Loffredo in charge again at Holland

July 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM

loffredo.jpgJim Loffredo knows the fast way around the Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex. The proof is that last season, which he termed his worst in all the years he has campaigned in the NASCAR Chargers at Holland, he still placed fourth in points.

Ever since 2007, the year the Orchard Park-based driver reigned as Holland's NASCAR Charger champion, he has been high on the points list. Loffredo is tied atop this year's list with Jerry Kosmowski at 194 as August looms. Loffredo placed second in the standings in 2008 and third in 2009.

"Last year was absolutely my worst year in the NASCAR Chargers since I started racing," said Loffredo, 47. "I blew the engine last year in the second to last race and that's how it went.

"I took the car apart after last season and saw things that were bent and things that needed changing and I did a lot of work to get ready for this season."

Loffredo won a dramatic side-by-side multilap battle over Rob Miszczak on June 11 at Holland and was very excited and emotional after the victory.

"I said that night that winning that race was the most fun I've ever had in a race car in my life because I've never raced anyone side-by-side for as long as we did in that race and any closer than Rob and I did that night," recalled Loffredo.

"We were swapping the lead and several times when we crossed the finish line he was just ahead of me but I was able to get ahead of him on the final lap. I also think that because I had that very difficult season last year, the win this year meant a lot more to me."

Loffredo, who drives the All Metal Inc./A To Z Transmission/B&L Race Engines 1984 Monte Carlo, has been one of the busiest people in local racing for the last two decades.

He surfaced in area racing as a crew member on the NASCAR Charger effort of the now retired Paul Faleski in 1991. The next season he was promoted to crew chief. A couple of seasons later Faleski moved to the now-defunct NASCAR Pro Truck division at Holland.

In the NASCAR Pro Truck ranks, Loffredo served as a duel crew chief for both Faleski and fellow truck racer Bob Manko. Loffredo also found a few spare moments to compete in Holland's Enduro class.

As a crew chief, Loffredo won NASCAR Pro Truck championships with Faleski in 2000 and Manko two years later.

When Faleski retired after 2001, Loffredo took over his truck and, running a smaller engine package, won two races before the NASCAR Pro Truck division ended in 2002. Manko then retired. Loffredo eventually found his way to the NASCAR Chargers.

Also of note is that Loffredo also has a race-driving wife. Lisa Loffredo was a top competitor in the Queen Bee class, winning on a few occasions before putting her career on hold for family matters. Her primary duty is handling the travel softball schedule of the couple's 16-year-old daughter, Carly.

Jim Loffredo still has the Queen Bee car at the ready and also has a second NASCAR Charger prepared as Lisa is expected to make her return behind the wheel of either car later this season.

Lisa would already have made an appearance or two this season but when the softball schedule had a break either Holland was not scheduled to race stock cars or the race was rained out.

"The competition at Holland is very stiff and I race against a lot of great guys who respect each other and it's nice to race against drivers like that," said Jim. "I also appreciate the fact that Tim Bennett (Holland general manager) has put forth a big effort to go with the new Goodyear tires and make it less expensive for us."

Holmes wins for Booker
Bobby Holmes scored a big victory when he took his Frank Booker Jr. owned Sportsman car to the winner's circle in last Sunday's Sportsman 100 at Oswego Speedway. The race was part of the 61st annual Race of Champions Weekend.

"I drew the pole and the car was the best it's ever been at Oswego," said Holmes. "I led every lap. A few weeks ago we raced at Oswego and the car was out to lunch.

"During the last few weeks some suggestions were made on how to make our car better from my uncle Mike [Holmes] and Bob Mueller of Troyer Race Cars. It made all the difference in the world."

It was a bizarre race day for Booker last Sunday. Before the heat race, the car fell off a jack and struck him in the head. He was taken from the track to a local hospital where he received stitches for his cut forehead as well as treatment for a concussion.

The wounded car owner got back to the track in time to see his team emerge victorious and shared the moment with them in Victory Lane. Monday, Booker was home recovering and was still hurting but very happy.