Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – GOSHEN, NY – To say that Joe Bonetti had an excellent year in 2021 would be an understatement.
On track, he recorded his first ever OCFS wins, taking 3 victories in the Sportsman division. He also accomplished one of the unusual doubles with wins in the 358 Small Block Modified and Sportsman on the same night. Joe’s consistency led to him becoming the 2021 OCFS Sportsman Champion, an impressive accomplishment.
And it was a great year for Joe off track as he was married and went on a wedding trip to Greece.
As for 2022, Bonetti has decided to make some changes in his racing program. Joe will continue on in the 358 Small Block division. And in addition, he is going Big Block Modified racing.
“It makes sense economic wise,” Joe explains. “I’m very fortunate with my sponsors and after going over the budget, it makes more sense to get a big block motor than invest in a crate. The payouts are better in the Modifieds. I’m hoping that the tire wear will be good as well.”
Bonetti has raced some in open events with the Modifieds with his 358 in the past and he is looking forward to the challenge of the weekly competition.
“I’m very comfortable with the 358. And the more that I race the Big Block, I’m sure that I will get comfortable with that too.”
Joe entered last season with quite a few years of competition already completed. He had many good feature and point standing finishes, but still never had pulled the 20B into Victory Lane. And early in the season, Joe had some excellent chances for a win not go his way.
That all changed on June 12th, 2021. This time, it was Bonetti making a last lap pass for the win.
“We got off to a fast start in the points and even though we still didn’t have the win, we knew we were close. It was such a joy to get that first win, such a great night for my Dad, my team and I.”
Joe followed that win on June 26th with his 2nd straight Sportsman win and 358 win that same night. He took the Sportsman point lead that race and never looked back.
For 2022, Joe wants to be as competitive as possible with both the 358’s and Big Blocks.
“We know that the Big Block field will be as competitive. We are hoping to stay around the top 10 and maybe sneak in a top 5. I’m hoping that racing the Big Block will make a better all around driver in the Small Block. That is where I want to show improvement in the next year or two.”
With the busy OCFS schedule this year, there are many more Big Block/358 combined race night than the past few seasons. It may make for many hectic nights for teams like Bonetti’s that plan on doubling up. But Joe is confident that his team can handle the duties based on their previous experiences.
“We are used to keeping up with the maintenance on two cars, so we know that we can handle it. It’s going to be a jammed packed year, but we are looking forward to it.”
Joe is very grateful to the sponsor that he has with his racing Program. They include Big Apple Carting, Weyant Landscaping, Jay’s Deli, Orange Auto & Truck, BMS Property Management, G Boyz Gaming, A Better Place Bar & Grill and Family Farm Ice Cream.
The crew that helps keep Joe on the track are his dad, his wife, John Demarco, his Uncle Rich, Marty and John Kendall, Bobby Meurer and Jason Hubbard.
Bonetti is excited for the upcoming season and the challenges he will be facing.
“I’m looking to be as good as I can be in the 358’s with hopefully top 10’s and maybe some top 5’s. With drivers like Anthony Perrego and Tyler Boniface in the field, wins will be tough to come by. But we will be in there giving it our best.”
Joe Bonetti, a double duty driver to keep an eye on in 2022.