MISSISAUGA, Ontario — After a successful couple of seasons in the Sunset Speedway Signs of Innovation Mini Stock class, Daniel Montanari will jump behind the wheel of the family’s Late Model to compete in the top division at the Innisfil, Ontario oval.
“Definitely excited about it,” he told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo. “Little bit nervous racing against the top guys in Ontario. it’s definitely going to be a big jump, but I think we’ll be ready as a team. We have all of our marketing partners in place, so we’re definitely excited about it.”
Entering his rookie campaign, Montanari says the goal is to run with the pack, while avoiding getting tangled up in any wrecks.
“Then the goal would be to try and win Rookie of the Year this year,” he continued. “I know there’s a couple more rookies that have more experience than me, so it’ll be a big jump but we’re excited for a jump like that.”
Although the class has seen several ups and downs over the past couple of seasons, this year appears to be one of the biggest yet with several champions and feature winners in the mix.
“You definitely have to make sure that you have everything in order and everything figured out, right from the very first night,” Montanari commented. “We’re definitely going through the car, double checking everything and making sure it’s 100%. Everything is going to be perfect so we know where it’ll be, and buying the new parts where we can. It’s going to be a good car.”
As noted, Montanari had tremendous success in the Mini Stock division, highlighted by winning the 2018 track championship.
“I think the mini stock, a lot of it was preparation was at home,” he said. “We tried to have it as figured out as we could at home and then that showed on the track. We had a lot of good seasons, both me and my brother (Nic Montanari). We’ll try and use that momentum from what we did in that class, and bring it forward in the late model.”
Out of the several trips to victory lane he was able to experience, Montanari admitted there was satisfaction in being able to win the night his father Rino Montanari was unable to be there.
“It was cool to see that my brother, me, and my uncle could do it on our own,” he expressed. “It was a good race, with me and Samantha Shaw. It was a good battle running the outside. And my sponsor came from Alberta for that race, so that was pretty cool.”