Jill M. Caliendo
March 1, 2001
Photos By: John McCartney

With 10.5-inch tires and over 1,000 horsepower, the Outlaw cars are some of the most exciting hot rods to grace the strip. The class brings with it some controversy due to the wild overpowered cars, yet there is no lack of them wherever they run. In Englishtown, the top qualified car belonged to Mike Jones of Hollistown, Mass., with a quick 8.34 at 167 mph. Hot on Jones' heels was the LX of Shawn Gallagher at 8.45 and Bryan Sorby at 8.62. The exciting action continued throughout the day with the most wild ride, taking place for Joe Troiano behind the wheel of his '91 GT.

Just after crossing the stripe with a 9.35 at 146 mph, fans and race officials first heard a screech and then turned to watch Troiano's GT skid and then smack the left retaining wall, at well over 100 mph. After hitting the wall the GT got airborne and barrel-rolled numerous times before finally coming to rest on the driver's side. The emergency crew rushed to the scene and thankfully Troiano was out of the car and unhurt. Apparently the car went into reverse in the shut down area, which caused the rear tires to lock and make the driver lose control. Upon exiting his GT, an uninjured Troiano thanked Kenny at Webber Engineering in North Stonnington, Conn. for constructing such a safe car.

The Saturday night fever continued with a real fan favorite, the tire-frying Burnout Contest. With a new set of racing slicks on the line, five Ford guys burned rubber as the crowd cheered them on. The insanity lasted just as long as the tires did and in the end it was Chris Costanzo and Anthony Cavicchio who drew the largest applause. A showdown ensued and it was Costanzo, also known as "Big Bug," who outlasted Cavicchio with his Ford Ranger to take the win in tire-popping fashion.

In the first round of eliminations, Bossone took the bye and pulled out the stops. He spooled his single turbo and ripped to a 7.63 at 159 mph. McKoy got past a struggling Briante and then it was DiSomma vs. Erickson. When the light flashed green Somerset, N.J.'s DiSomma jumped first (.460 to .710) and put his '85 GT way ahead of the quicker qualified '92 coupe of Erickson. The reaction time advantage and outstanding 7.75 at 169 mph was enough to give DiSomma the win over the hard-charging Erickson, who ran 7.76 at 189 mph.

Bossone cruised past McKoy in the next round with another 7.63 and Disomma eased down the track on his semi-final single. In the final Disomma grabbed the holeshot (.478 to .482), but it was Bassone, who used bracket race consistency and big power to run 7.57 and take the stripe over DiSomma's respectable 7.81.

The 8-second Outlaw show continued in eliminations, first with Jones taking his bye run and running 8.94, then with Sorby defeating Jose Lauzardo (8.55 to 9.33). Greg Davies handled Ozzy Licer with a 8.46, while Lou Proto got by with a 9.82. Tom Kasper beat Rob Westlund and Tommy Trotter blasted past number two qualifier Gallagher with a round-best ET of 8.25 at a whopping 170 mph. In round two Sorby continued his march, beating Davies (8.61 to 8.82) and Jones, who idled down to beat Proto.

Then came Trotter, who was looking like the man to beat. Trotter left the line first, but his teal GT quickly went into a wheelstand the likes of which we've rarely seen. The GT climbed higher and higher and then went straight up, all four tires lifting off the track. With no rubber hitting the track, the car spun backwards, twisted in the air and came back down on the roof. It skidded for another 100 feet upside down and caught on fire. The flames grew quickly and in a minute or so the car was engulfed. Since the car came to rest near the wall, no one saw Trotter escape and they imagined the worst. But he was able to free himself from the inverted car and make his way out by smashing the side window. The car was totaled, but the driver emerged unscathed.

With Trotter's 8.25-second missile out of commission, the door was left open for Jones and Kasper who made it to the final. It was Jones' day as he nailed a .452 light and marched to an 8.79 against Kasper, who slowed to an 11.21.

As we mentioned before, Raceway Park combined the popular Renegade class with the naturally aspirated cars that normally run in NMRA's Hot Street or the FFW's Street Bandit. And while most figured the class would be owned by the LaRocca gang, that was not the case. Surprising to all, there was not a single LaRocca Renegade car in the park, or even a single Renegade car, that could match the performance of Anthony "Shakes" Galimi's 9.60-second Hot Streeter, which, interestingly enough, was driven by Outlaw standout Carlos Catalanotto of New Orleans. In fact, the second quickest car, driven by Mike Curcio, was also a dedicated Hot Street/Street Bandit racer.