Paying Back, Team Honor Flight Builds Camaro For One Lap of America Race

As with most of the automotive hobby, there is always something new and refreshing just around the corner. Whether you’re into full-tilt drag racing, corner carving, events, high-end auctions or in this case, the One Lap of America race, there’s usually a little of something for just about everybody.

While cruising the never-ending slew of various news and events in and around the internet, we couldn’t help but be inspired by Carl Casanova. Carl Casanova is no stranger to the pro-touring world. In fact, Casanova is a pro-touring.com forum moderator. He’s a true enthusiast and wheels an LS-powered, ’68 Camaro just as passionately. Casanova is the definition of hot rodding. Read more on Casanova’s personal pro-touring Camaro, here.

Seen here, Sergeant Joe "Hook" Casanova , after having the Silver Battle Star pinned on him by General Patton. Carl still has his father's watch displayed along with other items he saved in our living room.

Unfortunately, during the 2012 One Lap of America race last year, Casanova was presented with sad news. Casanova’s father had fallen ill and eventually left the race. “There are the highs of winning the events, driving with James, and co-piloting one of the greatest cars ever on a bucket-list tour of America.Those are mixed with the lows of leaving James and my father’s passing,” Casanova stated.

In honor of his father, Sergeant Joe “Hook” Casanova, paying the service back was simple: Build a car to race in the One Lap of America event, known for raising money for various charities.

As Casanova put it, “I believe it would make my father happy and hopefully help bring a bit of peace to other deserving veterans as it did with my dad.” We couldn’t agree more.

Sergeant Joe “Hook” Casanova served with the 3rd Infantry Division during WWII, participated in every major landing and battle including, North Africa, Sicily, Anzio, Southern France and places like Monte Casino, Tunisia, Battle of the Bulge and concentration camps. 

“It took a toll on my father and millions of other veterans, both physically and mentally. The physical part was easier to deal with than the mental, and was something he never was able to cope with well, especially in his later years,” says Casanova.

Bringing awareness to our veterans is no easy task. Honor Flight, a program designed to transport veterans to visit their memorials in Washington D.C. at no cost to the veteran, chose the Casanova family to take part in this unique program. A chance to visit the various military memorials in Washington D.C.

The aftermarket has taken notice of Carl's plight for bringing awareness to the Honor Flight program. Hotchkis Performance Suspension has supplied various suspension components including these endlinks and front/rear swaybar bushings to Team Honor Flight Camaro.

Honor Flight receives no government funding and is mostly supported by private donations from around the country. Their homage trip included The Lincoln, Korean, Vietnam and Iwo Jima Memorial locations. As well as The Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, The Air Force and Navy Memorial.

To honor the Honor Flight program, build familiarity and hopefully provide funding to other veterans, Casanova will be entering the One Lap of America race in a freshly-built Camaro.

Jon Mahn, a close friend of Carl Casanova will be co-driving the event. Ben Hermance penned the design including the use of gold stars throughout the paintwork. Each gold star, 4,048 to be exact, are displayed at the Freedom Wall to represent every 100 killed or missing in action.

Simple math shows 404,800 were killed or missing. That’s an astonishing number of veterans. A number that cannot go unnoticed. During WWII, family members of those killed or missing would display a gold star, usually hanging in the window of a home. It’s a perfect attribute to the build. We couldn’t agree more strongly.

Each gold star represents 100 killed or missing soldiers. This wall carries 4,048 stars. That’s 404,800 killed or missing. "One can't help but be overwhelmed with emotion when standing in front of that wall and what it represents," said Carl.

The Honor Flight Camaro build is already under way, too. The idea behind the Camaro build is also quite simple with three areas of criteria involved. One, reliability. This would include aftermarket brakes, beefy rear differential and faultless electrical system.

Secondly, safety. Finally, aero and performance upgrades to make the Camaro a competing force. “The goal is to make reasonable changes that are cost effective and increase reliability,” said Casanova. What’s more, with so many different tracks and 3,500 miles of road to travel, mostly in the dark, upgrading the lighting was also in order as well as HANS devices for Casanova and Mahn.

Over the next four months, Casanova will be outlining the majority of changes to the Honor Flight Camaro right here on the pro-touring.com forum. As Casanova puts it, “Preparing for the OLoA is a daunting task and it’s going to be tight to get everything done. Breaking down 1500 miles from the start/finish line, and 2500 miles from home, is serious motivation to get everything as reliable and sound as possible.”

We can’t wait to see the finished product. We’ll be following along here in anticipation and of course, we’ll be outlining major changes to the car as well as showcasing the completed car when it’s finished. To familiarize yourself with the Honor Flight for American Veterans, the Camaro or to donate, we’ve included some important links below.

Honor Flight Camaro

Team Honor Flight Camaro Facebook page

If you would like to place a tax deductible donation to the Honor Flight organization, please do so by clicking here.

***In the “Comment or Tribute” section, please add “Honor Flight Camaro.” This allows us to track how successful our efforts are. Without the generosity of others, organizations like Honor Flight cannot exist.

Here, Carl is joined by his sister and their father, Sergeant Joe "Hook" Casanova during a photo opportunity during their Honor Flight trip.

About the author

Sean Haggai

The former Associate Editor of Chevy High Performance, joins publication Chevy Hardcore, Sean is a true blue Bow Tie guy and a core do-it-yourself technician. If it doesn't run a "mouse motor" or a big rat between fenders, Sean ain't interested.
Read My Articles

Hot Rods and Muscle Cars in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Street Muscle, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Street Muscle NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

We'll send you the most interesting Street Muscle articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Street Muscle NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Classic Ford Performance

Street Rods

Classic Chevy Magazine

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Classic Ford Performance
  • Street Rods
  • Classic Chevy Magazine

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading