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Strategic Situation—Anthony Bongiovanni Combines His Love for Racing and Business, a Quarter-Mile at a Time

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Strategic Situation—Anthony Bongiovanni Combines His Love for Racing and Business, a Quarter-Mile at a Time
By Evan J. Smith
Photography by the author and Kevin DiOssi
Drag racing is a sport where success is measured in inches and mere fractions on the clock. And while a typical race takes just seconds to complete, hours of preparation are commonplace, whether it’s at the shop or at the track. Tuners make intricate adjustments to maximize performance, sometimes it’s a quarter pound of tire pressure, 50 rpm on the launch rpm—even a half degree adjustment to the ignition timing curve can make the difference between spin or win. There are no “do-overs” in drag racing—you either get it right or you’re packing up. Successful racers understand the bevy of variables and possible adjustments, and they educated themselves to maximize the setup—which is both mental and a mechanical.
Anthony Bongiovanni is a racer who understands success and winning. The New Jersey-based competitor owns a handful of modern Cobra Jet Ford Mustangs, and he, along with his team of drivers, have found the winner’s circle with regularity.
His team, Bongiovanni Racing, is backed by Micro Strategies, Resource 1, IPDigital, DragInsights and Optima Batteries. Collectively, they compete in NHRA Stock and Super Stock Eliminators, along with NHRA Super Street and Super Comp with world champion driver Dan Fletcher at the wheel. Bongiovanni is also no stranger to NMRA and NMCA competition. In fact, Bongiovanni Racing scored a win and Runner-up at the first ever Ford Performance Cobra Jet Showdown back in 2011, they took another CJ win in 2017 at the Spring Break Shootout and Micro Strategies recently took over the title sponsorship of the Stock and Super Stock categories in the NMCA. Micro Strategies is also the title sponsor of the NHRA Division 1 Open Series.
While Anthony Bongiovanni has been a “car guy” his entire life, his forte into NHRA drag racing began calmly enough as a spectator and guest of a friend at the track. He attended an NHRA meet with his daughters Genna and Michelle and they were instantly attracted to the sport. So much so that in short time they were strapped into Jr. Dragsters, flooring the gas and winning races. And while Anthony enjoyed the crew chief role, he was not content to watch from the sidelines.
With a blank slate, he chose to build a Cobra Jet Mustang for Stock Eliminator. These cars were fast and packed with technology, which was right up his alley. That was over 15 years ago and after successful careers in Jr. Dragsters, both daughters have since graduated college and advanced into full-sized race cars. Michelle has won events in NMRA competition, while Genna raced for a bit and has moved to the business side of the team. Michelle’s passion even carried her to work with Ford Motor Company, where she was the star of a Ford Motor Company YouTube video and national television campaign for the 2015 Mustang.
Despite starting from scratch as a racer, Anthony has built an impressive resume, with a multitude of NHRA Class wins, a divisional win in his 2011 Stocker and a coveted national event win in Super Stock. “Drag racing is very much a family affair for us,” Anthony stated. “We began in the Juniors and the enthusiasm continues with the Cobra Jet Mustangs. We started with one car, now we have several. We put a big effort into our program and it’s satisfying when you go rounds, win a race, or just have a positive weekend at the track.”
Anthony is driven to constantly improve—a trait he carries over from his business, Micro Strategies Inc., which specializes in Business Process and Content Services, Data and Analytics, Hybrid IT, Security, Managed Services and Staffing Solutions. Anthony started the company over 40 years ago, and today Micro Strategies employees over 150 people and is one of the most experienced IBM and Microsoft business partners on the east coast.
“I started Micro Strategies to write custom software for businesses, said Bongiovanni. “We would write small applications, such as accounting or inventory control systems to enable customers to gain efficiency within their organizations and become more profitable and responsive. “As our client needs began to outgrow what we could provide, we became an IBM business partner. Today, we integrate IBM technology solutions with our own intellectual property to provide additional business benefit to our customers. IBM has been a great partner and with its strong technology portfolio, we’ve had the ability to grow our business by a factor of 20 over 15 years.”
Speaking of technology, Anthony embraces the process that includes data gathering and analyzing the conditions of the engines, plus weather and track conditions. He enjoys the constant challenge of improving the vehicles and his driving, based on this data.
“I love cars, the speed and the challenge of making the cars go fast. I also like using technology, learning and implementing it to gain experience. We use Holley EFI for engine tuning and Racepak software for chassis and suspension tuning, as well as Crew Chief Pro data recording and weather prediction. I also use the new APP to help with statistical data on the competition and on myself. It’s a great tool that’s new and available to all racers and fans.
“But there’s also a people element to drag racing—it’s unlike any other sport. Years ago, I learned that it’s a good way for people to get introduced to Micro Strategies,” Anthony added. “There are certainly not many conversations I have with customers where drag racing doesn’t come up. It’s been great to do something we enjoy and to connect it with a really good business purpose. When you start understanding the analytics that go into not just the cars, but everything else surrounding it, like the track conditions and weather, it’s similar to a lot of the things we do technology-wise for our customers, he says.”
Anthony’s main horse is a 2014 Super Stock Mustang that’s powered by a 5.0 Coyote engine with a Whipple Supercharger. He runs mostly in FSS/C, but the car is capable of running FSS/B as well. Typical performance from the Ford is in the mid-8s, but he’s gone a best of 8.20 at over 165 mph. In addition to the big-tire Super Stocker, Anthony has won races in his 2010 Cobra Jet Stocker. That Mustang is powered by a 5.4L Triton CJ engine with a VMP blower and has also dipped in the very low 8s. And being a Stocker, it does so on 9x30-inch tires.
“Both cars are fun and they present different challenges. I ‘foot-brake’ the Stocker and have to shift the gears at the correct rpm, where the Super Stocker has a transbrake and is shifted automatically, based on where we set the rpm. Despite the differences, both cars can blast to 1.19 60-foot times, which is quite a rush.”
To Anthony’s credit, he’s scored wins at three NHRA events, including a National Open, a Divisional and the New England Nationals, where they hand you the coveted “Wally” man-with-slick trophy. His 2014 Cobra Jet also earned the NHRA “Best Engineered” award when it was first built.
“Drag racing is a humbling sport, you can be on top of your game, have the cars prepared perfectly, drive a great race and still lose by the smallest margin,” said Anthony. “That’s why even during a challenging weekend we try to enjoy all the time we get at the track. Of course, there’s nothing like the thrill of turning on win lights,” he said with a smile. “It’s a great feeling when our team gets a round win or an event win. We’re constantly striving to learn and improve.” That’s something all the Bongiovanni drivers take with them whether it’s on the race track or in the board room.
“We view data as competitive currency and we work with our customers to use that information to make informed business decisions regarding security, analytics, infrastructure, business processes and business and technology operations. And its data that helps you succeed on track, too,” he explains. “We always want to be excellent at everything we do. Over the past five years, we’ve focused on what’s critical and what makes the most sense, so that we provide real business value to our customers, deliver great opportunities for our staff members and develop even stronger relationships with our partners. And that’s how we view racing. We go out to have fun, but to take on the challenge and do the best we can ever time we stage the car.”

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