The whirlwind of a year for UM medical student Patrick Staropoli will continue this Sunday when he makes his first career start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.
Staropoli is making his debut after competing in two races for Bill McAnally Racing in the K&N Pro Series West last season. He landed one top-five and two top-10 finishes in those events after winning the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge back in August.
“This is the weekend and an opportunity of a lifetime,” Staropoli said. “I’m so excited it’s finally here and I can’t wait to put that No. 99 Peak Toyota out front.”
The rookie spent last week in North Carolina working in McAnally’s East shop and preparing the No. 99 PEAK Toyota Camry for Bristol. He went testing with the team at Basset’s Speedway in addition to helping out on his teammates cars, which were being readied for the Talking Stick Resort 75 at Phoenix International Speedway on February 27.
“I learned a ton in just one week,” Staropoli said. “Especially on their ‘pull down’ machine which is technology that regular short track racers don’t typically have access to.”
Staropoli will be one of three BMR teammates racing in the New Smyrna 150, joined by Drake in the No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry and Brandon McReynolds in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. Staropoli will continue to drive the No. 99 PEAK Toyota Camry.
“We are ready to get the 2014 season rolling,” said BMR President Bill McAnally in a press release Wednesday. “We are headed to Florida with a very talented lineup of drivers for the K&N East season opener. We did some pre-season testing and look forward to great results this year for NAPA AUTO PARTS and Toyota and also for our fans.”
After a multitude of success in the K&N Pro Series West that includes five series championships and a combined record of 50 series wins, Bill McAnally Racing announced last month that it would be expanding into the K&N Pro Series East this year.
Immediately following the New Smyrna 150, Staropoli will take off with the series towards the Daytona International Speedway for the second annual UNOH Battle At The Beach on Tuesday, February 18.