By Ken Bruce
It has been a long time since an invader came to the Big Diamond Speedway and went home with a big payday. In fact, it was September of 2018 when Danny Bouc upset the field to win the Coalcracker 72, and before that, it was Matt Sheppard who won the 2014 version of the Coalcracker, making it my point that it doesn’t happen very often. After this Friday, you can add Anthony Perrego to that list. Perrego and the Vinnie Salerno No. 4* team came to Big Diamond Speedway for the first time since winning the Super DIRTcar Series race there back in July. Perrego steadily worked his way through the field from his seventh starting spot and, at night’s end, was holding the big $10,000 check in victory lane after winning the “Prelude to the Coalcracker” 50-lap feature race.
“This small block is really good,” mentioned Perrego. “We have clicked on something with it, for sure. I really didn’t feel that great early in the race, and the guys were ringing the top. That’s really just not my cup of tea for me to get out there and do that. I knew that down around the yuke tires, I could maintain, so I knew that we had a really good piece, and this place usually comes down to how you race around those tires. I think Craig (Von Dohren) had the best car, and it’s unfortunate he broke, but it was a lucky break for us, and there we were in the lead.
“The bottom was so clean down there; that’s where I think you had to be down there. Like I said, early on I wasn’t that good on the outside, so I didn’t think to dare to go back out there, and the car felt so good on the bottom, that I didn’t think anyone was going to drive back around me.”
The Perrego-Salerno team has experienced nothing but heartaches most of the year with their big-block program, but the car the team brought to Big Diamond on Friday night equipped with their PA Spec Small Block has been nothing but great over the past couple of months. The particular car and engine combination have finished in the top three the last two times the team raced with it at New Egypt Speedway.
“It’s crazy because we don’t race this car that much, and these guys are doing this every week,” said Perrego as the No. 4* was going through post-race technical inspection. “We don’t race this car a lot, but I think coming here early in the year we clicked on a couple of things that really helped us here tonight and our whole program. We got this thing dialed in and just hope we can continue with it.”
Perrego would really like to come back in a few weeks for the Jack Rich, Inc. Coalcracker 72, but as of right now, it might not be in the cards for the team.
“Unfortunately, we have a scheduling conflict for the Coalcracker right now, but we’re so damn good here right now that it’s hard not to come back for it. It’s all about the draw here, but I think we have this car so good here that I think even with a bad draw, we can maneuver our way up there, so we’ll see what happens,” mentioned Perrego.
Team owner Vinnie Salerno puts his all into his racing team, and with the struggles the team has had on the SDS, Perrego was happy he could get a win for his car owner.
“It was definitely a big boost for me to get this win for Vinny, with all of the other stuff going on with our big block program,” explained Perrego. “To come here tonight and win this race keeps him going. We’ll keep working hard to get that stuff figured out. Obviously, we have a really good big block car as well, and if we can just keep the same engine in the car, we will be alright.”
I can be reached for any questions and comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter (X) @dirtracefan25.