Alfredo takes next step in NASCAR pursuit
Think of car racing as a corporate ladder and Anthony Alfredo is a newly minted vice president.
Earlier this month, Alfredo, a 20-year Ridgefield native, signed with Richard Childress Racing to compete for its team in the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series. One rung below the top-level Cup Series, the Xfinity division is considered NASCAR’s minor-league proving ground.
“It’s similar to the Cup Series, but the Xfinity cars are actually a little faster now,” Alfredo said. “The top speeds are over 200 MPH.”
After thriving in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour Series (11 top-10 finishes in 13 starts) in 2017 and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (nine top-10 finishes in 14 starts) in 2018, Alfredo moved up to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series this year. Alfredo competed in 13 races and had two top-10 finishes.
“Our end results weren’t what we wanted, but for my first time in the Truck Series I thought it went really well,” said Alfredo, a full-time junior at UNC-Charlotte. “We just seemed to have some type of disaster every week ... a blown tire, a pit-road issue, even a motor that blew up right before a race. We were running near the top in a lot of races and then had something happen close to the end that knocked us out.”
Alfredo assumed he would return to the Truck Series in 2020, but after he finished taking a college exam in early December he saw a call from a number he didn’t recognize. The message was from Richard Childress Racing, a well-established and highly regarded team founded by former NASCAR driver Richard Childress in 1969. The team’s most famous alum is the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., who won several NASCAR Cup Series titles in his black No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
When Alfredo returned the call, he was invited to an interview at the Richard Childress Racing headquarters in Welcome, N.C. With two-time XFinity Series champion Tyler Reddick graduating to the Cup Series in 2020, RCR had an opening for a driver.
Alfredo was the choice.
“I was extremely fortunate that they wanted me,” Alfredo said. “Richard Childress Racing is the most iconic team in the sport ... to drive for an organization like that is every racer’s dream.”
Alfredo will split time with Myatt Snider in RCR’s No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro; his debut is scheduled for March 21 in an Xfinity Series race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida.
“I’ve watched Anthony drive in the Truck Series this past season and I’m certain he’ll do well in our Xfinity Series cars,” said Richard Childress, the chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, in a press release announcing Alfredo’s signing. “RCR has had a lot of success over the years producing young, talented drivers through our development program. I believe that Anthony will fit right into that same mold.”
“I’m hoping it goes well and I can move up to the Cup Series in a few years,” said Alfredo, an engineering student at UNC-Charlotte. “Right now I’m excited to continue the journey and learn from everyone at Richard Childress Racing.”
While Alfredo remains confident and determined about reaching the sport’s premier level, the unlikelihood of his rapid ascent isn’t lost on him.
“There aren’t many NASCAR drivers from Connecticut, and I grew up as a race fan and am a first-generation driver,” Alfredo said. “No one else in my family has ever raced ... it’s just me.
“The same day I went to the interview, I walked across the street to the Richard Childress Racing Museum, where they have the Dale Earnhardt Sr. cars,” Alfredo continued. “I was looking at the cars as a fan, but at the same time thinking that I will be racing for the team he was part of. It was a little bizarre ... definitely what I would call a surreal experience.”