By John Bassetti
Getsy Racing had a breakout performance on Oct. 6, when the Getsy brothers from Lowellville — Jim, Bob and Jeff — concluded the Renegade Drag Racing Association season with two championships and a third-place finish at Thompson Raceway in Thompson.
Jim Getsy’s runner-up finish in a 1964 Corvette that night helped him seal the points championship in the Heads-Up 890 division.
Based on ample points accumulated throughout the May through October schedule, George Getsy’s oldest of 11 children, Bob, captured the Heads-Up 990 division despite his 1957 Bel Air Chevy breaking down earlier that night.
Also on Oct. 6, George’s youngest son, 20-year-old Jeff, won that night’s 1050 class event in a 1977 Vega to place third in points for the season.
The four-race season culminated in the championships, which comprised points in many areas, such as qualifiers and, to a lesser extent, something as basic as attendance.
“This was the best season Getsy Racing has had,” said 61-year-old George Getsy, who owns the ‘64 Corvette.
A broken drive shaft sidelined “Bel Air” Bob, but the 41-year-old had enough points so that others couldn’t catch him.
Jeff became the youngest to win a Renegade race.
The scheduled six-race season was shortened by two: a cancellation due to a racer’s death and another by rain.
In his younger days, George Getsy says he was a car nut. The Corvette is his fourth, but he defers to youth.
“My reaction is not that good, that’s why I have one son, Jim, 37, drive,” he said. “He’s terrific at reaction. I own the car, but he drives it.”
Dragster drivers react to a green light signal at the start of runs.
“They have to have a terrific reaction time and run that number,” Getsy said of the index system that is based on various times.
In the 890 class, cars doing 8.89 seconds are too fast, but would be declared the winner if the other car’s driver ran 8.88 — faster yet.
Similarly for the 990 (9.90 seconds) and 1050 (10.50 seconds) classes.
George said that Jim’s Corvette run at 8.90 seconds down the strip would go about 153 mph.
When Getsy raced in the 1960s, a bracket system governed by elapsed time (ET) determined the outcome.
“We didn’t run that kind,” George Getsy said of the heads-up vs. the dialed-in version. “The guy who had the most money had the fastest car. Now it’s run off of index, so it’s more fair,” he said of heads-up racing. “As long as a car runs that number — 8.90, 9.90 or 10.50 — that’s all that matters.”
George, a 1969 graduate of Woodrow Wilson, moved to Lowellville after he got married to the former Alma Olenick, a 1968 graduate of Campbell Memorial.
Five of their nine sons picked up George’s interest in cars.
Three did well this year, while two didn’t race because their cars weren’t ready. Those are 25-year-old John (1955 Chevy) and 22-year-old Kyle with a brand-new 2013 Mustang.
“He’s the only Ford guy,” George said of Kyle.
Sponsors are B-Y Pools and Spas, Conti Corp., Entertech, Kerr’s Automotive, Morrone Mechanical, Nolfi Plumbing and Rossler Transmission.
“With the exception of Rossler [Girard], all businesses are in Lowellville,” said George, who bought his Corvette in 2003.
The Getsys bought the ’57 Bel Air for Bob’s high school graduation from Lowellville in 1989.
George said that cold air makes the dragsters run faster, so weight may have to be added to hit the needed number.
“If a car’s too fast, weight is added to get close to that number [8.9, 9.9, 10.5],” he said. “If it goes 8.88, I’d add 50 pounds and that slows it down about .004 or .005 of a second.”
Now the Getsys await a Renegade Racing banquet in November, when they likely will get awards and prizes.