RPW Column: Anthony Tarantino Helping To Keep Street Stock Racing Move Forward In Hudson Valley

Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – WALLKILL, NY – It’s no secret that Street Stock car counts at the Lower Hudson Valley tracks of the Accord Speedway and the Orange County Fair Speedway have been dropping through recent years.

There are some reasons that have been debated as to why that has been occurring.

But the 2022 season at both Accord and OCFS saw improved interest in the division at both tracks. Accord saw a good increase in the number of competitors.

Jay Smalley, a longtime veteran of Street Stock racing, compiled statistics that showed that the big races at both tracks both did well with car counts. The Halloween Havoc event, in particular, had a very large field of competitors.

And for Smalley, the creator of the very popular 25,000 member Facebook group, ‘Street Stock Help Source’, this is a positive trend. You won’t find a bigger advocate for the division than Jay. The one thing that he has stressed is communication amongst the racers and tracks to get a rules package that is similar to both tracks.

“These facts prove to me that the class is far from dying and our discussions and subtle changes have helped our division,” Smalley said. “I believe communication is our best friend at this point.”

“In terms of the Street Stock class, both tracks saw an uptick in cars. OCFS had the highest purse available weekly. Coupled with a shorter schedule it made it very appetizing for guys to run the scheduled points events. Accord saw a slew of rule changes that helped with the current economic environment both in cost savings for racers as well as to use parts that in the past didn’t conform to the old rules,” Jay continued, “An across the board DOT tire rule not only helped the racers wallets but gave them the opportunity to run either track without spending a fortune on different tires. I also attribute the great racing that we have been known for over the last several years to help spark a little new interest in our division. While OCFS gained a few cars and maintained a good average number, Accord saw a significant increase. The momentum looks great going into this season as there continues to be more interest in our class.”

And the one thing I’ve noticed about the division is the camaraderie that exists among the racers in the division. And Smalley knows very well all about that. That is one of the reasons he created the Street Stock Help Source.

“One last thing I’ll point out that seems to be more apparent in our class, is that most of us genuinely care about the class,” Jay said. *We tend to be more helpful toward one another than in other divisions. This is the idea behind SS Help Source. A problem sharing community with helpful suggestions to keep us racers on track and help alleviate the learning curve of frustration.”

One of the young racers that has started racing the full schedule the last couple of seasons is 2nd generation racer, Anthony Tarantino. Anthony is the son of long time successful Street Stock racer, Ray Tarantino.

After racing the OCFS Street Stock schedule in 2022, Anthony is planning on racing the full schedule at Accord Speedway in 2023.

“We are going to do a complete overhaul on our car. And we are coming back to Accord in 2023 to run for the track championship.”

With a new car, the 2022 season was one of learning the new car and adjusting to the new OCFS surface.

“It was definitely a learning curve for me with the new surface down at Middletown. It was hard for me to get a hold on the track. But thanks to guys like Pete ‘Scooter’ Van Noordt, my dad and our other crew guys, we were able to feel it out and I felt that I did pretty well down there.”

One thing that the Tarantino Racing Team will never be lacking is dedication. After a bad crash by his dad at the Halloween Havoc race at Accord, it looked like Ray’s car was finished/ But less than a month later, it was back on track for The Gobbler. And Anthony looks to carry on that tradition.

“I would like to keep on carrying on the Tarantino Racing tradition. We are a dedicated team and if there’s a race, we will do our best to get our cars out there.”

And at the end of season Gobbler, Anthony had a chance to lead some laps and he’s shown that he can run up front with the best at Accord.

Anthony is very appreciative of his sponsors that include Dawes Septic and Repair (Modena, NY), Al’s garage (Poughkeepsie, NY), RMT Racing and PVD Incorporated.

Besides his dad Ray and Scooter, others who help out Anthony are his stepmom Meghan Tarantino, his girlfriend Courtney Ronk, his daughter Joslyn and son Anthony.

And as time goes on, Anthony will make some great memories, racing with and against his dad. Jay Smalley can relate to that well.

“You get to make some really great memories that most racers never get to experience,” Smalley said.

Anthony Tarantino has it lined up for 2023 success, a good car and a great team with solid family backing. Look for this well spoken young driver to continue to rise in the Street Stock division in the upcoming season.

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