Third Gen Jersey Racer has Taken the Northeast by Storm
IT'S SAID MANY SUCCESSFUL INDIVIDUALS WERE INTRODUCED TO THEIR CRAFT WHEN THEY WERE VERY YOUNG. This holds true for Brick, New Jersey's Dana Loffredo. We learned about Dana through social media, and if you follow her, you'll know that she wins—a lot. Dana, a third generation racer, has been involved in the sport since she could walk. When she was just a kid, she was in the garage wrenching on her father and grandfather's race cars, both well-respected East Coast racers. There are many words used to describe Dana and her passion for drag racing, but “fierce” is one very accurate adjective her competitors often use.
When did it truly begin for Dana? She tells Drag Racer, “Dad ran a Buick GN in the '90s and started taking me with him. I'd sit in the grandstands and watch. One Wednesday night at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, in Englishtown, New Jersey, dad took me to the Night of Thrills. That's when I saw Jr. Dragsters for the first time. I begged dad to get me one, and he did in 2001.”
It was instant passion for Dana. As she progressed through the
Jr. Dragster ranks in the Northeast, a frightening incident occurred during a race at Englishtown in 2010. A parts failure caused her dragster to crash, but thankfully her injuries were not serious.
“People said I would never race again, but dad gave me the confidence to return better than ever.” And return she did, winning numerous big races at Atco, E-Town and Cecil County. She also competed in the Northeast Jr. Outlaw Dragster series and the Jr. Nationals at Bristol, Tennessee.
Dana raced Jr.s for 10 years, securing dozens of victories and numerous track championships. When she got her driver's license in 2011, it was time for a real race car. During her final year in Jr. Dragster, Dana won the track championship at Englishtown and the EFI class in her newly acquired '99 Camaro Z28.
Although racing street cars was fun, Dana and her father decided to find a full-fledged race car to build. On Thanksgiving Day 2012 they located their new car on Racingjunk.com; their weapon of choice: a green '98 Pontiac Firebird. During the Firebird's construction, Dana campaigned the family's Z28s. This was the start of another successful trend for Dana. She won several import vs. domestic challenges and Camaro/Firebird vs. Mustang events. No matter the race, Dana would drive whatever she could enter, including dad's pickup truck and mom's SUV.
Once the Firebird was completed in 2014, the plan was to compete in the 10.00 index classes throughout the Northeast. Thus far, she has gone to 34 final rounds, of those, she's scored 22 wins. From 2015 through 2017, Dana won 19 times, finishing no lower than third place in any points series. In 2017 she appeared in a dozen final rounds, winning a whopping total of nine of those 12 appearances while competing at Atco, Englishtown, Maple Grove and Cecil County. Needless to say, these numbers are beyond impressive for any driver at any level of the sport.
“I couldn't be this successful without those who are always by my side. First and foremost is my family. My dad is my crew chief and number one supporter. I would also like to thank Aerospace Components, KCS Race Cars, Fonse Performance, VP Racing Fuels, Precision Transmission and JL Custom Carts.” Drag Racer Magazine would also like thank Jesel Valvetrain Innovation for allowing us to use its space for the photo shoot.
Dana has big plans for the future, including more wins, of course, and also stepping up to an 8.50 index category later in 2018. “Eventually, I want to work my way into racing heads-up classes with radial tires.” Dana has been incredibly successful in everything she's driven; she's a true natural. At just 24 years old, we expect many big things and many winner's circles to come from Ms. Loffredo.
Dana and her 'Bird ABOVE. A Dart Chevy big-block and Dart heads provide plenty of power. BELOW. The very tidy interior houses a Funny Car-style roll cage, which protects the precious cargo.