Tom Pistone entered Charlotte Motor Speedway’s record books this year by becoming only the second driver in Summer Shootout Series history to claim three consecutive division championships, but the Mooresville resident needed three cars to accomplish the feat.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” Pistone said about winning his third straight Legend Masters title. “It shows consistency in the car that the team puts behind me. It is my brother Chase who crew chiefs, maintains and works on the cars. It’s a testament to his commitment to the team.”
The 44-year-old grandson of retired NASCAR driver “Tiger” Tom Pistone, the younger Tom Pistone began the 10-race season competing in the Legend Masters Division in a car owned by Canadian Ira Laughy. A customer of Chase Pistone, Laughy’s Legend car was at Pistone’s Mooresville shop.
Laughy allowed Tom to use it for the first three races. Pistone won two of those races. Once he had the engine he needed, Tom switched to his primary car. He had to turn to a third car owned by John, Jeff and Jimmy Craig – JCR3 Racing – after knocking off the right front of his car the night before the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Series finale. Chase Pistone also works on the Craig family cars.
The wreck in the season’s ninth event meant Pistone failed to finish two Summer Shootout races. Series rules allow a person to drop only one race when it comes to the point standings. That forced determination of the division championship, between Pistone and Scott Whitaker, to the final race. The two went head-to-head in the event before Pistone emerged with his fourth victory and his third championship.
“I’ve known Scott for a long time and I owed him a payback from last year, so I knew if it came down to it I could move him out of the way and not feel guilty about it,” Pistone said with a laugh.
Of the three cars Tom Pistone piloted this year, he said the third was the most challenging because he didn’t get to practice in it.
“My first laps in the car were the five qualifying laps,” he said. “Then the next 25 laps was the last race. So I literally have 30 laps in that car.”
Pistone, who began promoting the Southeast Limited Late Model Series this year, said he plans to seek an unprecedented fourth championship in the Masters Division in the speedway’s 2016 Summer Shootout Series.
“We’re building a new car and we’re going to take it to Orlando (Fla.) in February and break it in at Winternationals,” Pistone said.
Meanwhile, Pistone will concentrate on wrapping up the inaugural five-race season of his Southeast Limited Late Model Series. All of the races are held at Tri-County Speedway in Hudson, N.C., a track where weekly racing was suspended about four years ago.
Pistone selected the track because he didn’t believe anyone would have an advantage. Drivers who have won numerous races or championships in a late model series or higher aren’t eligible to compete in Pistone’s events, which have two divisions. One division is for competitors who haven’t won a limited late model event, while the other is for drivers who have never won several races in a late model or higher series. The races pay $3,000 to win and the season ends Oct. 31.
Piquet Claims 1st Rallycross Win
Nelson Piquet Jr., who possesses the inaugural FIA Formula E championship, claimed the first victory of his Red Bull Global Rallycross career earlier this month in Washington, D.C.
The Huntersville resident dominated the weekend, winning both of his heat races, his semifinal and the feature race. Patrik Sandell, also a Huntersville resident, finished second. Piquet is third in the standings behind Ken Block and Sebastian Eriksson, who drives for the Mooresville-based Olsbergs MSE. Sandell rounds out the top five in the standings.
The next series race is Sept. 13 in Los Angeles.
Smith Victorious at South Boston
PASS South Super Late Model point leader Zane Smith captured his third victory of the season earlier this month at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. The Mooresville resident assumed the lead with 35 laps remaining when Stephen Nasse and Brandon Setzer crashed while battling for the lead.
Smith now possesses a 112-point lead over Tate Fogleman of Durham. The series next race is Sept. 26 at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, N.C.
Deb Williams is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.