Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. Team Profile - Gerry Gostenik
By Bob Wilkiewicz
Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. Staff
When the time comes, it’s looks like the promised land will be familiar to Gerry Gostenik. He’s already had a preview.
“I thought I was in heaven,” said Gostenik, a life-long resident of Dearborn, Michigan who saw his first Super Stocker, a 409 Chevrolet, at the age of 15 under the supervision of his late older brother Richard.
They both attended a match race between ‘Dyno’ Don Nicholson and George Delorean at Detroit Dragway in May of 1961.
“Nicholson broke a ring-and-pinion,” said Gostenik. “He had a spare but wanted to work off a lift for the repair. So I got to help push his car a mile down the road to a gas station. I thought I was in heaven. I still have the picture from that day.”
That experience was the inspiration behind his current race car, a 1961 Chevrolet bubble hard top he acquired in 2004.
Picture perfect launch at Great Lakes Dragaway even comes with a great shot of the wrinkled tires
But before reaching that point, he had to navigate the subsequent 43 years following that life-changing incident. He did it as only a true car guy could.
Within three years, Richard had managed to acquire a 1964 Chevelle. But the early model year production car had just 283 power and both brothers dreamed of something more, like perhaps a Z-11 option 409 engine.
While serving a tour in the Marines, Richard had located one near his base in Albany, Georgia. Gerry was sent to fetch it, driving the Chevelle there and back.
During those years, the Gostenik brothers were regulars at southeast Michigan tracks, including Detroit, Milan and Jackson. At one point they had removed the 409 from the Chevelle and stuffed it into a Chevy II. Then Richard went to work for another Chevrolet Super Stock legend, Wally Booth.
“We were always in the garage,” said Gostenik. “I was kind of the gopher, holding the trouble light, chasing parts, doing whatever was needed. It was a good thing. We had fun, learned a lot. Who knows what else I would have gotten into?”
After graduating from Dearborn High School, Gostenik got a job with General Motors but quickly decided that cleaning the bathrooms in the factory wasn’t going be his long-term career choice.
Great shot of Gerry Gostenik in his 1961 Chevy waiting for the tree at Union Grove, WI Time Machine Nationals.
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