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Lombardo Wins Prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals

John Lombardo Jr.

Indianapolis, (September 6, 2017) - Winning the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis held every Labor Day weekend is on the to-do list of every racer who straps on a helmet to engage in a straight-line acceleration contest. Known as "The Big Go" or "the granddaddy of them all," Indy attracts the best racers from around the world who want to battle for the Wally trophy that instantly becomes the centerpiece of any mantle.

After a monstrous on-track performance, John Lombardo Jr. can finally call himself an Indy winner. Qualified No. 3 with a 5.42, Lombardo defeated Canadian Tyler Scott, Swede Ulf Leanders, and championship hopefuls Annie Whiteley and Doug Gordon en route to his first "Big Go" victory. It is the second Indy win for car owner/crew chief Rick Jackson and several crewmembers who won with Von Smith in 2008.

"It's hard to even describe it," said Lombardo, who vaulted back to the top of the Lucas Oil points standings with his victory. "It's unbelievable. I've been trying for it since 2010. Rick and the team have been able to enjoy winning Indy before, and they keep coming back trying to get me to the winner's circle. This year, they got it done, and I couldn't be more proud."

Late in the day on Sunday, Lombardo recorded low e.t. of eliminations at 5.40 seconds during an emphatic second-round victory. He stayed in the 5.4-second range when conditions were warmer on Monday to seal the win in the semifinal round against Whiteley and the final round against Gordon in a battle of potential first-time Indy winners from California.

"The 5.40 was awesome Sunday night in those conditions," said Lombardo. "I don't know that anyone was looking for that. It was sure a pleasure to pilot. This has been one of the tougher weekends at Indy. We had to give it everything. Rick Jackson really showed his commitment to the program, and we never gave up. We worked at it all weekend, and race day came to us. It was really, really special."

The title of Indy winner is something Lombardo now shares with father and former Funny Car driver "Lil' John" Lombardo, who drove late-great Raymond Beadle's legendary Blue Max to the team's final major drag racing victory in 1985. That was a fond memory for the younger Lombardo who has now added another chapter to his family's Indy legacy.

"I was on a minitour that summer with the Blue Max – one of the most special times of my life, touring with ‘Waterbed Fred' Miller, Dee Gantt, Dale Emery, Kevin ‘June Bug' Miller, and getting to have my dad fly in and drive the car," Lombardo recalled. "The tour ended with a win at Indy before I went back home to school. Those were awesome memories in the winner's circle with some great ones to add to it today with Rick Jackson, Les Davenport, Chris Perl, Scott Manning, Lew Larsen, Jack Miller, and LuAnn Bishop."

Adding significance to a special weekend was the involvement of kids from Hoosier Burn Camp who the team hosted for their third annual "Day at the Races" event on Saturday, Sept. 2. The children experienced a day full of fun and activities with several drivers from the Mello Yello and Lucas Oil ranks joining in to sign autographs and offer encouragement. There was also an auction to raise funds for Hoosier Burn Camp and RFC Kids.

"It is such an honor to welcome the brave campers and their families into our pit," said Lombardo. "Being able to share an Indy win with them makes it even more special. Thank you to all of the people who contributed and the drivers that came by for ‘A Day at the Races.'"

Jackson Lombardo Racing is sponsored by NAPA Filters, NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, Centre Pointe Collision, Hoosier Tire, NAPA Batteries, NAPA Belts and Hoses, Carlyle Tools, NAPA Power Supreme, Mahle/Clevite, NGK Spark Plugs, CP-Carrillo, Arvada Excavating, and Jackson's Auto Supply.

You can follow Lombardo on his web site and social media (Facebook and Twitter).