It was nearly one year to the date that Francesco Ottavio Guerrini III, aka Frankie, created a disturbance on the race-scene radar when he clinched both his heats and then won the dirt 600's Main Event at Delta Speedway in Stockton, California. The San Rafael, California native was 16-years-old, and at the time, the young racer had his sights firmly set on making all the right moves in order to someday realize his dreams of making it large on the big-time race stage. If that particular accomplishment was one small step in the right direction, his latest triumph clearly amounts to one mega leap.
17 year old Frankie Guerrini drives the number 63 car in the USAC Midget Series
Frankie came out with a win at Santa Maria Speedway after leading all 30 laps
Last Saturday Frankie and the F&F Racing crew hit Santa Maria Speedway for the "Don Roberts Memorial" Mopar Western Midget race, and in what was only the fourth race of his rookie USAC season, the K&N backed wunderkind flat-out stole the show. Frankie led all 30 laps, finishing with more than half a straightway lead, despite having to survive five yellow flag restarts.
"Everyone told him not to expect a win in his first season, and that with some drivers it has taken years to get the first win," said Beth, Frankie's understandably proud mom. "He did not expect it, but he sure wanted it, and he was not going to give up his lead or the win once it was in sight! He was so excited that he jumped out of his car and stood on the top of the cage in victory!"
What makes his win even more impressive is that Frankie had to beat fast qualifier Ronnie Gardner, Randi Pankratz, Cole Carter, and series point leader Shannon McQueen to get it done.
"Frankie's dad (Frank) and I were overjoyed about his first win in the Midgets with USAC," adds Beth. "This is such a huge accomplishment at 17-years-old. He has been racing since he was five and a half years old, and was always successful in any form of racing he tried. He loves the midgets and couldn't wait to finally get to drive in the USAC series. We were extremely excited for him and the team."
Overall the 2012 race season has "gone pretty well" says Beth. "He has learned a lot about both the dirt and pavement cars. Other than the crash at Watsonville (which was in the race just before his win), it has been a good learning season and I would say a successful rookie season so far."
In his last dirt race in Victorville, which came before the ill-fated Watsonville race, Frankie started 18th and finished 10th. In what amounted to a shortened 20-lap race, his performance earned him the Hard Charger Award, for passing the most cars in that event.
The next race on pavement for Frankie and F&F Racing is at Madera Speedway this weekend September 14th. "We are looking to have a good result," said Beth. "The last race there, the car had engine trouble, and resulted in a DNF. He finished 6th in both races prior, and he will be looking to improve at this event." The following weekend the team will be back on the dirt at Bakersfield Speedway.
For the 2013 season Frankie has every intention of staying with the Midgets on both dirt and pavement. "If sponsorship permits, we may expand out of the West Coast, and go to a few National events next year," adds Beth.
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