Jeremy Colangelo Starts Off Season With Sixth at SpeedFest
Move to Super Late Models Starts Out Strong For Young Florida Driver
Jeremy Colangelo looked like anything but a newcomer to Super Late Models during SpeedFest 2008. The young Florida driver took on some of the best SLM pilots in the country and avoided trouble, while many veterans could not. His reward was a fine sixth-place finish in Sunday’s prestigious race at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida.
After a few days of practice, Colangelo and his crew kept getting their car better and better and that showed in Sunday’s rain-delayed 200-lap feature race.
“It was moving to the front,” said Colangelo of his racecar. “I think we found a little something yesterday in practice. I struggled Thursday a little bit, and then in qualifying on Friday we could have done a lot better. Yesterday we found just a little something, you know. Right off the trailer this thing has been fast all weekend long and it was just a blast to drive. It makes it nice for your first race to have something that good.”
A major 17-car wreck involved many of the competitors in the SLM race, but Colangelo was able to avoid that mess thanks to when he made his pit stop in the race.
“I was actually behind that because of pit strategy,” added Colangelo. “I think we were a little off on that, but that red flag really helped us. It’s always hard to tell, it’s always kind of a guessing game with pit strategy. With this being my first time making pit stops and having to worry about pit strategy, I think we did the right thing. We kind of
Jeremy Coangelo (51 Photos)
finished far back, but had we pitted with the rest of them, then we would have been right in the middle of everything that was going on as far as the red flag and several cars being taken out. Even with that mess of cars taken out, I think the strong cars survived and ended up still being out there.”
The features for SpeedFest were originally scheduled for Saturday night, but got pushed back one day due to rain. The Sunday afternoon race, along with a few familiar names in the field, added to the big-time atmosphere for Colangelo.
“It’s kind of neat that it panned out that way. Here it is, a Sunday, racing against some of
the guys that race 500 laps every Sunday. You can tell when you’re behind them that they
do that. I have a lot of respect for Kyle Busch and David Stremme and those guys. It was a
little intimidating at first, but I’ve always been told that they’re no different than us.”
Colangelo's #05 Super Late Model
Colangelo is hoping to make his mark in Super Late Models this season after earning a racing education in a few smaller types of cars earlier in his racing career.
“When we started out in quarter-midgets, nobody in my family had raced anything before besides my dad when he was in high school around the streets and that was about it. It was a learning process for us. When we first got going, we ended up struggling in the quarter-midgets and moved on to the Legends and did fairly well in those. Then when we moved into the Late Model, I did really well with [Mike] Fritts helping me. It wasn’t like he was a full-time crew chief, but he was there to answer questions or help me with any guidance or anything like that.
“When he was there, we did really well, but then that following year we struggled and I just couldn’t do it by myself. Then we got some help and definitely went in the right direction and things started going a little better. We got hooked up with this team and man, this is been by far the best car I’ve driven. We’re going to try to compete in all the Sunbelt, Goodyear, and Bright House Challenge Series races, predominantly down here in Florida, and we’ll see if anything ventures out of the state.”