As the father and son duo of John and Johnny Pluchino prepared for the 2018 PDRA season, they knew if they raced smart they would be in the hunt coming into the World Finals at Virginia Motorsports Park for a pair of world championships. The season has been full of challenges, but now as the finals approach both father, John, and son, Johnny, are in a position to win their respective class titles in the PDRA.
Johnny has been the model of consistency this year in the Pro Outlaw 632 category behind the wheel of the Dominic Addeo-owned Ford Escort. In 2018 Johnny has won two races while qualifying number one three times. Those clutch performances allowed him to open up a three round lead in the points over Dillon Voss going into the World Finals.
“It took a lot of good horsepower from John Kaase along with us just nitpicking away at the racecar this year to get us in this position. We kept going rounds and qualifying towards the top at each event. It’s not just the speed, it’s us being consistent as a team. We haven’t thrown away many runs and have been the quickest car during most sessions. The car has also been able to go down the track when it’s hot or cold plus I’ve had a lot of good lights in eliminations. All of that mixed with the crew doing their job has put us in this position,” Johnny says.
After spending the entire season locked in a tight battle with Voss, Johnny has no plans to give him any hope of making a comeback at the World Finals. Voss is one of the best in the Pro Outlaw 632 class, so giving he and his team any room to maneuver back into position to win the title would be a huge mistake.
“The game plan coming into the finals is to set the record during qualifying and stretch that lead to four rounds so we can end it. I don’t want to take any risks since anything can happen in the first round. If we can set the record that will make sure the door is shut. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll have to keep plugging along and do what needs to be done so we can lock up that title,” Johnny explains.
For John, winning the Extreme Pro Stock championship became more difficult after his issues at the Fall Nationals. Going into the event at Darlington Dragway John was leading the Extreme Pro Stock points over Steven Boone, but a brush with the wall during the final qualifier left him unable to make the first round call.
“The damage to dad’s car was mostly cosmetic on the right side and could have been much worse. We just didn’t think it could be raced after the crash and we wanted it to be checked over before it was raced again. I wasn’t going to let him race without being totally sure the car was safe and ready to go,” Johnny says.
By not making the first round, and Steven Boone winning the event, John lost his points lead after the Fall Nationals. If John wants to have a chance at winning the Extreme Pro Stock title he will need to take care of business and hope to catch a couple of lucky breaks, too.
“Now we’re in the situation in Pro Stock where dad needs to win the race and Steven Boone has to go out in the first round. The other scenario is we have to set the record, qualify number one, and go three more rounds than Boone. Our backs are against the wall, it’s still a possibility to win but it will take some luck. We’re the only ones that are able to take him out to win the title,” Johnny says.
The PDRA World Finals are going to be packed with drama as John and Johnny try to win a series championship at Virginia Motorsports Park. All the action is coming to SpeedVideo.com RIGHT HERE October 18-21. This broadcast is brought to you by presenting sponsor Jerry Bickel Race Cars along with Crane Cams, Driven Racing Oil, FuelTech, Moser Engineering, Flying A Motorsports, Miller Electric, Neal Chance Racing Converters, Stage 8 Fasteners, and Mark Williams Enterprises.