Sonoma: Gasparrelli spotlight

Gasparrelli sets sights on Division 7 Drag Races at Infineon Raceway. SONOMA, Calif. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) - Most boys dream of following in their father's footsteps but for most of them, the footsteps don't lead to the seat of a 260-mph racecar.

Gasparrelli sets sights on Division 7 Drag Races at Infineon Raceway.

SONOMA, Calif. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) - Most boys dream of following in their father's footsteps but for most of them, the footsteps don't lead to the seat of a 260-mph racecar. But for NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Steve Gasparrelli, that's exactly where they went.

At 37, Gasparrelli has spent most of his life training for this position. For as long as he can remember, he has been at the racetrack or working on the racecar with his dad, Lou Gasparrelli. And, he says, there was never a time when he wanted to be anywhere else.

"Dad's been racing for about 35 years and because our team has always competed 20 or 25 weekends a year, I spent a lot of time with my parents as a kid," remembers Gasparrelli. "Most kids don't spend that kind of time with their parents but as a result, I'm really tight with my dad. It's great."

The senior Gasparrelli now manages the team and works with Randy Anderson on tuning the Prisms Unlimited Firebird, so the family still spends many hours together. Only now, Steve's kids, Jillian, 12 and Tobin, 10, are spending quality time with the family and race team.

The whole clan will be at Infineon Raceway June 28-30 for the NHRA Bank of the West/InReach Internet Division 7 Drag Races, presented by KFTY News Channel 50/Live 105 FM. The series is sponsored by Lucas Oils.

Steve, who is the defending Pacific Division champion, had some big shoes to fill when he took over driving duties from his dad in 1999. After all, Lou is a seasoned veteran of drag racing; a four-time Pacific Division champion. But the younger Gasparrelli has come into his own behind the wheel. In 2001 he made five final-round appearances in Pacific Division competition, winning three races. On the national event side, Gasparrelli was runner-up at two events. His performance was good enough to give him the division title and put him in sixth place in the national point standings.

"Winning my first division championship has made me rethink my goals for this season," said Gasparrelli. "Now that I've proven to myself that I can win a divisional title, I'd like to repeat that and finish in the top three nationally."

If 2001 was a breakout season for Gasparrelli, 2002 could be the year he becomes an established threat in the class. Gasparrelli is currently leading the division point standings with two wins in two events, and is third in the national points chase. He won the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix and at Sacramento Raceway Park. He also won the national event at Houston Raceway Park.

-ir/spr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA