DeNinno keeping busy in racing business


January 03, 1993|By STAN DILLON

Kirk DeNinno knows about racing. The Mount Airy native has been around the sport all of his life. He has raced at area drag strips and recently gave kart racing a spin.

During the week, DeNinno and his father own and operate a complete performance shop, Fabrications Inc. They build dragsters and drag cars from the ground up for customers throughout the East Coast.

"We do everything," DeNinno said. "We have an engine shop, a machine shop and build the complete car, chassis and all."

Located only 20 minutes from 75-80 Dragway in Gaithersburg, Fabrications, Inc., has grown into a nationally recognized chassis builder.

"We have cars we built racing from Florida to Ohio, in most of the northeastern states," DeNinno said. "We built the Plymouth Arrow owned by the Justice Brothers. The car runs in the 7.90-second range and won three national events last year on the International Hot Rod Association circuit."

DeNinno is putting the final touches on a new Pro-modified Dodge Stealth for car owner John Seelock of Alexandria, Va. The car, which will be driven by Bunny Burkett of Sterling, Va., is capable of reaching 215 mph in a quarter-mile.

In addition to building dragsters, Fabrications, Inc. builds pro-stock, super-comp and full-bodied cars as well as modified street drag cars. DeNinno recently added another line, a mini-dragster, to his business. The new chassis was added when the National Hot Rod Association started a junior eliminator division for youngsters 8 to 17.

The five-horsepower mini-dragster is made in the same design as the big dragster. The engine follows the World Karting Association's rules. DeNinno has built 20 cars since September. The television program Motorweek will air a feature on the new mini-dragster being built by DeNinno.

It is no accident that DeNinno's life is racing. His father, Chick, started racing in the early 1960s in the AFX class and owned a performance business. In the '70s, he moved up to the Pro-stock division before moving to North Carolina as a shop foreman and crew chief for the Chrysler Corp. factory-backed team of Socks and Johnson.

Later he worked with the legendary Harry Hyde on the NASCAR circuit before returning to Maryland, where he started in the performance business again, this time with his son, Kirk.

Kirk DeNinno started racing in 1983 with a stock 1972 Dodge Charger. Like most everyone else in drag racing, he wanted to go faster. After racing in the 14-second range for two years, he installed a larger motor and cut his elapsed time in a quarter-mile to the low 10.90s.

Two years ago, DeNinno parked his car.

"I was working on cars full-time and going to track on weekends. It got old," said DeNinno, 30. But racing is hard to give up.

"I have been offered a ride next year," DeNinno said. "A friend of mine purchased a dragster that I built a few years ago. He said he would buy it if I would drive it. I never have driven a dragster, it sounds interesting. I'll probably do it part-time."

And if DeNinno isn't racing his dragster, he probably will be at the Monrovia Raceway adjacent to 75-80 in a go-kart.

Last year after receiving fliers about the kart track to distribute at his business, DeNinno decided to take in a race.

"It was kind of neat to watch, I remembered going there as a kid with my father," DeNinno said. "From there I got hooked. It looked like fun, something I wanted to do, something to fool around with. So I brought a whole operation from a guy."

Because of his busy schedule, DeNinno was able to race his kart only a few times. His fourth time was at the indoor meet recently in Timonium.

"It was a great time. It was a lot harder than expected. I thought I could figure things out to go faster, but it's not the case," DeNinno said.

"I had a friend there and he helped me. I didn't have all the equipment I needed, but I thought I give it a try, anyway. Now I know what I need to run faster and the experience didn't hurt me. Hopefully next year I'll be better."

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