It’s been a busy year for Johnny Pluchino. In addition to dominating the Pro Outlaw 632 series, Pluchino has manned the wheel of the Strutmasters Mustang in Extreme Pro Stock.
Heading into the PDRA Fall Nationals, Pluchino is looking to nab his first career Extreme Pro Stock win.
Pulling double duty
Pluchino’s main focus heading into the 2019 season was to defend his title in Pro Outlaw 632. He was aware that he would probably be pulling a double at some point this season. However, he didn’t realize it would happen so soon.
“My dad started the year in the Extreme Pro Stock car, but at the North-South Shootout before the first qualifier, he said it was my time to get behind the wheel.”
Pluchino said this came as some surprise.
“I was about as shocked as I could be since I wasn’t supposed to race the PDRA events,” said Pluchino. “He wanted me to get in the car to get some seat time since we were going to be racing some NHRA events. Doing this while racing Pro Outlaw 632 also has been an awesome experience but at the same time it’s difficult.”
Adjusting to Extreme Pro Stock
There is a world of difference between the Extreme Pro Stock class and the Pro Outlaw 632 class. While it looks like Pluchino is in great position to win back-to-back championships in the Pro Outlaw 632 class, there has been an adjustment in the Extreme Pro Stock class.
“The Extreme Pro Stock car shifts differently,” said Pluchino. “You have to account for my weight difference as a driver. It takes a lot to get used to driving one of these cars. We’ve had to make some minor adjustments to the car for me as a driver. In Extreme Pro Stock you have to be on your game and it’s been a slight learning curve but I feel comfortable now.”
Clearly, the adjustments are already paying off. There have been consistent improvements in his performances. He even reached the final round of the NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock exhibition back in July.
Ready for Extreme Pro Stock success
Pluchino and his team appear to be hitting their stride at just the right time as they head into the Fall Nationals in Darlington.
“I think we have a fast race car, but we’re going to need to be consistent to win,” says Pluchino. “As a driver, I’m going to have to be on my game as far as taking care of business in the car. We’re going to try some different things like changing the gear ratio to help the car and do as much testing as we can before the event. The difference between winning and losing in Pro Stock is just a few thousandths of a second, so we need to be as ready as possible.”
Pluchino credits his father for helping him make the leap.
“I appreciate the opportunity my dad has given me by stepping out of the car and letting me jump in,” Pluchino says. “He’s done so much to assist me in chasing my dreams as a driver and I can’t thank him enough for that. His support is so critical when it comes to this racing operation.”
The PDRA Fall Nationals take place at Darlington Dragway in Hartsville, South Carolina October 4th-5th. Fans can watch Johnny Pluchino go for his first Extreme Pro Stock win in his Strutmasters Mustang at SpeedVideo.com.