Paul Gill, TAFC Racer and Cabinetmaker to the Stars

July 18th, 2011

Text by Pete Ward

Photos by Tracy Waters and Courtesy of Moduline

When doing a story on Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Paul Gill, owner of Moduline Cabinets, it’s hard not to focus on his trailer instead of his racer. If you’ve ever worked out of a trailer that was ill-equipped cabinet/storage-wise, you know what a pain in the butt it is, and conversely, having the right storage makes your racing life so much easier. Being well organized can actually enhance the performance of your racer, because you’re able to focus on what’s important, not banging doors or rummaging through milk crates searching for that missing widget.

Paul is the maestro of metal boxes. Give him some aluminum sheeting, hinges and latches and he’ll create the trickest, slickest aluminum cabinet for just about any application you can dream up, including race car trailers, garages and kitchens. Our government, NASA and military are also the beneficiaries of Paul’s ingenuity and craftsmanship.

What government/military projects has he been involved with you ask? If Paul told you, they’d have to ship you to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—serious stuff.

Paul’s not your typical owner/driver lounge rat. He works shoulder to shoulder with his crew.

The high degree of integrity, creativity and professionalism that have served him so well in business are also clearly evident in Paul’s racing operation, and let’s add loyalty to that list of attributes.

His current mount features a chassis and body by Scott Weney’s S&W Race Cars; he’s run Scott’s products for years.  Mechanically Paul has remained true to Ken Veney and Bob Newberry.  He’s one of very few running this combination and of those, he’s the only one running 5.40 elapsed times, and this was with a rather diminutive 496-ci engine. Paul’s current 527 incher often spins more than 10,000 rpms.  That’s moving a lot of metal in a big hurry, and a testament to the solid construction of his engines. He and the boys are working on a new combination, which should make TAFC racing the rest of this season very interesting. Speaking of this new idea he’s developing: If any of his competition says “You’ll never be able to do that,” well, them’s fightin’ words to Gill. He will prove them wrong!

Staging lanes at Gainesville. The body rear window area serves as Paul’s “Circle of Winners,” paying respect to special individuals, especially Gill’s son Paul Jr. whom he lost to leukemia in 2005. At this year’s Gators, he took out Frank Manzo in round two.

His ingenuity has really come into play following this year’s Gatornats. Teams have been experiencing push rod oiling issues during warm up. Paul melted one on a run, which could have had disastrous consequences. It usually leads to dropped cylinders, skyrocketing boost, escalating to a big expensive boom. Thankfully, because he was working on that new combo, the engine was running rich and disaster was averted. To combat this oiling issue (or more accurately the lack of oil), Paul’s developed a new pre-oiling system. I asked if he planned on patenting the device, and his response was quick,  “I’m not interested in making money on it; I just want to protect my engine and help the other guys out there also.”

The next time you’re at the drags and go by Paul’s pit to admire his cabinets, oh yeah, and race car, say hello. He’s a hands-on guy, working shoulder to shoulder with his crew, so you won’t have to wait until he comes out of the lounge.

As quick as he is to pick up that wrench, he’s also quick to praise his crew: Roy Ewell crew chief and engine builder;  Scott “Pan Man” Maki, the longest member of the team; Chris Mankus, driver and pit set-up; Ralph Blackburn, the Clutch Doctor; Dave Grey, who Paul describes as his guardian angel, he doesn’t come to all the races any more, but always checked everything out for safety sake and did the wiring. Also Paul’s son Mathew Gill fabricates parts for the car and just as importantly, keeps the shop running while Paul’s at the races. Currently, Matt’s family comes first, so you won’t be seeing his smiling face at all of the races. And last but certainly not least is Ronni Galvin. Ronni, Paul’s fiancée does all of the trip planning and also gets her hands dirty thrashing on the car with the rest of the crew.

Whether you’re a customer or competitor Paul Gill’s going to treat you honorably.

Source

Moduline Cabinets

20 Holland Street

Brockton, MA  02301

888.343.4463

508.580.4445

Modulinecabinets.com

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