Late model driver Dave Sciarroni has added a clear distinction to his resume this year. He's the only driver of a 2002 Dodge Intrepid race car on any racetrack in the state of Nevada.
Sponsored by Don Weir's Dodge of Reno, which just happens to be his place of employment, Sciarroni is in an entirely new world with this deal.
"This whole thing is very new to me," Sciarroni said politely.
"I've never had to make public appearances, do PR, smile a lot, wear the clothes and do all these interviews. It's crazy."
Smiling is natural for Sciarroni, who is in his ninth year of racing. The intelligent, clean-cut 26-year-old from Spanish Springs began racing in 1994 in a 1964 Ford Galaxy in the sportsman class at Champion Speedway. In 1997 he moved to the Legends division, then back to sportsman in 1998 driving a 1975 Camaro, and will be in the late models this year in the Dodge.
"I will be racing for points this year. The first time ever I've been focused on that. And it's my first-ever Dodge, first-ever sponsor and marketing with this team."
Sciarroni picked up Reno Dodge as a sponsor when Weir's ad man Bob Warren told Sciarroni to, "Put something together for me." Something as in a sponsor package.
Sciarroni was modest talking with Weir because after being employed for the dealership for seven years in the parts department, Weir wasn't even aware Sciarroni was a race car driver.
"I never knew he raced," said Weir. "He was a little bashful I guess.
"After I saw the budget he put together, I said 'Let's go.' I'll be out to watch him race," Weir added with a smile.
Sciarroni said this sponsorship may open the door for other (Dodge) dealerships to sponsor other drivers.
"But I've got the best one," he added.
Dodge Manufacturing recently returned to the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit with teams owned by Evernham Motorsports, Petty Enterprises, B.A.M. Racing -- who owns the car driven by rookie Shawna Robinson, the only female in NASCAR Winston Cup, Ultra Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing and Bill Davis. Eleven cars in all.
"We've got a direct number to Ray Evernham so we can get information about the cars," added Sciarroni.
The motor in Sciarroni's car is a 360 cubic-inch Dodge-powered motor. The chassis is by Phil Perry, out of Rocklin, Calif. The paint scheme, basic red. Just like the Dodges driven in Winston Cup.
"Once I get used to adjusting the chassis and driving this kind of car, I'll be OK," Sciarroni said. "I will just listen and learn.
"It ought to be interesting. Fun -- but interesting."
His crew chief is Tom Price, a veteran of the NASCAR Southwest Tour and former champion at Silver State Raceway (now Champion Speedway). He will also get help from his dad, Mike, and brother, Matt.
Sciarroni said he would like to travel to other tracks in order to get used to the car, before he hits Champion Speedway.
"Roseville's (California) opener is the first of April. The plan is to test it out there, if everything goes according to schedule."
Sciarroni is adding the full-time driving series to his full-time job and part-time school. He's in his ninth year at the University of Nevada studying to be a pediatric cardiologist.
"I like kids and I like learning about the heart. I've finished my basic med classes and some apprenticeships," he said.
He said he feels his work ethic on the racecar has helped him with his school work.
"You have to apply yourself," Sciarroni said. "With racing you're very focused."
He's not sure how much longer it will take him to get his degree, it may even be another 10 years, which is fine with him.
"It's not about the money. It's about being happy. Though having the money helps."