Outside The Box With Anthony Alfredo

Anthony Alfredo

Just before the season ended I arranged some time to sit down with driver of the DGR-Crosley No. 15 Toyota Tundra, Anthony Alfredo. Earlier this year I had the pleasure to sit down with Anthony at Las Vegas and discuss his plans for the 2019 race season. This time we sat down at ISM Raceway to review the 2019 race season.

Now that the season was winding down I wanted to talk with him, analyze, and reflect on what lessons that he had learned from his first foray into the top three tiers of NASCAR racing.

WorkingOnMyRedneck: Reflecting back on 2019, you ran a partial schedule in theTruck Series. You told me back in March at Vegas that you were going to try to run all the mile and a half race tracks for 2019. How would you say that your 2019 races went for you?

Anthony Alfredo: I think that it went really well. To be honest, we weren’t really looking to race more than a couple of races. But there were a few people who really believed in me. One of those persons was David Gilliland. I have really, really learned a lot this year. We have been very competitive, but we have had some really bad luck, like tires going down, pit road incidences, etc. That has hampered our end results. But we have had great speed, nonetheless. But doing a part time schedule has hampered our consistency. And I think that is the only thing that we lacked this year, consistency. The Truck Series schedule is spread out over a long period of time, and sometimes the schedule is dormant for 2, 3, or 4 weeks at a time. So that, combined with the part time schedule, makes it really tough to be out of the truck for as much as six weeks at one time. It has been a challenge, but I have great people surrounding me to lean on, and that makes it very fun.

We added Gateway and Phoenix to our mile and a half tracks, that was our original focus at the beginning of the year.

WOMR: Now that 2019 is winding down, and 2020 is just a few short months away from the start at Daytona, what are your plans for the 2020 race season?

AA: I have had a few exciting things come to our attention for 2020. All of these opportunities will require a higher level of sponsorship to make them happen next year. I am very excited about the possibility of running a full time schedule in 2020. We are just needing to sell a few more races and that may come to fruition.

WOMR: That was the next question that I was going to ask you. What do yo think is the possibility of being in the Truck Series full time?

AA: I really hope that it happens. That was our goal when we put together a partial schedule for 2019, was to be full time in 2020. I think it was the fourth or fifth race, the second Texas race, we were in a position to win that race. However, I messed that one up by sliding through the pit box. When this season closes out I will have ran thirteen races, and by the time we roll into Daytona in February I feel that we will be ready to compete for wins at this level.

WOMR: During your down times from the Truck Series did you do any other racing?

AA: I did not.

WOMR: Of the race tracks that you competed on this year in the Truck Series at which track or tracks did you have the most fun?

AA: That is really a good question. I really loved Texas because it is fast , sketchy, and fun. But I think that Atlanta was my favorite race track. I really loved it when I got there back in February. I would love to go back there and race because I am confident that we could win that race. At Atlanta we had top five speed all night, but we had no points and qualifying had gotten rained out, so I had to start in the back of the pack when the race started. So for my first Truck race I had to start in the back of the pack, come through the field, and that was a blast!

WOMR: What did you like most about the race in Atlanta?

AA: Oh, I like the fact that the race track is worn out, the tire fall of is big (refers to the speed loss, lap times decrease due tire degradation is huge), you have to drive the truck. It is not like a few tracks where you just hold it wide open and move the steering wheel as needed. At Atlanta you have to take care your tires, and that makes it a lot more fun.

WOMR: So correct me if I am wrong. It appears that from what you have just stated about Atlanta, that you would rather race on an old worn out surface, that puts the race in the drivers hands, and his racing ability, than race at a newly repaved race track?

AA: Absolutely! I love to be on the edge of control and driving the wheels off of the car. I love tracks where you are on the gas, on the brakes and putting it on the edge to get the most out of the race car or truck. It is much more exciting for me to be doing that.

WOMR: I would think that this is your first time to Phoenix. So what was your first impression of this facility?

AA: I fell in love with Phoenix. First of all, this facility is amazing! It is also a really fun race track. I ti s a lot like Concord Speedway in Concord, NC. I have raced a late model at that track twice. Both ends of this track are different and makes it very interesting during the race.

WOMR: I know that you only raced a partial schedule this year. Keeping that in mind, what was your high point this year?

AA: I am not really sure about that answer. I have had a couple of highs and a couple of lows this season. I really like Texas. It was only my third race and we were running up in the top five, running side by side with the big boys. Then I got sucked around and crashed really hard into the fence there. Then when we went back there for the second race, and some much needed redemption, I almost beat Greg Bifle! It was a great high, as well as extremely frustrating. I could have kicked myself over and over again for sliding through the pit box. But I have to remind myself that it was only my second green flag pit stop ever! Additionally, we were going to just take fuel so I couldn’t slide my tires coming to a stop. So there were a few things that were stacked against me! I had gotten into my pit box a lot hotter than I should have been, and I flat spotted the tires. That cost us the race win.

WOMR: You were a rookie this year. How challenging are green flag pit stops?

AA: It is really tough. At many places it is extremely tough to see the entrance to pit road, Phoenix included. So You are in the corner on the gas, trying not to get run over from behind, and yet looking for the pit entrance. It is very challenging. Getting onto pit road at Texas is especially difficult because turns 3 and 4 are flat out, about 180 mph, and then you have to get it slowed up to 55 mph by the yellow line! Add to that my pit box was one of the first few and that adds to the difficulties! Green flag pit stops are one of the things that can not really practice, it happens in real time.

The other thing that there is no real way to practice is being a a pack of cars and feeling the buffet of air and what it does to your car/truck. It happens again, and you learn, in real time.

WOMR: You didn’t compete at Daytona but you did race at Talladega this year. What did yo think about drafting at that track?

AA: No I wasn’t approved to run Daytona at the beginning of this year, but I did race at Talladega this year. I had a really fast truck at Talladega and we pitted off sequence there. We were on a different strategy and was running 10th or 11th, was leading the second pack of trucks, and would have taken over the lead when we blew a tire. That put us a lap down and ruined our day, but racing there was so nerve racking and so fun at the same time.

WOMR: When you are out on the track and near a pack, can yo feel the draft suck you into the pack?

AA: Oh yeah! When you get into the pack and say running mid pack, you are only racing at half throttle. But, if you are at the head of the pack you are flat out all the time, dragging the pack with you. Being the lead car/truck you are breaking up the air, punching a big hole in the air for the rest of the pack, and you need all the throttle that you have to do that. The other important thing to think about is how much your truck is moving around from the turbulent air all around you. It is really pretty violent!

WOMR: Since you were a rookie this year, were you really excited to be able to go out and draft with the big dogs at Talladega?

AA: Here is the interesting thing. At Talladega we only made single truck runs during practice, no drafting practice. My first time to learn about drafting was when they threw the green flag and there was 35 other trucks around me! So in practice we didnt’ want to put ourselves at risk and crash from drafting. What I found out was that when you go out with four or five trucks to practice and draft, the air is not anywhere close to like it is when you have 15 or 20 trucks around you!

So we just did single truck runs.

When you are by yourself on the track it actually feels so slow! But when you get into the pack the racing is just so out of control! I kept thinking to myself during the race, “Wow I really like this”!

WOMR: During the race can you hear the motors of the cars that are around you?

AA: You can hear them a little bit. At the track that you run a right side window not so much. You hear a lot of wind noise and engine noise from you your truck, so it is more difficult to hear other engines. What you really hear is your spotter talking in your ear, ’cause he doesn’t stop talking to you. It is important to listen to the spotter because you can’t see much, except for what is out in front of you. This kind of racing is all about watching your mirrors and listening to your spotter.

WOMR: During the race, with so many things happening all once and your spotter in your ear constantly, do you ever experience OVERLOAD?

AA: No, not really. I have Eddie D’Hondt spotting for me and he has spotted for many great drivers in the past, and now spots for Chase Elliott. Eddie has a really calming effect. He doesn’t get excited or elevate his voice. It is nice to have the soothing calm voice in your ears. He is really a great plate race spotter and that helped a lot at Talladega, for sure. His experience as a spotter really gives him the ability to stay calm. Eddie keeps me calm and level headed during a race.

With this last question it was time for Anthony to suit up and get back on the track for so much needed practice.

As you can see from many of Anthony’s responses he is a focused and level headed young man that has his eye on the ball. Hopefully, he can line himself up a full time ride with DGR-Crosley in 2020 and possibly get into the hunt for a championship for this young driver and race team.

You may want to pay attention to this young man, Anthony Alfredo, especially if he lands a full time ride next year. He could wind up in Victory Lane hoisting the hardware and spraying his crew on more than one occasion!

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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