Mondello/Welfringer R&D Cars
Meet the Driver…
Born: Lynn M. Welfringer, January 30, 1943 in Tacoma, WA
Occupation: Owner and Technical Advisor, Mondello Performance Products
Residence: Paso Robles, CA
Lynn started racing in the 1950’s, running on the Tacoma, Washington tide flats against his peers. When the gates swung open at Puyallup Dragway in 1961, Lynn made the switch to legitimate drag racing. He had several unique rides during the time period, but really started making a name for himself when he joined forces and created the team of Welfringer, Zatkovich, Squires and Eaton.
The group quickly became known as “The Northwest Frantic Four” campaigning their blown fuel roadster on the West Coast match race circuit. They set the B/MFR record with the car and raced against the likes of Richard Guasco’s “Pure Hell” and Frank Pederegon’s “Flaming Fiat” roadster. At their peak, they achieved the number two spot on the highly touted DRAG NEWS Junior Fuel Top Ten list with their spirited racing style.
As Lynn settled into family life, he decided it was time to go Super Stock racing. As the Service Manager at Russ Dunmire Oldsmobile in Tacoma, Washington Lynn was offered a 1968 Hurst Olds to run in the AHRA and NHRA Super Stock Series. The car was a huge success, winning 67 of the 73 races entered. Lynn also set the NHRA D/SA record at Orange County, CA in 1969.
Several more Oldsmobile powered racing entries would follow, including a brand new econo-dragster built in 1976 by Al Swindahl. The car was campaigned as an A/ED in Competition Eliminator and on then on weekends in the local bracket wars. The car ran 8.20s at nearly 170 mph fed on an alcohol and nitrous diet with Algon port injection. Another local favorite was a funny car chassis fitted with a roadster body and the wing off of Shirley Muldowney’s Top-Fuel dragster. Bored and stroked to 482 inches of Olds power, Lynn often entertained the crowds at Seattle International Raceways with his wild one-wheel launches and smokey half-track burnouts.
In the 1990’s Lynn had Al Swindahl build him another brand new econo-dragster to be run in Competition Eliminator. The car ran a 307 cubic-inch small block Chevrolet fed by only a single 750 cfm gasoline carburetor. This was a very successful entry in the ultra-competitve class running 7.50s at over 178 mph. Lynn won 5 NHRA “Wally’s” before retiring from racing in 1997.
In 1997 Lynn relocated to Paso Robles, CA to run Mondello Peformance Products for long-time friend Joe Mondello. Naturally, as Lynn had his hands back on Oldmobiles full-time, he had the urge to get back out to the racetrack. He purchased a 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Pro Stock car previously wheeled to a National Championship by Warren Johnson. This time Lynn put daughter Ginger behind the wheel so that he could focus on tuning the car and using it for R&D purposes. The car was powered by 468 inches of Oldsmobile running on methanol.
Today, Lynn is back in the driver’s seat making 150 mph passes down the quarter-mile. This time his ride is a Brogie-built 27’ T roadster powered by – you guessed it – an Oldsmobile. Lynn races across the West Coast on the NHRA circuit. Lynn has been able to use his racing endeavors to continue creating the most advanced products and support for high-performance Oldmsobile enthusiasts across the globe, while maintaining the vendor relationships necessary to ensure that daily-driven Oldsmobile products are still readily available as well.
Lynn Welfringer’s ’97 Cutlass is not your typical Super Comp Doorslammer. Driven by his daughter, Ginger, the Don Ness-built car is the same one that Warren Johnson drove to his fourth Pro Stock championship in 1998.
“We’re using it primarily as an R&D car,” said Welfringer, general manager for Mondello Performance Products, which specializes in Oldsmobile engines and engine parts for high-performance, drag racing, street, and marine applications. “I bought it from a friend of Warren’s last year, and we put the car together at home using Mondello Products. It’s got a 470-cid motor, which is the same one that we sell at the shop as a racing motor.”
The Checker Schuck’s Kragen Nationals was just the second race for the car and Ginger, who made her driving debut at the season opener in Pomona. The 25-year-old golf pro lost in the first round at both events.
“This will be [Ginger’s] first season, and we’re going to try and run 11 or 12 races,” said Welfringer, who used to race Comp in Division 6 before moving to Paso robles, Calif., several years ago. “It was actually my wife Judy’s idea to put Ginger in the car and do some divisional and national event racing like we used to do, and that’s what we’ve done.”
The car’s 470-cid Oldsmobile features Mondello/Edelbrock cylinder heads and manifold and a 1250cfm Holley carburetor. Internal components include an Engle camshaft, Arias pistons, Mondello shaft-mounted rockers, and Manley rods and valves. Welfringer uses an MSD ignition, Meziere cooling system, Moroso oil pan, Dedenbear electronics, Auto Meter gauges, Weld wheels, and Hoosier tires.
The drive train has a TCI Powerglide transmission and torque converter, and the rear end is a titanium nine-inch Ford with Mark Williams components, including 4.10 gears. Former Super Gas champ Mike Ferderer, who, said Welfringer, “has done a wonderful job of
setting up the car and instructing Ginger,” worked on the car’s Strange Pro Stock-style suspension.
With the help of crew chief James Jarzynski and Mike Graves, the Welfringers’ 2,247-pound machine has run a best of 8.84.
“We thought it would be kind of cool to have a door car and a girl driver in a class that is dominated by boys in dragsters,” added Welfringer. “We wanted to do something different.”
This article was published under ‘Featured Flyers’ in the NHRA National Dragster Magazine, March 15, 2002
Photos by Rich Carlson Photography, Everett, Washington