TEAM PROFILE

 

Paul Diatlovich- Owner

Paul Diatlovich began work as a journeyman chief mechanic for several teams in the late 1970's. He Served as chief mechanic on teams that took four drivers (Randy Lanier, Fabrizio Barbaza, Billy Vukovich III and Bernard Jourdain) to Rookie of the Year status at the Indianapolis 500 from 1986-1989, respectfully.

Diatlovich's most recent work with Leader Card Racers helped him establish his own shop in Indianapolis and earned him an election to the Championship Auto Mechanics board of directors.

Personal

Birthplace:        Oceanside, New York                                                                                                         Race Shop:              8135 Crawfordsville Road
Education:        Chaffee College                                                                                                                                                 Indianapolis, Indiana 46214
Residence:        Indianapolis, Indiana                                                                                                                                          (317) 297-5025 (phone/fax
Marital Status:   Married (Susan)
Children:            2 (Victor and Anna)
 


Paul Diatlovich: A Racer’s Racer


He is equally at home working on a USAC Silver Crown car as he is consulting with an engineer over the complexities of an 220-plus mph Indy car.

In some ways, he is a throwback to an era when the head of a team could be found working alongside his crew, up to his elbows in grease and racecar parts. He wears lots of hats and is a top mechanic, a fabricator, team manager, team director and team owner. His resume shows he has worked with countless drivers—some famous and some not so famous and more often than not, his driver has been a newcomer. And if that’s not enough, his team occupies the shop built (and still owned) by Indy racing legend A.J. Watson. Mixed in with the photos of Watson’s glory days are photos of some of the glory days for PDM Racing.

So what is Paul Diatlovich trying to achieve these days when he essentially has “seen it, been there and done it all?”

Typical of a racer’s racer, he is devoting his life and energy into getting his small PDM Racing operation back to the big leagues of motorsport—the IndyCar Series and, more importantly, the legendary Indianapolis 500. A number of former Diatlovich drivers have gone on to bigger and better things with larger teams. But while working with Diatlovich, many accorded themselves quite well, scoring top finishes and winning awards for the series’ top rookie.

Diatlovich is smiling a little more in 2009 and with good reason. Now in his 32nd year of Indy-car racing (and 39th in racing itself), he’s now working to nurture a talented young Dutch driver with the NASCAR-sounding name—Junior Strous—in the ultra-competitive Firestone Indy Lights series. So far, student and teachers have clicked with Strous winning back-to-back races at St. Petersburg, Fla., and taking an early lead in the championship Not since 2000 has Diatlovich been as excited about a new driver. The driver in question from the 2000 season was and is known as Sam Hornish Jr. The talent of Hornish was recognized early and before long, he was snatched away by a better-funded operation where he would achieve stardom.

Diatlovich doesn’t want lightning to strike twice and the plan is to get back to Indianapolis with Strous, whose promise is already on par with Hornish who went on to win three IndyCar titles and the 2006 Indianapolis 500.

“I have not had a driver come this far this fast since Hornish,” Diatlovich following the Dutch driver’s convincing victory in the season opener. “Our plan is to get to the next level of competition, which means running in the IndyCar Series, and this kid has what it takes. My team was born at Indianapolis and Indianapolis is where I want to be.”

Those are lofty remarks from a man whose driver list includes: Dick Simon, Janet Guthrie,Tom Sneva, Jerry Sneva, Tony Bettenhausen, Gary Bettenhausen, Fabrizio Barbazza, Eddie Cheever, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jeff MacPherson, Buddy Lazier, Giavanni Lavaggi, John Paul Jr., Tyce Carlson, Jimmy Kite, Robbie McGehee, Sam Hornish Jr., Jack Hewitt, Billy Boat, Ed Carpenter, Michael Andretti, Kevin Cogan, Randy Lanier, Steve Knapp, Tom Gloy, Johnny Parsons Jr., Danny Ongais, Billy Vukovich III, Rocky Moran, Raul Boesel, Steve Chassey, Mike Nish, Mark Dismore, Stefan Johansson, Cyndie Alleman and the aforementioned Strous

Diatlovich also knows there is life outside of racing and life after racing. He and wife Susan take understandable pride in their offspring, 17-year-old son Victor, who hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy, and 11-year-old daughter, Anna. There are also other diversions like golf and airplanes—Diatlovich is an accomplished pilot who flies his own plane.

But right now, there is that unfinished business to attend—the business of auto racing and hopefully a path with a promising young driver that will take him back to the big leagues. He still wants to go racing and now has the personnel to get the job done. It’s what you would expect of a man who truly is a racer’s racer.





JUSTIN HERRING: The Racing Adventures of a Young Man

PDM Chief Mechanic Took Unique Path to Indy Lights Series


INDIANAPOLIS - At age 27, Phoenix native Justin Herring hardly looks to be a mechanic with nearly 20 years of experience, but looks are deceiving.

Technically, he is only in his fourth season of racing. But since the tender age of 8, Herring has been working on cars so one naturally assumes that the early introduction to cars fueled the fires to go racing. However, his entry into the world of motorsports would hardly be considered conventional. It certainly wasn’t the lure of nearby Phoenix International Raceway, the famed one-mile tri-oval that used to host Indy-car races. No, Herring’s entry into racing was more like that of a youngster in the early 1900s who runs off the join the circus.
“I didn’t come from a family that was involved in racing,” Herring explains. “My dad worked on his own cars and when I was 8, he had me start helping him. Eventually, I had him help me on my cars. I never really had an interest in racingwhen I was growing up, but I’ve always liked to fix things.”

That interest led to employment as a mechanic, however, Herring’s life was about to change.  “I was working for a  company that repaired diesel engines,” Herring explains. “One day, a guy stopped by for repairs and he was driving a rig for one of the ALMS teams. We struck up a conversation and he invited me to join the team. So I went racing. I did a Trans-Am race and the Petit Le Mans and then did a year of Formula BMW before moving up to Indy Lights.

That was 2005 and four years later, Herring finds himself as chief mechanic for the No. 18 Shell V-Power/Winners Circle

Group Dallara that will contest the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Championship with promising Dutch rookie Junior Strous.

Herring is in his second year with Team Manager Paul Diatlovich, having worked with Diatlovich last season with American Spirit Racing and another promising rookie, Cyndie Allemann of Switzerland.

Allemann was unable to secure sponsorship for 2009 and so her loss became Strous’s gain. Strous inherits the expertise of Diatlovich,  and a crew led by Herring. A successful oval-track test has Herring pumped for the coming season.

“Junior has clicked with all of us,” Herring points out. “He’s fit in, he listens to what Paul and Tim tell him and he’s easy to work with. On top of that, he is a very talented driver. I can see us having a good season.”

“Justin came as part of the deal involving Cyndie last year and he did an outstanding job,” said Diatlovich, who has worked with just about everyone in Indy-car racing since the late 1970s. “Justin has a good aptitude to be a good mechanic. Actually, he is a good mechanic and good worker. For someone who hasn’t been involved in racing that long, he has a knack for knowing what he is supposed to do and getting the job done. Even though we’ve been around since 1996, we’ve essentially become a young team with a young driver and a young chief mechanic. But they’re good people to have for the future.”