Team CCI Motorsports, How Our Racing Came About|
CCI Motorsports Team History And Their Beginnings
Frank and Diana Patille have been racing together since the mid 1990's. Our husband and wife team, along with son Chris, and some close friends, make up team CCI Motorsports. In our early days of racing, we ran a 1969 Camaro street car.
The proverbial "need for speed" was evident with Frank. He wanted to go faster and quicker. And, as a result, we bought our first dragster in 1996, making a really long trip to Odessa, Texas, in our Chevy duallie with a 24' Haulmark trailer. Luck was in our favor when we got there. After 36 hours of driving across the Midwest, we were glad that the car fit in the trailer, once we took the wing and front nose off.
On the return trip, we stopped at the Texas Motorplex, where the NHRA O'Reilly Nationals was in full swing. We were able to get the NHRA chassis certification before heading for home. We bracket raced the Texas dragster for 2 years.
Before long, we contracted Precision Chassis to build a new dragster for us. This was a 235", 4-link rail. Frank built a 540 c.i. power house for this car. We continued to compete in the bracket class, and after adding a little nitrous to the mix, joined the IHRA where we followed the Top Dragster circuit.
This program took us to venues all over the east coast, and as far west as Michigan. A huge wheel stand for the CCI Motorsports dragster at MIR, resulting in a broken chassis and snapped off A arms motivated us move into the doorslammer class.
We found a basket case in Michigan that became a true project car. After selling the broken dragster, we made a hike out to Flint, Michigan, where we bought a Tim McAmis chassis and Firebird body that would eventually become the beautiful CCI Motorsports Top Sportsman Firebird. Assembling this car became a labor of love, since essentially everything had to be finished. Once we returned home with the car, Frank launched into putting this puppy together. Precision Chassis worked for months completing this work, in addition to mounting the Firebird body onto the McAmis chassis.
While the body was being put on the chassis, we made yet another trip to Chicago to buy an engine for the car. We purchased an 815 c.i. Sonny's engine that was freshened up for the new ride. Kook's Kustom Headers, based in Bayshore, NY on Long Island made a set of stainless headers for us.
After we got the car back from Precision, all of the systems and components were dry fit and mounted. Then, everything was taken off so the chassis could be powder-coated. While the car was being coated, we worked with Greg Osboko, of gosmotorsportgraphics, who created what is truly a beautiful paint scheme. Once we got the car back from the powder coater, the car made its trip to be painted, by local body shop Classic Auto Body.
The car arrived at Frankie's Speed Shop in May 2007, where the final stage of assembly began. The car was put back together and rolled out for its maiden voyage down the quarter mile runway at Cecil County Dragway in July 2007. There is a story within a story on this day in CCI Motorsports history.
The event was a Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association Extreme Race. Frank had just become licensed to compete at this event. All of the stars must have been aligned for CCI Motorsports, as we made our way into the final round of the night, concluding with a loss to Marc Hayes. What a Cinderella story.
Although we continued to run in the Top Sportsman class, including the Foxwoods Top Sportsman program, it was obvious that Frank wanted to compete in heads up races, where the first guy to the finish line wins. The Firebird, with its solid 7.0 passes, did not have all the horses to take it into the 6.0's to run with the Big Dogs in the Pro Mod class. The writing was on the wall – we needed to get another car!
Thank goodness for the Internet! Frank spent hours searching on line for a car that he liked. We flew out to Illinois for a day trip to look at one car, Frank and Chris took another trip to Salt Lake City, Utah to see a car there, and we drove to Virginia to see someone's car for sale there. We thought we finally found the right car for CCI Motorsports in Idaho. In spite of a zillion phone calls to Missouri and after spending months trying to orchestrate a deal to sell two cars and purchase three cars between three players, we realized it was not meant to be. We ended up holding on to the Firebird with the intent to sell it, if the right buyer comes along.
In January 2008 after spotting the radical 1957 Buick on RacingJunk.com, we flew out to California to take a look at the car in person. We met Kip Dupuis, who owned the 1957 McAmis-built Buick. As soon as Frank saw the car, he knew he wanted it and was certain this was the car for us. We cut the deal, and spent a few days seeing the sights of northern California, since we had flown across the country to see the car. In April, the car was delivered and by the 4th of July 2008, we made our first outing with the 1957 Buick Special. Kip flew in from California to help tune the car that weekend.
We had a pretty exciting partial first season with the Buick. In October 2008, we went to the semi-final round of the The Shakedown at E Town, after having not qualified (we were in the 17th spot) and getting bumped up into the field after Jensen broke and couldn't make the call.
In December 2008, we took our annual trip to Orlando, to attend the PRI Show.
It was here that we met Darren Mayer and Jon Salemi of DMPE equipment "Darren Mayer Performance Engineering" and were impressed by the power systems they offered.
Frank decided to make some changes during the winter in the fuel management system and replaced the blower with a DMPE M5 supercharger.
The 2009 season saw great improvement in the car's performance. A win at Epping, NH, a runner up at MIR and a quarter-round appearance at the Shakedown at E'Town left us optimistic about the 2010 season.
We thrive on all the work, effort, planning and energy associated with drag racing. We've met some wonderful people and have found some great relationships with fellow racers, and others involved behind the scenes in the sport.
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