Belsito Collects NASCAR Hardware
Seekonk Driver Nabs Track & State Titles, Rookie Honors
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2015) — Perhaps no one person benefited more from NASCAR’s return to Seekonk Speedway than Angelo Belsito.
Belsito, 22, became the first NASCAR track champion in 10 years at the Massachusetts oval, but that was just one of three awards he collected from his success in 2015. The roll also included the NASCAR state championship and Jostens Rookie of the Year Award in the Bay State.
Belsito drove his No. 8 Belboy’s Trucking/R.J. Woods Inc./A.F. Amorello Construction Chevrolet to four wins, 14 top fives and 15 top 10s in 18 starts in the Whelen All-American Series Division I pro stocks. He edged Tom Scully Jr. 907-891 for the track championship and 504-460 in NASCAR state points. Both accomplishments were career firsts.
As a first-year NASCAR Division I license holder Belsito also earned Jostens Rookie of the Year honors and was one of just three rookies to win a state title in 2015.
In his final semester as a fire science and business double major at Anna Maria College, Belsito has found a home at Seekonk, a .333-mile asphalt oval on the Rhode Island border near Providence.
“They’ve got a great staff there, they do a great job,” Belsito said. “It’s a fun place. I like it.”
The location – less than an hour from his Auburn, Massachusetts, home – rules package and type of racing that is featured at Seekonk appeals to Belsito and his team.
“We’ve always been full fendered fans, and a crate motor can last you two seasons at Seekonk,” Belsito said. “It’s a better and more affordable route for us to go to Seekonk.”
Belsito got his start in racing at age five at “Little T” at Thompson (Connecticut) Speedway Motorsports Park. Although his grandfather, father and uncle raced motorcycles and snowmobiles, he and his sister were the first in the family to go oval racing when they started in quarter midgets.
Belsito graduated from quarter midgets to legends cars at New London-Waterford (Connecticut) Speedbowl before moving to the pro stocks at Seekonk in 2014. In his first year in the premier division he recorded three wins and took track Rookie of the Year honors.
When NASCAR returned to sanction weekly racing at Seekonk for the first time since 2005, Belsito took note of the opportunities ahead.
“When NASCAR came aboard I definitely had thoughts of a banquet in North Carolina, fancy driving suit – all of those things came into consideration,” Belsito said. “It definitely spiked up the interest.”
With the guidance of his father and car owner, Stephen, and crew chief Jeff Belyea, Belsito made those thoughts become a reality.
“To be in a car that I love and to be successful without a lot of experiences really a dream come true to be able to win it and get the invitation to go down to North Carolina,” Belsito said.
Unfortunately for Belsito, it’s questionable as to whether he will be able to RSVP “yes” on that invitation. He has college finals scheduled for Thursday and Saturday of banquet week in Massachusetts, bracketing the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Friday, Dec. 11 at the Charlotte Convention Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
While he and his family are looking at all of the options, it will be tough to pull off the trip and not take away from his academic pursuits.
“It’s not looking like I’m going to make it and it’s sad because everybody worked so hard to get down there,” Belsito said.
Regardless of whether he is able to celebrate his 2015 accomplishments in Charlotte or not, Belsito intends to return to Seekonk in 2016 to defend his championship.
“Seekonk fits us well and I look forward to getting back there next year and hopefully repeat,” Belsito said.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 58 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participated in 2015.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars are among the many showcases for Whelen products.
Seekonk will hold its own 2015 Awards Banquet and recognize Belsito’s accomplishments on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Venus De Milo in Swansea, Massachusetts.