John Gaydosh Jr.’s plans were set.

The veteran NHRA Pro Stock driver who competes on a limited budget with his own team, was going to make his 2018 NHRA debut at the Gatornationals March 16-18 in Gainesville, Fla.

Gaydosh’s plan hit a significant roadblock Tuesday when he was taking part in a test session at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park and his Camaro had major engine problems.

“We’ve been trying to work on some valve train issues and we just haven’t really got a handle on it,” Gaydosh said. “Monday (March 12) we tested OK and for some reason we kicked a rod in our last run (March 13) and hurt the engine. We were packing up to go home (to Baltimore, Maryland) and Chris McGaha’s dad, Lester came over and asked me what I was doing, and I told him I was going home, I was done. He said to me what do we need to do for you to go to Gainesville? I told him I can’t. I don’t have the money and the time and stuff to take care of it. He said to me, we can work something out. Chris and his dad stepped up and allowed us to run at Gainesville with one of their engines.”

Gaydosh acknowledged he and his crew have been working on solving his team’s engine woes since the Reading, Pa., national event last September.

“We changed a bunch of stuff around and we took it to the dyno and it looked good,” he said. “We would not have driven all the way down here (to Bradenton) if it didn’t look good on the dyno. It (the engines problems) just reared their head here in a different way. We just need to do more R&D work to figure out what this new combination likes. A small team like us without the funding to be able to do that it just takes a lot longer.”

Gaydosh was truly appreciative of the McGahas for coming to lend him a hand in a time when he had nowhere else to turn. Chris McGaha has six career Pro Stock victories with his family-run Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro. He’s presently third in the point standings heading into the Gators this weekend.

“It’s awesome that they helped us,” Gaydosh said. “Chris and his dad have been friends of mine and Chris has always helped us behind the scenes no matter what to try and make things as easy as possible for us. For them to be the family they are and willing to help somebody like us is just awesome. We can’t thank them enough.”

According to Gaydosh, he watched Chris McGaha test Monday at Bradenton and that’s the engine the McGaha team took out of its car and put in Gaydosh’s car Tuesday.

“We want to go really fast,” said Gaydosh about his thought process for Gainesville. “It’s a huge relief that we got this engine and I can’t thank Chris and Lester enough for doing this and making this happen for us. This will be the first I’ve run McGaha engine power and it’s cool that they did this. It keeps the small guy with big dreams going.”