Balancing College and Racing: A Driver’s View

Rajan Khanna/The Avion Newspaper

Samantha Stirmel/Event Coverage

The 2015 NASCAR Whelen All-American New Smyrna Speedway Super Late Model Champion, Anthony Sergi is a local favorite, driving for Ben Kennedy Racing. The team owner, Ben Kennedy, is the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr. Sergi, who is only 22, has raced in multiple series on his way to his championship, including Pro Trucks and Asphalt Limited Late Models. Before his race, The Avion Newspaper had a chance to ask Sergi a few questions.

Q: How did you get into racing?

Anthony Sergi: I started racing competitively at age ten, racing quarter midgets as well as go-karts. My favorite track that I’ve raced at is here at New Smyrna Speedway, as I consider it to be my home track.

Q: Do you have any extracurricular hobbies other than racing?

AS: Currently, I’m a senior at the University of Central Florida (UCF) studying Mechanical Engineering. I’m also the President of the UCF Formula SAE club, which requires a lot of balance between running the club, school, and racing out here.

Q: So how do you manage your time?

AS: Throughout the week, I spend most of my time in school at UCF. Some nights, I’ll head to the team garage in Oviedo, which is only about ten minutes from campus. That’s one of the reasons why I picked UCF! But if I have homework or a test, I’ll skip the garage and focus on academics. I’ve begun to branch out from Florida and compete in events outside the state. The farthest race that I’ve had is in Alabama, so I’ve made sure that my school schedule doesn’t have classes on Monday so that I can account for travel or rest especially after a long race.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the future?

AS: As a mechanical engineer, I would love to become a crew chief or a race engineer. I’ve thought about both NASCAR and Formula One, but I’m leaning towards NASCAR.

My dream would be to work for either Team Penske or Stewart-Haas [Racing]. Kyle Busch Motorsports has also tentatively offered me an internship which I hope to accept next summer and thanks to the Formula SAE club, I have a lot of connections to the motorsport industry. For example, many of the club members have accepted internships to different teams thanks to networking. Other graduates are already working as crew chiefs.

Q: Do you have any advice for new drivers?

AS: Start off with racing at a division that you can afford financially. Don’t try to move up too quickly and overspend money, or you won’t have the proper experience and become quickly overwhelmed. Dirt tracks [such as the one behind New Smyrna Speedway] is a great place to start out and hone your driving skills.

Sergi finished 4th at the conclusion of the 100-lap shootout on Saturday night after starting from the pole position.

The Avion Newspaper wishes the best for Sergi next season as he attempts to secure his second career championship.