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Malvaso and Zmuda enjoy supercharged night at Lancaster track

Sometimes there is more than one way to achieve a goal. Veteran drag racers Frank Malvaso and Mike Zmuda proved that on their way to respective class wins during the Supercharged Bounty Hunters series eliminations Friday evening at New York International Raceway Park.

Malvaso had to turn the power down in his supercharged engine atop his 1933 Willy's entry dubbed "Rush" to achieve his Class B final-round victory over Ron Szewczyk's "Headknocker" 1963 Nova. Conversely, Zmuda had to increase his power setting on his 1975 Dodge Dart named "Time Bomb" to score his victory over Chuck McMahon in the Class A final.

Malvaso rebounded from problems in both of his time trial runs to earn the win.

"Well, we had too much power in the time trials," Malvaso said. "Mike Janis built me a great engine, and we set the car up for a moderate run the first run, and it was shaking and spinning the tires. So we took some blower power out of it. So we slowed the blower down and the car loved it for this track and the time of night. I guess we hurried up and slowed down and won. I'm just glad we figured out what the car needed for the final."

Malvaso achieved a winning run of 4.61 seconds at 155.76 miles per hour down the one-eighth mile strip at the Lancaster dragstrip.

Meanwhile, Lackawanna's Zmuda made different adjustments to his car in preparation for his final.

"This is our first race out with this car in two seasons," Zmuda said. "We did a lot better tonight than I thought we were going to do. It couldn't have ended up better. We turned the power up for the final. We were a little bit behind, and I cut a good light and the car did its thing. So it was a little more power and we went a little faster.

"I've got to thank both my wife (Stacey) and my daughter," Zmuda said, referring to 5-year-old Lilyanne. "They're at home. My daughter wasn't feeling that well today so this one's for them."

Zmuda achieved a run of 4.65 at 149.55 in his victory.

Malvaso, of Rochester, also is the director of the Supercharged Bounty Hunters, a traveling group of drag racers that he formed just two years ago.

The group features high-horsepower supercharged blower powered engines that produce great noise and speed. Malvaso's car sports a 540 cubic-inch engine that routinely produces around 2,000 horsepower. These type of cars are fan favorites.

"Two years ago I formed the Supercharged Bounty Hunters with the idea that I wanted to try to give the fans something that was real loud and a lot of fun," Malvaso said. "Our cars are all beautifully painted. There are fast, dependable, door slammers, (full-bodied cars) with supercharged engines. It seems every year we've got new guys coming out and getting into it. Today we had nine cars. I can see this growing every time we come out here.

"Basically now, I'm attempting to get more drag strips involved with us within driving distance . Most of the guys in the group have their own businesses, and it's kind of tough to go out of state. When I wanted to form this thing I called up some of my buddies and told them what I wanted to do and they all said yeah. They've responded well."

Malvaso has drag raced for many years, winning races and championships along the way.

"Buffalo really supports its tracks and its racing," Malvaso said. "Some of the fastest cars in the past on the East Coast were based out of Lancaster (now NYIRP). Drivers such as Mike Janis, Jim Oddy and others had success here in the past. I'd like to see it come back to where it was. I'm real happy that the new owners here, (Mike Swinarski, Vito Antonicelli) booked us in here. We have a great time here. It's a great playground for us.

"As for my career, when I started out in 1992, the first time I came out I got a semifinal win and I brought home money. My kids where little and when I got home from the race I woke up my wife and said, 'Hey, honey I won some money.' I went back the next week and won first place and was low qualifier. I woke her up again and she said, 'Really, you won money again?' I said, yes, I got to keep coming."

In other results Friday at NYIRP, Akron's Dave Balser made two class finals, winning one of them. Balser bested Chris Van Baalen in Top 8 Eliminator but lost to Chuck Mendola in Top ET.  Ed Semlitsch defeated Keith Banas in Mod ET. Mike Peters beat Dick Nearhoof in Bikes/Sleds. Dan Knab was victorious over Deanna Winkowski in Street.


When Ransomville Speedway rained out Friday night, it marked the fifth time in the first eight weeks that the Niagara County dirt oval's Friday night program was washed away. The track has run just three times in 2019. When the sun has shined, Erick Rudolph ( 358 Modifieds) and Butch Zimmerman (Novice Sportsman) have two wins apiece there this season. Merrittville Speedway suffered its fifth rainout of 2019 on Saturday.

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