Plainville teenager Peter Portante’s dreams of big stage racing run the gamut. The 16-year old Plainville High School junior would like to keep all options open in his quest to climb the motorsports ladder.
Though when it comes to opening doors, Portante, a Late Model driver last year at Stafford Motor Speedway, kicked open a massive one last weekend at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.
Portante won the 2012 Skip Barber Championship Shootout at Road Atlanta last weekend. The title earned him a $200,000 scholarship to run the Cooper Tires USF2000 National Championship series in 2013. Portante also earned a $20,000 cash prize and a Firestone Indy Lights test session with the Bryan Herta Autosport team.
“It was just an unbelievable weekend,” Portante said.
The three day shootout at Road Atlanta judged drivers not only through five racing events, but also in fitness testing, media evaluations and business proposal reviews.
Portante edged runner-up Jake Eidson by .25 of a point in the final standings at the shootout. Eidson was the champion of the Skip Barber F2000 Summer Series in 2012.
Portante said he will use the $200,000 scholarship put up by MazdaSpeed to run the USF2000 series in 2013.
“Some teams we may need a little bit more money to run with,” Portante said. “But it definitely makes it so that we can be able to do it. If we hadn’t won we wouldn’t even be close to being able to do something like this. It’s a great honor and I’m really happy with Mazda for giving me the opportunity.”
Portante ran 19 of 20 events on the Skip Barber Summer Series in 2012, his first foray into road course racing and Formula style racing. He finished the season with three victories and eight podium finishes.
Portante said he plans on running both the USF2000 series and in the Late Model division at Stafford in 2013.
“Right now I really haven’t made up my mind what I want do,” Portante said of deciding between open wheel or stock car racing. “A decision has to come soon. But being able to be successful in both would definitely keep doors open for the future.”
Portante started 10 of 17 Late Model events at Stafford in 2012, finishing the season with one top-five and six top-10 finishes. He was 16th in the division’s final standings.
“Hopefully we’ll run enough to stay in the top-15 in points,” Portante said. “Last year we didn’t run enough races so we weren’t in the top-15 in points [for handicapping procedures]. If we stay in the top-15 in points we’ll have some good starting positions. Last year we were consistently setting fastest laps and we were one of the fastest cars there, but starting 21st or 22nd on a one groove track is pretty tough.”
Portante began racing in 2003 and spent five years competing in Stafford Speedway’s Ceric Fabrication Wild Thing Karts program. He also won an Allison Legacy Car North Series championship in 2011 before moving on to the Late Model at Stafford and the Skip Barber Series.
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