Dundalk resident, professional drag racer, lives life in the fast lane
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 11:43
 by Nicole Rodman

    Dundalk resident John Gaydosh has always been fascinated by cars.
    For the past 23 years, Gaydosh has lived out this passion as a professional driver in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) competition.
    Born and raised in Dundalk, Gaydosh became interested in cars at an early age.
    “When I was young, I liked to take everything apart to see how it works ­— that’s how I got started,” he explained.
    “I needed to see how things work, and cars were the next step for me.”
    Following his graduation from Patapsco High School in 1985, Gaydosh entered the U.S. Army. He spent six years in the Maryland National Guard as the motor sergeant in the 29th Military Police Company.
    “I joined the Army to get the training I needed to succeed in the automotive field,” he noted.
    Not only does Gaydosh enjoy working on cars, but he also loves driving them — the faster, the better.
    Gaydosh began his drag racing career in 1991. Since that time, he has won numerous championships — including two in 2008 and another in 2009.
    While he began his career racing a 1969 Pontiac GTO, he has raced other cars, including a Pontiac Firebird.
    Today he owns a 2009 Pontiac GXP that he drives in NHRA Pro Stock drag races.
    In his GXP, he has qualified four times in the past year, running a career-best 6.674 seconds at 209.95 miles per hour in the quarter mile.
    When he is not racing, Gaydosh keeps busy as an automotive technician at Rosedale Auto.
    He also owns his own performance company, called Gaydosh Performance.
    “We build and race Pontiac engines and from stock to high performance,”
 he explained.
    “We also work on the traditional Pontiacs, which I tune and help on the performance side to make the cars perform better on the track and on the street.”
    In addition to working on cars, Gaydosh is currently preparing for a busy late summer/fall racing season.
    His next race is the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Ind., from Aug. 27 through Sept. 1.
    He will then race in Charlotte, N.C. from Sept. 12 through 14 before a possible trip to St. Louis from Sept. 26 through 28.
    Gaydosh plans to finish the year with a race in Maple Grove, Pa., from Oct. 2 through 5.
    Gaydosh is quick to point to the team that makes it all possible, including Bob Crouse, who services the GXP’s clutch, and Brad Wallace, who services the engine.
    Gaydosh also acknowledged  “back-half” specialists Bob Wood, who packs the parachute and changes the rear tires after each pass, and Rich Maxwell, who does the GXP’s vinyl work.
    Maxwell is also the owner of 13 Three Motorsports on North Point Boulevard.
    While Gaydosh is passionate about drag racing, he does acknowledge that it can be a dangerous sport. In 2011, he suffered a bad crash during a test session in Bradenton, Fla.
    Despite back injuries and severe damage to his car, Gaydosh was soon back on the track.
    He credits his return to the NHRA-mandated safety equipment that kept him safe during the crash.
    “I have hit the wall at 200-plus [miles per hour] and walked away,” he noted, adding, “The safety equipment did its job.”
    Calling drag racing “a family affair,” Gaydosh encouraged anyone interested in learning more about the sport to visit www.nhra.com.
    For more on Gaydosh and his company, Gaydosh Performance, visit www.gaydoshperformance.com.