DeFlorian Looking Forward to Homecoming at Gateway Motorsports Park


If it’s possible, John DeFlorian has plans to top his previous Pro Stock homecoming at Gateway Motorsports Park. The only problem is that DeFlorian will have to go to some extreme measures to do so.

The St. Louis-area native returns to GMP for the X-DRL’s X-Treme Gateway Showdown, and DeFlorian will certainly be the top attraction based on last year’s record-breaking performance at the track and his red-hot start to 2013.

There’s not added pressure for the Black Diamond Motorsports driver, but DeFlorian, a longtime employee at Jerry Haas Race Cars (where his 2012 Camaro was built) certainly wants to do well in front of what will be a large contingent of family and friends.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Gateway to race,” said DeFlorian, who is the X-DRL points leader in X-Treme Pro Stock. “We had a lot of fun racing there last year, and we’re hoping to do well again this year for the X-DRL’s first visit to the track.

“We’ll have a lot of friends and family at the track, but we’ll just hopefully use that as extra motivation. We just love to race and we can’t wait to get back after it.”

X-DRL X-Treme Gateway Showdown takes place on June 14-15 at Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis. It’s the X-DRL’s debut at the track and the fourth of nine races in its inaugural 2013 season.

DeFlorian will have his own big shoes to fill after a weekend filled with record-breaking runs in 2012 at the track. DeFlorian set world records on both days of qualifying, lowering the final boom to the tune of 4.01 at nearly 180 mph. That was an incredible feat and one that grabbed everyone’s attention in the sport, but unseasonably cool – i.e. nearly perfect – conditions didn’t hurt matters.

Those memorable conditions aren’t as likely in 2013, so DeFlorian is more worried about winning for the first time in his Pro Stock career at his home track.

“That would be a tremendous thing and we would certainly love to do that. But in a class like this, you certainly can’t go in expecting that because these guys will send you home right away,” DeFlorian said.

“You can go from hero to zero in the snap of a finger. It doesn’t last forever and it’s so difficult to achieve. The consistency is showing up and all the work is paying off. The cars in this class are so competitive and it’s impressive how tough this class really is.”

DeFlorian is certainly riding a hot streak, and it’s netted him everything from winner’s circle celebrations to magazine covers.

In fact, DeFlorian officially became the first X-DRL driver to appear on a magazine cover. He grabbed the cover of the most recent Drag Illustrated issue, the 75th for the standout magazine, and gets a major cover story from Ian Tocher to boot.
After being out of the driver’s seat for nearly two years, DeFlorian has returned in a major way and continues to do incredible things in Pro Stock as part of the Black Diamond Motorsports team headed up by Kevin Bealko.

DeFlorian got the opportunity from Bealko to drive a 2012 Jerry Haas Race Cars Camaro a year ago, and DeFlorian has taken tremendous advantage of it.

He won his first national event a year ago and was the No. 1 qualifier at several events, posting a world record time of 4.01. In 2013, he continues to build on that momentum, winning the first event of the year in both the X-DRL and ADRL.

Keeping the points lead and netting his first world championship remains a major goal, but the honors that have coincided with his success keeps a constant smile on DeFlorian’s face.

“It is just unbelievable. I was just blown away (by the magazine cover). It was almost surreal, and I’m just very thankful to be in this situation,” DeFlorian said. “Like I’ve always said, I couldn’t do this without Kevin and Karen Bealko. I owe it all to them and it’s just amazing to be in this situation.

Of course, DeFlorian will be a major favorite in the XPS class during the X-DRL’s debut in St. Louis. He’ll have plenty of challenges, most notably from the two-car team of two-time XPS world champion Cary Goforth and Dean Goforth, the X-DRL’s most recent XPS event winner.

But DeFlorian, who won the first-ever XPS event in the X-DRL, continues to simply enjoy the magical moments that have come his way over the past two seasons. He’s just hoping to add one more next week in St. Louis.

“When moments like these come around, you just have to savor it,” DeFlorian said. “I’m just thankful and very happy to be in this position.”


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