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A Little of This and A Little of That and Pretty Soon You Have Keith Davidson’s Bits & Pieces Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car

By Keith Davidson

The Bits & Pieces nitro funny car team is no stranger to the Northeast nostalgia funny car match race scene.  In their 14th year together, the team has progressed form a low buck small block Chevy powered alcohol burning funny car to a full-fledged nostalgia nitro funny car.

Led by team owner/driver, Keith Davidson, the journey began in the spring of 2004.  With prodding from friend and crew member Jeff Bradt, a funny car body was purchased to drape over the altered chassis.  Well, as they say, the rest is history.

Fueled by a passion for the mid to late 70’s funny cars and the stars of the era that inspired Keith, the first venture was an iron block and headed small block Chevy powered black premiered 1974 Camaro, aptly dubbed Bits & Pieces.  The car ran low 8’s, much better than anticipated, which caught the eye of then Northeast nostalgia funny car kingpin, Lou Sgro.  Lou offered Keith a paying match race at Maple Grove and the hook was set.

The Camaro went through extensive changes for 2005. Major body reconstruction and paint by Jeff Bradt.  The finished product gave New Jersey paint and body master, Dave Sano, a run for Best Appearing Car and runner up at Englishtown New Jersey’s Funny Car Reunion 4.

The next 3 years, the team spent their summers match racing a big block Chevy powered 1977 Monza throughout the Northeast and mid –Atlantic states, capturing many low ET’s and victories.

The nitro journey began in 2009 with help and prodding from Connecticut businessman, Al Napier. Al had been on the team for a couple of years and fueled Keith’s desire to own a nitro funny car.

The next three years were spent outfitting the 30-year-old Monza chassis for nitro and eventually retiring the chassis to help fellow Nostalgia funny car racer, Rocky Roxlau, finish his Vega funny car.

In 2012 the team debut its current and 3rd car, a 1995 Gordy’s chassis with a Firebird transformed Achieva body affectionately named the “Oldsmobird”

Assisted by veteran fuel tuner, Gene Amaya, the team began making laps. In 2013, Jeff licensed in the car and is now ready for some races of his own.  Current engine is a 438-cubic inch KB aluminum block, with GM forged crank, Venolia rods, Arias pistons and steel Merlin heads. Compression ratio of 6.4:1 allows for 90%+ nitro mixes to live inside the venerable big block Chevy configuration.

The current body is Gary Ritter’s Jolly Rancher Candies Firebird body from 1977.  Over 4 years, Jeff cut, stretched, repaired and fabricated almost every part in the transformation to allow the 40-year-old body fit properly on the modern chassis.  He did so in his garage and then proceeded to lay down the PPG black and gold metallic base and PPG Radiance Orange Glo candy paint in his garage.  The results are spectacular.

The team is focused on having fun and creating fan friendly atmosphere that is so sorely missing from the current funny car scene.  Being a match race combination ET’s are not as important as long smokey burnouts and fan appreciation.  These values are kept in check by Keith’s attraction to the stars of the 70’s, Dale Pulde, Al Segrini, Al Hanna and Tim Kushi.  All of whom gave Keith a chance as a youngster to sit in their cockpits and dream of being a fuel funny car driver.

Special thanks to our sponsors, Gil’s Garage, Ron Cocca’s Courier Express, Rocky’s Rod Shop, Signorelli Airbrushing, Elmo’s Autobody and Autobody Supply of Albany.

Also thanks to current team members, Jeff Bradt, Ron Cocca and Jeremy Rorick.  Many thanks to Jim Jones, John Napoli, Derek Lobban, John Saupp and Al Napier for their help.

Special thanks to my family, Deb, Alex and Justin for supporting me in pursuing my dream.

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