Racing and the Pistone family have been synonymous for more than five decades, so when Tom Pistone captured his second straight Legend Car Masters division title in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Jack In The Box Summer Shootout Series, it wasn’t a surprise.
The grandson of retired NASCAR driver “Tiger” Tom Pistone, the Mooresville resident won seven of 10 races en route to this year’s championship. It also was his second title this season. Earlier this year he won the Winter Nationals in Auburndale, Fla., emerging victorious in four of five events.
“I should have won three of them,” the younger Pistone said about the Summer Shootout Legend Masters titles, “but two years ago we had a little technicality after a race win and that messed us up.”
Pistone, 43, began racing go-karts around age 5 and then progressed to mini stocks. Next on the racing career ladder were limited late models, late models and then finally the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series at age 31.
In 2001, Pistone had sponsorship from New York winery Bully Hill Vineyards with plans to move to ASA in 2002. Then 9-11 occurred and the winery shifted its marketing to the NFL because it was located near Buffalo.
Pistone’s ASA plans never materialized due to the sponsorship loss and, with it, the hope of possibly reaching one of NASCAR’s top three series.
“I had one more shot at it, it just didn’t pan out,” said the Charlotte native, who has raced Legend cars for four years. “I was too young when they were looking for the old guys and then I was too old when they were looking for the young ones. I kinda lost the window and my chance to make it a career driving. That’s when I opened my business.”
Pistone operated his business, Performance Center Racing Warehouse, for 14 years.
“I couldn’t race against my customers so that put me out of the seat,” Pistone said. “About 2002 is when I quit racing cars and just concentrated on building them.”
It was then that the Legend cars caught Pistone’s attention. He didn’t have any customers in that arena, so he felt he could “get out there, run into people and not cost myself a customer.” Pistone also viewed the Legend cars as “really challenging.”
“Those cars have the most horsepower per weight ratio of most cars in different divisions and if you crash one and it burns to the ground you can go buy another one for $10,000,” said Pistone, whose youngest brother Chase has served as his crew chief and competed in selected NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races this year.
“If you crash a car at Hickory Speedway, you run into the wall, you’re going to fix the car and it’s going to be on average, if you hit the wall hard, $6,000 to $8,000. You’re never going to total a Legend car. If you hit the wall in a Legend car, you’re out $600 to $700.”
Pistone sold his business three years ago. A year later he fielded a late model car for Sean Rayhall on the UARA tour under Tom Pistone Racing Development. However, when Rayhall returned to road racing, Pistone parked that business.
In addition to racing Legend cars, Pistone is now a consultant/mentor for late model driver Doug Barnes Jr. and his younger brother, limited late model driver Trent Barnes, at Hickory Motor Speedway. Pistone, however, doesn’t envision returning to late model competition full time.
“The business model has passed by like the retail-type stores,” Pistone said. “There is so much internet stuff now and so many people able to make their own parts. And then so many of the big teams cycling their parts through and selling one- or two-race-old parts where people can buy it for literally 10 cents on the dollar. It just kind of takes away the type of brick-and-stone store that I used to have. We were manufacturer, wholesale, retail, everything. I got lucky to sell it, get out and pursue some other things.”
Carolina Speedway slates Shrine event
Carolina Speedway officials have scheduled the 42nd annual Carolina Clash Shrine 100 for Aug. 12. The Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series will sanction the event. Also on the racing card that night are the SECA Late Models, UMP Modifieds, Street Stocks, Renegades and Four Cylinders.
Gates open 5 p.m. with racing at 8 p.m.
Line defeats teammate for NHRA victory
Mooresville residents and Summit Racing Pro Stock teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson squared off for the win in the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Kent, Wash. It was the first time since 2012 that the final round in a NHRA Pro Stock event had been an all-Summit Racing affair.
Line emerged victorious by 0.002 second, while Anderson’s best performance this season catapulted him into the top 10 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings. Anderson, who missed the first five races this season due to a valve replacement in his heart, broke into the standings’ top 10 for the first time this year.
Ruston makes history
Kenzie Ruston’s second-place finish in the K&N Pro Series race at Iowa Speedway was not only her career best on the circuit, it also was the highest finish by a woman in series history.
The Mooresville resident finished 0.338 second behind winner Brandon Jones and jumped four positions in the standings to sixth. Entering the series’ Watkins Glen race, she trailed fifth-place Jesse Little by 22 points. Little, a Sherrills Ford resident, earned the pole for the Iowa race with a 131.893-mph lap.
Second straight victory for Bohn
Mooresville’s Danny Bohn opened the month of August with his second straight Modified victory at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem. Bohn is third in the track standings, 14 points behind leader Lee Jeffreys and 13 back from second-place Jason Myers.
In the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour standings, Bohn is fourth. The Aug. 2 event at Bowman Gray was a NWSMT event.
Catawba County drivers snare 3 victories
Drivers from Newton and Hickory claimed wins in three of Hickory Motor Speedway’s seven divisions Aug. 2.
Shane Lee of Newton won the Late Model feature, while Mark Johnson, also of Newton, claimed victory in the Limited Late Model race. Hickory’s Kenneth Roberts defeated Gregory Austin of Granite Falls for the Renegades feature win.