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Real Name: Justin Onderko
Hometown: Nazareth, PA
Tracks Where I Race: Summit Point Raceway, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, Pocono International Raceway, New Jersey Motorsports Complex
Classes I've Raced: Asphalt Late Model, F2000, Performance Touring
Classes I Currently Race: Pro Challenge / Performance Touring Series
My Personal Website: http://www.justinonderko.com
Email Me: Send a Private Message to this User
Summit Point Hyperfest 2012
Summit Point Hyperfest 2012
Justin Onderko was born in Somerville, NJ and moved to Pennsylvania when he was five. At nine Justin was introduced to speed skating by his father. Onderko not only enjoyed it, but found that he was talented at it as well. At twelve Justin Onderko went to the Junior Olympic Nationals and placed 4th. Justin competed nationally and won a host of medals. After conquering speed skating, Onderko expressed an interest in racing.
Onderko was busy with his academics, working and racing. As high school approached, Justin had the continual support of his parents allowing him to choose the direction that he wanted to pursue. Onderko was told if he wanted something bad enough, he would find a way to make it happen.
After making the decision to go racing on a bigger scale, Justin was able to purchase a car. “I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, though I thought I was going to be the next Jeff Gordon” laughed Onderko recalling that time. “I absolutely destroyed the car in my first race. Three laps was all I was able to run. Needless to say I was disappointed, but I believe that it was crucial that it happened. That race taught me a multitude of things. Besides the fact that it costs a tremendous amount of money to fix stupidity, it forced me to learn about every aspect of racing.”
Onderko knew that although he had his parent’s support, if he wanted to race it was on his shoulders. At nineteen Justin had his own shop, tools, truck, trailer and his dream of racing.
“The longer we raced the more we learned, and the better we got.” Onderko was able to win a race in his first full year and finished fourth in points. The following season Onderko earned another win and took second in points.
“We finished out the year with a win and took second in points. I felt that I had to make a move to somewhere other than a local track. I thought I would give ARCA a try. I went to work for Gerhart and bought one of his short track cars. I was very fortunate to have worked for him when he was dealing with Hendrick Motorsports. I have a saying, “that you don’t even know that you don’t know”, that I have adopted from Bobby Gerhart. That was me in a nut shell. The way I prepared my cars was not even in the ballpark of where they should have been. The only positive aspect was that I was competitive in a car that was not properly setup.”
The 2009 season was Justin’s first in late models. It was again, a tough road. Not having anyone of the team with any real experience of these cars to turn to, the team struggled. “We ran good, I mean, we led laps and won a couple heat races, but these teams don’t mess around.” With a budget that was probably a quarter of his competition, most would be happy with the success he had. Justin is not most people, “Even though I was making headway, it was very frustrating. I would go to work all day and then go to the shop till late, it was taking its toll.” Then came the breaking point for the 2009 season, Justin broke the driveline in his #31 late model- effectively ending his 2009 season.
Though down, Justin never stays out for very long. With some help, Justin got back on track for the last 3 races of the season, and was able to post top 5’s in 2 of them. Justin over came some pretty big hurdles in 2009, and as they say ‘It’s always darkest before dawn’. Well, “dawn” came in the form of Joe Polny and Tiffany Harmon. They offered Justin the #58 seat for the 2010 season, stating that they wanted to run for the late model championship.
All of the hard work was looking like it was going to pay off in the 2010 season, but with 4 or 5 teams that could win on any given night nothing is going to be a lock. One thing is for sure- justin will make the most of this opportunity, and staying true to his motto- “There is always someone who can do it better than you, Learn from that person, ask questions and stay humble” he will work just as hard as before.
Right now we are running in the Performance Touring Series under the National Auto Sport Association's Banner. We are working on moving into Indy Racing Series 2013. We are activetly gathing sponsorship dollars and should shortly make an announcement as to our 2013 intentions.
We also carry OC2interactive web solutions on our car for 2012 - this is our first international sponsor for our race team. Check them out at www.oc2interactive.com, they have offices in the US, Mexico, the UK and Asia.
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In only his second open-wheel start, Late Model Champion Justin Onderko was able to bring
another podium finish home at the BeaveRun Motorsports Complex. Competing in the Roos Racing
Series; Justin dodged the raindrops and the puddles enroute to a second place finish in as many starts.
The weekend started with a practice session at the BeaveRun Motorsports on Friday. The rains
had yet to move in, and Justin was able to get some time to learn the track while it was still dry.
Although he had never been to this facility he was able to turn some quick laps in the morning. In
between sessions Justin was talking with some other drivers and keeping a keen ear tuned for tips on
getting around BeaveRun. After the final session, Justin was able to creep into the top 5 for the day.
When asked how the day went Justin commented, “This is a fast course; I am feeling
comfortable with the car and my entry and exit points. We don’t expect to make many changes to the
car … I just hope the rain holds off, but if it doesn’t, I think we’ll be fine.” Grabbing the hand of his
new wife, Marisa, they both headed to the garage area. Justin’s first race was run in the rain at
Pocono’s North Course and finished 3rd.
Saturday morning arrived and so did the rain. Justin got to the track, and went to the paddock
to check on his car. After talking with the crew, he was able to get a ride around the track and soon
discovered that getting around BeaveRun in the rain was going to be much more difficult. Qualifying began and Justin struggled to find the speed that he had in Friday’s practice. Just
before the session was over, he was able to lay down a lap that would place him third on the grid for
the first race.
The drivers were called to their cars for the first race and they began strapping in. The call to
start the engines was made and the drivers made their way onto the track and got ready for the green
flag. As the green flag dropped Justin got up to speed and settled into 3rd place. As the field headed
into turn 4, the second place car got sideways and spun off the corner. Justin tried to avoid the car and
went to the outside, which was the wrong way. Although there was no contact, Justin lost 5 positions.
He spent the remainder of the race getting those positions back. Some consistent driving saw Justin
claw back to third as the first race concluded.
The final race of the day was nearing and Justin climbed into the car. As he buckled in, he
remarked, “I finally got comfortable at the end of the first race, I just need a clean start.” A clean start
was exactly what he got, and he settled in behind the leader. Over the first half of the race, the gap
between Justin and the leader opened and closed. Around halfway, Justin got into turn four a little hot
and almost spun. Although he had a great save, one that would make the highlight reel, he lost a
tremendous amount of time to the leader. However, over the remaining laps Justin would cut that
distance down to just over 1 car length as they crossed the finish line.
Although the racing may be over for the year, plans and negotiations are underway for the
2012 racing season. As a national spokesperson for RAD, Justin and the Onderko Motorsports team
will be attending the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Fl. to help promote the
National Center for Prevention and Research Solutions Race Against Drugs program message
of “Fueling a Drug Free Future”. If you’re in the area stop by and say hi, Justin will be signing
autographs, the Race Against Drugs Late Model #58 Show Car and the entire RAD Racing Team will
be on hand Dec 1-3, 2011.