Wheatland, Missouri (March 18, 2021) – Ask veteran racer Tony Toste his age and he will tell you 52—but he’ll counter that with the fact that, “It’s just a number”. The long time west coast racer isn’t close to backing down on his racing schedule, actually it may be just the opposite. For the second consecutive season, he has his sights set on running the full Lucas Oil MLRA schedule of thirty events, along with competing in the ARCA Menards West Series in 2021.
Toste made a run at the MLRA’s Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year title one year ago, collecting a pair of Rookie of the Race honors along the way. With a year of experience under his belt and a new Longhorn Chassis ready to go, the Arroyo Grande, CA driver is excited to see what his team can accomplish in the season ahead.
It didn’t take long for the driver of the Sealmaster sponsored # 91T to take a liking to his new 2021 ride. Toste topped a field of 59 late models to grab the overall Fast Time award in his first outing of the season in January during night one of the Wild West Shootout at Arizona Speedway. “Right out of the trailer that thing was bad fast,” noted Toste. Unfortunately, the high for the team was quickly erased by an on track incident in their heat race that left them chasing the car for the balance of the six-night event.
“After getting quick time I was definitely expecting much better, but after all of the damage from the first night it was like playing catch up the next three or so nights. The car was awesome, it was just trying to get it repaired properly. Running against that kind of competition leaves no room for leniency or any kind of miscalculation.” With three months of down time, Toste is confident that crew chief Tim Douglas will have them good as new for the MLRA opener next month.
Last year Toste had a number of good runs including a trio of top five finishes to come home 7th in the MLRA’s final standings. Entering year two he now has valuable on track experience at a good number of MLRA venues, including West Liberty Raceway and Lucas Oil Speedway where he had 4th and 6th place finishes to start off 2020.
“For the tracks we are going to again it will definitely be a benefit,” noted Toste. But looking at this year’s schedule it is a lot bigger than last years, so I think I will have more new tracks (eight) this year than all of the tracks that were new to me last year. I think just the confidence we gained from having some good finishes last year and the confidence I have now will be a help as well.”
Toste will continue to compete alongside his longtime friend and teammate Jason Papich, but with one key difference in 2021. “Now that Jason and me are both on Lonhorns it will help. Tim has learned quite a bit from Jason already being on a Longhorn prior to me getting one and now that we are both on them we can use the information to benefit both of us. Having two different drivers with two sets of information will definitely help.”
When not competing with the MLRA, Toste will find a number of his off weekends racing with the ARCA Menards West Series for car owner Joe Nava. Toste has a lengthy resume of asphalt racing on the west coast dating back to the late 90’s and is excited for another opportunity. Piloting the #77 Performance P-1 Motorsports entry, he finished 17th in the season opener this past weekend in the General Tire 150 at the Phoenix Raceway.
“Racing on dirt is a really good time, and I prefer the dirt oval versus the asphalt oval. Asphalt road courses are probably my all-time favorite,” he noted on the asphalt to dirt conversion. "You go to tracks like Sonoma (CA) where you’ve got elevation changes, you turn left, turn right, you’ve got upshifting and downshifting, it’s just a blast!”
In looking towards the MLRA season opener at the Lucas Oil Speedway on April 9th – 10th he notes how critical it will be to get off to a good start. “It’s going to be very important. I feel that with the experience I got last year and the time I had in the new Longhorn in Arizona that we should be good right out of the gate. I’m shooting for some good finishes and I’m going to be disappointed if I get less than top five’s, but that will just make us work harder at the next one to do better.”
Tony Toste Racing: Sealmaster, Billabong, Papich Construction, Bilstein Shocks, Sierra Pacific Materials, Toste Construction, Monarch Mega Storage, Longhorn Chassis-Kevin Rumley.