Third Gen Jersey Racer has Taken the North­east by Storm

Drag Racer - - Contents -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.