Biondo Reflects on Unprecedented Seventh Title
Maspeth, NY: Although he just hoisted an unprecedented (unless your name is Frank Manzo) seventh NHRA Lucas Oil Series World Championship trophy less than three months ago, the calendar has turned, which puts Peter Biondo in a familiar position: defending champion. In 2014, Biondo captured his 5th NHRA Super Stock championship, having also earned the sport’s ultimate achievement in Stock Eliminator and Super Gas. His 2015 season begins next week, at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, CA.
Starting his season on the west coast for a second consecutive year, Biondo will compete in Super Stock, driving the familiar Phil Monteith owned, Sparco and K&N Filters backed “Hatari” Pontiac Firebird in which he’s earned three of his five Super Stock championships. He will also drive his own Stock Eliminator entry, a ’69 Camaro backed by Biondo Racing Products and BracketRaces.com. Initial plans for Biondo and Monteith include appearances at the national events in Pomona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas in the early portion of the season. Beyond that, Biondo isn’t yet ready to commit to pursuing an eighth title in 2015.
“It gets harder and harder to chase the championship every year,” explained the veteran champ. “Not only does the competition get tougher, but priorities change. Everyone goes through that at some point. My wife and I welcomed our baby boy, Saverio in August, and fatherhood definitely provides a different perspective. We’re busy as parents, and it definitely makes it harder to get on an airplane or to jump in a motorhome to go racing each weekend!” Professionally, Biondo is a busy man as well. His family business, Biondo Racing Products, continues to thrive and he and partner Kyle Seipel’s 2-race series of K&N Spring Fling events have grown into the premier bracket events in the nation.
“Obviously it’s an honor to continue to grow Biondo Racing Products, the business that my father started nearly 30 years ago. I also take great pride in the success of our K&N Spring Fling events. This season we’ll again host races in Las Vegas (April 22-26) and Bristol, TN (May 12-17). I’m not going to rule out pursuing another championship, but honestly we’d have to start out very strong for me to even consider it. At this point, I’d be very content to attend a handful of national events and focus a little bit more on some big dollar bracket races. I really enjoy the challenge of that style of competition, and I don’t get the opportunity to compete at that level as much as I would like.”
Biondo was quick to credit those around him for his continued success, saying that he could not and would not compete at the national level without the help of longtime partner Monteith, his wife Emily and son Saverio, and the support of key manufacturers like K&N, Goodyear Tires, VP Racing Fuels, Digital Delay, Sparco, BracketRaces.com, and everyone at Biondo Racing Products.
One factor that makes Biondo think twice about pursuing back-to-back titles? How about the fact that a repeat championship is one of the few accomplishments he has yet to add to his resume. If history is any indication, defending his Super Stock crown won’t be easy: Keith Lynch (1982-83) and Greg Stanfield (1992-93-94) are the only Super Stock drivers to earn back-to-back championships in the modern era. In fact, just eight drivers have earned repeat championships in any true sportsman class (Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas) since 1982. It should be noted that although Biondo has never earned back-to-back crowns, did win the Stock title in 2005, and returned to the NHRA awards ceremony as Super Stock champion in 2006.
When presented with the historically long odds of a repeat title, Biondo almost seemed to take it as a challenge, despite his statements to the contrary. “I guess that’s a pretty rare feat. I think those stats could provide some motivation. You never know.” One thing we do know; if Biondo elects to pursue another title, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
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