Take a few minutes to talk to John Papanicolas, and it quickly becomes obvious that this is not an average 18-year-old young man. He currently lives in LaPlata, Md., where his father John makes his living as a tow truck operator. For a time, his father owned a junk yard, and the young John could be found in the yard digging through car parts and repairing them.
"My father has been a major influence on my automotive passion and choice in vehicles," say John. "For the first few years of my life I can remember being in the junk yard every day, just digging through parts and working on cars."
Among his early childhood experiences with cars, he also became involved in junior drag racing and motocross. It was clear he had a future in everything auto. But life has a not-so-subtle way of taking a passion and shaping it into something bigger and greater than one would ever expect, and for John, this fact couldn't have been truer. After winning a high school state championship wrestling tournament, he was rewarded with his 2006 Ford F250 Power Stroke. As amazing as the truck already was, he had a little extra performance in mind for the Ford, but admits he never expected to make it more than just a tricked out daily driver. Little did he know that his new performance build would lead to more than just changing tires: it would help change lives.
Read the full story in the September issue of Diesel Tech on page 28.