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CCI Motorsports Announces Their Comeback Tour!
Welcome to 2014!
Updated 3/3/2014 Diana Patille,Press Author
What a difference three years make. Let us tell you what's been going on with CCI Motorsports during that time, and what our future plans include.
In the last update we posted, Frank was well underway with intense therapy, working very hard to regain the strength, balance and coordination he once had, that was stripped of him after an acute episode with GBS/CIDP in early 2011. This was a frightening medical ordeal for Frank, who had been diagnosed with neuropathy a few years earlier.
Guillain-Barre syndrome, (Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body's defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation or damage that causes muscle weakness or loss of use).
Frank spent 7 weeks in the hospital having infusions, plasma exchanges, lab work ups, biopsies and intense therapy sessions. This debilitating disease put Frank in a wheelchair for 5 months. Once he returned home, the real work began in his rehabilitative efforts. Determined to regain the use of his arms and legs again, Frank's motivation was remarkable, and relentless. His routine was once 6 days a week, with immune globulin infusions every 6 weeks. Now, Frank is out of physical therapy and has a prescribed weight and cardio training program that he does religiously 3 days a week.
During the 2013 season, Frank could be found on the line and in the pits frequently crewing with Tommy "The Undertaker" Gray and occasionally with Chris Russo. While overseeing engine preparations and taking on pre-run responsibilities, Frank enjoyed offering his expertise to his fellow racers, helping them complete at their best level. And while he offered his help to his friends, Frank stayed current with the sport at the track and kept the Black Cat purring in his speed shop, as well.
Safety upgrades, re-certifications, renewals and other improvements were made to the fan-favorite '57 Buick Pro Mod, to keep her up-to-date and track-ready for the much anticipated 2014 Comeback Season.
The end of the year in 2013 also brought a new business opportunity to Frank. After having to close his successful general contracting company, CCI Constructors, in 2011 Frank's entrepreneurial inclinations began to stir and soon, The Transporter Car Hauling Services was born. The tongue-in-cheek name of the business was lifted from the popular movie of the same title starring Jason Stratham. Services offered include: car hauling, trailer hauling, event transportation and accommodations for car and crew.
The Transporter is a 16' totorhome with a 37' lift gate stacker trailer built by Renegade. The rig was formerly sponsored by Meguiars Car Wax Products and served as their show unit. It sports a custom paint job by Huntington Beach Body Works out of southern California. Inside the trailer, Larry DeForrest with Arrow Components has been working with Frank to outfit the trailer with custom cabinetry for all of his racing and hauling needs. Frank holds a CDL license and continues to maintain his NHRA license and certifications in good standing.
CCI Motorsports also attended the 2013 PRI Show in Indianapolis in December, and broke bread and enjoyed some quality time with NEOPMA Club President John Mazzarano, Resolution Racing's Jon and Melanie Salemi, GForce Race Car's driver Mike Stawicki and friends.
2014 will bring freshened up CCI Motorsports T-shirts with updated graphics by Greg Ozubko of GOS Motorsport Graphics. Greg offered much encouragement and support to Frank during his lengthy recovery. The new shirts will feature sponsorship by Richard's Automotive, owned by longtime friend and supporter Richard Dixon.
The Black Cat herself is getting some new stripes, which will recognize and bring awareness to the GBS - CIDP Foundation a group committed to supporting those touched by Guillain-Barré syndrome and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) disorders. CIDP, an autoimmune deficiency, is the very disease that sidelined Frank almost three years ago. To learn more about the disease, its symptoms, treatments, living with the disorder and how you can help, go to www.gbs-cidp.org. We thank you for your awareness and support.
The 2014 race schedule is already filling up quickly. We plan to do some pre-season testing in the warmer climates in early spring. Then, our intentions are to compete in the NEOPMA 2014 Race Circuit. See our schedule at 2014 CCI Motorsports Race Schedule
We are very excited to be able to announce a Comeback Tour, and look forward to seeing our friends and fans at the track. We cannot begin to tell you have grateful we are for all of the support, concern and expressions of friendship we have received over the past few years. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Now, let the 2014 season begin!
CCI Motorsports Enters 2012.
What 2011 Was, What Is Coming For The Bad Black Buick Pro Modified Team In 2012
Updated 1/12/2012 Diana Patille, Press Author Photographer
As we start the New Year in 2012, many of you may be wondering where we went! Well, rest assured, CCI Motorsports is alive and well! We've had some real ups and downs in 2011.
Photo Array From 2011 Franks Recovery And Trip Around The Country Plus "Renegade Motor Coaches Shop Tour" By Diana Patille
After a few pre-season test sessions with the Black Cat, Frank took a trip in early May 2011 to the Throw Down at T-Town in Oklahoma with fellow racer, Chris Russo. The pair loaded up the CCI Motorsports trailer and motor home with provisions for the 23-hour trip to run in the Battle of the Belts. Once they arrived at the track, Frank realized that the intake manifold was not machined properly and they wouldn't be able to run the car, so they focused their attention on getting Chris's new car dialed in, leaving the weekend with a not-too-shabby 3.78 second pass on Russo's brand new 1968 Camaro.
Shortly after Frank returned home, he started feeling poorly. His condition quickly deteriorated into a frightening medical ordeal for Frank. Diagnosed with neuropathy in 2008, Frank has learned how to live with the chronic pain, muscle spasms and fatigue that accompany the disease. But, that weekend at the end of May after feeling exceptionally tired, Frank's condition rapidly declined. The following morning, Frank felt so sick, that he ended up at the emergency room at the Christiana Hospital. In just a matter of hours, things went from bad to worse to the point of incapacitating Frank.
It became obvious to the staff at Christiana that Frank was in crisis and needed more highly specialized care than they could provide.
At midnight, Frank was transported to the Johns Hopkins Hospital Meyer 9 Unit, where the sole focus of this medical team is treating neurological disorders. Frank was diagnosed with AIDP (Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy), or Guillain-Barre syndrome, (Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body's defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness).
After three weeks of infusions, plasma exchanges, tests, scans, lab work ups, biopsies and other medical studies, Frank was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital closer to home. He was unable to walk, use his arms or even roll from side to side. Once Frank was situated in his room at the Rehabilitation Center at Wilmington Hospital, he realized just how bad things had gotten. Unable to feed himself, dress, and shower or even sit up in bed without assistance, Frank eagerly welcomed the intense daily therapy sessions that he knew would give him the strength to start moving toward recovery. Frank spent 4 weeks at the Rehab Hospital in Wilmington and was released the week after 4th of July. While in the hospital, Frank's house was made handicap accessible, equipped with the wheelchair ramp, grab bars and other handicapped devices.
Therapy continued on an outpatient basis throughout the summer, until insurance coverage ran out. At that point, Frank continued therapy out of pocket with trainers at the Hockessin Athletic Club, a nearby health club. Frank continues his therapy sessions 6 days a week and is making steady progress in his recovery. Back in June, the doctors told Frank that recovery would take 6 months to a year, and that the extent of his recovery was hard to predict. In October, the ramp at the house was removed. Since that time, Frank has gone from using a walker, to a cane and now requires no assistance to walk. Frank's neurologist has re-classified the disease as CIPD, a chronic condition that may recur, so in an effort boost recovery, Frank receives infusions of immune globulin every 5 – 6 weeks.
What does this mean to CCI Motorsports? It's hard to say exactly, but one thing is for sure. Frank's love of racing continues, and he will maintain his involvement in the sport. At this time the 1957 Buick and all racing equipment is at his shop. Frank has been keeping tabs on what's in store for the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association by staying in touch with club president and friend, John Mazzarano.
In October, Frank and Diana ventured out to the Shakedown at E-Town to a warm reception by our fellow racers and friends. John Mazzarano was so happy to see Frank up and about, he arranged for a live interview in the Tower during the race. Afterwards, Frank made rounds through the pits to say hello and thanks to the special group of friends he has made through the Club.
Also in December, Frank and Diana attended the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) in Indianapolis, Indiana where the latest racing technology was unveiled for hardcore racing professionals only.
While in town, they took a trip north to Bristol, Indiana to visit Renegade's factory.
There they were given a private tour by Jack Wheeler, a sales manager for the company. It was exciting and informative to see how the Renegade motor coaches and trailers are constructed.
Meanwhile, back at Frankie's Speed Shop, the car cover has been pulled off the Black Cat after several months. Chris Russo came down from northern New Jersey to help Frank pull the blower off the engine, so they could dry fit the new intake shipped from Allan Johnson Performance Engineering. It fit like a glove! Now, the intake, blower and a few small things will be put back together so that the mighty Black Cat's powerhouse can be fired up! This will be very exciting for Team CCI Motorsports!
Frank will also travel to DMPE's shop in Michigan to do some dyno work on Chris Russo's motor. And Frank plans to start the season by crewing with Russo at the first ADRL event of the season at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas scheduled for March 30.
Later in January, Frank and Diana plan to catch up with good friend (and original Buick owner), Kip DuPuis and his wife, in Scottsdale, Arizona for a mid-winter vacation.
So, as you can see, 2011 was a bumpy ride for CCI Motorsports, and we're looking forward to a better year in 2012. We would like to thank all of our friends and supporters who have been in contact with us as Frank recovers.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Photo Tags: "Renegade Motorhome, Motor coaches, Shop Tour, Buick Pro Mod, Pro Modified".
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