|Native Las Vegan John Pellissier, left, now leads the Class 18 points standings in SNORE’s 2012 KarTek points standings; and also sits runner up in the overall standings after three events. He is shown with co-driver Robby Guevara at the Caliente Dusty Times 250 June 23.
By Mike Henle
LAS VEGAS -- At the age of 44, John Pellissier is having the time of his life after taking a year off from off-road racing. The 3 ½ year employee of the World Market Center in Las Vegas returned full-time to with renewed life and enthusiasm and the combination is obviously paying off.
Heading into the annual KC HiLites Midnight Special set for Sept. 7-9 in Lucerne, Calif., in season’s fourth event, Pellissier has recorded three Class 18 victories during the rich 2012 SNORE KarTek schedule. He leads his class and sits second in the overall standings behind Class 10 driver Roger Starkey.
Starkey, a California competitor, has 1,974 points, only four ahead of the hard-charging Pellissier, a native of Las Vegas who graduated from Bonanza High School in 1985.
“This is my 25th year with SNORE,” said Pellissier, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning engineer with the World Market Center. “My old boss Darren Wilson had race cars in the shop and I helped him on the pit crew. We ran SNORE races along with the Parker 400 back in 1986.
“My best friend Rich Sibelrud asked me to help him build a Class 9 car in 1988 and I have been hooked ever since.”
Pellissier finally met long-time SNORE member Kenny Freeman in 1994. He co-rode with Freeman for six years, joined the board of directors in 2001, finally became sergeant at arms from 2003-2005 and was president in 2006-07.
During his tenure on the board of directors, Pellissier also raced to a championship in the Limited Sportsman class. Needless to say, he has been a busy man especially considering that he also plays bass in a band performing all over Southern Nevada.
“I guess you could say that I’m pretty good at multi-tasking,” laughed Pellissier, whose co-driver Robby Guevera also doubles as a Legend Car driver at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The 2012 season has certainly
seen its share of good times. Pellissier won the Dusty Times Battle at Primm Feb. 25-26; the PCI Radios 300 in Ridgecrest April 14; the Dusty Times 250 in Caliente June 9.
“I actually enjoyed the Ridgecrest race most of all,” Pellissier said of an event staged north of Barstow, Calif. “It was a very rough and technical race.”
However, the entire season has been an absolute thrill for Pellissier, who is now the vice president of SNORE.
“This has been surreal,” said Pellissier. “When you get hooked on off-road racing, it becomes very addictive. In fact, this is actually a childhood dream-come-true considering that I used to go to all of the Mint 400 races in the late-1970s. In those days, we all cut school to spend the day out at the Mint 400 watching some very well-known drivers like Parnelli Jones, Rod Hall, Walker Evans, Roger Mears, Ivan Stewart and Mickey Thompson.
“These guys were our heroes back in those days and to a degree, I feel as though I now understand why all of them competed in the sport. Off-road racing provides a huge thrill whether you’re one of the big boys or someone like me. It’s just a great adrenalin rush whether you’re in the car or standing in the desert watching the vehicles go by.
“If the sport of off-road racing doesn’t get your blood going, nothing will.”
Pellissier praises the competitors, officers and volunteers with SNORE.
“SNORE is still rising during a tough economy,” Pellissier said. “We’re strong and steady thanks to the racers, the volunteers and our officers who have shown incredible dedication. Our president Brittany Burgos has done a great job of rallying everyone together.”
SNORE’s next race on the KarTek schedule is the KC HiLites Midnight Special Sept. 7-9 in Lucerne, Calif.
Further information can be found by visiting www.snoreracing.net.
2012 SNORE KarTek Point Series
Overall standings: 1. Roger Starkey, Class 10, 1,974. 2. John Pellissier, Las Vegas, 1,970; 3. Blaine Conrad, Class 1-2 1600 1,932; 4. Jason Coleman, Class 1-2 1600, 1,888; 5. Greg Crew, Class 12, 1,725; 6. Jeff Bruner, 1-2 1670; 7. Robert Johnson, Class 11, 1,628; 8. Giti Gowland, Class 9, 1,612; 9.Michael Benedict, Class 12, 1,555; 10. Hunter Buettner, Class 10, 1,520.
Sportsman – 1. Jordan Poole, LTD Sport, 2,123; 2. Darren Parsons, 1450, 1,958; 3. Jeremy Smeltzer, 1450, 1,686; 4. Billy Shapley, LTD Sport, 1,612; 5. Breanna Cloud, LTD Sport, 1,310; 6. Evan Dixon, LTD Sport, 1,159; 7. Mike Montes, LTD Sport, 1,090; 8. Eric Trondle, UNL Sport, 1,055; 1,067; 9. Kevin McKeown, 1450, 1,055; 10. Jack Bassett, LTD Sport, 995.
Next race: SNORE KC HiLites Midnight Special, Sept. 7-9, Lucerne, Calif.