Racer Johnny Pluchino announced on April 22nd that he signed with Strutmasters.com to launch his NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock career. The 2018 PDRA Pro Outlaw 632 world champion is the son of 2016 Extreme Pro Stock world champion John Pluchino.
The younger Pluchino will make his Mountain Motor Pro Stock debut at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee. He will also compete at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire in July.
“Pro Stock has been something I’ve had my eye on forever,” said Pluchino. “It’s my end goal, It’s what I’ve always wanted to race, It’s what I’ve been around my whole life, It’s what I enjoy the most. Everybody has their Top Fuel, their Funny Car, their Pro Mod – Pro Stock is it for me. It’s what I love.”
Strutmasters’ portfolio keeps growing
Pluchino is the latest addition to the growing portfolio of racers sponsored by Strutmasters, a North Carolina-based suspension part manufacturer.
The driver contacted Strutmasters owner Chip Lofton through Facebook. Lofton had been following the father-son team in their PRDA competition. An emerging sponsor in the world of drag racing, Lofton was happy to offer a two-race deal in the NHRA’s brand-new Mountain Motor Pro Stock exhibition racing series.
“One of the very best things about the NHRA is the unique family atmosphere the sport has,” said Lofton. “Johnny and his father are a great story, with both of them having won world championships in the last few years. It’s a great opportunity to get into a new racing series with a driver that has a big future in front of him.”
Pluchino says thanks
Pluchino expressed gratitude for the sponsorship and for the groundwork laid by his father.
“I’m able to accomplish my dreams because of Strutmasters.com and the program my dad’s put together,” Pluchino said. “Dad’s in the points hunt over in PDRA, so we’re going to leave him in that and I’m going to stick to the points hunt in Pro Outlaw 632. We’re going to be able to go out and put on a show at Bristol and Epping.”
A (not-so) new racing class
The new NHRA Mountain Pro Stock program is a quarter-mile race. It features cars sporting bigger engines than traditional Pro Stock cars. Not only will the class and race be new for NHRA fans, it will be new for Pluchino as well.
Prior to his NHRA debut, Pluchino has only ever made eighth-mile passes in a competitive setting. However, the driver is confident that the innumerable runs he has made in his Pro Outlaw 632 car have prepared him.
“To be completely honest, in a Pro Stock car everything happens in the first half of the run with the gear changes and everything,” said Pluchino. “The rest of it is holding on, getting the ‘chutes out and getting it stopped. I’m not saying that’s not a challenge, because of course it is. Things can go wrong, especially at 225 mph. I’m very aware of that. But I’m definitely excited for this new learning curve.”
Pluchino is a long time fan of racing. Therefore, he is well aware of the rich history that Mountain Motor Pro Stock racing has had in Bristol and Epping.
“There should be a lot of Mountain Motor fans at those races and I’m excited to interact with them,” Pluchino said. “I always have a lot on my mind, a lot that I’ll say, and I’m definitely one to speak my mind.”
The young racer already has accomplished career under his belt. Now withs putting dollars behind him, Pluchino is ready for the spotlight of the NHRA.
“If there’s a camera in front of my face or a fan in front of me,” said Pluchino, “I’ll make sure they know why I’m there and how I got there.”