Sam Scarpelli Jr. is taking the fun out of the street stock car class races at Old Dominion Speedway Saturday nights. Competition is supposed to be close in this division for sedans with few modifications running on street tires. But the 26-year-old College Park driver has won three straight feature events in his Camaro and five of nine features this season.
He was known as "Spin Out" Scarpelli when he began racing three years ago in Danny Bennett's former car. Scarpelli went from 11th to fifth place in the point standings and now leads the division with 236 points, followed by Garry Shaffer, Falls Church, with 214 and Jackie Darne, Vienna, 160. Defending champion Wayne Loy of Alexandria, plagued by engine trouble, is tied for eighth.
"It's been a lot of hard work," Scarpelli says. "I had handling problems early in the season, but Dickie Boswell straightened me out on the springs, and I started to do better. But, any one of four or five drivers, especially Shaffer, could win any week."
Scarpelli had his boss, George Marshall, and friend Terry Butler on his pit crew when the season opened. "Then, they quit me. They decided to get their own cars. Now we help each other," he explains.
Lacking sponsorship, Scarpelli foots his own bills, with tires at $55 each the biggest cost. "With the feature paying only $100 to win, this racing isn't too profitable," he says, laughing. "A fairly good car now costs $5,000 with $1,500 for the engine."
His greatest reward this season has been a new nickname. "I'm called 'Meatball', my high school nickname, now. At least that doesn't refer to my driving," he says.
In other division standings, Danny Bennett, Lothian, Md., still leads the late model class with 240 points, trailed by Billy Earl, Waldorf, 182, and Sonny Simmons, Hoadley, Va., 166. Bobby West, Pasadena, Md., heads the ministocks with 202, with Carl Dillman, Highland, Md., 170, and Bill Lone, Silver Spring, 154, next.