With the introduction of a Driver Blog to our site, I thought I would bring you all back a bit to my introduction to Pro Mods (or Nitro Coupes as they were in the Super Chevy Show).

Andrew and I first met Dave Tomasino at the Super Chevy Show in 2004. Dave was driving a beautiful 1969 Chevy Camaro Nitro Coupe. Andrew was Bracket racing our 1967 Chevy Camaro. I just remember Dave’s Mom coming over to take photos of our car; funny thing was we were doing the same with his car.

Later that day, I got up the nerve to ask Dave if he could help us in any way with our ‘Racing for a Cure’ program to raise donations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dave, being the kind of guy he is, went above and beyond to help us out. It was the beginning of a great friendship, and what I did not know the beginning of a great learning experience that would lead in a direction I had not anticipated at that moment.

We all became fast friends. Dave helped us, and we helped him. Over the season and into the next, we had a blast! The Super Chevy Show at Virginia Motorsports Park still leaves me with vivid memories. We were helping Dave. Along the way, we had met drivers such as Bruce Boland and Mike Swinarski to name a few. On this weekend, Mike and Bruce enlisted Andrew to help as well. He was helping start up both cars and as I remember bringing Bruce to the line. Now this does not sound like a difficult task, unless Mike and Bruce happen to run one another. Yes, you guessed it. So, there Andrew is, in between Mike’s ’53 Corvette Nitro coupe and Bruce’s ’33 Willy’s. First he went to Mike. He gave a bit of fuel into the Blower hat, Mike started it and BAM, and he stalls. Now, normally this would not be a big deal, but someone neglected to refill the fuel bottle, so there was barely enough to go around! So, now one more shot with Mike’s car….. and we are good to go! Now over to Bruce. Now, I have to tell you, Andrew is not the tallest guy around, and that did present just a bit of a problem when getting this Willy’s started. He had to lean way over to position himself (safely) to reach the Blower hat. Everyone was ready , and Bruce started her up! Now, we are back to the vertically challenged Andrew. Apparently, Bruce did not have the clutch pedal all the way down…..this caused the car to lurch a bit as it started, and proceeded to toss Andrew about five feet. Now, normally, one would gasp at the thought of that happening…Normally….I on the other hand found it very amusing (after I knew he was fine). The expression on his face was priceless! Maybe you had to be there, I don’t know, but we still give him a hard time about that to this day!

The friends made and the lessons learned, have helped to lead our team to being what it is today. We learned that you need to remember where you came from (as they all certainly did). Don’t be afraid to help someone out even if he (or she) is your competitor. That’s the name of the game. It’s all about sportsmanship. The sportsmanship and the camaraderie is one of the main things that drew me to this sport, and makes me love it to this day.

Dina Parise

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