Pioneer Racer, SCCA B Production National Champion, 1964
August 1, 1925 – November 9, 2011
In 1963, Carroll Shelby’s new 289 cu in Ford Cobras virtually ended the hopes of the heavier 327 cu in Corvettes in SCCA’s A Production class. So in 1964, Frank Dominianni installed a 283 cu in engine and won the B Production championship that year in his 1962/61 Corvette. En route Frank was first at the Memorial Day Bridgehampton nationals, at Mid-Ohio, the Watkins Glen 500 with Bob Grossman sharing the drive and at Thompson, Ct. He finished 2nd to Don Yenko at Road America’s June Sprints and at Virginia International Raceway. Frank earned a 4 page profile in Corvette News, Vol 8 no 3 and write-ups in other publications including the New York Times and Autoweek and Competition Press .
Frank had a smile for everyone and will be remembered for the way he raced, seemingly on the “edge of destruction”. His shop in Valley Stream, NY was one of the first on Long Island to boast an engine and chassis dyno. When Ramjet Fuel Injection came out as the hot set up in 1957, Frank immersed himself for 2 days to master all the tricks, becoming a leading fuelie specialist.
Frank’s diverse interests and engaging personality resulted in countless friendships in and out of racing. And his fearless driving remains the stuff of legend. The daunting Bridgehampton race circuit on eastern Long Island separated the men from the boys. From the long pit straight, “big bore” cars approached turn 1 at 150 mph downhill under the bridge while committing to turn 2, a blind drop-off. There are still fans that marvel at Frank’s style, muscling his solid axle Corvette “sideways” through that section with never a sign of brake lights. Few others could conquer the “Terror of the Bridge” like Frank.
Returning from WWII with a Bronze Star and a Presidential Citation in George Patton’s unit, Frank was attracted by hot rodding and started Hi Speed Power Equipt, Inc. When the racing bug bit, he joined the SCCA and qualified for the 94th license issued. He began with a Crossle Hotshot, moved on to MGs, an Allard and other modified and formula cars running on airports and public road courses at Bridgehampton and Watkins Glen. The 1957 Corvette fuelie was a game changer, the first of 3 straight axle Corvettes he prepared and raced, each red and bearing his signature number 69.
Frank was the classic overachiever who prevailed with a combination of resourcefulness, a keen understanding of applied engineering, optimism and a never quit attitude. He was a fixture for years at his shop after winning the support race preceding the inaugural CanAm at Bridgehampton in September, 1966.
After selling old # 69, good fortune put Frank back behind the wheel 17 years later at the 1987 Monterey Historics and other vintage races. Frank’s 1962 BP National Champion big tank FI Corvette now resides in the museum collection of a well-known Corvette figure.
Wednesday morning November 9 dawned like any other day. Frank arrived at his shop in his recently acquired 2010 Grand Sport Corvette. Red of course, special plates FJD-69. That evening he drove out to visit with his wife who is confined at a nursing home. While there he collapsed and could not be revived. Frank Dominianni was 86.
Friends and family plan a gathering early next year to celebrate the life and times of a good friend who inspired all who knew him in so many ways.
Video link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i1c0qCF8DI