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Mon, 29 Nov 2004, 11:35 AM

Bob Gilbertson Hires Tommy DeLago as Co-Crew Chief
Courtesy of Berserko Bob

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bob Gilbertson, owner/driver of the Autolite XP Spark Plugs/Prestone Antifreeze nitro Funny Car has named veteran nitro crewman Tommy "Tommy D" DeLago as co-crew chief to work alongside his current crew chief Nick Boninfante, Jr. for the 2005 NHRA POWERade season.

Tommy DeLago
DeLago, who has worked with some of the top teams in the sport including Tommy Johnson, Jr., Connie Kalitta, Darrell Gwynn and most recently Don Prudhomme Racing, will re-locate to the Charlotte area and head-up the day to day operation of the team and oversee the final stages of the new 25,000 square foot race shop the team will be moving into this winter.

"Having Autolite and Prestone come on board as our sponsor next year gives me the resources to take this team to the next level, something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Gilbertson. "Tommy D brings a lot to the table, not only for his at the track skills but his organizational talent as well and he'll be at the shop every day making sure we're ready for the 2005 season."

"Tommy will be my eyes and ears down at the shop and on the road with the team," said Boninfante. "I've worked with him and I know first hand his work ethic and his passion for this sport, I welcome him with open-arms and look forward to his help at both the track and at the shop but most important he'll be there to bounce ideas off of when it comes to tuning the car."

"This is an opportunity I couldn't pass up," said DeLago. "I've known Nicky for a long time since we worked at Kalitta's together and I've gotten to know Bob this past year and I liked what I saw over there. When they offered me the job I jumped at the chance, I can't wait to move to the Carolinas and get to work."

Gilbertson also named Kevin Fenstermaker, who's worked for Gilbertson the past six years, as assistant crew chief. "Kevin has been with me through thick and thin, he's one of the best crew guys out there and he's earned this promotion," Gilbertson added. "I'm glad he's on my team and I wish I could find a couple more guys just like him."

The first outing for the team will be a series of pre-season test sessions starting out in Las Vegas before the 23-race 2005 NHRA POWERade season begins February 10-13 at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona California.

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