AKRON, Ohio (Oct. 27, 2004) -- For Nick Mitsos, drag racing and selling Goodyear tires go hand in hand. Mitsos, 61, caught the racing bug as a teenager growing up on the East Coast and campaigned a 1955 Chevrolet in...
AKRON, Ohio (Oct. 27, 2004) -- For Nick Mitsos, drag racing and selling Goodyear tires go hand in hand.
Mitsos, 61, caught the racing bug as a teenager growing up on the East Coast and campaigned a 1955 Chevrolet in the E Gas category as a young man. But when family and business concerns made it too hard to concentrate on racing, he put his hobby aside and waited for the chance to return to the sport he loves.
Mitsos got his chance 38 years later as an owner. He owns the A Altered 1963 Corvette driven by Vinnie DeCeglie in the National Hot Rod Association's Comp Eliminator class.
But Mitsos owns more than just a racecar. He also owns Mountain View Tire and Service, a chain of 28 Gemini Automotive Car Care Centers in Southern California. The combination of racing on Sunday and selling on Monday makes for a natural marketing platform and Chris Mitsos, vice president of the Mountain View chain and the eldest of Nick's three sons, said the company will take advantage of the opportunity.
"We're going to tie the two together this winter," Chris Mitsos said. "We're going to tie Mountain View Tire to the racing."
DeCeglie, who lives in Alta Loma, Calif., has had a solid season in 2004 and Chris Mitsos credits some of that success to Goodyear's D1490 rear drive tire. DeCeglie sits fifth in the NHRA's national Competition Eliminator standings with two national events remaining on the schedule.
"They've tried a lot of different tires and this was the one that worked best," Mitsos said. "The car makes 1,550 horsepower. They needed to put the power on the ground."
The D1490 measures 34.5 inches by 17 inches. It mounts on a 16-inch rim and uses the D1 compound. The D1 compound is among the softest produced by Goodyear. Nick Mitsos has been involved with Goodyear since 1982, when he worked at a store on Long Island, N.Y. He moved to California in 1997 and, unable to restrain his passion for motorsports any longer, returned to drag racing at around the same time.
The team tried several cars before developing the Corvette. Using the 700 cubic inch engines supplied by Sonny Leonard, the car is long on power.
DeCeglie won the class at the Winternationals at Pomona Raceway in 2003 and won at Las Vegas earlier this season.