Despite mechanical problems, which ended Patrick Staropoli’s bid to win last Saturday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Dover International Speedway, the Floridian showcased his tremendous potential in a competitive drive.
Starting in the 24th position, the 25-year-old marched his way towards the top-10 in the No. 99 AutoNation Cure Bowl Toyota fielded by Bill McAnally Racing, an impressive run considering the unique circumstances surrounding the Driver Sober 125 race weekend.
“We had no practice or qualifying because of the rain, and so I never turned a lap here [at Dover] until the race,” Staropoli said. “With qualifying getting washed out, we had to start in the back. When the green flag flew, honestly, I had to bide my time and get into a rhythm. Following [NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Landon] Cassill through traffic really helped with that.
Our car just kept getting better, and we could make passes on the top and bottom. We kept moving forward and battled all the way up to 6th. I felt like we had a very good shot to win. Unfortunately, we had mechanical problems just past halfway, but it was an incredible race.”
Staropoli’s entry carried sponsorship by the AutoNation Cure Bowl, a new NCAA College Football Bowl Game held in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 19, 2015. The AutoNation Cure Bowl is the first bowl game of its kind, raising both money and awareness for breast cancer research. AutoNation, the game’s title sponsor, has pledged $1M to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation over and above their title sponsorship of the bowl game.
Staropoli, a Harvard Graduate who is pursuing a full-time ride in NASCAR while juggling third-year of medical school at the University of Miami, hopes that his continued strong runs despite very limited seat time compared to his competition, will translate into more opportunities behind the wheel.
“When you’re not racing every weekend, you have to work hard to keep your name out there. When you have the right team, partner, and people around you like I’ve had with AutoNation and this Drive Pink campaign, it lets you leave it all on the track, and that’s what we did Saturday.”
The Drive Sober 125 was broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network, “The Voice of NASCAR.” The race will also be televised on NBCSN on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. ET.
For all of the latest details on Patrick Staropoli, please visit his website at patrickstaropoli.com, “Follow” him on Twitter, and “Like” his Facebook page. Also, be sure to visit CureBowl.com for more information about AutoNation Cure Bowl on December 19th at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
– Patrick Staropoli press release & supplied photo