2012 Year in Review....August. Torrington’s Robbie Aldreada Collecting Checkered Flags. Story by John Torsiello.
Racing is in Robbie Albreada’s blood.
Since he was a little boy he’s been driving anything with wheels or that goes fast.
At age nine, he was running a small excavator and back hoe for his father Robert Albreada, Sr.’s waste disposal company.
He had a go cart when he was about seven years old and “probably put more miles on that thing just racing around the dirt track in my back yard than most cars have on them.”
He used to own snowmobiles as well and other recreational vehicles.
As he explains, “I got involved in racing at the age of eight. I had always been interested in racing but I actually started going to the race garage and the track on a weekly basis at eight. My family has been involved in racing for a long, long time. My father (Robert, Sr.) decided to get back into it when I was that age. My dad got involved with dirt modified driver Andy Bachetti out of Sheffield. Ma. Andy is one of the top 30 dirt modified drivers in the country, and he travels all over the East Coast to race. I have been working with Andy for a long time and he has taught me more than you could even imagine about race cars, public relations, sponsors, etc. I still work on Andy's crew, doing a little bit of everything but my main jobs are chassis setup (putting the correct setup into every car before it leaves the garage for a race) and fuel management. Andy has a fleet of six cars, all with different setups and motors.”
Robert Albreada, Sr. is a sponsor for the Bachetti team.
With his dad and Bachetti serving as driving (pun intended) forces for him, Albreada at the age of 20 has turned in two impressive seasons competing in the “Slingshot” division.
Slingshot cars are designed and made in Pennsylvania.
The Slingshots are about half the size of a full size dirt modified car like Bachetti races.
They have a 40-horsepower Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Motor, 600cc engine, and can reach speeds of 110 miles an hour.
The racing is all on dirt oval tracks, which are similar to NASCAR tracks but instead of asphalt it is a dirt surface.
Albreada, who graduated from Torrington’s Oliver Wolcott Tech in 2010 (he was on the basketball team that made it to the state tournament for the first time in 16 years and was captain of the school’s golf team) has gotten his racing career off to a flying start.
Last year he ran 10 races, with a win, three Top-3's, and six Top-5's.
“My first win was on Aug. 5 of last year and it was very special to me because it was on what would have been my grandfather's (Francis) birthday if he was still with us. Unfortunately I never met him, he died in a plane crash along with a lot of other family members whom I never met.”
This season, which he recently wrapped up because he returned to college at the University of Connecticut, he raced 26 times with five wins, 13 Top-3's, and 23 Top-5's.
The amount of entries per race varies, but usually he races against anywhere from 10 to 20 other cars.
To be as consistent as he has been is very rare in racing.
“I couldn't be happier with the season,” he said.
Albreada is a junior at UConn and his major is Communication Sciences with a minor in Business Management.
Racing can be expensive and time consuming.
“If you keep good care of your race car by washing it, checking all the nuts and bolts, keeping everything lubed up and free from binding, you won't run into a lot of mechanical issues."
The Slingshots are somewhat expensive, a good car with a good motor is probably close to about $10,000.
Parts and tires all vary in price depending on the quality and sizes, etc.
He feels he has found a home in Slingshot racing.
“I like that it is a somewhat low cost division. The amount of money it takes to be a competitive full-sized dirt modified racer like Andy's team is well up over $300,000 per year. In my division you can be competitive and race a full season for maybe $5,000 or so. Unless you run into mechanical issues a lot or blow a motor up, then you would be looking at about $10,000 per year. My sponsors help me a ton, they foot the bill for most all race expenses, which makes it easy on me while I attend college.”
He receives invaluable help from sponsors Albreada Refuse and Sweeping, D.J. Hall Roofing, Steve Hough Motors, Lamonica's Restaurant, Boomer's Performance, Slinger Warehouse, and DMS Designs.
He races in New England and New York State primarily at the Accord Speedway, Lebanon Valley Kart Speedway, Caroga Creek Raceway, Dodge City Speedway, and the Oakland Valley Raceway.
He’s also raced in Pennsylvania, at the Shellhammers Speedway and the Hamlin Speedway. He has wins at Lebanon Valley Kart Speedway, Caroga Creek Raceway, and Dodge City Speedway.
Most tracks pay out to the top 10 finishers.Albreada definitely has the racing bug but not necessarily for being behind the wheel for a long time.
“I would love to pursue a career in motorsports but not actually driving race cars myself. I love driving them but I wouldn't want to make racing my job or life like it is with Andy. I would love to maybe own a race car parts store or an automotive parts store, or maybe be a public relations director for dirt track racing or something like that.”
In the meantime, Robbie Albreada sure loves grabbing those victory flags at the end of races.