Scott Gafforni is a two time late model champion at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2006 and 2008). He currently holds the track record in late models which he took from Kyle Busch. Gafforini has been racing since he was 13 years old and is an owner-driver of a multi-car team. Scott is a loyal Howe Racing customer, parts dealer, and he has been running the same Howe chassis since 1998 with much success.”
In 2010, however, the track went to a softer tire rule and Scott and his team had been struggling with the car. He was concerned for a big event coming up and getting the cars more competitive. Scott talked with Chas Howe of Howe Racing and Chas referred him to Tony Blanchard and the newly formed RACE 101 program. Scott was the first driver and team to work with Tony and RACE 101 under the new Howe partnership program.”
“We have always been good at the Bullring, but this softer tire change literally had us stumped and I was beating my head against the wall trying to get the car to adjust to it all year. I knew we needed to get some help. I believe that in order to be a champion you have to be open to learning new things and advice from more experienced people and you can never stop learning how to get better.”
“When Chas (Howe) told me about Tony, I was open to him coming out here. We spent three days together, and after the first practice session it was something as simple as him saying – ‘you are doing everything right, you are just three years behind on the setup’. He even brought bump stops with him, ready to go. That was nice getting hooked up that quickly. Tony was also able to help out my other team member, Dennis Rock, get set up too. We put both the super late model and the late model on the front row. The best part about it too was having someone there to be a crew-chief and all I had to worry about was driving the car. I am usually tying to do both, plus set-ups for my other cars and drivers.”
“I like Tony’s demeanor too. He is calm and he brings out the best in you. This sport is so full of egos. Most of the time you get a crew-chief that’s all about being the big shot and Tony is the opposite of that. He is there to truly help you. In every sport outside of racing there are ‘personal trainers’ for athletes, they stand in the background and do everything they can to make the athlete better, they don’t worry about being the star or getting the credit. Tony is like that. He took a bunch of pressure off me and it was a memorable weekend for me as a driver. To dominate that event after struggling all year was phoenomenal.”
“Tony has now become a good friend, and I plan on having him back here to Vegas as much as possible. We will also carry the RACE 101 presented by Howe logos on our car this year. We are family.”
Rick Turner is a seasoned late model driver. He is well known for his success in the Midwest and was struggling with his latest car and was looking for some assistance for the 2010 Winchester 400, a prestigious event held yearly at the famed ½ mile high-banked track in Winchester, IN.
Rick was referred to Tony Blanchard and RACE 101’s consulting and set-up/shock services by McGunegill Engine Performance. Tony spent three days with Rick and his team, came in with his shock dyno to Rick’s shop and also worked with him at the racetrack. Rick was well in the hunt all day until the engine dropped a valve while he was leading, ending his day.
“I try to be an open-minded person, and I was really open-minded to Tony coming in and helping us. I was concerned on how Tony would get along with my crew and he was so calm with everyone – he immediately puts people at ease. We connected right away. I am glad we had that first ‘feel each other out’ day before we got to the track.”
“I wanted to win the 400, and I was excited to get to practice after Tony put the new shocks and set-up in the car. I was really happy with the car in practice and I could not believe how consistent the car was. Tony convinced me that I had to look at the long runs and he even showed me a different line to run – that really helped. After I changed my line, the race car was the best car I ever had in the corners at Winchester. I knew I had a top 10 car for qualifying.”
“In the race I was amazed at how easy the car drove and the laps went by fast for me. I had the leaders in my sights all day in the race. We easily worked our way up to the front. I knew I had a winning car. Then we got hit and over-revved the motor, ending our day. Tony gave me that chance to win. I want him with me for sure for next year’s 400, and possibly more races. He is really great to work with, and he helped me a lot as a driver – even for somebody like me who has been around a while – his advice worked.”