Gugliotta gets away from it all at track and wins

MOTOR SPORTS

March 10, 1996|By Stanley Dillon | Stanley Dillon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Drag racing is an integral part of Frank Gugliotta's life. He has been competing at area tracks since he was 16. The 37-year-old Taylorsville resident, owner of GFG Builders in Adelphi, works long hours during the week, but on weekends he relaxes by racing his 1995 Ford Mustang at speeds in excess of 150 mph.

"It's fun, it's my enjoyment day," said Gugliotta. "I want to go racing one day out of the weekend."

Gugliotta is coming off the best year of his career, during which he won four races and went to the semifinals four times. Gugliotta competes at different tracks. He won two races at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, one at Capitol Raceway in Crofton and the Motorsport Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.

"I like to go to a lot of different tracks," said Gugliotta. "I try to go out of state now and then. I just enjoy going to different places rather than the same track all the time, so I don't run for points. When I am not traveling, I do some bracket racing at 75-80 or Mason-Dixon dragways."

Gugliotta started drag racing on the streets in a 1955 Ford when he turned 16. He quickly realized that it was dangerous to race on the streets and moved on to organized racing, spending most of his time at 75-80. Like most kids his age, Gugliotta couldn't afford two cars, so his '55 Ford was his race car as well as his daily transportation. In 1977, he turned the car into a track car and worked the elapsed time down to the low 12s.

Gugliotta raced on his own until 1992 when Tom Cyr of Performance Automatic in Gaithersburg asked him to run his 1979 Ford Mustang. The car was used by Cyr as a way to test his high-performance transmissions. The two hit it off so well that they formed their own team.

"We have a real good relationship, we're 50-50 partners. He doesn't want to drive and I do," said Gugliotta. "He was doing my transmissions and he had a car that was sitting; it was used as a test bed for his transmissions. So I raced it and we have kind of stayed together since then."

Transmissions, like any part of the drive-line, take a lot of abuse in drag racing. Cyr's transmissions are built for racing.

"We try different things all the time, testing them out," said Gugliotta. "His transmissions seem to last; they have never kept us from running. They have been flawless."

While Gugliotta's '95 Mustang was a good, consistent car last year, he's been busy over the winter months making the car go faster. He has replaced his 351-cubic-inch small block with a big block with a 460-cubic-inch stroke, which required modifications the motor brackets and headers. While the car was fast last year -- it had an elapsed time of 8.60 seconds and 156 mph in a quarter-mile -- Gugliotta expects the new motor will cut nearly a half-second off the elapsed time.

With the new power plant, Gugliotta plans on racing super comp and doing a little traveling on the National Hot Rod Association circuit, if work will allow. When he isn't traveling he'll do some bracket racing close to home.

Gugliotta has his motor work done by Burtonsville Machine shop, then he assembles the motor himself. Chuck DeNino of Fabrications in Gaithersburg did his chassis and body work and Advance Valve Service in Hyattstown also helped with the motors.

With a new motor, Gugliotta can't wait to get the car out on the track.

Weekend results

Lincoln Speedway was the only track that braved the cold last weekend. Jesse Wentz of Manchester finished fourth in the super sprint feature and Cris Eash of Woodbine was eighth. Keith Welsh of Westminster was 10th in the thundercar main event.

Pub Date: 3/10/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.