Bristol, Tenn. Ford Performance and Salvatore Iovino made his first appearance at Bristol Motor Speedway, ) his third appearance of the season, making his 16th career start) in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Zombie Auto 150. A track that is known for its ability to leave car’s in pile up’s and leave teams with hefty damage recovery bills. Iovino was hoping for a productive day in Thunder Valley that could lead to a career-best outing.
“First of all, I am just very thankful for the opportunity that Kayton Travel, Hardcore Hammers, and Patriot Motorsports Group has given me for the opportunity to go out there and prove myself. My mentality going into the race was simple. This track would be a huge learning experience for me, I wanted to suck in as much knowledge and seat time available while avoiding any trouble on the track as possible. I knew from watching the Xfinity race before our Zombie Auto 150 that avoiding any problems on the track seemed almost impossible. But, that is just how racing goes and you always have to be on high alert. But more importantly, there is always something to learn from any track you go too. For someone like me, I think that’s the best mentality to have. You got to go with an open mind, learn from any mistakes and learn everything I can from the seat time.”
In three NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts for the 2018 season, Iovino has shown the ability that he is building momentum for the rest of the season.
While New Smyrna Speedway bagged a mixed finish. Iovino showed promising in his two previous starts at Kern County Race and Bristol Motor Speedway.
Saturday, though Bristol, a rough, ragged and fast half-mile where the tiniest mistake could lead to ultimate failure. Iovino was able to avoid any incidents and finished with a respectable 17th place finish.
To prepare himself for his third start of the season, Iovino had devoted much of his recent time into studying previous races at Bristol.
“I did a lot of studying and preparation coming into Bristol,” added Iovino. “I watched close to 15 hours of onboard camera races from Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson at this track. Learning lift points, backing up my corners when necessary and driving off the exits. I asked as many questions as I had, so just leaning on my resources and trying to be as prepared as possible”
In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series they were limited to one practice session on Friday. Iovino’s #32 posted the 27th fastest lap, but Iovino wasn’t focused on how fast they were in practice or not even necessarily where they qualified, but where they finished on Saturday afternoon.”
And to help him with that, Iovino insisted he must give proper feedback to his crew chief John Wood and Xfinity spotter Jeremy Taylor from JP Motorsports who filled in for Iovino for Bristol.
“The biggest thing for me was to put the whole race weekend together. Going into the race I knew I wasn’t the fastest on the track and that’s something you have to take into consideration. Especially in the beginning of the race, I was still learning the track, the lines I was running and where my car was the fastest depending on which line I raced. Early on in the race I lost all radio communications and I was forced to pull into the pits, I know I lost several laps in the process, but the goal was to finish the race on this demanding track, not go out there and have potential problems from not having communications. Other than the radio comm, that’s something I’m going to get better at, knowing where the car needs to be throughout the race. That will ultimately help me increase my speed as well.
“Overall we had a great weekend and I learned a lot. I’m excited to comeback to Bristol soon. To be able to roll the car back onto the hauler without having any issues throughout the weekend and still finished 17th counted as a very successful weekend for us’
“Having that additional support really capped of the weekend for us. Overall, we are excited to continue to get better and build on our momentum for the rest of the season, and again I have to thank my sponsors Kayton Travel and Hardcore Hammers, their love and support has been unconditional”
Following Bristol, Iovino is scheduled to run the remaining NASCAR K&N East Series with his first ARCA scheduled testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 10th.