Fast Times Speed Is A Way Of Life For Jerry Dellaportas & Recoil Racing

admin Thursday, May 2, 2024 Comments Off on Fast Times Speed Is A Way Of Life For Jerry Dellaportas & Recoil Racing
Fast Times Speed Is A Way Of Life For Jerry Dellaportas & Recoil Racing





In his seminal bestseller, “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell explored the popular view that success is a product only granted to the magnificent geniuses who walk among us: “It is not the brightest who succeed,” Gladwell observes. “Nor is success simply the sum of decisions and efforts we make on our behalf.” The success of “outliers”—his word for exceptionally successful men and women—is a “gift,” which may be familial, generational, or cultural. 

If any quality defines our quintessential American culture, it is speed. Americans appreciate a fast pace and flashy image, especially in the vehicles we drive. This explains the high-performance success of 33-year old Jerry Dellaportas, owner of Recoil Racing in Iowa, Louisiana.

“I was just one of those kids with a passion for cars,” says Dellaportas. “I remember my calendars with car photos. I loved looking at each month’s car and couldn’t wait to tear off a page to see what the next one looked like. I’ve spent my entire life working toward this goal, to achieve a way to make a living while working on cars. Doing anything else in life was simply not an option for me.”

We’re not talking oil changes or tire rotations here. We’re not talking working at a car dealership as a high-pressure salesman. We’re talking about something Dellaportas says is “spicier.” Here’s a man who delivers dreams to his customers, a man whose entire life has been laser-focused on a niche category in the auto and racing industry. Dellaportas’s “driving” obsession involves rekindling our relationships with our automobiles.

Asked to define how he transforms a car into a high-performance vehicle, he excitedly answers: “By changing it. Making it above-average. There are so many variables to work with—speed, agility, performance, aesthetics, making it more aero-dynamic, simply enhancing a vehicle to make it like no other on the road.

“Look, this whole concept is about being somewhat competitive. Every new car we buy is exciting…until it’s not. You buy a vehicle because you like it. We offer car enthusiasts ways to make them fall in love all over again by making their car unique. In our way, we are keeping old-school hot-rodding alive, only we do it with new cars.” 

A high school dropout, Dellaportas chose to clean swimming pools in his hometown of Hudson Valley, N.Y., rather than get stuck in a 9-to-5 career rut. Armed with his GED, he managed to obtain a 3.9 GPA at Hudson Valley Community College while earning his AOS in Automotive Technology. His best buddy, Brian Luhrs, now deceased, was also a car enthusiast. Today, he credits Luhrs with the one idea that changed his life’s journey. 

“Brian shows up one day to tell me that we could go to school for this. There’s this place called Hennessey Performance in Sealy, Texas. They have a four-month program that teaches you how to modify modern cars, how to customize them. The price tag of $14K was out of reach, but my father and grandmother believed in me, so they lent me the money. Brian and 

I drive to Sealy, book a room at an extended-stay hotel, and start Tuner School. I’d always messed around with go-karts, lawnmowers, or four-wheelers, with anything that had an engine. So here I am, the garage-tinkerer, now correcting the teacher.”  

However, the instructor put in a good word with Hennessey Performance’s owner. In 2011, Dellaportas gets a call that changed his life. By now he’s married, so he turns to his wife, to tell her that he’s been offered a job in Sealy. Her advice? “Let’s go!” 

Two days later, they’re living in a rented apartment. He’s an apprentice to a guy he will later hire as a sub-contractor. He’s

working in his dream shop. Within a decade, he’s become a shop manager, taking the lead on research and design, and doing special projects for Hennessey.  


“Lauren [Dellaportas’ wife] knew from the start what I wanted. My own shop — we had even put off starting a family until I could make it in this industry. But by then, I’d worked my way up the ranks and felt like I’d hit a ceiling in earnings. I was also out-of-tune with management.” Dellaportas’ wife passed away in 2020. “Since so much had changed during this time in my life, I decided to take a step away.”

Putting up a $300 fee for an LLC, Dellaportas soon found the perfect location for his own dream shop in Magnolia, Texas. “The place is private, secure. We’re dealing with expensive vehicles and equipment in this business so security is essential. My big dream has now become a reality, but in a little over two years, I find we are bursting at the seams. I had to expand. I had to find a new shop.”

Dellaportas started looking to attract investors for his next perfect shop location, one he’s discovered in Iowa, Louisiana. A previous, very satisfied customer, Lake Charles entrepreneur Tyson Grenzebach, steps into his life. Already the owner of Landlocked Aviation in Lake Charles, he becomes a partner helping Dellaportas to create Recoil Racing. 

“Tyson calls one day to say he’s my man, the investor I need. Now we’re best friends and partners, seeing eye-to-eye on every aspect of this business. He is heavily involved, never afraid to get down and dirty with my crew, and he has provided me with the capital I needed to expand. He’s brought a lot of value from his own company, and his connections are amazing, as is his faith in the potential of this business. Over one weekend, we literally moved me, my dog, and all the equipment to get my Louisiana operation up and running.

“Racing is why little kids love go-karts, and not just boys. There are many women in this sport — it appeals to all sorts of people, across the age spectrum. Whether it’s drag-racing or autocross, whatever the style of racing, racers can drive as fast as they want at the tracks. It’s the exhilaration they love, the adrenaline rush. At Recoil Racing, we only promote racing on the tracks, where it is legal and safe.”

Dellaportas is a gun collector who says the recoil a shooter feels after firing a shot is “similar to the rush that a driver feels when racing. So, Recoil Racing is the perfect name for what we do. In a couple of months the operation has grown and I’ve matured quickly, too. But I still love to go fast, to make my own rules.”

“In my whole, short life and well into my future, I will always be doing this. Even though the automotive industry is changing rapidly and cars are becoming somewhat less modifiable, the challenge to ‘rev it up’ never goes away. Although it’s all about the car, we sell more than just a way to turn one into a high-performance vehicle. We sell a dream, and we want the dreamers to come to us.”

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