When Billy Zardo kicked off his first year in Late Model, the third generation driver was solid – but was missing the edge to be a weekly front runner.
“Struggled in Late Model in rookie year but as year went on, I got more confident,” Zardo said in looking back at 2011.
The confidence has continued building, as well as his skill behind the wheel, and it all came together this past season. Zardo finished the season in the top five in points with a pair of feature wins.
His first win came in dramatic fashion after a top notch battle with eventual division champion Mike Bentley that included a bump-and-run on the final lap.
“The race with Bentley – best moment of my life,” he commented. “Not the actual racing but seeing all the faces in victory lane.”
Part of the success this year can be attributed to the hard work behind the scenes in team communication.
“I’m trying to not just drive but lead my team,” he commented. “I just want everyone on the same page. Long as everyone is on same page, it’s easy to work together and improve.”
With the year behind him, there’s no doubt that people are expecting Zardo to continue to get stronger this year and contend for the championship.
“Everyone starts to put the pressure on as they begin to expect certain things,” he commented. “I try to keep calm. I love to race. I’m going to go out and run and not worry about expectations.”
The new season will bring a change as Sunset Speedway will run a shortened 12 race schedule that includes 2 100-lappers and 10 50-lappers instead of 16 30-lappers for the season.
“I’m excited,” he commented. “I want to do a 100 lapper. I’m consistent through the race, very smooth so hopefully can hold on to the tires and win more races.”
Zardo says when it comes to the big races, you “can’t go through turn one on the first lap and give it totally. Little by little you kick it up and then you sit 10th with five to go.”
Beyond looking for success on his home turf this coming season, Zardo has set his goals towards trying to win the biggest race of the season at the end of the year – the Autumn Colors Classic at Peterborough Speedway.
“The place is classic,” he commented. “The race is phoenominal. The amount of top notch racers is insane. Always loved it and always fun. Great way to get name out there.”
Zardo added that if he won there, it’d mean the world to him.
The young driver has also set his goals for down the road, as well, hoping to get behind the wheel of a Super Late Model.
“I’ve always wanted to race a super late model since I was three years old,” he commented. “Super late model is something I’ve always looked forward to. We don’t have the money now but we are on the radar for lot of sponsors. In five years, I’ll be in and be going fast.”