TOLEDO, Ohio (Feb. 22, 2018) -- Seventeen-year-old Brandon Grosso will soon be graduating from Montgomery High School with his well-earned diploma. However, the New Jersey native won't be around for the ceremony in June because he'll be strapped into the No. 52 Ken Schrader Racing ARCA car at Gateway Motorsports Park.
His high school buddies are used to Grosso's routine. In fact, Grosso is a regular among the dirt modified ranks throughout the northeast and is gone most weekends during race season. He won a big modified race at New Egypt Speedway last year.
"I have a lot of friends who actually come to the races," said Grosso. "They'll sleep over at the house and head down to the track the next day. If they're not at the track, they follow me on Facebook and my Instagram page. We should have won at Bridgeport (Speedway) the week before New Egypt. I was leading the race with six laps to go and got a flat tire."
Grosso has already announced that he'd be competing on the full ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour in 2018 in the 52 car. Fortunately, he turns 18 on March 30, which will clear him to race at all the big tracks. It also prevented him from competing in the season-opener at Daytona; however, he did get the opportunity to participate in the mid-January open test. Grosso, in order to procure points for entering and competing at Daytona, was permitted by ARCA officials to make a lap in practice Thursday before the race. But what could have been a 200-plus points day during the race, turned out to be 25 show-up points only deal...better than nothing.
"That probably wouldn't have been so bad…making that lap in practice, if we wouldn't have done the test. But after seeing how fast we were in the test, that made that whole situation harder. But that's all behind us now. We've got a full season ahead, and I'm looking forward to it."
Grosso made one ARCA start in 2017 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and came out with an impressive 5th-place finish. Grosso also knows he's got a lot of good help in his corner at Ken Schrader Racing, including last year's champion Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Donnie Richeson.
"Donnie Richeson is going to be crew-chiefing me all year…really excited about that. I think we're going to do really good. I definitely have the people around me to help me do that. I definitely think we can win…I've got a good crew, good car, all the right people helping me."
While all the tracks will be new for Grosso, he should be fairly well-oiled when he gets there. In addition to his full ARCA schedule, he's going to be racing his modified when he's not doing the ARCA thing.
"I'm going to be doing quite a bit in the dirt modified…New Egypt, Bridgeport…run quite a few places in New Jersey, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. Might do a couple asphalt modified races at Wall Stadium."
When he's not doing that, Grosso is often watching YouTube videos to try and learn the ARCA tracks he'll be competing at.
"I watch YouTube videos. I try and watch the lines they run so I have a general understanding of how to get around the track before I get there. I ask a lot of questions too.
"I'm really looking forward to Talladega…similar to Daytona but wider and faster. Definitely looking forward to the two dirt tracks. Ran 5th at DuQuoin last year, and by the time we get back this year, I'll have more seat time."
Grosso is already setting expectations for himself in his first ARCA season.
"I'd like to win a lot, obviously. Getting seven wins like Austin (Theriault) did last year would be pretty hard to do; but if we could win four or five and finish in the top-3 in points, that would be a great year. Maybe that's setting the bar too high; but I feel like I have everything around me to help me do it."
Grosso, like several other drivers, plans to test at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville ahead of the next race on tour, the Music City 200 in Nashville Saturday, April 7, live on MAVTV.