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.
Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz the new owners of Riverhead Raceway have begun the process of putting a staff together for the 2016 race season and on Tuesday afternoon they announced that veteran race official Scott Tapley of Poland Spring, Maine has agreed to come on board in the capacity of Race Director at popular quarter mile oval.
“We have heard good things about Scott from the racers and owners that have raced at tracks or on a series where he was the race director” Eddie & Connie Partridge stated while making the announcement, “we feel he is the right fit”. Tom Gatz added, “Scott is a no nonsense official and that is what we need at Riverhead moving forward”. Tom also noted, “Scott is making a huge commitment to us as he’ll be traveling weekly from Maine. We are very excited to have Scott on our team and what he can bring to the future success of Riverhead Raceway. We feel he will immediately have a positive impact at the track”.
The energetic Tapley who currently serves as the Race Director at the Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire as well the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is looking forward to his new challenge on Long Island.”I’m very excited as well thankful for the opportunity Eddie, Connie & Tom have presented me and I look forward to keep the racing at Riverhead Raceway moving in a positive direction”. Tapley will officiate the weekly NASCAR Whelen All American Series events from the scoring tower and be responsible overseeing all on track racing and activity. As to his weekly commute to Riverhead “I love what I do, it’s a labor of love and yes I rack up the miles on my car”.
Aside from his Race Director role at Lee, Thompson and now Riverhead Raceway, Scott owns Tapleydesigns.com a firm that builds and maintains web pages for such clients as Lee USA Speedway, Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore and Chase Dowling. Additionally Tapley hosts In The Pits, a weekly motorsports show on WJAB 96,3 FM out of Portland, Maine. In 2013 he served as the Race Director for the Valenti Modified Racing Series and this past season served in that same capacity at the New London Waterford Speedbowl.
Tapley will be working very closely with Riverhead Raceway GM John Ellwood who was part of the process to bring Scott on board. “I’m encouraged with the conversations and relationship Scott and I have built over the last few weeks” an enthusiastic Ellwood said. “I’m excited to be involved with Scott and feel he’s the right man for the job and we will prosper with great side by side racing. I’ll back Scott and give him all the tools necessary”.
Look for future exciting announcements concerning the 2016 season and the future of Riverhead Raceway by following us at www.riverheadraceway.com. To send an e-mail please forward correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.