It’s quite common to see teenagers attempting to work their way through the rankings in NASCAR. However, most of the kids who want to become the next Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart don’t usually hail from New York.
But 16-year-old Giovanni Bromante, a Locust Valley native, is attempting to become one of just a handful of Long Islanders to make their way into NASCAR’s premier division. Thus far, he’s made the Town of Oyster Bay and all of Nassau County proud with his prowess on and off the racetrack.
After a few years of racing down south, Bromante just announced he’ll be racing full-time in 2020 with Visconti Motorsports in the ARCA Menards Series East, the Single-A version of NASCAR.
“Over the last five to seven years, I’ve been following Giovanni from a distance,” team owner John Visconti III, originally from Lynbrook, said. “I didn’t know him personally, but I’ve been following his success. It’s a tight community and I heard his name being thrown around.”
Visconti has a long-term plan, too. To get this young driver adjusted to the world of NASCAR, he’s partnered with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports and will have driver Josh Berry serve as his coach.
Berry has made seven starts in NASCAR’s version of Triple-A, most of which have been with Earnhardt’s team. He is highly-regarded in the racing community as one of the top up-and-coming talents.
“All of this is backed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” Bromante said. “When you look at racing, he is as big of a name as it gets. For John to be backed by him is huge. Dale helps us and let’s us use his shops, pull-down rigs, etc.”
Though Bromante can’t race at the tracks 1.5 miles or longer, he will be fighting for the east-based championship, while the team will attempt to compete for the overall ARCA Menards Series title. Berry will run at the larger tracks, as well as current driver Brandon McReynolds, who won Visconti’s only race to date at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last year.
“Gio can learn and absorb the knowledge our veteran drivers have,” Visconti said. “Our main focus is Giovanni.”
Visconti wants Bromante to be the face of his team. The No. 74 car is in the hands of this Long Islander, and expectations are high.
Though most teams are based in North Carolina, Visconti lives in Staten Island. His driver lives on Long Island. The car and crew members, though, are in North Carolina, giving the squad a chance to build partnerships, such as the one with Earnhardt.
For Visconti Motorsports, which has only been racing in what is currently known as the K&N Pro Series East (transitions to the new division next year), Bromante is the future.
“There was a good opportunity for Gio’s father and myself to get together for a conversation, and everything personally, and I’m very impressed with his talent. His talent outweighs his age. He has veteran talent at such a young age.”
But who is this 16-year-old?
Bromante started out racing go-karts at Nassau Coliseum’s parking lot. He won right off the bat, taking the win in his debut. From there, the rest, as they say, is history.
He began working his way through the go-kart rankings, winning the New York State championship, traveling across the nation and even being featured on TruTV’s Kart Life. Come 2017, Bromante signed a deal to race late model stock cars with David Gilliland Racing, which competes in NASCAR’s third-tier division, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Team owner David Gilliland is an accomplished racer himself, making 406 combined starts in NASCAR’s top-three divisions.
“He always just taught me to be calm,” Bromante said of Gilliland. “If you race your race and you’re not worrying about anyone else on the track, then you’re going to do better. I always worried about other people and what they were doing on the track.”
Bromante continued to win as he moved up through the rankings, including triumphs in legends cars, which are cars a fraction of the size of those from the 1930s, late models and super late models.
In order to focus on racing, Bromante is enrolled in an online high school program through Liberty University. The initial decision meant he can travel to races and fulfill all his requirements within two to three days a week.
The 16-year-old has done so well that he’s actually a high school senior. The accelerated program means that he’ll graduate a year early with a full high school diploma.
Now, Bromante’s dream is well in reach. Visconti is determined to build a championship-caliber program with the Long Islander.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Bromante said. “I’ve worked so hard. To get an opportunity like this is really a blessing.”
For both the owner and driver, having a team full of New Yorkers is all worth it at the end of the day.
“There’s not a lot of people who come out of New York and make it to the top series in NASCAR,” Bromante said. “To add myself to that list is a big honor. To say I’ll be racing in NASCAR is even better.”