Early last month, Donald Costic’s phone rang. On the other end of the line was Mary Mondello, wife of the late Joe Mondello, who drew Costic’s name as the winner of the Quarter Mile Foundation’s Mondello “Vintage Rat” Raffle Engine at the World Products booth at a trade show in December.
Costic of Cleveland, races a 10-second 1962 Chevy Biscayne on the drag strips of northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania with his brother Rick, according to a press release.
Donald Costic recalls the day he bought the winning ticket in early June at the Gasser Reunion weekend at Thompson (Ohio) Raceway Park.
“We had a bad luck day with the race car,” he said. “We blew the engine, and we were done for the weekend. One of my friends kept pestering me to take a chance, and I am really happy now that I listened to him!
“I was surprised when I got the call from Mrs. Mondello. However, with a one in 3,500 chance, I felt I had a reasonable opportunity to win. My brother and I will most likely put the engine in our Biscayne. It appears the engine was built to be a race engine, so that’s probably where it will go.
“It’s a real honor to have this engine from Joe, who is considered such a true legend among racers and engine builders.”
The engine giveaway was a fundraiser for the Quarter Mile Foundation, which is spearheading the Project 1320 drag racing documentary series.
“The raffle drawing was somewhat of a bittersweet moment. It certainly brought all of the emotions rushing back, but we at the Mondello Technical Center who completed the task for Joe, are very pleased to know how much Mr. Costic appreciates this engine,” said Mary Mondello. “I am very pleased we could provide this fundraising effort for the Quarter Mile Foundation. The real unsung heroes were the companies who supplied the parts and pieces to make the whole deal happen, along with the guys in the shop.
“It was a true labor of love.”