The thundering stock cars of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West made their first appearance in Utah since 2014 this weekend at Utah Motorsports Campus. The fans and spectators enjoying this Double Header Weekend as they saw the rubber meet the road from Salvatore Iovino and his #39 car! “It’s a bit emotional being able to honor our hero’s on this, Patriot’s Day!” commented Salvatore just minutes before starting the safety checks in preparation for the race.
After a local newspaper erroneously reported that Salvatore’s chances of winning a championship were ‘slim’ and that he is ‘38’ years old, the truth shown on the track this weekend! At 33 years old, Salvatore easily kept up with the Veterans from the K&N Pro Series. This past weekend marks Salvatore’s 5th start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series after joining midway through the season. With that in mind, chasing a championship for the 2016 season may indeed be out of reach, but he will be set up as a contender for the 2017 season.
Salvatore mentioned, before Day One of this Double Header, that his road course experience was limited to only go-karts and maybe a few unmentionable street grudges years ago. So, you can imagine the nervousness that Iovino was experiencing prior to the race. With respect to downshifting, upshifting and maneuvering around the corners (making both left and right turns) and then coming to straight-aways reminiscent of his drag-racing days, these cars are reaching speeds of 180 mph with drafting. After such speeds to quickly downshift to make a sharp turn from 180 mph to 50 mph within a couple seconds without a question takes a lot of skill.
Due to time restraints, practice sessions were limited and Salvatore was only able to get 4 laps of practice before the main event race on Saturday. He proved them wrong with his quick ability to learn, once again another style of racing and be competitive.
As you may have read after Saturday’s race, Salvatore finished 16th out of 22. He was forced into the Pits twice for brake failure and had a tire blow-out on his final lap! Even with poor brakes throughout that race and the blown tire, he finished 16th.
Today’s “Patriots Day” race started a bit brighter, as Salvatore was far more comfortable on this track and his Team had worked really hard to assure less equipment issues. As it appeared the downshifting, upshifting and maneuvering was now his second nature and came with greater ease. "I was able to keep up pace with the veterans in the series and hold my pace and fight for positions, that for me was a big accomplishment, especially without having any road course experience, I had some great coaching from my teammates and Ryan Parthridge. Ryan really gave me some great advice and with his help it really got me through the weekend, said the excited road course driver at the end of today’s race.
Iovino started today’s race in 18th position, but quickly was battling for 10th and 11th slots with these veterans… With just 8 laps to go, Salvatore entered “Bad Attitudes”, a rather complex section of this course where drivers negotiate a sharp left, hard-quick right, then another left. “I was in a battle for position as we entered “Bad Attitudes” and I was door to door fighting for the next position.”
As his #39 car was forced to the curb, it bounced from the curb to the rubble of the track, ending in a spectacular spin-out. Salvatore was OK, but during this action his car suffered an oil line getting ripped from the engine. As Salvatore was then forced to drive to the pits while his car was engulfed with smoke and losing oil pressure, fast! Once he returned to the pits it was determined his pit crew would not have enough time to complete all the repairs in time to return to the race, but Salvatore still finished in 16th position, placing him in 18th place in overall Points Competition!
Respectfully, ranking 18th out of 50 drivers, Salvatore Iovino expects to improve on that by the end of the season with two races left in the K&N Pro West Series. Currently, considering Iovino’s current point standings, proven adaptability, and aggressive attitude to please his fans, it is extremely likely that we will see him at the NASCAR Headquarters to collect a trophy in Charlotte, NC! Again, pretty impressive when you put into perspective that by end of season, Salvatore has only raced half the season.
Salvatore thanks his truly dedicated sponsors. "Can't continue to thank my sponsors enough, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. Big Shout out to Infinite Wireless Services, Cool Shirt Systems, GIBS Grooming, Left Belly Coast, Wannagofast and ITS-LLC"
These two races will be aired on NBC Sports back to back on 9/17/2016
Reporting from Utah, Cliff Wilcox