Joey Montelo 2008 Formula Junior A Solo Champion

by Scott Hearne on April 2, 2009

With a supportive family and inter-brother competition, Joey Montelo emerged as the first ever FJA Kart Champion at the 2008 Solo National Championship. Residing in the Chicago area and a member of the Chicago Region SCCA, Joey drove a Blue Biesse Kart with a Yamaha KT- 100 engine on Bridgestone tires.

RR: Is this your first attendance at Nationals?
JM: Yes, this is the first year karts were able to race at Nationals, so it was my first year attending Nationals.

RR: Is this your first National Championship?
JM: Yes, this is the first year I have taken the National Championship, the first time for my class.

RR: What was your favorite memory of the competition?
JM: Driving back into the grid area after my last run, seeing the look on the faces of people watching on the sidelines, cheering for me.

RR: What do you think was your key to success?
JM: I’d have to say the key to my success was really my brother, Anthony, who took second place at the competition. Outside of Nationals he was usually the faster of us two, and with his trash-talking at Nationals, and getting a lead about 7 tenths after the first day, it really pushed me to try my absolute hardest on the second day, to try to beat him.

RR: Do you have any special pre-race routine, or any superstitions you follow?
JM: I don’t really have any special pre-race routine. All the practice before the race I did was to walk the course to get the feel for it. I don’t have any superstitions about racing.

RR: Do you have any driving aids or tools you use to help you?
JM: I don’t use many driving aids or special tools while driving.

RR: What do you think you do differently than your competition?
JM: I try to stay focused on myself, rather than my other drivers, and try to learn on the track how fast I can go around a corner before losing traction.

RR: Have you attended any driving school?
JM: I attended a kart driving school at Chicago Indoor Racing.

RR: Describe your driving style.
JM: I am a pretty experimental driver. I try to see how many ways I can take corners, and then near the last run figure out which is the fastest. I also see myself as accurate, sometimes reckless, and of course fast!

RR: What was your first –and favorite autocross car?
JM: My first kart was a Coyote Freeroller that my brothers and I shared when we started racing. My favorite kart is my Blue Biesse kart that I still race now.

RR: If you could change one Solo rule – either for your specific class or in general — what would it be?
JM: I had no problems or concerns about the rules, so I can’t think of one to change.

RR: Who would you like to thank for your success?
JM: I would like to thank my parents foremost; my mom for helping us prepare and work on the karts when a problem came up, my dad who built my amazing kart that helped me win Nationals and also helped work on the kart to make it perform its best, friends from the Chicago region for cheering me on to take first place on the second day, and my brothers, mainly Anthony, for pressuring me to do my best on both days of the competition. I am grateful to them all, and thank them for helping me achieve the success I did.

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