After a three week hiatus, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to action at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this weekend for the King Cadillac GMC Throwback 100.
For Connecticut native Anthony Alfredo, Thompson presents an opportunity to get a roller coaster of a season back on track in order to make a run for the title as the the season crosses its halfway point.
Alfredo, who is a member of the 2018 NASCAR Next class, has an average finish of 10.6 through seven races despite having three top five showings. A slow start to the campaign with finishes of 24th at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, and 18th Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee was not what the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate had envisioned.
A second-place finish at Virginia’s Langley Speedway in late April allowed Alfredo to hit the reset button and regain confidence behind the wheel. For Alfredo, it proved that he belongs.
The momentum from that strong finish at Langley was carried into South Boston where the series stopped for twin 100-lap races. After crashing out in race one, Alfredo entered the second race in a back-up car. Alfredo drove from the rear of the field to make a last-lap pass, earning his first career K&N Pro Series win.
“For us to be so good after the guys just throwing it (the back-up car) together it was really awesome to be able to drive from the back like that” said Alfredo. “It’s one thing to start up front and win but to drive from dead last and pass for the lead on the last lap shows that we are more than capable in my opinion.”
“I just need to find a way to keep that fire that I had that night in my stomach and the will to win.”
Alfredo sits fourth in the championship standings, 51 points back of the leader, Tyler Ankrum. A return to Victory Lane this weekend could vault the 19-year-old back into championship contention which is something that he hopes to do for his team – MDM Motorsports.
MDM is coming off of a championship winning season with Harrison Burton in 2017. It is safe to say that bar has been set high at MDM, but for Alfredo, it is something that can add both pressure and confidence heading to the racetrack each week.
“I would love to help them go back-to-back with the championship” said Alfredo. “In one sense it’s added pressure because you want to do that but in another it’s actually a confidence booster for me because I know I’m working with a great team that has a lot of notes from last year and really know what they are doing.”
Burton went to Victory Lane in this race at Thompson a season ago, so look for those notes to come in handy for Alfredo.
Like many young stars today, Alfredo grew up racing around the local short-tracks, and although he has yet to turn a lap at Thompson, he is confident that he will be able to refer to his racing background in order to adapt quickly.
“I like to race at these abrasive and rough tracks because it is what I started racing on in late models” Alfredo added. “I mean, I like to race at every track but these are the ones that I tend to be better at and am more comfortable at for sure.”
The second annual Throwback 100 gives team’s a unique chance to honor some of the sport’s greatest racers. Alfredo will give a tip of the cap to two time Daytona 500 winner, Sterling Marlin. For Alfredo and MDM Motorsports, there is plenty of meaning behind the decision to run the colors of the “silver bullet”.
“A lot of people thought we just went ahead and picked a number 40 Cup scheme but there is so much meaning behind the scenes that not a lot of people realize” said Alfredo. “The silver bullet paint scheme that Sterling Marlin drove was actually fielded out of the same race shop that MDM Motorsports operates out of now. We are going to be able to take the same number and paint scheme from the shop to the track this weekend which is so cool and kind of a no brainer for us to do and obviously pay tribute to a great racer at the same time.”
Explanation of inspiration behind the Sterling Marlin ‘Silver Bullet’ throwback scheme we are racing this weekend at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. pic.twitter.com/OUrUTdT096
— Anthony Alfredo (@anthonyfalfredo) July 8, 2018
A throwback paint scheme with special meaning as well as an opportunity to join the championship battle will certainly be on Alfredo’s mind all weekend. A chance for the Ridgefield, Connecticut native to race close home in front of family and friends, many of which will see Alfredo compete live for the first time, however, will be what Alfredo is thinking about most.
“Obviously if I can park it in Victory Lane in front of my home crowd that would be one of the coolest moments of my life.”