Like several others, Scott Tonelli grew up watching NASCAR on the television with his family, for him cheering for Dale Earnhardt while his brother liked Bill Elliott.
“(I) just absolutely fell in love with cars with numbers painted on the side and loud exhausts,” Scott Tonelli told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “I’m a bit of gear head myself. I’ve raced motocross, I’ve done some drag racing, and I’ll race a lawn mower if you let me. I just absolutely love racing.”
Their fandom turned into attending Flamboro Speedway through the 1980s, with the dream of getting behind the wheel continuing to grow, just needing the means, funds, and connections to make it happen.
“Friends of mine at my trailer there, they raced at Flamboro years ago and they were telling me about it,” Tonelli recalled. “I was like, ‘Man that sounds great,’ and my buddy at work, Shane, he’s my main pit crew guy. We found a car that got traded in and we figured let’s do it – so we bought the car and built it last year for 2021 and went out for the pure stocks.”
After having fun in the Pure Stocks, Tonelli made the move up to Canadian Vintage Modifieds in 2022, scoring nine top-five’s and 21 top-10’s throughout the year, including a trio of podiums to take home Rookie of the Year Honors.
“It was a great season,” Tonelli commented. “We were able to come back from a changing a car mid-season and some rough moments to get rookie of the year. We had some great finishes, and a solid points finish. It was a good year.”
Now going into 2023, he wants to keep the success rolling, but knows it’s going take getting more seat time under his belt to be able to run alongside the division standouts.
“I got to win some features and get some checkered flags this year,” he said. “The competition is stiff. You’ve seen a lot of them with Jerrid Morphy coming back. I mean, definitely have my work cut out for me but that’s my goal this year and possibly finish top-three this year. Finishing fourth in my rookie season was definitely tough to top in season two but that’s what I’m going for.”
There’s also anticipation in racing the next batch of rookie competitors, to which Tonelli’s advice is to listen the drivers around you, and ask questions.
“There’s some wealth of knowledge in that pits and there’s a lot of them that are willing to help if you’re humble, polite,” he explained. “Be a gentleman, but ask questions and they won’t steer you wrong. Michael Podd, TJ Marshall’s dad Randy Marshall, and Jim Smeers were a huge help for me this year. None of them held back. They were nothing but gracious in assisting them. They won’t give you all their secrets but these guys were more than willing to give me enough to have my car set-up to be competitive. So team up with someone there and ask questions as you’ll find some great information.”