Busy Stetson Senior Juggles His Studies and Auto Racing
For as long as he can remember, Stetson University senior Anthony Cataldi dreamed of racing cars.
“My dad, Tony, raced late model cars from 1994-1997, and I always looked at the pictures and wanted to give it a try. I started racing go-karts at the age of 10,” explained Cataldi, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
After becoming proficient with go-karts, Cataldi moved on to racing Legend Cars for a couple of years and then Late Models from that point.
He’s earned several awards and accolades, including the 2008 FKA Jr. Blue Champion, 2010 FKA Jr. Stock and Jr. Gold Champion, Semi-pro State of Florida Legend Car Champion, Semi-pro National Points Champion (4th out of 386 competitors), 2016 State of Florida Late Model Champion and 2016 Bright House Challenge Series Champion.
The Umatilla, Florida, native currently competes in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and CARS Late Model tour in his “00” race car.
But accomplishing all this is not easy.
A Juggling Act
To say that this driven student is busy would be an understatement. And Cataldi acknowledges that what he is doing is rare.
“There are some (racers who are also college students) but not a lot. Most don’t race through college. They might race before and after, but not while in college,” he explained.
A typical week for Cataldi includes 30 hours a week working, 20 hours a week for school and 60 hours a week in the race car shop.
“Time management is key. The best way I do it is take my week and lay it out what is to be done at a specific time and fill in around it,” said Cataldi.
“Often times, it’s very late nights for me,” he added.
Planning for the Future
“Racing is very strategical, and often races are won or lost due to preparation. It’s very critical to make sure everything is in order and the way it needs to be to win races,” he explained.
Someone who has really shown Anthony the ins and outs of this endeavor is Anthony’s mentor and crew chief, Gary Crooks.
“He and I work really well together. He has been in the sport all his life so he has a ton of experience, so I constantly lean on him for advice and expertise,” noted Cataldi.
But the future in some ways is still unknown for the young driver.
Cataldi’s acknowledges that he might not be able to make the next step into the NASCAR trucks series; however, he’s not hanging up his driver’s suit just yet.
“I plan to continue racing the late models for as long as I can and after graduation I plan to own my own business,” said Cataldi.
Cataldi’s next race will be held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on March 24.