JJ Furillo was born into a racing family. His grandfather, Meme DeSantis, Sr., owned the famed H&J No.14 modified piloted by some of the best drivers of their time including Russ Delp and 1974 EMPA Hall of Fame inductee Al Tasnady. Meme DeSantis, Jr. later took the helm and became one of the top Northeast modified and central Pennsylvania sprint car drivers of his generation.
From the age of 14 JJ found himself in his uncle’s race shop washing parts and sweeping floors. As his knowledge-base grew so did his responsibilities. Over time JJ became more involved in the setup of the race car. In 1989 he began to re-valve and rebuild shocks for the No. 14 and eventually became Meme’s crew chief.