Drag Illustrated Issue 178, September / October 2022 - Page 58

Special Section
NICK AGOSTINO ’ S DRAG RACING CAREER STARTED WHEN HE WAS JUST 16 , DRIVING A DODGE DART WITH A 440-CUBIC-INCH ENGINE THAT HE FOUND IN A NEWSPAPER AD . HIS CARS HAVE EVOLVED CONSIDERABLY OVER THE LAST 40 YEARS , AS HE NOW RACES A ’ 69 CAMARO THAT REGULARLY DIPS INTO THE 3.90S IN MENSCER MOTORSPORTS PRO STREET PRESENTED BY AFCO . THE ONE THING THAT HASN ’ T CHANGED ? AGOSTINO IS STILL TRYING TO SQUEEZE THE MOST HORSEPOWER POSSIBLE OUT OF SMALL-BLOCK ENGINES . ¶ “ BACK WHEN I STARTED , THERE WAS NO INTERNET , SO YOU HAD TO GO TO THE STORE AND LOOK IN THE BACK SECTION OF THE NEWSPAPER ,” REMEMBERS AGOSTINO , NOW 56 . “ WE FOUND A 440 , WENT AND BOUGHT IT AND STUCK IT IN THIS THING , DIDN ’ T KNOW WHAT WE ’ RE DOING . THEN , WE DROVE IT TO THE RACETRACK AND STARTED DRAG RACING .”
Agostino progressed from there , running Pro Street in the heyday of the class when Pat Musi , Tony Christian , and most others in the class were running nitrous combinations . Agostino then took a 10-year hiatus from the sport to focus on family and business before returning in 2011 with a single-turbo , small-block Chevy in a 2000 Camaro . That car evolved , too , competing in Outlaw 10.5 , including the popular Cecil County series , as well as Radial vs . the World and NMCA Radial Wars . A crash at the 2017 Yellowbullet Nationals put the 2000 Camaro on the sidelines , and Agostino brought out his current ’ 69 Camaro .
When the Outlaw 10.5 class started its decline , Agostino and his Markham , Ontario , Canada-based team decided to start running Pro 275 . It wasn ’ t a huge change , as he had 315 radials on the car during the last couple years of Outlaw 10.5 competition . But when the COVID- 19 pandemic kept Agostino within Canadian borders , he didn ’ t have anywhere to run radials . A couple local classes ran 33x10.5 slicks , so Agostino started running those tires , laying the groundwork for a 2022 debut in PDRA Pro Street .
“ As soon as we were allowed to cross the border , we did some radial racing down South from January to
March ,” Agostino begins . “ Then , I got calls from other racers like Jerry Morgano , and even talking to Mark Menscer . Menscer said that he ’ s getting involved , and we love Menscer and all his products , and he ’ s such a great guy . I said , ‘ No problem . We will put some effort into coming back to PDRA .’”
It didn ’ t take much convincing . Agostino was intrigued by the “ true ” Outlaw 10.5-style rules , and many of his friends and former Outlaw 10.5 competitors were already racing in the class or had at least expressed interest . Plus , Agostino had run PDRA races before when the series offered a
limited Outlaw 10.5 schedule , so he knew what to expect .
“ Honestly , PDRA has been one of the best organizations I ’ ve ever raced with ,” Agostino says . “ It ’ s very professional , great people , family-oriented kind of environment . I ’ m not saying that you don ’ t get that in other places , but PDRA really goes out of their way to make all the racers feel very welcome and wanted at the racetrack .”
When Agostino was finally able to cross the border at the beginning of the 2022 season , he was relieved to get back to his routine of racing
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