Val DiGenova started racing when he purchased a HEMI-powered 1967 Barracuda street car for the family. Val had raced in Puerto Rico previously when working in a machine shop there. Things really began to evolve for Val while he worked at a machine shop in Essex, MA where he met Bob Sullivan. With some coaching from Bob, Val and his brother Angelo purchased a 1933 Willys Coupe. Val drove the Willys known as Don Juan II for many years competing in B/Altered and B/ Econo Altered. In 1978 the brothers began bracket racing and won New England Dragway’s first Super Pro Championship. The Willys was not only known for its winning ways but also its unpredictable handling that pleased crowds on almost every pass.
In 1981 Val purchased Jim Cook’s former 1974 Pro Stock Camaro and continued his winning ways by securing the Super Pro Championships in 1982 and 1983 and winning a prestigious $5,000 bracket race in Canada.
In 1985 Val took the year off to build a new Fred Smith 1986 Corvette (Don Juan IV) with a Lenco manual transmission. Val continued to dominate the bracket ranks driving the Lenco-equipped Corvette and he won Super Comp at the Molson Grand Nationals in 1987.
From 1991 to 1996 Val campaigned Don Juan V, a 1986 Firebird that won NHRA Best Appearing Honors at the 1992 Molson Grand Nationals. Val’s good friend and 2017 Hall of Fame Inductee, Dan Page convinced Val to move to the dark side and campaign the first Dan Page Dragster.
In 2000 Val worked with Dan to build the first of many Dan Page Top Dragster chassis. Val calls this car Juan In A Million. Val piloted it to the winner’s circle at the 2007 NHRA Divisional Event at Lebanon Valley, the 2014 NHRA National Open at New England Dragway, and the 2014 NHRA Summer Nationals. Val still campaigns that dragster today and he continues to be a threat. He can always be found at the track with his wife Debbie whom he has help tune to many victories, included her most recent win at the NHRA New England Nationals in 2017.
The Orientals Hot Rod Club congratulates Val DiGenova on his induction into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame.