CONCORD, N.C. — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman – CMS/John Davison photo –
DRIVER: Tom Pistone
AGE: 40+ (We figured we’d be nice to him here!)
TOP FIVES: 8
TOP TENS: 8
FINAL POINTS: 414 (out of a possible 460)
BEST ON-TRACK MOMENT: Winning his third consecutive Shootout championship, tying long-time division rival Clay Hair for most consecutive Masters division titles.
BEST OFF-TRACK MOMENT: Helping mentor the next generation of Shootout racers at Chase Pistone Inc., along with brothers Nick and Chase.
Tom Pistone tied one of his greatest rivals this summer in winning his third consecutive Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Series championship in the Legends Car Masters division for drivers age 40 and older.
Four-time Masters champion Clay Hair, from Mt. Pleasant, N.C., won three titles in a row from 2007-2009 — the last season before Pistone entered the class — but each of those titles were locked up going into the final week of competition.
Pistone’s third title came in much more spectacular fashion.
Leading Scott Whitaker by a scant two points coming into the finale, and utilizing a backup car loaned from CPI driver Matt Craig, Pistone romped to his fourth victory of the summer and in winning the race, sealed the historic championship.
“It seemed like I did everything I could to throw this year’s championship away,” Pistone admitted. “That crash in Round Nine tore my primary car to pieces and I couldn’t be more thankful for Matt and Jon Craig for them allowing me to use Matt’s car to go out and ultimately win the title. They didn’t have to do it but it was an amazing action and proof that this Chase Pistone Inc. team wins and loses as a team. Luckily in this case, we came out on top again.”
Pistone, who is also managing the South East Limited Late Model Series, has been a mentor to numerous young drivers over the years through his brother Chase’s Legends car team and is now continuing that pathway through his newest endeavor.
“It’s been a lot of fun working with the South East Limited Late Model field and being able to see it grow this year,” Pistone said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have honed their skills at the Summer Shootout in the past who are racing in the limiteds now and it’s great to see that progression in the sport.”
Pistone’s next goal, after finishing out the 2015 SELLM season, will be to look ahead to 2016 and a potential fourth-consecutive Masters title — which would tie him with Thomas van Wingerden for most-consecutive Shootout titles in one division in series history and would also tie him with van Wingerden (four in Thunder Roadsters), Hair (four in Masters) and his brother Chase (two Semi-Pro, two Pro) for the most Shootout titles by an individual in series history.
While the numbers are great statistics, Pistone says that in the end, they aren’t his primary goal.
“It’s fantastic to go out and have the kind of success we’ve had, but at the end of the day, we’re out here to have fun doing what we’re doing and to win races,” says the driver who has 21 Masters division victories at the Shootout. “The points titles have been a product of that and it’s an honor to stand here and celebrate them at Charlotte Motor Speedway — which in my opinion is the best facility anywhere around for us to be racing these cars at. They make you feel safe here and that allows us to go out and enjoy doing what we do.”
“Hopefully next year we can come back and add another notch to the resume at the Shootout.”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s. He is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]