Drag Illustrated Issue 178, September / October 2022 - Page 30

Dirt

Teamwork

A look at the small team that makes up the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association By Dennis Quitoni

Remember when you were a kid , that little blue train that made some noise as it tried to chug its way up the hill ? “ I think I can , I think I can !” Well , here ’ s a story about a small association making a lot of noise : the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association . It ’ s been chugging up the Pro Mod hill for 30 years , right from the early days of Pro Mod .

What started as a small club of normally aspirated and single-stage nitrous racers called the Northeast Pro Shootout has become the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association [ NEOPMA ]. John Mazzorana of Long Island , New York , was entrenched in the business world of corporate finance , but he was also a drag racer with a passion for Pro Mods . The business world instilled in him the skills of structure and organization .
Believing parity was the future of presenting a better race package to the track owners , Mazzorana saw the need to make Pro Mod more inclusive so that blower cars would race turbo cars , and turbo cars could line up with nitrous cars . Even normally aspirated cars would be competitive ( Talk about chugging up a hill !). But with engine , transmission , and weight rules constantly under a form of tweaking , it worked .
It worked because a representative from each power adder became part of a panel , and to help keep a fair balance , Mazzorana included the sponsors that supported the association . That panel was the guiding process that has propelled NEOPMA to grow and earn the respect of its racers and fans .
The Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association has grown to include a membership approaching 40 racers . Since going to eighth-mile racing a couple of years ago , it became common to not only put on a 16-car qualified race , but NEOPMA often includes a winner-take-all consolation race open to racers that did not qualify and any that lost in the first round .
It ’ s a small and efficient crew that does that chugging along when they arrive at the event on race day .
It starts with Mazzorana . Most of his work is completed before we get to the racetrack . All year long , he ’ s in conversation with track owners to establish dates that won ’ t conflict with other Pro Mod events . Then there ’ s the never-ending work and phone calls to bring sponsorship money . Mazzorana is both the bill collector and payout window at the races . He is our social director and , if needed , the solver of disputes .
Donna Curci , also known as “ Long Island Donna ,” is our announcer and the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic person I can think of when it comes to knowing the owners , drivers , and cars of Pro Mod . When she ’ s not in the tower ,
Donna and Jimmy Curci
Mel Jones
John Mazzorana
she ’ s visiting racers in the pits .
Mel Jones has been with Mazzorana and the Northeast Outlaws for most of its 30 years . Jones puts up the sponsor banners and hustles the racers into staging for qualifying and for every round of racing . He retrieves and hands out the round sheets and run orders . When the race is over , he ’ s out there recovering the banners .
Jimmy Curci , Donna ’ s husband , is the allaround guy , helping with anything from hanging sponsor banners to working the staging lanes with Jones or chauffeuring Donna around the pits .
I ’ m the executive competition director , and I draw up the qualifying and round sheets , keep an eye on the cars , spot-check the weights , and come prepared with c . i . and fuel checkers . I compile the points and try to keep the rules and procedures fair and straightforward .
On the starting line at most races , we have a
Dennis Quitoni
Mark Tinari
Jay Warren
great photographer in Mark Tinari , who also maintains the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Facebook page . Behind the starting line , we have Dave Hance , a racer , promoter , and great PR man , shouting our story to the world . Live streaming our Pro Mod races is the most direct way to attract new fans , and we have one of the best , Jay Warren , also known as NC . Promoder . You see him on the starting line every round and in the pits all day .
This year , we ’ re celebrating our 30th season of Pro Mod racing . After a season that included stops at Maryland International Raceway , Cecil County Dragway , Atco Raceway , Empire Dragway , and US 13 Dragway , we ’ ll close out the season with a NEOPMA 30th anniversary race at MIR . With $ 30,000 going to the winner of the 32-car field , with a total $ 45,000 purse , we ’ re calling it the NEOPMA 30-30-30 . This special celebration will take place September 30-October 2 . DI
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARK TINARI AND VAN ABERNETHY
30 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 178