Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Hazleton’s Steve Fox Set to Run ARCA 200 at Pocono
by Dino Oberto
HAZLETON, Pa. -- When the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards visits Pocono Raceway this Saturday for the ARCA 200, there will be the tour title contenders plus a handful of development teams lined up for the 80-lap 200 mile race.
However, when it comes to Pocono and ARCA, there is always a bit of local flare and Saturday’s race will be no different as Hazleton’s Steve Fox is set to compete.
Teamed once again with car owner Tony Aquilino of the Bronx, NY, Fox will be making his seventh start at Pocono and with ARCA.
And don’t think that those minimal starts would make Fox any less untested against some of the bigger outfitted teams.
The 55-year old can arguably be considered a driver who has logged more laps round the Tricky Triangle than anyone else on the entry list. For the past 15 years he has been the general manager and lead instructor at the Stock Car Racing Experience, a driving school at the track.
Each April to October you will find him motoring students around the raceway. That has also given him the chance to run on the newly repaved surface.
“I’m like a kid on Christmas Eve. I can’t wait to get out there and open up the presents. I just think it’s going to be amazing. I’ve been out in the school cars twice, I watched the Hoosier test, I watched Goodyear test and I can’t wait to get out there in a real race car and drive myself,” said Fox.
“Turn one has a completely different look the way they paved that lane down on the bottom. I think turn two is still going to be a single groove and you’re not going to be able to pass much going through there. Turn three is going to have a lot of grip and it will be amazing. There should be lots of side-by-side racing.”
Of his six previous ARCA starts, Fox had his best showing last August where he finished on the lead lap in 16th spot and was racing in the top 10 at one point. He’s been able to use what he did from that solid run and improve on certain aspects for this weekend.
“We made a few aero changes on the car and we trimmed out a couple of things in the front. I think we’re a little closer to what everyone else is doing with the shocks too. We’ve pick up some good technology with that,” Fox said.
“I think I learned a lot at that race last year such as slow down to go fast, just settle down and be calm. We really had the car handling well. It’s the same motor and we didn’t freshen it because it’s not time.”
In reality Fox knows he is a little fish in a big pond when it comes to the majority of others he’ll be up against. Yet he also is aware that when an opportunity arises to race at this level you take it.
“Everyone wants to compete at the highest level that they can in whatever sport that they’re in. We don’t have the budget to travel and we don’t have the funding to do any more than the two ARCA races at Pocono.
“We’re a small team with one motor and one car and we’re going to come back and do the best we can like we did last August hopefully.”
Fox is also looking ahead to the August NASCAR weekend at Pocono when the Camping World Trucks will be competing. His aspiration is to run in that race.
“That is our goal, to get into the Camping World Truck Series. We’re putting several deals together and hopefully one of them will come together to get in the Truck race in August,” said Fox.
“For me the Camping World Truck deal makes a little more sense. It’s a bit more higher buy in, sort-a-speak, but the rewards are worth it.
“We have a new sponsor that we brought on, Donny McCall from Invis-A-Rack and we are hoping to put in a good run for them and my car owner Tony Aquilino.”
While Fox may not be able to race elsewhere on the ARAC tour, he is completely content with Pocono.
“I raced snowmobiles there in the late seventies. I raced sports cars on every road course configuration that’s there and I was lucky enough to win a sports car race there,” said Fox.
“From working there and from knowing the Mattioli family, hands down they’re the first family in American Motorsports as far as I’m concerned.
“It’s a place that I know well. It’s going to be a whole new ball game with these speeds but hopefully we’ll be able to look back Saturday night and say we did good last August and we did good this June as well.”