I fell in love with the Camaro when I was about twelve. My neighbor had a '67 and it was pretty fast for the time. He was my dad's friend and use to give me rides in it. I have been in love with drag racing since my dad took me my first time to KCIR to the summer nationals in 1982. I have seen the greats: The Snake, Garlits, and Johnson etc. And I knew I wanted to race.
When I turned sixteen, I started out with a '66 Chevy pickup with a 327 and a four-speed that my dad and grandfather and family helped restore. After it was painted I hung out watching street racing, or helping my friends with their cars terrorizing Columbia, MO. It always seemed that I got hooked up with someone with a fast car. I use to help a friend Jeff Dickey who owns JD Engine (helps sponsors us) when he was doing exhibition and match racing shows. This is where I gained a lot of racing knowledge, and some promotional skills. At the time I didn't realize, but this was the start of the outlaw seen in our area. Jeff has now gone on to a Pro Stock Car. I have always been hooked on Pro Stock, but when Pro Mod and the outlaw scene came around it was about the coolest thing I ever saw.
My buddy Mark Micke (he owns M&M Transmissions, which helps sponsor us) and I were bracket racing and he heard of an outlaw shootout at Ozark International Dragway, in Ozark, Mo. He went, raced, and came back ecstatic about how it was heads up and run what ya brung. So need less to say, we sold the delay boxes and bought the NOS fogger setup and went to town.
My wife Kelli and I had so much fun racing that venue we didn't look back. We did that for a couple of years, and then decided that a new true Pro Mod car was in order. I called Ty Baumgartner Motorsports and worked a deal on a new '67 Camaro which will be ready for pick later around the end of Feb. It will have a Blown Alan Johnson motor under the hood. Paint will be applied by Glen Chapman Race Cars based on art work by Rich Bailey at Promotion Motorsports Designs. We are also getting the trailer done with the same graphics, and it is being applied by Fred Costa with Ozark Advertising Specialties.
The car was at the last PRI show in Indy in the Percy High Performance booth. It wasn't finished or painted it was there to show the windows. We received a lot of publicity from that an I hope it keeps rolling.
We developed Clemens Racing to be a family team. I wanted my family to be involved with it just as much a I am. The car is the "King of The Jungle". Because, man it's a jungle out there. We really wanted something that the kids that come to the race track could relate to. And hopefully keep them interested so the sport keeps growing. We are still on the prowl for more sponsorship.
A little about me and family. My wife and I are accountants
and we own Osage Accounting & Tax Service in Osage Beach, Mo. It
was a family business started by my grandfather thirty years ago. My
wife drives a blown '69 Camaro of her own, and lets me take it out for
ice cream on sunny days. We have a three year old son named Cory, and
he has been eye-balling a certain outlaw jr dragster already.
January 20, 2003
by Mark King of DeepStage.net
While at testing this weekend, I had a chance to see Rick Distefano in his beautiful Corvette Pro Mod. It is one of the nicest Pro Mod cars I have ever seen. He came down to Firebird to get in some shakedown passes on his brand new car. I had a chance to sit and talk to Rick.
Q: What interested you in the Pro Mod class that made
you want to run in this category?
RD: I guess the reason we ran it initially is the body
styles. Anything goes and there is a variety of great body styles out
there. Also, you can run blown motors or nitrous injected motors. Pretty
much an anything goes type of atmosphere. Basically, a wild and crazy
time. Anything goes basically with just a few rules. When we started
running back in 94 with our Camaro and started running fast, we new
this is where we wanted to be. So we took a few years off and now we
are back with this new Vette Pro Mod.
Q: What are your plans for this season?
RD: We are testing here this weekend at Firebird. We wont
be going to Tucson, as my crew has to go back to Canada for the weekend.
The following weekend we will be going to Vegas to test. Then we will
be back out here at Firebird for the Checker/Schucks/Kragen Nationals.
We will be racing in the Comp Eliminator Class because the Pro Mod Class
wont be here. From there, we will have to wait and see. We will
probably hit the first West Coast Pro Mod Association Event, which is
in Las Vegas in March.
Q: Are you satisfied with your results from this weekends
testing here at Firebird International Raceway?
RD: I am very satisfied with the car. We have some small
problems with it. We know we make good power, but we have only had a
couple of passes in the new car and need to work some bugs out of it.
We just need it to go as good as it looks.
Q: With all the hype surrounding the quest for the
Pro Mod first 5 second pass, who do you think will be the one to do
RD: Its going to be me. I dont know if it
will be legally, but it will be me. Actually it is really hard to say,
but I want it to be me. There are a lot of guys out there who have been
doing this longer than me, but I feel like this is my time.
Q: Where do you see yourself at the end of this season?
RD: I see that we have a good handle on the car, running
really good numbers. Get a really good start for next season. Just be
comfortable in the car and have enough laps in the car to know which
direction we need to go for next season.
Q: Will you be running with the AMS Pro Mod Class this
RD: I am not going to hit them all this year, but that
is the game plan for next year. One of the biggest reasons we left Pro
Modified was the IHRA and that is tough for us, because it is run back
east. When the NHRA kind of picked up Pro Modified, we came back. This
is the class that I wanted to come back too. Nobody is really sure what
the NHRA is going to do with the class, but with the NHRA running it
in exhibition form, it is a lot closer for me to race. So hopefully
by the time the NHRA makes the Pro Mod a class, we will have our act
together to go out and win some races.
Does this mean you wont be running any IHRA Pro Mod Events?
RD: Actually, there is one IHRA Event that we will run
this year. We will be running at the Edmonton IHRA Event this year,
and that is only two hours from where I live. If we are able to get
this car running the way I want it to, and I feel that we can qualify
with it, I may make some other IHRA Events as well. But, until we know
how our performance is going to be, we arent going anywhere.
* On a side note, Ricks dear friend and the driver of their transporter, Earl Motes, had a heart attack 3 weeks ago as Rick was leaving to test down at Firebird. He is out of the hospital now and doing well. You are in our thoughts Earl and Godspeed on a quick recovery.
January 15, 2003
A five second club and bonus money is being offered for the first five second doorslammer run. The March 22 pre-season event at Darlington, is the place where this unique event will happen. This is a no-holds-barred run-what-ya-brung race to the fives. The only rules are left or right hand drivers compartment, suspension mandatory, and piston driven. Other than that, the car just has to pass tech for safety requirements. 800 inch nitrous is okay, blown alcohol/with nitro added, that too is allowed. Could be very interesting to see the combinations that come out of the woodwork for this event.
Dennis Radford and Kirk Kuhns are said to be forming a two car team for 2003. Both cars will be Dodge Vipers with Kuhns wheeling a blown BAE entry, and Radford driving a newly repainted nitrous version that was purchased over the winter from Rickie Smith.
Joe Delehay will have new power in his Pro Mod Pickup for 2003. After years of campaigning a nitrous combination, and making headlines as the first 200 mph pickup, he has gone the route of the masses and is installing a Blown Alan Johnson piece between the frame rails of his Dynamic Concrete Chevy. Look for him to be out testing in March or April.
Say it aint so Glen!!!! Truck fans
in Cowtown are in shock as word comes that longtime trucker Glen Kerunsky
is ready to debut a brand new Pro Mod '57 Chevy Belair. If the shoebox
is anywhere near as nice as his past two trucks, this should
be one hot ride. Exclusive speedzonemagazine.com insider info says it
will be bright yellow, and fast. We cant wait to see this
Rick Distefano? The ex Pro Mod and Pro Stock Truck racer from Calgary
will return to the quarter mile in 2003 with a brand new '53 Corvette
Transplanted Albertan, Danny Rowe out of Laguna Beach California will campaign on the entire NHRA AMS Pro Mod tour. His car will be painted on a Surfer Theme.
January 1, 2003
The DOORSLAMMER ZONE will be one of the most covered sections here on speedzonemagazine.com. Everything 'door' will be here. Pro Mods, Top Sportsman (Top Comp here in the west), Outlaw Door Cars, Top Doorslammers and one of our SpeedZone Magazine sponsored classes, the Canada West Doorslammer Association.
The Canada West series is going into its sixth year of competition at Mission Raceway and the Eagle Motorplex in Ashcroft. For 2003, the series will have as least six events but possibly as many as eight.
The West Coast Pro Mod Assoc. is the big Pro Mod series on the West Coast with big names like Danny Rowe, John Scailpi, Glen May, Trevor Lowe, Glen Kerunsky and Andy Neyer mixing it up in their eight race series. As well, these competitors race in the Super Chevy series, the NHRA AMS Pro Mod exhibitions and in the IHRA. With the first ever IHRA National Event in Western Canada happening this year in Edmonton, the Pro Mods with make a huge presence in the West.
We will include profiles, event coverage and the latest scoop in the world of Go Fast Door Cars.