Q-and-A with Tony Brutti, late-model, Grundy County Speedway
July 24, 2012 9:06PM
Updated: August 26, 2012 6:09AM
Brutti, 27, is in his ninth season racing at Grundy County Speedway. He is 14th in the late-model points standings. His father, Joe Brutti, was a top runner in the Sportsman division at Grundy in the 1980s and ’90s.
How hard is it to compete in the late-model division?
Ridiculously hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
What does it take? Money? Talent?
It’s a combination of a lot of things, but money helps in keeping up with the tire bill and having the best motor and the best shocks.
You’ve missed some nights; that’s why you aren’t higher in the points. But in general you have improved every year. What have you learned?
We’ve learned about shocks the last couple of years and it’s helped us a ton. It seems like every time they come out with a new chassis everything is a little lighter, a little more to the left, and that helps lower the center of gravity.
Your dad never had the best car at the track, but he had a lot of success. What do you attribute that to?
He used his resources wisely. He had good friendships. The equipment he had was a lot of secondhand stuff, but it was good stuff. And that’s kind of how it is with some of the things we have here.
We have a lighter weight hood that Jack Kalwasinski gave us. He said he wasn’t going to use it this year so he gave it to us. There are a couple of others things we have through friendships, you know, “Here, try this part. Try that part.”
Given your budget, why do you have a late-model?
I ran street stocks for two years and I just wanted the best challenge I could for myself.
There have been some nights when you’ve come tantalizingly close.
Yeah (laughing), last year I beat myself on the Fourth of July. I led 23 of 25 laps and finished third. I got beat by Tracy Schuler and John Nutley on the last lap. It was a little bit of freak out and a little bit of the car going away. I think that if I’d had a two car-length lead instead of one, I’d have been more comfortable with Tracy Schuler on my bumper. But I didn’t spin out, I brought it home.
What’s the coolest part about all of this?
Driving is my favorite part, but I love the camaraderie, the friendships. Most of the stuff I have in life I owe to racing. I met my boss through racing, I stay busy because of racing.
As told to Tony Baranek