WATERFORD — Dylan Izzo said he doesn’t care how many extra cars decide to compete in Saturday’s Blast Off 80 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
“”It would be stupid for people not to come,” Izzo said. “The winner will be getting more than $4,000 and will be walking out of the Speedbowl with a lot of money. I expect everyone to be there.”
Izzo certainly will. When qualifying took place on May 5, Izzo earned the pole position for the 11-car field. It turned out be needed an umbrella instead of the pole — the race was postponed on May 6 and May 12 by rain and was rescheduled for Saturday night as part of a special presentation that also includes the 35-lap Summer Showdown for the Legends cars.
“It’s been brutal — rain out after rain out,” Izzo said. “But starting on the pole means a lot to me. Hopefully I’ll start out strongly and lead all 80 laps.” Although Izzo has grabbed three third place finished in the first three races, he says his car still hasn’t performed up to its capabilities.
“We’ve been struggling,” Izzo said. “But I think we’ve found the problem in the car that is causing our set-up issues. We’ve got it fixed and I think we’ll be really good.” Izzo said it’s almost pointless to come up with a game plan for Saturday’s race.
“You can sit here and come up with a strategy, but you might as well throw it out the window,” Izzo said. “As soon as the green flag drops, the strategy will change on every lap.
“A the leader, I will set the pace, and no one is going to want to push their stuff early. But I’ll just have to wait how things develop. A lot will depend on who is behind me.”
This is Izzo’s first full-time season behind the wheel of the Doug DiPisa owned Smedley Crane Service No. 13. Izzo is taking over the ride from the legendary Ted Christopher, who died in a plane crash last Sept. 16. He would like nothing more than to take the 13 car into the winners’ circle.
“Getting that win would take a lot of the pressure off me,” Izzo said. “It’s been very stressful for us not to win yet. It’s tough. I was thinking just how much it would mean for everybody to see this car in victory lane.” Izzo realizes he also needs a huge infusion of luck to make that happens.
“I think it’s the luckiest driver that usually wins,” Izzo said. “So far this season, nothing has gone our way. We definitely expect more, but we haven’t had much luck. Once we get it, we’re going to be gone.”
Izzo says the 80-lap distance is custom made to his driving style.
“I actually think I’m better in a longer race,” Izzo said. “Anyone can be a warrior and win a 40-lap race. But it takes patience and persistence to win a race longer than 40 laps.” And luck.
“I feel there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being put in this car,” Izzo said.
“I’m looking to get that first win and this is the best race that we could possibly do it.” After sitting on the pole for almost two months, Dylan Izzo is ready for some action.
The total purse is more than $17,000, with more than $4,000 headed to the winner. Among the sponsors who have put up bonus and contingency money are the following: Racechoice.com; Action Carpentry; Sireci’s Automotive; Alex Canistrari; Bob Potter; Prestige Motorsports; Race Works Chassis; Roger Gaudio; RAE Battery; Middletown Tile Co. and 32 Signs.
Also Black Flamingo Boutique; Jurcik Brothers Racing; JJ Dibble Construction; Race Hill Farm; Charles Toyota of Norwich; Fillomena’s Restaurant; Half Keg Tavern; Ed Thompson and the Speedbowl wrecker crew; Brody’s Seafood; the Speedbowl pit stewards; Mod Squad Racing Media; Pearson Motorsports; and Steve Olsen Motorsports.