CENTER MORICHES, NY - IHRA Sunoco Pro Stock racer John Montecalvo may have given the competition fits in 2000, but his objectives are crystal clear for 2001. The Citgo-sponsored driver plans to give the Pro Stock contingent the "Full Monte", and expects positive results from a new 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier. The car is currently under construction at RJ Race Cars in Galesburg, Ill.
Montecalvo, an asphalt company owner from Center Moriches, NY., feels that this is going to be a championship contention season for both he and crewchief Steven Cultrera. He dared not predict a championship.
"I'm not going to jinx ourselves and say we're going to win it, but we'll be tough this season," explained Montecalvo. "This new body style is going to make a big difference. I see the GMs pulling ahead of the Fords this year. I see us getting the new cars and that's going to be the key. The GM guys got motivated when Fords started winning at the end. The Probe was always better than the Monte Carlos and that made a lot of difference. Now we have cars that are equal or better."
Montecalvo recently went to RJ's to be fitted for the car, which will make its testing debut at the www.competitionplus.com Spring Open hosted by Virginia Motorsports Park located in Dinwiddie, Va. He is already pre-entered for the event. The two-time national event winner can already see the potential of the new ride just by sitting in it.
"I sat in it for the first time, its small," confided Montecalvo. "It's smaller and narrower than I'm used to. I can't wait for the season to start. It's different than the Monte Carlo and I'm sure that I'm not going to have any problem adjusting to it."
Montecalvo and Cultrera completed their first season together as driver and crewchief. Together they gelled, along with the hard working crew, and they certainly deserve credit for a tremendous 2000 season, according to Montecalvo.
One thing that will change for the Citgo-sponsored team will be the paint scheme. Gone will be the standard refrigerator white and in will be a new image. Cultrera, who owns a paint and body shop in Elliot, Maine, will be responsible for applying the Greg Ozubko-designed scheme to the sleek Cavalier.
Montecalvo adamantly feels that the new cars should do the trick in 2001. He'll admit that seeing the Ford-powered entries excel in 2000, motivated the GM camp for this season. It especially motivated him.
"I think these body styles will allow us to jump ahead of them," explained Montecalvo. The Fords were ahead at the end of the season. Our engine builder Sonny Leonard is working hard, as I'm sure the Ford guy Jon Kaase is working hard also. We've picked up a bit of horsepower over the winter, but I'm not going to elaborate any further. It's going to be a good year and I'll give Steven and the crew the "Full Monte" to work with."