J&B Motorsports and Paul Lee to make Nitro FC debut in Memphis MILLINGTON, Tenn. - The J&B Motorsports team owned by Jeff and Bonnie McGaffic will make theirNitro Funny Car debut at this weekend's O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis ...
J&B Motorsports and Paul Lee to make Nitro FC debut in Memphis
MILLINGTON, Tenn. - The J&B Motorsports team owned by Jeff and Bonnie McGaffic will make theirNitro Funny Car debut at this weekend's O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. The team enjoyed much success in Top Alcohol Funny Car, winning three national events last year and finishing tenth in national standings. In trading in their 2800 hp alcohol motor for a 7000 hp nitro burning beast, the McGaffics have hired distinguished tuner Steve Boggs as Crew Chief and retained Nick Boninfante as a consultant.
The journey from the Lucas Oil Sportsman Series to the professional ranks began over the offseason when the McGaffics purchased ther005 Chevy Monte CarloRon Capps piloted last year from Don Prudhomme with spare parts to boot. In May, Lee was able to upgrade his license with runs of 5.11 at 294 mph and 5.13 at 290 mph in a test session after the spring Chicago national event.
"We are excited to finally graduate to the professional ranks," said McGaffic. "Competing in the nitro class is a goal I've worked at for over 25 years. With the kids all grown and out on their own, Bonnie and I decided that it was time to make the move. To assist in the transition to a professional team, we recruited tuning veteran Steve Boggs and veteran professional team owner "Nitro" Nick Boninfante to be our tuning and team consultant."
This weekend will also mark the professional debuts of Lee and Boggs. Boggs has been one of the most successful tuners in the history of the alcohol categories winning World Championships in the Top Alcohol Funny Car ranks with Joe Penland and Tony Bartone, and most recently Mitch Myers last year in his A/Fuel Dragster. In addition to his national event wins and championships, Boggs' tuned cars have set the national record many times, and Myers still holds the e.t. mark in Top Alcohol Dragster at 5.10.
"Racing in the nitro class is truly a dream come true for me," stated Lee. "This is a goal I set over 30 years ago, and it has finally come to fruition. Of course, we don't just want to compete, but built our team into a championship contender. We all know that it takes lots of dedication, lots of sacrifices, and most importantly, truckloads of money to compete successfully in the nitro classes. Its definitely not for the faint of heart or wallet. Nevertheless, we treat it as a business and you need to start somewhere and build the team with successful marketing partnerships."
"I know that these motors are definitely not easy to tune and there is a steep learning curve," commented Boggs. "Nevertheless, I'm up for the challenge and believe I can compete by using common sense knowledge of the sport. I'm looking forward to providing a fast race car for Jeff, Paul and the team."
The makeup of the pit crew will be a mix of new and old as Ron and Brandon Blanford, and Tim Snyder return from the alcohol team. Chris Myers and Rich Allen are joining the team this year.
"Also returning are some of the most loyal and supportive sponsors a team could ask for," said McGaffic. "We can't thank them enough for their support. Those loyal sponsors include Allied Machine and Engineering Corporation, Perryman Products, Boninfante Clutches, Firefox Ind., Kimberly Clark, SAE Motorsports, Calcutta Auto Parts, Cradin Industries and Energy Release."
In addition to this weekend's event, the team plans to compete at the biggest race of them all, the MacTools U.S. Nationals in Indy.
"We're basically using this weekend as a test session for Indy," commented McGaffic. "From there, we plan to go back to Chicago and possibly Maple Grove. We'll essentially play it by ear from there and continue to work on securing funding to compete next year."
Qualifying begins on Friday for the professional categories with two qualifying sessions followed by two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday.