PENSACOLA, Fla. – Gio Bromante may be gearing up for his first start in the Snowball Derby, but that’s not all he’s been talking about in the hours leading up to race time at Five Flags Speedway.
The Long Island teenager is already looking ahead to 2020, when he’ll contest the full ARCA Menards Series East schedule with New York-based Visconti Motorsports.
Bromante will pilot John Visconti’s now-familiar No. 74 Reichert Group Chevrolet for the full seven-race East slate, hoping to back up his recent Blizzard Series title at Five Flags with a touring crown next year.
It’s an opportunity that Bromante is relishing, considering his career was nearly halted last year after a back fracture suffered in a dirt-bike accident that could have easily paralyzed the young prospect.
“Last year here at the Derby, being in the back brace and having to watch while everyone else was racing was tough, but we came back in a big way,” Bromante told SPEED SPORT. “The Rattler win this year and the success we’ve had was really cool, and I can’t wait to carry that momentum into 2020 with Visconti Motorsports as we take a run at the ARCA Menards Series East championship.
“I’m super excited for next season,” continued Bromante. “Most of all, I’m just extremely thankful to have the ability to move up in my career and to get closer to the top levels of the sport. The Visconti team has already proven to be a championship-caliber team and I’m really looking forward to working with them. I love learning a new type of car and I’m always up for a new challenge, so it will be great having their experience on my side next season.”
Bromante won two Southern Super Series super late model events in 2019, including the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway, to go along with his Blizzard Series championship.
He was quick to note that he feels his experience gained racing for points this season will only help him as he pursues his biggest racing challenge to date.
“It definitely just got me used to racing for points and built my confidence that I could do it,” said Bromante. “We’re intending to go all the way. It’s not intended to be a year of getting my feet wet. This team is capable and I believe that together, we can go out and take the fight to these guys right away.
“The biggest challenge will be getting used to the car,” he added. “It’s just a different animal and a different driving style than a super late model, but I know the team will give me every opportunity to learn and succeed.”
Visconti told SPEED SPORT on Sunday that he’s not only looking forward to what Bromante brings to the table, but he’s excited to work with a younger driver and build on the foundation that Brandon McReynolds helped him to build over two part-time seasons of competition in 2018 and 2019.
“We’ve been watching Gio. We both come from the same area of New York, and as an owner, I’ve been looking for talent that’s been undiscovered in the big leagues,” Visconti said. “He’s been on our radar for quite a while, and it just happened to be that a mutual friend of John Bromante and myself kind of introduced us. It took off from there. We felt like we were family right from the beginning. It’s important that we come from the same mold, because we’re looking to progress in future seasons.
“We’ve already tested at Motor Mile with Gio, and the first time that he was in that type of car, he got under the track record and really showed us a lot,” Visconti added. “We spent an entire day there. It was all positive. Now we’re excited for the prospect of the 2020 season in the ARCA East Series with him.”
Visconti also tipped that plans are in place for Bromante to run several ARCA Showdown Series short-track events in 2020 as well, with the possibility of either running for the Showdown title in addition to the East title or adding some NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races to the mix in the second half of the year depending on how Bromante performs during the first portion of the season.
“We want to get him into a few Truck races,” Visconti noted. “But if we start doing really well in the first five Showdown races, then we’re going to have to make a decision whether we go to the balance of those races and run for the (Showdown) championship or put him into the truck.
“Regardless, we have a longstanding relationship and we’re very excited for the Bromante family and for the Visconti family, and I really feel that next season people are going to really see some great things out of our team.”
Industry veteran Bruce Cook will serve as Bromante’s team manager and crew chief, while JR Motorsports late model driver Josh Berry will be the teenager’s driver coach for the upcoming year.
It’s a mix that all adds up to success, according to Bromante, who couldn’t be more excited.
“If we could get going tomorrow, I’d be ready to go,” he said with a smile. “All the pieces are there for us to perform. The waiting is the hardest part.”