Dave Sapienza Finding His Groove After Back-to-Back Top-5s


Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks after all.

After three years, 52-year-old Dave Sapienza is finally starting to hit his stride in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. His third-place effort in the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 at Loudon Saturday was his second straight top-5 finish, something Sapienza had never done before.

“I’m a little bit older than most of these kids,” he said. “But I have, I know I can do it. We definitely hit an all-time low the past year. We wrecked a lot of race cars. I got hurt a few times.”

“But I was determined to come back.”

Come back he has. Sapienza sits eighth in the championship standings. He’s never ranked higher than 16th in a single season. A win, Sapienza feels, may very well be right around the corner.

“A couple weeks ago [at Riverhead] we finished second,” the Riverhead native said. “I kind of bombed the restart, but we finished second, and I could’ve had the win. Today, if anything happened up in front of me, I could’ve capitalized.”

Today’s race might have been the perfect microcosm of Sapienza’s tenure in the Whelen Modified Tour. After falling back, Sapienza, dug deeper to find what he needed to succeed. Discovering the bottom of the racetrack was instrumental in his run back towards the front.

“I started using the bottom lane of the racetrack, and that was to my advantage,” said Sapienza.

He fought his way back up through the field.

Perhaps most important of all, the poor luck that’s been holding Sapienza back finally turned into some good luck today. Weaving his way through the late race tangle between Ryan Newman and Doug Coby, Sapienza moved into third place. He maintained that position despite the two-lap scramble to the checkers.

“I got lucky and that’s what we needed,” he said. We needed luck, and that’s what I’ve been hoping for it since the beginning of the year. We got in bad situations, but that happens in racing. I just take the good with the bad and I just keep rolling.”

Watch out, young guns. Dave Sapienza is coming.


About Paul Lambert

Paul Lambert is an aspiring high school racing journalist. Editor of his school newspaper, Paul's excited to cover the Whelen Modified Tour in 2017. Paul has also been published in Speedway Illustrated.

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