One year ago, Giovanni Bromante’s hopes of making his first Snowball Derby were put on hold before even getting to Five Flags Speedway following a back injury away from the track. The Long Island young gun kept his faith as he recovered, supporting teammate Chase Purdy as he went on to win the Snowflake 100.
After recovering and getting back behind the wheel back in March, Bromante and Anthony Campi Racing went on to shock the short track world, winning the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway and then the season opener for the Blizzard Series at Five Flags less then two weeks later in his first two Super Late Model starts.
Shaking off a crash at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) in early June, Bromante then rode a wave of consistency at Five Flags, winning the Blizzard Series title outright, while securing podium finishes across the Southeast in the fall months.
Now Bromante and the ACR No. 81 team head to the Florida Panhandle for the 52nd Snowball Derby as some of the most fortunate, as their championship run has assured them a guaranteed spot in the starting field.
“It’s a big relief, Derby qualifying is probably the most stressful time, everybody knows it. But, to say that I’ve made the Snowball Derby already, and all I have to do is to go out on the track and run one lap; it feels really good. It’s a big relief for the team and me that we’ll have a spot, and concentrate on winning the race itself,” Bromante told Speed51.
In order to go for that win, Campi and the ACR camp are going all in, constructing a fresh new Super Late Model to compete with next week.
“Anthony just built a whole new car, but it’s all identical, just a matter of getting through all the new car stuff, and working out all the bugs. We’re trying some new stuff to pick up some speed, and I think we’ll have a really good chance in the race. We are going to be testing Sunday or Monday, get everything dialed in before Thursday.”
Despite the provisional, Bromante has no plans to ignore qualifying completely. Despite its 300-lap distance, the Snowball Derby can be a treacherous race, especially trying to come through the field in the early laps.
“I’ve been pretty good in qualifying at Pensacola, not the best, but we’ll still do a couple of mock runs during the test and practice on Thursday. We’ll get it figured out best we can, it’s a race where you do want to have a good starting spot. But, it’s a long race, we just have to be smart, have a great strategy, and be clean the whole time; there’s still opportunities to make up those spots.”
With this December marking his Snowball Derby debut, Bromante admits that there are still plenty of secrets he has yet to unlock, secrets to racing the race you won’t get in a 125-lap Blizzard Series event. But, there are still many other valuable lessons from those races he can carry over.
“Getting experience of racing side by side, getting aggressive, being patient, knowing how you can race around that place. Five Flags is pretty difficult, if you can figure out how to race around there, and save your tires, which is tough in the summer with 90 degree weather, it can be a big payoff.”
Now, it’s just a matter of keeping up with the car and the track, keeping his nose clean on track, and most of all for Bromante, keeping the faith.
“Man, that would be a dream to win. We’ll be in good shape, we just have to keep our trust in God, and do our thing. Tune on the car right, keep up with adjustments, and we’ll have a good chance of ending up in victory lane.”
Race fans looking to make the pilgrimage to Pensacola for the Snowball Derby can order tickets for the event now at 5flagsspeedway.com.
For fans unable to make the trip, they can tune in to Speed51’s pay-per-view broadcast of the event. Now is the perfect time to order your video ticket and take advantage of early-bird savings. To order your early bird Snowball Derby four-day video package today, click here and use discount code “snowbird.” Individual video tickets are available for each day of racing; however, a four-day early bird video ticket offers a total savings of $38.
Individual video tickets can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
For more information on the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51