Saturday, July 13, 2024

Racer Spotlight with JEGS Allstars Champ Jeff Dona

NHRA Division 3 Super Stock racer Jeff Dona had a weekend to remember at the 2019 JEGS Allstars after winning the event in his sixth attempt.

Jeff Dona always had a passion for fast cars and in the early 1990’s, he focused that passion on drag racing. After bracket racing for several years, the Gordonville, Missouri racer moved into the Super Stock class where he’s competed ever since.

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During his time competing in Super Stock, Jeff has become a fixture in winners circle’s across the Midwest. He won his first NHRA national event in 2000 at St. Louis, has won eight Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events, was the 2013 Division Champion, and has collected 18 class wins at INDY.

With all his success, Jeff was missing a JEGS Allstars crown. After coming up short in his first five appearances, he never lost faith that he would one day become an Allstars champion. In 2019, Dona rolled into Route 66 Raceway for his sixth appearance in the specialty event.

With his previous experience along with a runner up finish in 2017, Dona put together three win lights and found himself finally holding the trophy that had alluded him for years.

The race started off on a sour note after a timing system malfunction forced Dona into a re-run with his first round opponent. The run was his toughest of the event as Dona explained, “it’s tough having to mentally prepare to race someone you just raced.”

While the Allstars competitors receive special privileges during the race weekend such as special parking and a JEGS sponsored cookout, “you don’t want to let your team down with a first round loss,” Dona explained.

“It’s thrilling leading up to the event but when it comes time for the race, there’s a lot of pressure not to let your team down,” Jeff commented.

While intent on helping his team, Dona focused on getting by the first round and adding points to the team’s score. “You feel like you need to make three perfect runs,” Jeff explained.

After claiming his first JEGS Allstars win, Jeff said, “the coolest thing is already knowing we will be returning next year!”

Read more on Jeff’s Allstars win here.

With one trophy in hand, Jeff moved into Sunday’s eliminations at the Route 66 Nationals looking to double up on the weekend. When asked if the double crossed his mind, Jeff said, “I can’t say that it didn’t but I didn’t let it mentally effect how I raced on Sunday.”

On Sunday, Dona raced down to the final four before bowing out to eventual race winner Vic Penrod. While the double will have to wait another year, Jeff left Route 66 a JEGS Allstars champion.

The car that carried Jeff to his Allstars victory is a ’98 Pontiac Firebird built by MPR and powered by a Stanfield Racing engine. When asked what’s the toughest part of racing, he confessed that all the traveling can be tough.

In addition to the competition, the challenge of going fast within the rules, and the travel, Jeff confided that it is all worthwhile after seeing his wife’s smiling face after a big win.

The mosquito control business owner mentioned that running a competitive Super Stock car is much like having a part-time job due to the massive amount of work it takes to remain competitive. “It’s always on your mind, even in the offseason,” Dona admitted.

While he likes hanging with friends, playing practical jokes, and making his wife smile, Jeff Dona is a fierce competitor that never stops thinking about racing. His drive and determination helped make him a JEGS Allstar champion and continues to motivate him as a drag racer.

Jeff and Charlotte Dona
Jeff and Charlotte Dona

DragChamp congratulates Jeff Dona on his 2019 JEGS Allstars victory!

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