"Sassy"
Cassie
Simonton

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Kon Rodz Racing Prepares for 2013 Season.



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Kon Rodz Racing Prepares for 2013 Season
Kon Rodz Wrapping Up 2012 Season at Maple Grove
Kon Rodz Looking for Redemption at zMax
Simonton Eager for First Win at Indy
Simonton Looks to Keep Momentum Going in Columbus
Simonton Becomes Official Member of DRAW
Cassie Simonton Reaches First TAFC Final!
TAN Driver Blog-Cassie Simonton-TAFC
Simonton and Kon Rodz Racing Prepared for 4-Wide Nationals

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Related Issue: Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Race Schedules, Notable Women
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DOB: August 29, 1986

Cassie is a Minnesota native currrently competing in the National Hot Rod Association (“NHRA”) Full Throttle Series. Cassie gets her love of racing from her father, James Simonton, who has been involved in racing as a driver and chassis builder for over 25 years. She began her racing career at the age of 8 in a Junior Dragster winning numerous bracket races. One of her biggest accomplishments as a Junior was placing 2nd out of 165 cars in the IHRA Junior Dragster Nationals. She went on to win the Division 5 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing event at Brainerd International Raceway, in Brainerd, Minnesota. She ended her Junior Dragster career that same year, at the age of 16, stepping out of the Junior Dragster and into a Blown Alcohol Dragster. That same weekend, after obtaining her license on Friday and qualifying on Saturday, she completed in the finals, taking 2nd place.

Cassie graduated, at the top of her class, from the University of Northwestern Ohio with an Associates’ Degree in High Performance Mechanics in 2008. Immediately following graduation and, with her mechanic’s degree in hand, Cassie began an Internship with Kon Rodz Racing as a crew member. In 2010, at the age of 23, she began her rookie year as a driver in the Top Alcohol Funny Car (“TAFC”) division of the NHRA, finishing the year with a recorded ET of 5.68 and running 256 mph. Cassie is proud to be 1 of only 5 female drivers competing in this division.

After a successful start to the 2011 season at the Gatornationals in Gainsville, where Cassie recorded a career best ET of 5.56 @ 260 MPH, she is extremely excited, and looking forward to, the challenges she will encounter competing in the 2011 Top Alcohol Funny Car (“TAFC”) division in the NHRA.

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We’re all looking forward to racing at zMax again.

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Cassie Simonton Reaches First TAFC Final!

 

News


Kon Rodz Racing Prepares for 2013 Season


The weeks leading up to the start of a new season are exciting for any race team, but they're much more exciting for the Kon Rodz Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car team. The Canadian group is ready to escape the frigid climate of the north to begin the 2013 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series championship season in the sunny south. The high expectations set last year just add to the enthusiasm.

“2012 was a great season for our team, our sponsors, and our fans. We proved that we have what it takes to qualify on top and win rounds. I think a lot of people really started to pay attention to us after the back-to-back final round appearances in Chicago and Norwalk. The team can't wait to build upon our success this season,” said team owner Spiro Kontos.

Team driver Cassie Simonton feels the same way about the upcoming season.

“We're all excited to get back to the racetrack just because of how great it was last year, going to back-to-back finals. The car got better and I got better as a driver. I'm looking forward to testing so we can get back into that routine and prepare for Gainesville so we can hopefully get our first Wally.”

Though the winter season is a welcomed break from the stressful atmosphere at the track, the whole team kept busy. Cassie, Patrick, and Rob began work on Spiro's latest project, a 1950 GMC pickup street rod nicknamed TOYPULER. Veteran crew chief Randy Anderson prepared the team's fuel pumps at his Advanced Power Systems shop in California. On top of work on the street rod and the Funny Car, Cassie did a variety of activities to improve her skills as a driver.

“I've been working out a lot,” Cassie said. “I work out three to four times a week, just to keep myself in shape and make my legs stronger so I'm ready to go when I'm back in the car. I've also been doing my practice tree every week so I can be at the top of my game.”

The team is also eager to welcome new crew members Cam Brady, clutch assistant, and Deanna Stewardson, director of hospitality. Aside from the additional members, the crew from last season remains the same.

To start the season, Cassie, Randy, and the crew will meet up at South Georgia Motorsports Park for two days of testing, March 11-12. Due to prior commitments, Kontos will not be present during testing. This will be the first time since Kon Rodz began Alcohol Funny Car racing that Spiro will not be there to proudly watch his hot rod scream down the quarter mile. Following testing, the team will head south to Gainesville, Florida, for the NHRA Mello Yello Series east coast opener, the 44th Annual Gatornationals.
Source: eMail press releas

Kon Rodz Wrapping Up 2012 Season at Maple Grove


This weekend’s Auto-Plus Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway will be the final stop on the Kon Rodz Racing 2012 tour. The Maple, Ontario, Canada-based Top Alcohol Funny Car team experienced a breakout season with driver Cassie Simonton behind the wheel.

Simonton’s season started at the Gatornationals in March, where the team struggled in qualifying and eliminations, despite strong results in preseason testing. They bounced back at the next race in Charlotte, qualifying #3 with career-best numbers in E.T. and speed. The next national event on tour, the Route 66 Nationals in Chicago, saw Simonton qualify #7 in a field full of heavy hitters. There she drove past three Top 10 cars before falling in her first final round to class legend Frank Manzo. The Kon Rodz team proved themselves to be contenders the following weekend in Norwalk, qualifying #3 and reaching the finals yet again. Cassie earned the #5 spot a couple months later at the U.S. Nationals, but didn’t make it past first round. Most recently, Simonton qualified the KonRodzRacing.com Monte Carlo #2 at the O’Reilly Nationals in Charlotte.

Cassie Simonton, crew chief Randy Anderson and the team impressed on the new regional circuit, as well. Qualifying proved to be their strong point, earning their first pole position in Chicago and taking #3 in Norwalk and Columbus.

Team owner Spiro Kontos and Cassie are proud to have the support of many quality companies, including Lucas Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Goodson, BAE, and Goodyear Tire. Thanks also go to the dedicated, hard-working crew members who worked early mornings, hot days, and late nights during the season. The team is also extremely thankful for the support from the fans that have followed along online and trackside.

The whole 2012 season has been leading up to this final race. Providing the precipitation stays away, the conditions should make for some of the quickest runs all season. Times in the low 5.5s and even high 5.4s can be expected from the orange and purple Kon Rodz hot rod. If they can string together a few of those in eliminations, they just might be heading back to Canada with a season-ending Wally.

Cassie and the rest of the Top Alcohol Funny Car field will have two shots to qualify; 11:30 am and 3 pm on Friday. First round of eliminations will begin at 1 pm Saturday.
Source: Press release

Kon Rodz Looking for Redemption at zMax


Cassie Simonton and the Kon Rodz Racing team return to the site of their career-best run this weekend when they enter the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway. Simonton drove the Randy Anderson-tuned Top Alcohol Funny Car to a 5.53 at 261 mph run in qualifying at this track during the 4-Wide Nationals last spring. Similar performances are in order for this weekend.

“We’re all looking forward to racing at zMax again. Our career-best run at the 4-Wide will definitely be on our minds this weekend. The car has been qualifying in the top five consistently. We want to continue that trend and qualify as well as possible, but we also want to make up for the first-round loss from the spring race here,” said Simonton, referring to a bizarre instance where a fuel pump issue prevented the Minnesota driver from taking advantage of a first round bye.

The Spiro Kontos-owned Kon Rodz Racing team is going into the third race of three straight race weekends, the U.S. Nationals being the other two. The car showed promise in qualifying but struggled in eliminations.

“Unfortunately we didn’t do as well as we hoped to at Indy. Our 5.64 in qualifying during the first week held up for fifth once the field was set the following weekend. The car went into tire shake on the one qualifying shot last Saturday, and did the same during first round. Randy knows what caused the shake, so I’m confident that we’ll be able to have a smooth weekend,” Cassie claimed.

Cassie and the rest of the Top Alcohol Funny Car field will have three shots to qualify; 10:00 am and 12:30 pm on Friday and 11:30 am Saturday. First round of eliminations will begin at 5 pm Saturday.

Kon Rodz Racing is a NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team owned by Spiro Kontos, competing in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. 25-year old Cassie Simonton drives the team’s 3,000 horsepower Chevy Monte Carlo funny car.
Source: Press release

Simonton Eager for First Win at Indy
Top Alcohol Funny Car standout Cassie Simonton is entering the sport’s most prestigious event, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, with great confidence in her car and crew. Those two factors combined with the driving abilities of the former junior dragster racer put Spiro Kontos’ Kon Rodz Racing entry into the final round at the team’s last two national events. Crew chief Randy Anderson won his first race ever at Indy. Now twenty years later, “Sassy” Cassie and her team are looking to do the same this weekend.

“This is the biggest race of the season; we’d love to get our first win here. It would be big for the team and for Spiro. We’re considering this as coming off of two finals in a row, even though we had a regional in between. We still have that confidence from back-to-back finals, and we’re hoping to keep that going,” said Simonton, who celebrated her 26th birthday with the team on Wednesday.

The entry list for the weekend is packed with strong cars from all over the country. The best of the best flock to central Indiana for a chance to put their name on the long list of legends who have won at Indy. Encountering some of these great drivers in the recent races is another confidence booster for Cassie.

“We’ve been able to run with the big boys at the last couple races. We’ve been competitive and I’ve been able to do my job to get it down to the end of the race track. We have a great car and a great team, so we should be able to run with the best of them.”

Both the people and the parts got a refreshing time off the track after the last event. Now it’s back to work for the Canadian team.

“We had a big break after Columbus,” Cassie said. “Everyone went back home so we could recuperate. This past week we got everything put back together and ready to go. We should be on our game, ready to run fast in Indy this weekend.”

Kon Rodz Racing is a NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team owned by Spiro Kontos, competing in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. 25-year old Cassie Simonton drives the team’s 3,000 horsepower Chevy Monte Carlo funny car.
Source: Perss release

Simonton Looks to Keep Momentum Going in Columbus


Following their most successful three-race stretch to date, Cassie Simonton and the Kon Rodz Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car team plan on keeping the momentum rolling at this weekend’s Buckeye Fuel Wars at National Trail Raceway. The fourth race on the team’s NHRA Lucas Oil Series regional tour will be another opportunity for the team to flex their muscles in conditions that they love; heat and humidity.

“Randy (Anderson) knows how to get the car down a hot track. The data from Chicago and Norwalk will help with the hot and humid weather that is predicted. The track isn’t a national event track like the previous two races, so the track surface will be a bit different, but we’re not worried about it,” Cassie said.

The hard-working crew members got a much-deserved break after Norwalk, allowing them to recuperate after two consecutive four-round Sundays. That break is over, and they’re ready to get back to winning rounds.

“It was nice for the team to get a few days off after Norwalk. Now we’re back at it in Columbus, servicing everything so we’re ready for the weekend,” said the driver who not only wheels the 3,000 horsepower Funny Car, but works on it, too.

Back-to-back national event final rounds must add to the pressure of competing in the competitive Top Alcohol Funny Car class, right?

“It does add some pressure,” Simonton says. “We have a great car and the team is working really hard, so I want to keep that momentum going for them. We all want to continue winning rounds so we can get our first event win. I do better under pressure, so I think that added pressure will help me.”

Cassie and the Spiro Kontos-owned Kon Rodz team will get their first qualifying shot at 4 pm Friday. TAFC gets two more sessions on Saturday, with first round of eliminations scheduled for noon on Sunday.
Source: Press release

Simonton Becomes Official Member of DRAW


The Drag Racing Association of Women (DRAW) welcomed their newest official member this week following the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. National event in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Cassie Simonton, the 25 year-old Top Alcohol Funny Car driver for Canadian-based Kon Rodz Racing, made the decision to get involved with the DRAW program after hearing about the organization’s success since their launch in 1985.

This is Simonton’s second year racing the Kon Rodz Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car, owned and operated by Spiro and Fay Kontos. The team competed in their first national event of 2011 at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., where she recorded a career best ET of 5.56 at 260 mph.

Most recently, Simonton and the Kon Rodz Racing team competed in the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park where Cassie had a quarter finals finish.

The Drag Racing Association of Women (DRAW) is a non-profit organization that provides financial and emotional support to drivers and crew members involved in drag racing accidents while at the track. DRAW came into play in 1985 following a successful 1984 fundraiser for injured racer, Shirley Muldowney. Members of the drag racing community who were involved in the relief endeavor were blown away by the support of fellow racers and fans. In turn, many were inspired to create an organization that would financially assist individuals involved in drag racing accidents

“It’s a huge honor to be associated with The Drag Racing Association of Woman. Not only has it been around for over 26 years, but it is extremely successful in that it has helped so many people in the racing community. We all know racing is dangerous and NHRA definitely takes all the right precautions to keep the series as safe as possible, but it is nice to know that there is a large group of people ready to step in and help out if an accident does happen,” said Simonton, driver of the Kon Rodz Top Alcohol Funny Car.

The organization operates by the slogan, “Fast Help for Fast Friends” and has been victorious in each effort to provide support. From 1985-2010, DRAW raised over $3,754,442 to aid more than 732 families. Last year, 45 families alone were supported, with funds raised exceeding $220, 125.

“As a team, we are proud of Cassie (Simonton, driver) for taking an interest in this particular project and we are very happy to display the DRAW logo on our car and trailer at each event we attend. DRAW is a big deal, but is the type of organization that needs to be bigger. Kon Rodz Racing is prepared to do their part in building awareness to make it bigger. We’re hoping we’ll rub off on others who aren’t yet involved,” said Spiro Kontos, team owner of Kon Rodz Racing.
Source: www.konrodzracing.com/Media-Press.html

Cassie Simonton Reaches First TAFC Final!


As a rehab therapist I have to set goals for the course of treatment with my patients. There are two types of goals: short term and long term. For example one of my 5-year old speech therapy patients diagnosed with Autism who currently only uses single word to communicate may have a long term goal of using sentences to communicate. I expect this to happen in about 9 months from the start of therapy. In the meantime I'll work on having them use 2-3 word phrases. Or with a feeding patient transitioning off of a bottle to table foods I'll have them eat pureed foods like applesauce first. There are very few things you can just dive into the deep end with. And drag racing is one of them.

My long term goal of the season is to win a round at a national. My short term goals are to qualify and then to qualify well.

Gainesville couldn't have possibly gone better for us!! Sure it would have been awesome to win first round but when you're up against someone like Lombardo you do have to be realistic. I was just super psyched to have qualified in the first place after what happened at our national event appearances last season. It was amazing to go down the track four times, straight as an arrow!!

Regional events are going to be very tough for our team; they’re basically just small national events with so many cars registered for each event. And Maple Grove was a perfect example of how much my Dad needs to retire so he can work on our race car full time ;-) When you’re up until midnight putting the transmission together after getting up at 4am… well let’s just say I’m not sure how he does it. I used to pull nights like that when I was finishing my master’s degree and I spent the following day doing nothing but dozing between Sex and the City reruns.

It’s really hard to watch you own father have to go through something like that… I’d like to thank everyone on the team who were always prepared to tear something apart and put it back together. Also, thanks to all of the guys at the track who came by to offer suggestions – just further proof our class is a family :-) But another good, clean, straight pass went into our books.

So now we’re off to Norwalk. Have you SEEN the entry list?!?! Yikes....Lots of heavy hitters on that list. It’ll be a fun weekend, but to continue with accomplishing my goals of the season I would really like to qualify, and better than where we did at Gainesville. Odds? I’m not a betting woman. (I’d rather chance my money at the outlet mall.) We’re super prepared – all of the guys have been down to help my Dad get everything set with the race car and my Mom has the menu prepared!! My bags are almost packed, but since I constantly change my mind about what to wear I’m sure they’ll be unpacked and repacked twice before I leave on Thursday morning haha!! Wish us luck or see you there!
Source: www.topalcoholnews.blogspot.com

 

TAN Driver Blog-Cassie Simonton-TAFC


We started our season as we always do at the pre-Gator test session at South Georgia Motorsports Park. It was so nice to be back at the track with my team. We made two passes on our first day of testing. Since I had been out of the car for almost 7 months, the first hit was all about getting us back to our routine so we just did a half-track pass. Everything went smoothly and all data looked good on the computer, so I was told that if it felt good, to make a full pass on the second run. So she launched hard and went straight down the track to run a 5.56 at 258 mph. When Adam came on the radio to tell me what I ran, I am pretty sure I asked him three times to repeat what he said because none of us were expecting to run that fact on our first pass out. Needless to say, we were all very happy with that run and excited to get to Gainesville and compete. We also tested Tuesday but just made two half-track passes to break in some clutch discs for the race.

Wednesday morning we loaded up and made the short two hour drive over to Gainesville. Wednesday night I was given the opportunity to be part of a "jersey swap" with the Harlem Globetrotters. That was the first time I have seen the Globetrotters and I have to say they put on a good show. I was also able to hang out with some of the top drivers of the NHRA, including Matt Hagan, Bob Tasca, Jack Beckman, Bob Vandergriff, Hillary Will, and Leah Pruett.

On Friday morning, we had our first qualifying session at 10 am and ran a 5.70, which put us #5 in the field. Our second pass was Friday night after all the pro sessions and had great conditions to run fast times. The car launched hard and I knew she was on a good pass, but when I went to shift into second gear, it didn't shift and I had to lift. We could tell by the early numbers that it was on a great run and probably would have run a low fifty. We were up late that night working on the transmissions and had to change my brake master cylinder, bleed the brakes and of course all the regular maintenance between rounds.

Saturday morning we were scheduled to run again at 10 am. We were not able to improve on our last qualifying run because we smoked the tires and had to shut it down early. We were not going to let that get us down, though. We stayed qualified in the #10 spot and had Todd Veney first round later that night. I kept myself busy in-between rounds by using my practice tree to keep me on top of the game for first round. Unfortunately, our luck didn't change first round and we smoked the tires again.

I really want to thank my guys for all the late nights and hard work they put in the last few weeks. I couldn't do it without them and I can't wait to get back out there with them in a few weeks at the Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte.
Source: topalcoholnews.blogspot.com/2012/03/tan-driver-blog-cassie-simonton-tafc.html

Simonton and Kon Rodz Racing Prepared for 4-Wide Nationals


Canadian Top Alcohol Funny Car team Kon Rodz Racing is packing up and heading south for the weekend. While many people might be spending time on the beach during spring break week, driver "Sassy" Cassie Simonton and the crew will be working hard at zMax Dragway, sending their car down the quarter mile at over 260 mph. The group is ready to rebound after going over the car and fixing the issues.

"I can say that we are very positive heading into the race this weekend. We learned a lot from some of the issues we had in Gainesville and we feel confident that we're ready for Charlotte," said Simonton.

The car's first full pass in testing was a 5.56 at 260 mph on the hot South Georgia Motorsports Park track surface. A few bugs in the systems prevented the team from doing well at the Gatornationals, but those gremlins have been worked out. Team owner Spiro Kontos is confident in the team heading into the 4-Wide Nationals.

"Cassie's driving has become very consistent now that she's in her third full season in the car. This will be our first time at zMax with Randy Anderson tuning, so I expect positive results. We're eager to get our first Wally and we would love for that to happen this weekend," said Kontos.

Spiro's son, Stefan, will be launching his new venture, SK Designs. The Kon Rodz Racing car will sport SK Designs logos, along with a couple other logos that were designed for clients. SK Designs is up and running, ready to design a professional logo for your race team or business.

"Sassy" Cassie Simonton and the Kon Rodz Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car team will first hit the track on Friday morning for the first round of qualifying at the 4-Wide Nationals, April 13-15, at zMax Dragway. The team will get three rounds of qualifying before first round of eliminations on Saturday evening.

Kon Rodz Racing is a NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team owned by Spiro Kontos, competing in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. 25-year old Cassie Simonton drives the team's 3,000 horsepower Chevy Monte Carlo funny car. Spiro, Cassie, and the whole Kon Rodz Racing team would like to thank the following sponsors for their continued support: Lucas Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Goodson, BAE, Goodyear Tire, Clevite, Mac Tools, Dino's Pizza and Pasta, Artist ButchM, and ithreesixty Music Infused Apparel.
Source: topalcoholnews.blogspot.com/2012/04/simonton-and-kon-rodz-racing-prepared.html

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