Sam Cardinale may be only two events into his first ever racing season but he is already turning heads in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series in his Top Sportsman full tube chassis Chevy Camaro.
Cardinale will be one of more than 165 racers taking to South Coast Raceway this weekend for the South Coast Nationals, which marks round six of the 2019/2020 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.
Since completing his licensing in July, Cardinale has taken part in two racing events and already has a DecoGlaze Glass Splashbacks Victoria Top Qualifier medallion and a Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Runners-up plaque to his name.
“We are feeling pretty good about the season so far considering it is our first!” Cardinale said.
“Our first meeting was Mildura’s Sunset Strip Nationals and that turned out to be a cracker with top qualifying and then coming runner up.
“I was already ecstatic to be the top qualifier in Mildura and then to follow it up with the runner-up result with a close finish in the final…I was speechless! It was our first ever event and only my second time in the car, with the first being when I licensed it in July this year!
“We then headed to Adelaide where I really felt confident in the car after my first pass, but unfortunately that got cut short so the car was cleaned and prepped the next day ready to go for Portland instead of the last minute rush.
“To take victory this weekend would be like a fairy tale, but I am not a cocky person so if we can go there and go a couple of rounds I will be happy – I might not be so happy if I go out first round though,” he laughed.
“I have only ever watched racing at South Coast Raceway so I am sure it is going to be an awesome weekend to finally get to race at such a nice track with a great bunch of people.”
As the racing bug has bitten hard, the Adelaide-based competitor has already expanded his plans for the rest of the season ahead.
“I am really enjoying racing in Top Sportsman. To be honest it wasn’t our original plan but I really like the high quality of the cars, the speed of them and the close racing it delivers with some of the best bracket racers in Australia,” he said.
“My original plan was just to race locally until I got my head around everything, but that changed with the Adelaide International Raceway upgrades coming into play and now my plan is to run the rest of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series rounds except the ones in Perth and at Calder Park due to other commitments.
“If we can finish the season with everything in one piece that will be mission accomplished, and if we can get some trophies along the way that will be a real bonus as this season was only ever planned to be a learning season for the future.”
While he may be only two-events into his racing career, already Cardinale is thankful for the team effort that makes his racing possible.
“Firstly I would like to thank my wife Natalie who lets me chase my dreams without hesitation,” he said.
“I also would like to thank Ryan Lee from R/T Race Craft for the chassis setup and advice, he is always happy to help and the car is dead straight.
“When it comes to my crew – my dad Paul, Matt Morgillo and Andrew Luppino – I have to say I never realised how much I had to depend on those guys until I was strapped in for the first time and knew I couldn't do anything but rely on them to do the jobs that were at hand. I appreciate the help and time they take to come racing away.
“Finally I would also like to thank Dino Cecere for the engine help and tuning and also anyone else that has helped me along the way to fulfil my dream!”
The South Coast Nationals, round six of the 2019/2020 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series, will be held at Portland’s South Coast Raceway across December 14 and 15. Entries close on December 8. For further details, please visit www.southcoastraceway.com.au orwww.andra.com.au