Despite starting the year off on a rough note, Nic Montanari quickly turned up the whip this season, placing in the top-five in both the Sunset Speedway standings and NASCAR Whelen All-American Division III points.
“This season defiantly took a lot of work,” he told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “People underestimate the work load of 2 cars, let alone the time involved to keep two podium position cars at that level. For every hour at the track, there’s four hours that people don’t see in preparation. My year was mostly successful and despite more than my fair share of bad luck, I was able to avoid any DNFs, so I can’t be to unhappy with it.”
As noted, the season did not begin as anticipated with only one top-10 – an eighth – in the first three features. Though following a sixth-place to start the month of June, Montanari went on a terror with five straight top-two finishes, including three wins during that stretch. The third victory on July 8 represented one of the biggest moments of the year, being the second straight week he and his brother Daniel Montanari finished one-two.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else’s team accomplish that, so it was one of those moments where you stand back and and think to ourself, ‘I guess we’re finally doing something right,'” he said.
For the remaining nine nights on the schedule, Montanari went on to score another win and just two finishes outside of the top-five, en route to placing third in the track points. Additionally, he would finish fourth in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Standings.
“Finishing that high in the standings is defiantly (a) confidence boost and shows the strength of Sunset’s Mini Stock class,” he said. “We have more drivers in the top-five than anyone anywhere. We had the car counts to make it happen and keep us in the running for the points chase.”
With the season complete, Montanari has put the car up for sale, with interest shown from quite a few already. Once the car sells, he says his team has a couple different ideas for 2018.
“Some things I’ve considered on the oval track side would be a Legend car, or gaining some experience in a V8 car,” he said. “I’ve also been looking at options of building a drag car or a road racing car, maybe put some of my engineering qualifications to use. The biggest determining factor will probably be sponsorship determining a car that’ll fit the budget.”