Brodovsky burning rubber

Placer County Sheriff’s deputy keeps Loomis speeders in check, then lets loose on the track
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Bob Brodovsky is all for tires smoking, engines revving and excessive speed, as long as it’s in the right venue. The Penryn man patrols the streets of Loomis as a deputy sheriff with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office during the week. Much of his spare time is spent behind the wheel of his highly modified 1971 Plymouth Barracuda, which he used to win the C-class pro gas division at Funny Car Fever in Sacramento last weekend. While law enforcement pays the bills, racing is Brodovsky’s passion. “I’ve always been a gear head,” he said. “This was the natural progression. I’ve always had street cars and I’d take them out to Wednesday night fun drags and I just kept wanting to go faster and faster.” After two races this season, Brodovsky stands second in the West Coast Pro Gas points race, just behind Orangevale’s Greg Bagwell, who has dominated the circuit in recent seasons. “He’s a friend… and a rival,” Brodovsky said. “He’s the two-time defending points champion, so a lot of guys at the races want to see me knock him off.” Brodovsky’s hot rod is capable of covering the quarter-mile track in less than nine seconds, but he’s not allowed to be that quick in the C-class races. The drivers’ goal is to come as close to 9.60 seconds as possible without going under the index. The arbitrary number helps even out the competition and classify racers according to their cars’ capabilities. “Index racing is a way of equalizing the field in a given category,” Brodovsky explained. “If everyone’s going full throttle, it just comes down to who has more money (for the car).” Strategy becomes key in index racing. The drivers must gauge their speed and know when to speed up, or when to slow down. In his finals showdown with Bagwell at Funny Car Fever, Brodovsky sped across the finish line in 9.62 seconds. Bagwell was some six inches behind him in 9.635. Brodovsky crossed the line at 134 mph while Bagwell was scooting along at 135. “That’s real typical,” Brodovsky said of the tight race. There are usually between 60 and 70 cars at each West Coast Pro Gas event throughout the season and the competition is tight. While the top finishers win cash prizes, the drivers and crews are usually happy to break even after investing in their vehicles, paying for transportation to and from the races, and other expenses. Oliver Halwachs has spent many weekends with Brodovsky over the past three years as his crew chief. He grew up around road racing and his father drove for the Porsche team. Brodovsky convinced him to bring his expertise to the drag racing strip and he’s helped the team become one of the best in the WCPGA. “It takes a couple of years to really get the information you need and it’s coming to the point where we’re really getting the car dialed in,” Halwachs said. “I’ve gotten into drag racing and it’s just fun.” Brodovsky does more than just sit behind the wheel at the track. He sets up his WHP Motorsports shop at each event, selling safety equipment and other tools to fellow racers. He also carries several items specifically for law enforcement and firefighters. In addition, Brodovsky’s business offers marketing services for drivers. As much as he’s hustling off the track, Brodovsky is all business when it comes to his dragster. The man charged with keeping Loomis’ streets free of speeders is all about burning rubber when it comes to race time. His next race is the Nitro Nite of Fire May 13-14 at Sacramento Raceway Park. “Driving takes a lot of concentration and years of practice,” Halwachs said. “(Bob) has always had hot rods and he got into this one and I know he’s doing what he enjoys.”