and be the first in Sonnyâ€™s Three Second Club.â€