the connection, Jim and Chrishad submitted their own DNAtests and the results confirmedit: they were brothers.
Not long after, Jeff contactedJim and they were able to closethe loop on the family tree. Areunion took place and Chris andhis two sisters, Cindy and Cheryl,welcomed their two long-lostbrothers Jim and Jeff into thefold, along with 10 cousins.“It was great, but it was alsooverwhelming,” Jeff remembers.“It was like getting hit with awave.” As you might imagine,they had a lot of ground to cover.
THE UNSPOKEN BOND
“I’d participated in a lot of track
days in a first-gen Toyota MR2
back in the ’90s, and I raced
a Formula Vee between 2002
and 2009, mostly in Regionals
and a few Nationals,” says
Jeff. “I loved it, but money was
tight, and I had to sell the FV.”
He worked as a journeyman
cabinetmaker in his adopted
father’s company, but that
business folded in the 2008
economic crunch. Jeff was
soon hired by a similar
shop performing high-end
installations in New York City.
“I work with very demanding
customers and architects,
[and] it can be quite stressful,”
Jeff admits. But he never
forgot about racing.
For what would be 10 years,Jeff fell asleep each nightrunning laps in his head. He wasdetermined to return to the track,
(LEFT) Jeff Filipkowski (left) and ChrisCaruso (right) painted their FormulaVees to match one of Chris’ mostvivid memories of motorsports, thenhit the track together (RIGHT). Chriscompeted in a Skip Barber racingseries (FAR RIGH T) in the late 1980s,but later stopped racing. (BOTTOMRIGHT) It’s thumbs up for Chris (left)and Jeff (right), who have plans toreturn to the SCCA Runoffs in 2021.