Gio Ready for the SERF 100admin
By Chuck Corder
Nearly 6 months ago, Giovanni Bromante thought his family’s pedigree in racing would end with him.
The 15-year-old driver’s dream of becoming a star in NASCAR or INDYCAR seemed over.
The result of some good-natured teenage antics at his family’s vacation home in upstate New York, Giovanni sustained horrific injuries after he was flung off his dirt bike and remained unconscious for more than two hours.
When he finally regained consciousness, the Long Island, NY, native had no memory of losing control of the dirt bike he was trying to do tricks on. Or how he fractured his spine in two places and why he would have to wear a back brace for the entirety of winter.
“I woke up in the hospital and didn’t know what I did,” Giovanni said. “I didn’t remember the crash at all.”
Not surprisingly, the kid from Long Island, NY, had no problems showing his toughness. Giovanni worked tirelessly to get back on the track for his upcoming rookie season behind the wheel of an Anthony Campi Racing Super Late Model.
A finally healthy Giovanni shocked the racing world at the Rattler 250 earlier this month when the Southern Super Series kicked off its fifth season at South Alabama Speedway. In his first career SLM race, Giovanni overcame some of the sport’s modern-day and all-time legends to win one of short track racing’s grand jewels.
“After not sitting in the car for 8 months and, then, to hop in and do what I did, it was crazy,” Giovanni said. “I had never run 200 laps in my life, much less 250 laps. But, I knew I had prepared enough and that I would have a great car. It was a dream come true to be in Victory Lane in my first SLM race and coming back after the injury.”
He’ll look to make it a perfect two-for-two this Friday night at Five Flags Speedway when the Deep South Cranes Blizzard Series, in conjunction with the Southern Super Series, gets its season underway with the SERF 100.
The SLMs will share the night with the Pro Trucks, The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen, and the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, military, and students ages 12-17; and free for all children 11-and-under.
Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. with Blizzard Series qualifying slated for 7 p.m. and racing beginning at 8 p.m. approximately.
Giovanni is no stranger to Five Flags. He competed in the Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series last year, finishing seventh in the Tune-Up 100 race that closed it out the regular season schedule last September.
“You have to be easy on tires there,” the young Bromante said. “The track is really abrasive. After 100 laps in a Pro Late Model, the tires were pretty worn out. Now, with 200 more horsepower, I’m going to have to learn some throttle control in order to save the right rear and be there at the end.”
Giovanni fell in the love with the sport at a young age, getting in the garage to help on the hot roads his grandfather was working on.
“It was in my blood,” Giovanni said
With the help of his grandfather and father, the youngster set out on a mission to drive road-course go-karts. The only problem was they didn’t own a go-kart.
They went to the local track where they rented a go-kart from another family, and Giovanni proceeded to win the race.
“We beat the kid we rented the go-kart from,” he said. “After that, we got serious.”
Giovanni would go on to win several road-course championships before getting behind the wheel of a Legends car when he was just 12 at Concord (N.C.) Speedway.
“I never thought I’d do oval,” Giovanni said. “I thought maybe I’d do INDYCAR or something open-wheel, but then I tried a Legends and I really took a liking to it.”
Just a year later, though, Giovanni had found himself a late model ride and he quickly immersed himself into the sport.
He quickly found that while the nose and chassis might look extremely different, there were some similarities between Legends cars and late model machines that he could pull from to make the transition easier.
“When you’re in a Legends car, you’re on shredded tires, and you’re having to fight the car the whole time,” Giovanni explained. “Late Models have slick, big tires, too. You have to know your car. It comes with time and experience.”
To build his time and experience, Giovanni was at the Campi Racing shop earlier this week in Sarasota.
While only 15, Giovanni is classified as a junior in high school because of the online school credits he has earned.
And just like all the hours Giovanni puts into school and racing, he knows the crew and team behind him has been working tirelessly to make him one of the SLM drivers to look out for.
“These guys put in so much work,” Giovanni said. “I’ve gotta be at the best of my abilities because that’s what they deserve.
“We’re going to Pensacola to win, but I’m also keeping myself honest and knowing it’s my second SLM race. We’ll go there, have a good time and I look forward to racing with good people.”