On Their Toes: Dave Sapienza Puts Best Foot Forward For Whelen Mod Tour Competition

Whelen Modified Tour driver/team owner Dave Sapienza (right) hands over a new pair of shoes to Kenneth Massa Racing crew member JR Boccanfuso (left) (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

When it comes to animated personalities of drivers on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour few can challenge the colorful character that is veteran racer Dave Sapienza. 

It’s fair to say Sapienza doesn’t have much of a filter when it comes to speaking his mind or having a good time with the competition. 

And that was the case on Aug. 22 during pre-race ceremonies for the Laurel Highlands 150 at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway. 

While the national anthem played before the event Sapienza noticed one of Justin Bonsignore’s crew members – JR Boccanfuso – on the track.

“So we’re getting buckled up and they’re singing the National Anthem,” Sapienza said. “My guy Danny Grasso is standing next to my car. JR was in front of Justin’s car. I’m putting my helmet on and I see this guy’s toes hanging out of his shoes. I’m laughing my ass off. I’m saying to myself ‘Seriously, you guys are a championship team and this guy’s got his socks sticking out of the front of his shoes.’

“So I’m hitting Danny, poking him in the back. He’s like “Stop, stop, National Anthem’. I didn’t want him to walk away when the anthem was over. So the National Anthem was over and I said to Danny ‘I wanna talk to that [guy].’ He said ‘Who?’ I said ‘That guy’ pointing at JR. I didn’t even know his name. So Danny yelled to him ‘Hey, Sap wants to talk to you.’ He was like looking at me like ‘Why?’

“He comes over and he’s like ‘What’s up?’ I said ‘Here’s the deal my man, I don’t know what the [expletive] you’ve got on your feet, but if I finish in the top-three today I’m buying you a new pair of shoes.’ I was dying laughing and he was laughing.” 

Sapienza proceeded to match his career best series finish with a second place run that day at Jennerstown. 

“And hey, I’m a man of my word,” Sapienza said. 

After the race Sapienza asked Boccanfuso what size shoes he wore. 

It’s fair to say that the relationship between the Kenneth Massa Motorsports team and Sapienza has been a bit icy since last year thanks to some on track issues between Sapienza and Bonsignore. But prior to the running of the Advanced Gas Distributors Inc. 200 Wade Cole Memorial on Aug. 30 at Monadnock Speedway, Sapienza approached the pit area of the Massa owned team to hand over a new pair of Simpson brand racing shoes to Boccanfuso in front of his teammates. 

“I told them ‘Just because I did this don’t mean that we’re all friends.’” Sapienza said jokingly. “I said ‘I’m just a man of my word.’ I did it because I like the guy, I see him, he always says hi to me. Yeah there’s been animosity there. Whatever his driver did to piss me off one time, it’s still just me and Justin, I have no issues with any of those guys.

“So I bought him new Simpson’s with the Big S on the side. I said ‘Now you can always remember these are from Sap.’” 


  1. thank you, this story made my day. much respect for sap!

  2. How can you not like this guy. You are da man Sap!

  3. I’ve met some great people on the mod tour back in the late 90’s! I remember going to New Hampshire, the first time modifieds hit that track! The pits were STILL under construction! But, I can say I had a great weekend up there! The Cup guys LOVE the nmodifieds, and it was strange, working on the modified I was with, and turn around and Dale Sr. and Rusty Wallace are both standing there, watching us! DUH? yeah! BIGTIME DUH! But I was able to get both guys autograghes and will remember shaking theirr hands! You can’t buy memories like those!

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