After a long cold winter, the Modern Street HEMI® Shootout series roared to life once again under the sunny skies of Bradenton, Florida on Sunday, March 1st. The smell of burning rubber and race fuel signaled the first stop of the five race series, with competitors coming from all over the U.S. in hopes of starting the year off with a win.
With a win in the Hemituner Performance Street class, John Govenettio, 49, from Hamburg, New York, gained entry into the Stage 6 King of the Hill competition. Govenettio took full advantage of his victory by then winning the King of the Hill contest that pits the winners of all 5 classes against each other in an bracket race battle. Representing the Western New York Mopar Club, Govenettio was the last man standing when the smoke finally cleared. With his wife of 30 years, Mindy, and grandchild, Caleb in the stands, John was able to hoist not only his Hemituner Performance Street class plaque, but the highly coveted Stage 6 King of the Hill trophy as well.
To get there, he had to beat some seasoned veterans of the MSHS series, none bigger than that of Marcus Hughes. Hughes has won the Thitek Pro Class championship numerous times, as well as being a perennial favorite for the King of the Hill bounty at every event. Not only did he have to beat Hughes, but due to an error with the staging lights, Govenettio had to prove himself a second time in his 2012 Charger R/T Road and Track. On the second run, the tree worked as it should and John caught an advantage off the line, pushing his Magnuson supercharged ride to a 12.68 on a 12.66 dial. While not a stranger to the King of the Hill event, Govenettio, after all, is the reigning Hemituner Performance Street Class champion from last year, it was a big victory. One that would be followed up in the finals against Ron Skorupa, the days Legmaker Intakes Super Stock Class winner. The final turned out to be everything the crowd could have hoped for, as John got the jump on Ron by two hundredths at the light and would grab another precious four hundredths at the top end to take home the crown.
The victory capped off what proved to be quite a lucrative day for Govenettio. Not only did he take home the $400 first place award for the Hemituner Performance Street Class, but he added an extra $1000 to his bank account on the day by taking the Stage 6 King of the Hill honors, something that probably came in pretty handy after the long trip down from Western New York.
After his Street Class championship last season and his tremendous showing at the Bradenton event, Govenettio has shown that he will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the rest of the season. In post-race discussions, John was surprised to find himself the King, “After winning the King of the Hill race, I now know that it is possible for a heavy street class car to beat the dedicated race cars.” Although he was happy with his victory, John believes the “icing on the cake,” was a turn at the wheel of fellow racer, John Lewis’ new Hellcat Challenger, which made its debut at the Bradenton Event. Govenettio has put the other racers on notice, as he plans to race all 5 events this season, including some other regional HEMI events like the Mopar Nationals. Look for Govenettio to make another strong run through the field when the Modern Street HEMI® Shootout action resumes on May 29th, at Virginia Motorsports Park sponsored by AGP Performance.
-Written by MSHS Racer Craig Couture. Craig will be featuring additional reviews of the events with Modern Mopar Magazine. Be sure to order your copy now!