Pisano Racing News Archive

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01/16/10 -Happy New year everyone!  We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season, and that 2010 has found all of you happy and well. 

During your last visit we brought you up to date on the team running at Pinks All Out and getting ready for the California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.  At the Pinks All Out event we ran a very conservative 6.40 @ 227 MPH. We have basically all new (to us) parts and are creeping up on the tune-up. As an added treat we were featured on the Thanksgiving weekend showing of Pinks All Out-Takes. 

Next up was the CHRR where we kicked off the weekend doing the fire-ups at the Double Tree on Friday night, which was a real treat. It was great to hang out with friends and family and fire the car up at the end of the evening's festivities. Thank you Steve Gibbs and the NHRA for having us!  For the first run at the CHRR we stepped on it ever-so-slightly and carded a nice 6.22 @ 229 MPH. Faced with only two qualifying runs, we added a little more mag for our last shot. With 31 funny cars making the call it was the toughest 8 car show any of us can remember. The March Meet last year was slightly quicker in the top 8, but there was a “B” show there for the next 8 quickest. Not here. With the bump spot getting lower by the pair we hit the starting line needing to best a 6.06 by NHRA regular Gary Densham. So much for just creeping up on it. We ran a 6.01 @ 238 MPH which put us in the show at # 8! With a few pairs of cars left we sat on pins and needles and the inevitable happened. Josh Crawford, with old school fuel tuner Bob Brooks calling the shots, bumped us to # 9 with a fine 5.99.  All in all we had a great time and made a good showing for being one of the series' part-time cars. Thanks to the Bowsers, Bill Condit and his crew, and the NHRA for a great event!

We finished the 2009 season with exhibition runs during the NHRA World Finals at Pomona. We are always glad to help our friends at the NHRA promote the nostalgia scene and run at this historic facility. After our 6.01 at Famoso, we were really hoping to card that elusive (to us!) five second run. It was not meant to be. The track drug us to our knees. We were too conservative for our first and only attempt (due to time constraints) which resulted in massive tire shake and an aborted run. We did card a .996 60’ time which was promising. 

Next up is a special 8 car exhibition for the 50th edition of the NHRA Winternationals at Pomona. This could indeed be our “Swan Song” as a team, as financial and business obligations have reached critical mass. We thank each and everyone of you for the support through the years. See you at Pomona!

10/11/09 -Welcome to fall everyone! 

We made it through a fast-paced summer.  We have been quite busy since we checked in with you all last, telling you about the time we had with the Crazy Horse crew in Bowling Green.

This time it’s about us. ALL about us!

The last time we checked in with team Pisano was just after the March Meet. To recap, we stunk up the joint by not qualifying and coming away with the realization that our parts and pieces were not up to snuff. Today’s nostalgia nitro funny cars require many of the same pieces that the big boys run. That is, if you want to be able to compete at the level that the hitters have set for the class. You better step up, Or, Step aside. 

We actually considered stepping aside. We are all family folks who do this as a hobby and thought that our time in this may have passed. With the recent addition of many former NHRA tour racers and their race ethic, We thought our days could be over. We love to burn nitro and race but our crew consists of , A business owner, Two welders, Two truck drivers, An aerospace engineer (Help us!) and a fabricator. 

During our soul searching, Robert Reehl and Amos Satterlee both came to our rescue and gave us the inspiration to push forward and confront the big dogs on a little dog appetite! We also received some much appreciated help from Jon, Paula and Joe.

This brings us to our appearance at "Pinks All Out" at Famoso Auto Club Raceway, Sept. 11 and 12. 

We had been invited months ago by the Bowsers, Bill Condit and the staff at Famoso Auto Club Raceway. We always try to do whatever we can for this great group of folks! They asked our input for inviting other cars and we were humbled and, Obliged by asking the Beach City Corvette, and the Lil’ Nate funny car to come our dance.

How did it go? We made two attempts for the fans and the cameras. One was a planned ½ track pass with all of our new and shiny billet pieces. A 7.10 with no drama. The next day, with the temperature hovering around 103 degrees, we ran a conservative 6.40 @ 227 MPH. The fans LOVED it.

Danny Pisano and crew waiting for the first call.

Fans packed the Famoso Auto Club Raceway facility for the Pinks All Out feature.

Our driver also got to sit in the hot sun and film an interview that the film crew seemed happy with. Actually having him repeat some of his comments over and over again. This episode of "Pinks All Out" may air Thanksgiving weekend .

So, Here we are getting ready for the CHRR. I’m sure you all have seen the Joe Pisano tribute car that Cruz Predegon has built. If all goes well, We hope to see you all at the Double Tree on Friday night to debut his car and fire both Pisano cars! Saturday we will line up with Cruz for the first round of qualifying. Frank Pisano, Joe and Carmens brother has said he will be on the starting line for this. 

This should be quite an emotional moment to reflect and honor the Pisano brothers. Joe, Carmen, Frank, Sam and Tony. Sush Matsubara as well. 

We hope to see you at The California Hot Rod Reunion!

Jeff Utterback being interviewed for a future episode of Pinks All Out.

07/31/09 -Welcome to mid summer everyone! Didn’t we just wish you all happy spring?

Let’s bring everyone up to speed on what the Pisano Racing brigade has been up to, shall we?

Our match race in May against the Beach City Corvette didn’t materialize. Communication breakdown between the event and Pisano Racing had us staying home to scheme about our next venture which would turn into a few members of the team heading to Bowling Green Kentucky for the National Hot Rod Reunion on Fathers Day weekend in June. 

I can see your collective confusion from here. Our good friend George Doty owns the Crazy Horse Mustang funny car. 
George, who was very instrumental in the Hot Wheels program, recently brought Cam 2 oil on board as a sponsor. George along with Sonny Diaz and Eddie Flournoy wanted to launch the Cam 2 deal in a big way. That would be running George’s car at the NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green Kentucky.

To make a long story short, George called Danny and a one month partner ship was agreed on. Jeff would go over the chassis, drive and do the clutch. Mike Fillitti would do the bottom end and Danny would start the car and over see the program. After a month of weekends getting the car back up to speed mechanically and a one week straight polish and paint jag by Mike Fillitti, the car was loaded and headed to Bowling Green.

Bowling Green was a major success for the dysfunctional Crazy Horse team!  Three attempts at the track and three clean and straight runs. The best coming on Saturday with the team running a 6.21 at 220 miles per hour in terrible conditions.


Team Pisano wishes to congratulate George Doty, Sonny Diaz, Eddie Flournoy, Onion and Freightliner Frank on bringing the Crazy Horse back to life!

As far as team Pisano, we are close to having an all new (to us) billet motor ready for a match race and testing in September. Then it’s on to the CHRR, possibly the NHRA finals for exhibition runs and possibly again at the NHRA Winternationals.

Also look for updates on the Mallory brothers Barracuda coming soon.

Happy summer everyone!

03/29/09 -Happy spring everyone!

Last time we mentioned we *may* run at the 51st March Meet.  First the good news, well, we did! The bad news, we didn’t qualify.  Still it was a major accomplishment for our team to make the event.  Jeff Burk over at Drag Racing Online wrote a nice comment on his daily blog about the lengths our team went through to make the event.  And make it we did! 

Once again we were invited to display the car at Chuy’s restaurant for the Thursday night pre-race party.  It’s always great to talk to the fans and mingle with other racers in a relaxed atmosphere.  We are more than happy to be invited by the Bowsers of Famoso Auto Club Raceway, and will hope to be involved in the future.

Friday at the racetrack we went through our pre-race routine/warm-up being *baby-sat* by our old friend Amos Satterlee.

Amos Satterlee and Jeff Utterback

Amos is an icon in drag racing and Jeff drove for Amos and his partner Brian Bruhn in the past.  After getting the thumbs up from Amos, we went to make our first attempt at what would become an epic event for nostalgia funny car. 

Friday- first round of qualifying.

The day was cold and had periods of rain so the weather really wasn’t cooperating. The Famoso crew do a great job of preparing the track so, we felt we could put a decent number up early. The car was set up *soft* to try and get a base line with our new heads and rear end gear ratio. When they are soft they tend to shake the tires so that was on the teams' minds. All was well until about the 1/8th mile mark tire shake caused Jeff to lift and end this attempt. At the turn-off the top end crew told Jeff something had come off of the car. Well, the tire shake had blown out the red plexi-glass rear window on the car. Thank goodness we had an aluminum spare in the trailer.
Saturday we *hopped her up* a bit to try and get through the tire shake we had on Friday. At the hit of the throttle the car went towards the centerline and Jeff stayed with it until just after half track when the car made a violent move away from the line and towards the wall. Jeff lifted and we returned to the pits to get ready for our last attempt at an increasingly tough field.

When we returned to the pits we found that the wheelie bar was broken, thus solving the moving towards the centerline so quickly issue. We also discovered a couple of push rods that were bent. Nothing else in the motor was hurt. After talking to Amos we decided that it was best to not try and run the last session. 

This event went down as the quickest field ever for nostalgia funny car. All of us here at Pisano racing congratulate Bucky Austin, winner of the *A* show and Mike Halstead, winner of the *B* show at the 51st Bakersfield March Meet.

Saturday- second round of qualifying.

Coming soon to a store near you.

Some closing notes, the Pisano & Matsubara Hot Wheel debuted at the March Meet. It looks great and will be available soon here and at retailers nationwide. We are very impressed with the finished model! Also, NHRA invited the team to make exhibition runs at the Summit Racing.com NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the first weekend in April. We are always honored to be asked and try to make every attempt to attend when invited however, we had to decline because of conflicting family schedules.

What is next for Pisano Racing? Possibly a match race against the fabled Beach City Corvette in May.

Thanks everyone and stay tuned for more!

02/22/09 -Belated Happy New Year everyone! 

Last time we mentioned that we *may* have been invited to run as an exhibition car at the NHRA Winternationals. Indeed we were invited and were very excited to try out our new (to us!) Alan Johnson heads and new rear-end gear ratio. Our buddy and fuel tuning legend, Amos Satterlee, who just won his 19th Top Fuel Hydro championship, was kind enough to lend a hand and oversee our new tune-up. 

News flash!  We didn’t run. It rained and rained and rained. We did fire the car twice and the fans who were weary of watching the tireless Safety Safari try and dry the race track got a dose of nitro. 93% I might add. Our good friend Al Nocita of Dalcorp Racing and Area 51 posted a nice blog on his site of our wet weekend dalcorpracing.blogspot.com

Next up for Pisano Racing may be the 51st running of the fabled March Meet at Famoso raceway. I say *may* because the team faces some economic hurdles that need to be cleared to make way for another March Meet campaign. We are doing our best to overcome these set backs and hope to be on the grounds to announce that the long awaited Hot Wheels version of the Pisano & Matsubara Funny Car will be available from our site beginning in March and available in stores in May. 

Also, Jeff Utterback recently un-earthed some 90’s vintage (?) Utterback Racing t-shirts, from when he, Brian Bruhn and Amos Satterlee teamed up to win the Top Eliminator West championship. These shirts will be available at the March Meet for crazy low prices and here after if any are left! 

Keep your fingers crossed and we will see you all at the 51st March Meet!

12/10/08 -Happy Holidays everyone! 

Since we last checked in, the team put the car back together in September and made an attempt at running the CHRR at Famoso Raceway. We went into the event with high hopes, but failed to ever make it out of our pit spot. Mechanical gremlins surfaced at warm up that we, nor our celebrity crew chief for the weekend Dale Emery, could overcome. At post-event teardown, we discovered a cracked cylinder head and even more serious, a broken pinion gear in the rear-end. Things happen for a reason and it’s a good thing we never went to the starting line. Still, it was a fun weekend catching up with friends and fans and taking in the whole experience that a CHRR can be. 

The Mallory boys have made great progress on the Barracuda Funny Car they are building. The body work is nearly complete, and they have been purchasing parts and are close to getting a trailer as well. Look for some build photos as soon as Mike Mallory will let us have some!

Things are falling together for the 2009 season and another quest for a NHRA Hot Rod Heritage series title. We have a few things in the works that we'll announce soon once they are finalized, here first, of course.  Here's a little teaser to tide you over; Unconfirmed rumor is that we will again be at the NHRA Winternationals for exhibition runs. Stay tuned.

The Hot Wheels car is still in the works with the legal department finishing up their duties. I can tell you that all involved have approved all drawings and packaging details and are awaiting the first units off of the production line.  Can't wait!

This might be a good time to remind you that we have a merchandise page with lots of cool gift ideas for that discriminating drag racer in the family.

All of us here at Pisano Racing have a little motto: family first.  Sometimes it’s tough during the race season to spend the quality time with our families as we would like. We all cherish our families very much, and appreciate the understanding they give us during the year to bring the Pisano & Matsubara Funny Car out for all to see. So please, spend as much time as you can with your family. Please remember those who are less fortunate, especially during this holiday season.

Happy Holidays everyone! From the Pisano & Matsubara team.

09/09/08 -Hello everyone! 

We here at Pisano Racing promised timely updates on when, where and what events the car would appear, either in show trim or in competition mode.  Well, neither have happened so you haven't missed anything.  To use a tired cliché, "Sometimes life gets in the way". Here is our late summer Pisano Racing update starting from the top down.

After our parts depleting weekend at Las Vegas, we were looking to regroup to continue our quest to be the first NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Champions in Nostalgia Funny Car. This is where the tired cliché part comes into play.  To cut to the chase, Danny Pisano and Marc Mallory (yes, another Mallory boy) were made an offer they couldn't refuse on a closed down establishment in  Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  Marc is a fulltime resident, while Danny and his family vacation there.

So, Cops and Rodders Bar and Grill was born. A hot rodding and law enforcement themed Bar and Grill off the beaten path to appeal to the locals with a hot rod habit. As of this writing, following a 'soft' Labor Day weekend opening, four local car clubs want to call this place home.  We might get in trouble saying that the Lake Havasu City P.D. like to celebrate shift change there as well. That should keep the 'bad guys' away.

Next on our roster are the rest of the Mallory boys, Todd and Mikey, who helped build and work on the car. They like jet boats- jet boats with big blocks on race gas!  So much so, that they have restored nostalgia jet boats and take them out to various regattas and cause trouble with when we aren't drag racing. 

Not resting on the nostalgia boating madness, the Mallory boys are in the middle of another new project. They bought their own car thanks to Mike Mallory (Mikey's father), and are hoping to debut the only fast-back Barracuda in Nostalgia Funny Car with blessings from a very famous racer who, like the Pisano brothers, favored candy red paint and gold leaf lettering.  Look for the team's debut sometime in 2009.

Jeff Utterback has kept very busy escorting his boys, Morgan and Miles (Things 1 & 2 for the seasoned reader here), to various Cub Scout events this summer, along with playing drums for the Surf Music groups he plays with or subs for. Jeff has also attended a few of the old school BMX racer reunion events over the course of the summer.

After surviving the Labor Day weekend opening of Cops and Rodders Bar and Grill, the team has been working on a return to competition. Mum's the word now, but the team is hoping to be able to share some exciting news very soon. News that would take the nostalgia world by surprise!

Check back soon for more updates! 

05/28/08 -Viva Las Vegas! That was Pisano Racing's intent at the start of their weekend, competing at the second event for the Funny Cars in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage series held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The weekend ended up being more like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

But, let's recap the weekend from the beginning, shall we?

Thursday before the event, Monaco Las Vegas and Vintage Fuel Magazine hosted a pre race party at the impressive facility of Monaco Las Vegas. Danny Pisano graciously accepted the invitation to display his car, and the team had a great time mingling with fans and the other competitors who had their cars on display. Thanks to Christy Thom of Vintage Fuel and the fine folks at Monaco Las Vegas for the hospitality.

Friday was set up and a test session for racers who had signed up to run the event on Saturday and Sunday. Friday turned out to be the beginning of the fuel system gremlin that would plague Team Pisano at this event. The team attempted one run that ended at about the 330Õ mark with tire shake.

On to Saturday! After spending most of the morning rebuilding the fuel system and replacing all of the o-rings, the team went up for the first session and ran a troubled 6.48 @ 222 mph. Back to the pits for more head scratching and a much needed visit from fuel system gurus Spike and Ralph Gorr. After they made a few suggestions on what the gremlin might need to leave, the boys went up for the last qualifier in the heat of the day. ItÕs safe to say the team breathed a heavy sigh of relief when they ran a 6.15 @ 229 mph which put them in the number two spot for eliminations on Sunday.

Sunday our first round match-up was against the always tough Jack Harris, who was debuting his new car and was suffering from some gremlins himself. Of course we did not take him lightly and attempted to match our 6.15 from Saturday. They left together at the green, with Utterback having a very slight advantage ( a modest .125 reaction time that would stand as the quick light for the Funny Cars at this event). Utterback reached the stripe first running a 6.30 @ 230 mph. Immediately after letting the the chutes out, Utterback felt a clunk and was on fire. He got it stopped safely and the LVMS safety crew had him out of the car and the fire put out very quickly. It was obvious the damage was too great to repair to return for the semi-finals in the time alloted, so their opponent Nate Bugg ran unopposed. Pisano Racing extends congratulations to Nate Bugg on winning the final over Mendy Fry (who crashed and was thankfully uninjured in the mishap).

At this point in time, Pisano Racing is taking a break from racing to concentrate on business and family matters with an expected return for the California Hot Rod Reunion held at Auto Club Famoso Raceway October 10-12. In the meantime, look here for updates on where the car will appear in show and cackle trim.

04/06/08 - Pisano Racing’s Danny Pisano was gracious enough to offer his car to be put on display for Cub Scout Pack 824’s annual Pinewood Derby. Jeff Utterback’s sons, Morgan and Miles, are scouts in dens in this pack. It was an amazing event with most of the kids and some parents very interested in the Funny Car.  Danny, Jeff, and Mike Fillitti were busy answering questions from the curious scouts right up until race time.  “It’s always great to interact with children who aren’t afraid to ask questions", stated Jeff.  The most popular was, "How do you get out?” 

Jeff, who was a cub scout and participated in a Pinewood Derby with his pack back in 1970, marveled at the modern-day version of the Derby. The track of today is longer and can accommodate more cars than the “Nostalgia” track that was set up for display and for some grudge racing after your class eliminations were over. Also of note is the digital win-order and print-out of every heat. Pinewood Derby’s version of a time slip.

Team Pisano & Cub Scout Pack 824 at Pinewood Derby

It was a fun day and a great way to expose kids and their families to Nostalgia Funny cars. Thanks again to Danny Pisano and Mike Fillitti for brining the car and spending their Sunday at the Derby. 

Pisano racing also had some special guests along with members of the Pisano family attending.  Most notably Sam Pisano, who was seen eyeing the track thinking about a possible Venolia Pinewood Derby for the company's annual holiday party. Also in attendance was Big John from Dennis Larcharite’s Back in Black team, and A-Fuel die-hards Frank and Bill Genco. 

The only negative to this day had to be that in the days prior to the Derby is that Morgan Utterback came down with the chicken pox, so he and his brother Miles (who was also not feeling well) were not able to attend.

Next stop for Pisano Racing is the second NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series event for the Funny Cars in Las Vegas.  Hope to see you there!

03/17/08 - Pisano Racing extends their sincere gratitude to Blake and John Bowser of Auto Club Famoso Raceway for the great time the team had at the 50th edition of the Bakersfield March Meet.

The dream weekend started with being included at the Thursday night pre-race party and display held at Chuy’s restaurant, a local favorite and supporter of the Bowsers and Auto Club Famoso Raceway. The Pisano & Matsubara Vega was parked along side the Stardust Cuda of Justin Grant, who made the trek all the way from Indiana for this historic event. It was great to expose the locals to Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars along with all of the other great race cars on display.

Team Pisano -(MIA) Steve Montrelli, Randy Hudson, Troy Cagle

Mikey and Todd Mallory during final Friday morning servicing.

Friday, during the first qualifying session for the Nitro Funny Cars, the Pisano team put down a 6.00 at 234 miles per hour to record a team best for this car and crew. This put them at the number two qualifying spot out of the 32 cars pre-entered for this historic event.

Saturday the team fought a few mechanical gremlins and could only muster a 6.35 @ 226 miles per hour. The team sat out the third qualifying session to remedy a few nagging items and get back to the tune up that ran a 6.00 on Friday. After the final qualifying session the team wound up in the number 3 spot.

Sunday dawned with high hopes in the team's pit. These were squashed when Utterback was forced to shut off at about 500' when an oil line came off the back of the oil pressure gauge during their first round match up with Mike Savage.  Extremely disappointing to the team but not the end of the world.  We'll get back after it at the next Hot Rod Heritage Series event in Las Vegas.

Pisano Racing extends congratulations to the 50th March Meet Funny Car winners in both the A and B fields, Bucky Austin and Kris Krabill, respectively.

Next stop for Pisano Racing is Cub Scout Pack 824’s Pine Wood Derby, being held on March 30th at Kentwood Elementary in Westchester, California. 

Driver Jeff Utterback’s sons, Morgan and Miles, are members of Den’s in this Cub Scout Pack, and owner Danny Pisano has offered to display his car at this event. Interesting side note, Danny went to school at Kentwood Elementary. Small world.

Stay tuned for more Pisano Racing team news as it becomes available!  


Saturday Night Live in the Pisano pit area.

02/18/08 - Pisano Racing extends special thanks to Steve Gibbs and the NHRA for staging a very successful nostalgia exhibition during the NHRA Winternationals.

Team Pisano made two passes in front of a capacity crowd, running a team-best 6.01/ 231 MPH during Saturday afternoon qualifying. On Sunday, tuner Steve Montrelli wanted to go for it, so they threw the 'kitchen sink' at it but the run produced a  tire-shaking, chute-rattling pass resulting in a 6.78/ 176 MPH time slip.  

Danny Pisano was very humbled while towing back to the pits in front of an appreciative crowd, where "Big Show" fans stood and applauded while many even yelled "Pisano Forever!"

Team Pisano is eagerly awaiting the 50th March Meet where a reported 32 nostalgia Funny Cars will be vying for 16 slots, an 8-car "A" field and an 8-car "B" field.

Stay tuned for more Pisano Racing team news!

This site is dedicated to the memories of Joe and Carmen Pisano-pioneers of funny car racing.

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