| JIMMY G AND THE GREAT RATTLESNAKE ROUNDUP
Up and coming West Coast Super Gas racer “Jimmy G” Galante “strikes” at the competition.
By Bob McClurg
There are some race car feature photo shoots you never forget. And this was one of them. Our intended subject was up and coming West Coast Super Gas star and high performance transmission guru “Jimmy G” Galante and his Chris Alston-chassis 1967 Chevy Nova. Piece of cake right? So it would seem, but read on!
We load up Jimmy's black and orange realistic flamed, eight-second Super Gas Nova bright and early Sunday morning, to "strike out” (you'll get it in a minute) for an area known as Big Tujunga Canyon (California) which lies right at Galante's back door. It was just one of those lazy May mornings where the hikers are out, the weather is right, and all is well!
Along the way we pick up Jimmy's cousin Lance Williams for a little extra muscle. Being that Lance is what you would call, a “local” we come up with a pretty good location almost right away, but the under brush is a little thick so Lance whips out his trusty Weed Whacker and starts mowing down the bushes along the guardrail, while Jimmy and I bring up the rear tossing the cuttings over the side.
About 10 minutes of this combined with a little broom work, and we've got things the way we want them. Lance shuts off the Weed Whacker and steps back to admire his work, but now we hear another sound, and it's becoming a little more frenzied.
Rattle, rattle, rattle. Rattle, rattle, rattle! About five feet away near the underbrush is a full-grown rattlesnake. I mean this sucker's about a four and one half footer! Most likely it was there sunning itself. Then we came along and ruined its morning. And was pissed!
Lance quickly runs over to his truck and grabs a shop broom and began to “herd” the snake down the wash. He's certainly a braver man than Galante and I. The snake is gone, but we two city boys spend the rest of the photo session nervously looking over our shoulders!
Jimmy G's emergence as a force to be reckoned with in Super Gas comes as no coincidence. The 38- year-old Chicago transplant was been racing most of his adult years and has gradually worked his way up from street cars, on through a procession of bracket cars prior to stepping up to the big time, NHRA Super Gas.
“This Nova was originally built for Darrell Young by Chris Alston right after he split from his father and started his own chassis business. More than likely it's one of Chris' very first race cars.”
Galante purchased the seldom-driven, Alston II, mild steel composition bracket car-sportsman racer as a rolling chassis from Young in 1998. Since the car was more than a few years old certain chassis and suspension upgrades have been carried out by John Scialpi at Woppado Racing and Jack Regan at Regan Enterprises in order to stay current with NHRA POWERade Super Gas guidelines, but other than that it is pure Alston!
Suspension on the Nova consists of a narrowed, Dana 60 rear axle out back, stuffed with a set of 4.56:1 Richmond Pro Gears, 31-spline Strange Engineering axles, and Strange Engineering disc brakes suspended by an Alston ladder bar suspension with Koni coil-over shocks.
Up front you'll find Koni/Strange struts with Strange Engineering front disc brakes and Pinto rack-and-pinion steering. Wheels and Tires on Jimmy's Nova consist of a set of 15 x 3.5-inch Weld Racing front and 15 x 15-inch Weld Racing rear wheels rolling on 15 x 4.5-inch Goodyear Front Runner and 33 x 15 x 15-inch Goodyear Eagle drag slicks supplied by “The Mongoose” Tom McEwen. Hank at Performance Plus Tires in Long Beach, CA polished the rims to perfection.
Powering this realistic flamed beauty is a Wayne Gaskamp assembled 522-cid 1981 big block Chevrolet. Internally, the big block is stuffed with a set of 15.1: compression big bore Venolia Pistons with Child's & Albert's piston rings, a set of Carrillo connecting rods, a GM Performance Parts cast-steel 454 Chevrolet crank riding on Clevite bearings, a Competition Cams cam and kit, a Moroso/Milodon lubricating system, Jesel belt drive and Meziere Enterprises electric water pump. Brad Lagman from QMP recently freshened up the power plant and changed the cam to a 7-4 swap to accommodate the 2 X 4 tunnel ram.
A set of Juan Mendoza 454 C-port heads ride up top bolted to ARP head suds, with Fel-Pro head gaskets. Also on board are 2.19-inch Manley stainless-steel intake and 1.88-inch Manley stainless-steel exhaust valves, Comp Cams valve springs and retainers, Manton push rods, 1.7-ratio Jesel rocker arms and a set of Moroso breather-equipped Woody Tryon cast-aluminum valve covers.
Induction comes in the form of a set of twin Divinci-prepared 1050 Holley Dominators bolted up to a Wayne Gaskamp- modified Holley 2 x 4 Pro Dominator intake. Ignition duties are handled by an MSD 7AL-II firing NGK spark plugs hooked up to MSD Pro Wires, purchased from CDW Rocky & Levi. Race header expert Jack Ragan built the 2-1/4 to 2-1/8- inch stepped exhaust system flowing the spent gases back through a pair of Dyna-Max race mufflers.
Backing all of this up is one of Jimmy G's certified DragTrans.com GM Powerglide two-speed gearboxes. It's outfitted with a B&M 1.76 Pro Gear set, TCI Gerotor pump, Alto Red Eagles/Kolene clutch packs, CSI composite cover, and bolted up to a CSI flex-plate and 8”-inch A-1 or 9”-inch Continental, 6200-stall speed torque converters. The final link in the Nova's power-train is an Inland Empire fabricated custom drive-shaft.
Inside Galante's Nova features Chris Alston tin work, a single JAZ fiberglass-racing bucket, Auto Meter instruments, and a combination of Deist and Chris Alston safety equipment. Out back in the trunk you'll find a Jaz 11-gallon fuel cell, Product Engineering electronic fuel pump, and twin Optima batteries. The fuel system was plumbed with products from Mitch at Deering Industries Long Beach.When it came to painting the '67 Nova body, it was Mike Jordan's idea to come out with a different look for 2005 and it required getting the car painted. In Southern California there is limited time between the World Finals and Winternationals for Division 7 racers to make changes to their vehicles before the season starts. You have to plan well and put together a team of professionals as Galante did!
When it came time to do it, Jimmy hooked up with Ian from The Saucer Shop to develop the schedule, and fit the new GLASSTEK hood with scoop and deck lid. Ian said the new pieces fit better than OEM, and were a piece of cake installing (thanks to Robert at GLASSTEK in Illinois). Glen Smith fellow NHRA Super Gas & Southern California Pro Gas racing association racer molded the scoop to the hood for this project, and did a great job! Eddie Salvatore or "Fast Eddie" provided a complete set of junker rims and tires to assist in rolling the chassis from shop to shop. Jose from Cars & Colors Sun Valley, California roughed out the bodywork, and had it all prepped for John Arens to spray the Nova with, the G&M-supplied PPG New Concept black, in the Cars & Colors paint booth. Of course, those awesome realistic flames by Tristan at T-Creations in Murrieta, California are what really grab your attention! “Movie Mike” Walsh and Brooks Brown, of Premiere Movie Rentals in San Fernando, California and Todd Olson of Sierra Signs In La Crescenta, California provided the decals.
Because there was so much work to do they barely made the Winternationals, but Galante and friends Steve “Hollywood” Holland, Sierra Signs' Todd Olson, John Sapone, Ian O'donoho, John Kilgore and Ronnie Combs assembled the Nova just in time to compete at the 2005 NHRA-POWERade Winternationals. Wife Tana was putting some of the decals on just as they were loading the car in to the trailer and between rain showers. According to Jimmy "We had the car teched on Friday morning before the last time trial" Galante says. "It rained for 3 days on and off, so I had to go into first round with no time trials. I got lucky and got through to the next round due to a broken car in the other lane. I lost in the second on Sunday; I had a bad light and ended up breaking out! Next, I went to Phoenix for the Division 7 opener where I went 4 rounds to lose by .004 sec. breakout. Then in Tucson, I lost in the first round again; too quick, broke out by .002 sec. On the way home from Tucson I managed to drop off the front end with Tristan for the realistic flames. He was so cool, easy to work with, and had it done in five days. On Friday of the same week I picked up the front end and went right to Palmdale for the LACR Napa National Open. I had the car completely done and everyone liked it!"
“Thanks to Everyone involved for all of your help and support to make this happen, especially my wife Tana and daughter Megan for putting up with all the late nights, coming down to keep me company and believing in me! I could not have done it with out you! “ -Jimmy G
Jimmy G's flamed 67 has clocked a career best of 8.99-151.00. More importantly, Galante hooked up with multi-NHRA sportsman champion and mentor Mike Jordan late last season, and the two plan on doing BIG things in the future. Like perhaps winning a Pro Gas race and or a division race before thinking about a championship or National event win, and no, there's not truth to the rumor that Jimmy's going to go back, and capture that snake, and use it as a team mascot! Jordan brings along with him the Mongoose for Goodyear tires, Phil's Lawn & Landscape, Harry at Pacific Ford, Kyle and Bobaloo.
CAR : 1967 Chevrolet Nova Chevy II Super Gas
OWNER : G Corporation “Jimmy G”
BODY : All Steel, 1967 Chevrolet Nova
CHASSIS : Chris Alston race cars “'Alston II” bracket car –sportsman racer mild steel tube chassis with 12 point roll cage. Chassis certification updates by John Scialpi, Wappado Racing and Jack Ragan, of Ragan Enterprises.
SUSPENSION : (Rear): Narrowed 4.56:1 Richmond Pro Geared Dana 60 Rear end, equipped with Strange Engineering 31-spline axles, Strange Engineering rear disc brakes (courtesy of P&J Trailers Paul Smith) Alston Ladder Bar rear suspension with Koni adjustable coil-over shocks.
SUSPENSION : (front): Strange Engineering-Koni front strut with Strange Engineering front disc brakes and Ford Pinto rack & pinion steering. Lamb Components master cylinder with a B&M line lock- solenoid.
WHEELS & TIRES : 15x3.5-inch Weld Racing front, and 15x15-Weld Racing rear equipped with 15x4.5-Goodyear Frond Drag Runners and 33x15x15-inch Goodyear Eagle slicks, supplied by the “Goose”.
ENGINE : 1981 Chevrolet 454.
MACHINING: OMP's Brad Lagman
CRANKSHAFT: GM Performance Parts heat-treated steel billet, micro-polished and chamfered.
CONNECTING RODS: Carrillo
PISTONS: 15:1 compression Venolia equipped with Child's & Albert piston rings.
ENGINE BEARINGS: Cleveite
CAMSHAFT: Comp “7-4 swap” 320-degrees duration and .740 max lift valve on the intake installed by QMP.
TIMING CHAIN: Jesel belt drive
OIL PUMP/SYSTEM: Moroso circulating oil through a Milodon eight-quart drag race oil pan.
WATER PUMP/ENGINE COOLING Meziere water pump, Flex-o-lite fan, and Griffin four-core radiator.
ENGINE FASTENERS: ARP, Deering Enterprises
CYLINDER HEADS: GM Performance Parts big-block c-port prepared by Super Stock racer Juan Mendoza. Heads equipped with Manley 2.19-inch stainless intake and Manley 1.88-inch stainless-steel exhaust valves.
VALVE SPRINGS & RETAINERS: Comp Cams
ROCKER ARMS: 1.7-ratio Jesel
VALVE COVERS: Cast-aluminum by Woody Tryon with Moroso breathers.
INDUCTION: Wayne Gaskamp-modified 2 x 4 Holley Pro Dominator equipped with a pair of Divinci 1050 Holley Dominator carburetors.
ENGINE PLUMBING: Mitch from Deering Enterprises in Long Beach, CA
IGNITION: MSD 7AL-II, firing NGK spark plugs through MSD spark plug wires/
EXHAUST: Jack Ragan 2-1/4 to 2-1/8-inch stepped headers and Dyna-Max racing mufflers
TRANSMISSION : Jimmy G/ DragTrans.com two-speed GM Powerglide equipped with a B&M 1.76 Pro Gear set, TCI Gerotor pump, a red Alto/Kolene clutch pack, CSI composite cover, and bolted up to a CSI flex plate and 8-inch A-1/Continental, 6200-stall speed torque converter, Hughes Performance trans brake valve body and Precision Performance Products shifter.
PAINT & BODYWORK : All steel 1967 Nova with GLASSTEK hood and deck lid and Chris Alston rear deck wing. Paint by John Arens. Bodywork by Jose from Cars & Colors, Sun Valley, CA. Paint (PPG New Concept Black) provided by G&M Paint & Auto Supply, No. Hollywood, CA. Flames by Tristin from T-Creations. Murrietta, CA.
INTERIOR : Alston interior paneling. JAZ fiberglass racing seat, Wilwood Engineering brake gauge, Auto Meter instruments, Precision Performance Products shifter, Deist Safety harness and an Alston window safety net.
BEST SPEED & E.T .: 8.99-151.00 mph
CREW CHIEF : Jimmy G and Steve “Hollywood” Holland
CREW : Wayne Gaskamp, Mike Mediesis, Steve Thulis, Jim Moore, Paul & Bill Smith, John Sapone, Ronnie Combs, and last but not least Tana & Megan G.
SPONSOR : DragTrans.com, Sun Valley, CA
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