OPP, Alabama (May 20, 2020) — Giovanni Bromante, the 2019 Champion of the famed Rattler 250, will return to South Alabama Speedway this weekend and attempt to defend last year’s feat. Once again driving for Anthony Campi Racing, Bromante will carry a special tribute to a fallen racer, and dear friend to the team, Joe Boyd.
In a partnership with Boyd’s longtime friend and sponsor, Billy Baker of Transportation Specialist in Myakka, Florida, the Anthony Campi black and red number 81 will transform into an all black number 5 honoring the look that Boyd was known for while racing throughout central Florida over the course of the last two decades.
“This is the same exact car we won with last year,” Anthony Campi told PixelatedSPEED. “ It’s probably the only time you’ll see me switch the number (from 81) for a race.”
Switching the number, and running the tribute scheme is only a small token of the appreciation that Campi has for Boyd, who helped Campi in the earliest days of his developmental program.
“He had already been a veteran in the sport and when I raced, I raced against them every weekend,” said Campi. “We were really good friends and when I started a development business, I really needed a first customer and at the time he was struggling, so they put their faith in me to sell all their stuff, buy new cars, and hire me as the crew chief. We had some pretty good success right off the bat in Florida.”
Thus the start of the Anthony Campi Racing Driver Development Program.
“We actually started traveling to the Carolinas and then we went all over,” said Campi. “I’d say that was about eight years ago. It kind of jump-started my career as a crew chief slash driver development coach and team owner.”
Campi took the news of Boyd’s passing in February 2020 hard, but knew the best way to honor his friend would be with success on the racetrack. With help from Boyd’s sponsors, the decision was made to race at South Alabama Speedway in the Rattler 250 with Giovanni Bromante.
“When he passed, we thought this would be a good way to pay tribute to him,” said Campi. “We’re really good friends with the sponsor, who called and wanted to sponsor the car for the entire race. We thought Gio was the right candidate for the race obviously, with winning there last year and being a previous ACR driver. So here we are this week and the sponsor that sponsored him his entire racing career is going to be here and his dad and some of his family.”
For Bromante, hearing the stories about the history of the team has been fun, and the defending Rattler champion is eager to do his part in paying this tribute, even though he and Boyd never knew each other.
“Yeah, Anthony definitely talks about him,” said Bromante. “He loved the guy and I’m sure if I knew him I would have loved him too. He was just a great guy. He won a lot of races in that scheme, and to hopefully carry that tradition for one more race, or how many more races we do, would just be great. “I just know that he was such a great guy to Anthony and the Campi family. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m just very excited to get back in the Super Late Model. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a car and to be back in Anthony’s car, a Super Late Model at the Rattler, is just such a great opportunity.”
The last time Bromante raced was in February at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks in the ARCA Menards East Series opener, scoring a top five for Visconti Motorsports. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped that program in its tracks and put a pause on Bromante’s racing opportunities until the opportunity to race in the Rattler presented itself.
The last time Bromante strapped into a Super Late Model was in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida back in December, where after running well throughout Derby Week, the young driver found himself a victim of a late race crash that wiped out many of the race’s top contenders.
Prior to the Derby, Bromante had closed out a stellar 2019 season which included the Blizzard Series Championship at Five Flags and third place in the 2019 Southern Super Series standings in addition to his Rattler 250 victory.
With the majority of the country under some form of stay at home orders because of the pandemic, Bromante has spent his time preparing for the return to racing by staying in shape.
“I’ve been grinding out in the gym,” he said. “Trying my hardest to keep my head focused because two or three months out of the car is not easy. I needed to keep my mind occupied so I stayed in the gym. I also worked for my dad, and I was keeping busy and I knew that my end goal was to come back and get into a race car and be better than I was before.”
Beyond the Rattler, Anthony Campi Racing plans on continuing to enter various events with various drivers as the country returns to some sense of normalcy. Some of those opportunities could include the continued presence of Bromante.
“There’s been some talks about it,” said Campi. “We want to, I think they want to, but again, we are just trying to see what happens with our country and our state of racing and schedules… you know, it’s hard to say where we’re gonna race next. There’s some plans here and there, but it’s hard to say for sure with anything. It just depends.”
Anthony Campi Racing, and a full field of talented late model teams and drivers will descend on Opp, Alabama’s South Alabama Speedway May 22-24, 2020 for the 45th Running of the Hardee’s Rattler 250, the opening round of the 2020 Southern Super Series season. Tickets and camping are available, with all the precautions needed being taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as the speedway has worked closely with local government and medical officials in preparation for the event. For those not able to attend, the Saturday and Sunday programs will be streamed on Speed51.com. For more information, log on to http://www.southalabamaspeedway.com/
– Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
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