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Race car engines are built here

Vinny Budano shows a car to Kidsday reporters

Vinny Budano shows a car to Kidsday reporters Kevin Hanton, Thomas Luhrs, Jagger Celentano, Jaleal Duncan, Justin Lema, Donte Gomez, Brayden Elderbaum and Logan Plume. Photo Credit: Constance Krauss

Our class recently visited a business, Shafiroff Race Engines and Components, which is located in Bohemia. They build race car engines there.

On the tour we saw lots of engine parts and engines. We watched men build the different parts of race car engines. After our tour we were lucky enough to interview general manager, Mr. Vinny Budano. Mr. Budano is a three-time National Muscle Car Association Pro Street World Champion. He is the driver of the Bad Apples ’68 Pro-Mod Camaro on the drag racing circuit.

When did you begin racing?

I began racing when I was a child. I started racing with go-karts.

How old do you have to be to drive a race car?

Kids can race starting at 8 years old. It’s called Junior Dragster. [To find out more visit the website: jrdragster.nhra.com. There are no Junior Dragster tracks on Long Island.]

Where do you race?

We race all over the United States.

Are the races on television?

Yes, the races are televised.

Do you have a pit crew?

Yes, my family is my pit crew.

How much does it cost for a race car engine?

A race car engine costs between $10,000 and $85,000.

How many people does it take to build the engine?

It takes about 15 people to build an engine.

How many parts are in an engine?

There are over 300 parts in an engine.

How many engines are built here?

We build between 350 and 400 engines a year.

You can start racing at 8 years old. How can kids get involved? How can Kidsday reporters steer other kids into getting more info on Junior Dragster if they’re interested?

As of June 15, 2014, the minimum age to participate in Junior Dragster has been lowered to 5 years old. This is a trainee-style category. A good place to start to do some research is at jrdragster.nhra.com. This is a wonderful resource to help a youngster learn about the sport and prepare them for what could be a lifelong hobby or profession. Rules and safety regulations are also outlined so that families are aware of their responsibilities. Joining the Junior Dragster League provides a child with the necessary information to begin to race.

Where in New Jersey is the closest racetrack for Junior Dragsters?

The closest racetrack is Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. It is also home to some of the first Junior Dragsters to ever go down a racetrack. Raceway Park is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. During the season families have the opportunity to experience fun and the thrill of monster trucks and world-class racers from all over the country. For scheduled events I would recommend visiting etownraceway.com

Your family pit crew — which family members are involved, and for how long?

I am fortunate to have the support of my family and friends to be able to attend races all over the country. My team has been together for over 30 years! My children attend races and everyone pitches in to help. A day at the track can be a long one. No job at the track is meaningless. One of the most important jobs is the BBQ chief. Myself along with members of my team started out at Raceway Park looking through the chain-link fence dreaming of what it must feel like to be a part of something so exciting. To this day it is still exciting to experience a day at the track.

Are any of your kids interested in continuing the family business?

My longtime friend and mentor Scott Shafiroff has one child and I have five children. The passion for racing is in our blood, therefore, we have definitely passed that passion off to our children. Recently Scott and I each welcomed our own grandchildren into our families. A grandson and a granddaughter. Hmm, perhaps it will be the next generation of racing professionals.

Our tour of Shafiroff Race Engines and Components was excellent. We all had an awesome time! If you want to find out more about it, visit them at 35A Davinci Drive in Bohemia or online at shafiroff.com

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