Scarallo Is Following In His Hero's Tire Tracks SMITHTOWN, N.Y., March 22 - It's a safe bet that there will be plenty of fans in the grandstands at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday who used to cheer for Emerson Fittipaldi and followed his ...
Scarallo Is Following In His Hero's Tire Tracks
SMITHTOWN, N.Y., March 22 - It's a safe bet that there will be plenty of fans in the grandstands at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday who used to cheer for Emerson Fittipaldi and followed his every move on the racetrack.
Indy Pro Series rookie Joey Scarallo can relate. Scarallo, of Smithtown, N.Y., has always been a big Emmo fan, and now he's getting the chance to follow in his hero's tire tracks.
Scarallo and Andrew Prendeville of Morristown, N.J. are entered in Saturday's Indy Pro Series season opener at the Homestead, Fla. track. They'll both drive cars fielded by RLR/Andersen Racing. Andersen Racing, of Fairfield, N.J., is the official Indy Pro Series development team of Rahal Letterman Racing.
Scarallo, who was born in Adelaide, Australia but raised on Long Island, will be in car No. 15, which advertises GroupAWheels.com, a leading source for high-performance wheels, tires and suspension components.
When he's not racing Scarallo is the manager of Autotrend Tire & Wheel Company Inc., his family's wheel importing business, in Lindenhurst, N.Y.
Wheels have a lot to do with our story.
"My two favorite drivers have always been Darrell Waltrip and Emerson Fittipaldi," related Scarallo, who is returning to open-wheel racing after several years successfully competing in the American GT Challenge and Trans-Am series.
"I have tapes of the Indy 500 dating back from the early eighties. I used to come home from school and just watch those tapes, and I just got to be a big Emerson Fittipaldi fan. I was so happy when he won the 500 in 1989.
"Then in 1990 I got to go to the Indy 500 for the first time," he continued. "I was 10. My father's company was the biggest distributor of Fittipaldi wheels, so we went as a guest of Roger Penske," he recalled. "We sat on the frontstretch going into Turn 1. Emmo sat on the pole, but he blistered his tires and Arie Luyendyk ended up winning the race.
"Right around then I decided that racing is what I wanted to do with my life," he said.
Later that year Scarallo even got to meet Fittipaldi. "He was at Moroso [Motorsports Park in Jupiter, Fla.] giving people hot laps in a pace car," Scarallo remembered. "We all went to lunch, and I got to sit beside Emmo. It was cool. If he is at Homestead for our races in March, it would be so cool."
Now that weekend is here, and Scarallo hopes to have a good showing for Emmo and everyone else who may be watching.
Scarallo passed his Indy Pro Series test at Homestead in January and he tested his Indy Pro Series car there in February.
He certainly hopes Saturday's Indy Pro Series season opener goes better than the last time he raced at Homestead, which was for a Formula Ford 2000 doubleheader in 1998.
"I got crashed from behind at the start of the first race, and then I got crashed on the first lap on the backstretch during the second race," he related. "I really hope things go better this weekend."
-credit: andersen racing