It’s a new relationship between driver and team that’s been 30 years in the making.
David Banta and his father Charlie Banta will go looking for their second Thompson Speedway Limited Sportsman division championship in three seasons with new driver Diego Monahan behind the wheel of their car in 2015.
David Banta has been close with Monahan, and his brother Shawn, since they were all children.
“We’ve been friends for 30 years,” David Banta said. “My father was a second father to them. It’s family.”
Over the decade plus of competition for the Norwich based Banta Racing team in the Limited Sportsman division at Thompson, Shawn Monahan has turned many a lap for the organization. But Diego Monahan will be in his first season as a regular driver for Banta Racing.
Lowell, Mass. driver Steve Kenneway brought the team its first championship over 14 seasons of competition in 2013. Last year Kenneway ended up second in the Limited Sportsman division standings, but after the season Kenneway decided he would drive for his own team in 2015.
Diego Monahan, of Quaker Hill, has spent the bulk of the past few seasons competing full-time in the SK Modified division at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
“I’m not excited that Steve is doing is own thing because Steve and I are very good friends, but that being said, the hardest thing I’ve ever done – for me or my father – was having Shawn up there and racing against him,” David Banta said. “I’m just so close to those guys. So I’m really excited to work with Diego. I think Diego is a very good driver. We had some problems last year that I think we’ve figured out.
“Diego is smooth. He will give you great great feedback on the car. But he can mix it up too. He’s not going to lay down for anybody.”
The team will hit the track for the first time for Thompson’s open test day on April 10 in preparation for Icebreaker weekend April 11-12.
“We’re real close to being ready,” David Banta said. “It should be no problems. We’re really organized. My cousin [Mark Andrade] and my father have worked really hard on the car this winter. Mark and my father have been amazing all winter getting the car ready.”