The friendly rivalry between Eddie Strada and Billy Pauch Jr. runs deep. They have battled each other for years in the 600s at Action Track USA in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Pauch’s car comes from one of 600 racing’s largest chassis builders, Hyper Racing. Strada uses a car from the much smaller MMF Chassis. When Strada bested Pauch to score a $1,000-to-win Hyper Racing 600 Speedweek event, Strada had good reason to celebrate. And, Pauch was happy to congratulate him — by drenching him in champagne.
“They handed me a bottle of champagne and it was game on!” Pauch, 33, of Milford, New Jersey, said. “I started third and was trying like hell to pass Eddie. Sometimes you chase the monkey, but you can’t beat the monkey. It was a big win for the kid.”
Strada enjoyed the battle and relished the victory.
“It feels good to win in Hyper country, against one of Hyper’s top drivers,” said Strada, 22, of Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania. “Billy [Pauch, Jr.] was just as excited for us as we were. He knows how hard our small team works.”
Strada’s crew chief, Mark Manieri Jr., is the mastermind behind MMF Chassis, of Easton, Pennsylvania. They have built 25 cars. Ten to 15 of them race on a weekly basis in the Keystone State. Manieri said his cars are markedly different than Hyper Racing’s.
“For one, we have a shorter wheelbase,” Manieri said. “Because of that, we can get the car to turn quicker and take some stagger out. Our torsion arms are longer in the rear. Our right-side wishbone is designed differently — in its length and where it is mounted.”
For MMF Chassis, the win meant a lot.
“We race in the backyard of the biggest, most successful 600cc chassis builder in the country,” said Manieri. “It only makes us better as we compete — and, ultimately, beat them — because they are considered to be the best.”
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 50th year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.