Digging Deep With Denise: Visiting With Anthony Nocella

“Digging Deep With Denise” is a semi-regular question and answer feature with local racers and racing personalities produced by RaceDayCT’s Denise DuPont

Anthony Nocella Took His Dad’s Love of Racing to the Driver’s Seat … 

Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Mass. was lucky to be born into a family that has a passion for racing.  His dad owned a Pro Stock and brought his family to the race track to share his love of racing with them. Nocella followed his older sister’s footsteps and jumped behind the wheel of a go-kart as soon as he was able. From there he progressed up the ladder to where we see him today behind the wheel of a Modified. Nocella has driven in: Go-Karts, Midgets, Outlaw Midgets, USAC Midgets NEMA, NEMA Lites, ISMA, the Whelen Modified Tour Tour, the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, the Modified Racing Series and the old Whelen Southern Modified Tour. So when offered, Nocella will take any opportunity to drive anything on a track. Anthony was born November 20, 1992 hence his family team selecting 92 for a car number. He was the 2017 Modified Racing Series Champion. He currently drives the No. 82 car for Danny Watts Racing on the Whelen Modified Tour and runs his family owned car on the Tri-Track Open Modified Series and in selected Tour Type Modified Open events. 

What made you get interested in racing?

“Just going to races as a kid. My father used to own a Pro Stock for a guy so we were always at the race track. As little kids, my sister and I were always there. So just being around the track is what got us interested. My sister, who is a couple of years older than me, actually started racing before me in Go-Karts. I started in the Go-Karts a year after her. Then I went to Mini Springs out at [the now closed] Whip City [Speedway] in Westfield, Mass. for about three years. From there, I went to the NEMA Midget Lites, the regular Midgets and then it was on to a Modified.”

Which type of racing do you like the best?

“I like them all. They all have different challenges. The Midgets are real fun to drive– they are fast and you can muscle them around a little bit more. I like the competition also with them. Everything is so close, it is hard and tough racing but I like it. I also ran a Super Modified at Thompson last year and that was fast and a lot of fun. I ran a lot of dirt stuff when I could too. All racing divisions have things that I like.”

Would you say racing is your hobby?

“Racing is my family’s hobby. It is what we do most of the time. I also like fishing. My parents have a house on a lake so the little bit that we are off we go there and fish as much as we can. So fishing is my other hobby besides racing.” 

How does the competition compare in the various Modified divisions you compete with?

“They are all tough racing and have different features. In the [Whelen Modified Tour] you have time trials while in the Tri-Track and Open Modified [events] you run heat races.  It is a little bit different on how you set up the car. But when we race it is all much of the same guys and there are just as many good guys at each race. They are all tough races to win so you have to come as prepared as you can, run to be there at the end and go for the win. All modified racing is competitive. The rules and procedures make them different. They are all tough and hard to win. A lot of teams run more than one division. Everybody is so close in their running that it is hard to be the top one.”

What is your goal for 2021?

“This year we are trying to run up front at every race and win if we can.”

What racing memory stands out for you above all others?

“I do not have a racing memory that sticks out the most. Just some of the wins and runs, and being able to go to some of the different tracks with different cars. But if I were to choose it would be the very first Modified win that I had in my own car at Seekonk [Speedway], which is our home track. And after that first win it makes it a lot easier and fun.”

How is driving for the Danny Watts Racing team?

“I enjoy driving for Danny Watts Racing. For the most part, we ran real good … last year. We have had two real good runs in it this year but not many good finishes yet. At Martinsville we did not start out good but got up to fourth. Then we ended up breaking so we did not finish out the race. We started twenty-third and finished twenty-sixth. On [April 30] at Stafford we had a good car and were able to stay up front all day. I really think that we had a shot to win it there and then at the very end we were caught up in a wreck. … The [Danny Watts Racing] team always brings a good car to the track and we get along well. Hopefully we can get a couple of good runs and a win.”

Comments

  1. Nice angle Denise, like the format and the driver. I didn’t realize he had such diverse racing background. Go #92! I’d like if you kept on digging with more questions and I look forward to the next feature.

  2. Racer28 says

    Good job Denise. Look forward to reading more about other drivers in the paddock.

  3. Fast Eddie says

    Great srticle, reminds me of some of your work on the chrome horn. Always liked the nocella team, watched Anthony come up from midgets. Cool info about the number choice too. Never seen him make any dumb moves, always a class act.

  4. I want to thank all of you that have read and commented on my contribution to the racing community.
    Please let me know if there is a driver in particular that you want to hear more about.

  5. These are very interesting columns. Nocella has high potential. He has good runs.

    Next: Dave Sapienza!!!! Please.

  6. “They are all tough racing and have different features.
    In the [Whelen Modified Tour] you have time trials while in the Tri-Track and Open Modified [events] you run heat races.
    It is a little bit different on how you set up the car. But when we race it is all much of the same guys and there are just as many good guys at each race.
    They are all tough races to win so you have to come as prepared as you can, run to be there at the end and go for the win.
    All modified racing is competitive.
    The rules and procedures make them different.
    They are all tough and hard to win
    . A lot of teams run more than one division. Everybody is so close in their running that it is hard to be the top one.”

    I have no idea who these answers are targeted to but they sure sound like people that have never watched a modified race before. I find them extraordinary for how uniformly generic and singularly uninformative to the fan base that you’d normally would populate RaceDayCt.
    The only thing I really learned here was Nocella like’s fishing.
    I’d suggest the drivers history is the foundation but the focus of an driver interview should be the now. The now includes Nocella’s views on the direction of modified racing including the surge in opens vs the NWMT. For we tech geeks the state of the family’s 92. What’s new like the equipment and perhaps what engines it is packing and any observations of spec vs built and if built what type of built. What is the open plan for 2021 and why?
    If the goal is to to provide a platform for a driver to recite a bunch of racing cliche’s what the point.

  7. Fast Eddie says

    Considering the source of comments, I’d say Anthony offered HIS honest assessment of the different options for tour-type modifieds. I’m sure the same questions posed to other drivers will offer similar and/or different views. Some of his comments may seem like clichés, but they are also factual info.
    And I’ll second the vote for Dave Sapienza, although this kind of info about any of the drivers gives fans more insight into the driver and the teams. GREAT STUFF!

  8. ” I’m sure the same questions posed to other drivers will offer similar and/or different views”
    For a driver profile piece loaded with cliches that one comment is the perfect response covering 100% of the possible response content from other drivers both similar and different.
    Nothing wrong with cliches. Tom Brady has made a career of feeding them to reporters appearing to answer questions when in reality saying virtually nothing.
    I’m mindful of two challenges with race reporters. First it’s a small community and you can’t be ticking off everyone in that community with challenging following up questions like you’re Mike Wallace if anyone remembers him on 60 Minutes. More importantly drivers aren’t highly paid celebrities or sports figures that are paid in part to navigate the media. Our local drivers in may cases lose money to provide us entertainment we pay a pittance for compared to them. Sacrificing their free time as well a precious commodity for family men and women as well. They can darn well answer questions any way they like.
    That said there is a way to ask the tough questions and it happens regularly on Unmuffled. Expertly crafted in a non confrontational way that provides space for the interviewee to expound extensively like Chase Dowling did or to keep the response narrow like Jimmy Wilson usually does.
    My only real objection to this is calling it a deep dive. This Nocella piece was more akin to skimming a rock over water. That in a way is what the free portion of the RaceDayCt audience should be happy to get whereas those that contribute via Unmuffled have a greater opportunity to get a truly deep dive.
    Dave Sapienza of interest you say. You could have already heard him in all his glory in episodes 64.77 & 85 on Unmuffled. The real guy answering tough questions at critical times. Then combining that with social media and understanding it isn’t just Dave Sapienza that makes the 36 go it’s a formidable team that includes the Thilbergs. Want to know what he’s planning with for opens, engines, having what’s his name drive one of his cars? It was probably on Unmuffled.
    In the end it looks like the driver in these “Deep Dive” pieces call the shots on the level of depth they are willing to provide. If that’s the case Nocella may very well be a big Tom Brady fan and learned his lessons well.

Speak Your Mind

*

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing