“I do enjoy winning it’s a big deal, but I like to just go with the flow” – Rizza
If you think about Antonio Rizza’s dominance in the Improved Production (IP) classes at Dover, you would think that he has years of racing experience under his belt.
In reality, Antonio Rizza only has a little over a year in racing experience. Despite that, he possesses all the skills needed to be able to control and drive a race car.
“I have driven Go-Karts in the past, not to any great extent, mostly when one of my friends shout me to help test a Kart. Other than that I have Zero racing experience. Prior to Easter Weekend, I did a couple testing sessions, but that was about it.”
“I have to thank Doug and Tommi Gore for guiding me through the process as well as helping me to understand crucial elements of racing including where to break on the track,” he said.
Racing is leisure for Rizza. He calls it fun, and it represents an escape from his business life.
Rizza founded and operates Bull Imports and Bull Wrecking, both of which were established in the last 2 years. His love for business is attributable to his family’s business background and this serves as the reason for his parents being his biggest inspirations. Their focus taught him many core business principles.
“One of the biggest life lessons shared by my father was to forget about your 20 and work hard and build something for yourself in that time. It is really in your 30s when you start to enjoy life,” he said.
Dover 'Clash of the Titans'
Rizza raced at Dover ‘Clash of the Titans’ in the Improved Production class 1. While he made fond memories, the journey was not without trial.
Rizza used to produce lap times which were over the limit granted for the IP1 class.
He acknowledged and agreed that he was wrong for breaking out of the lap time guidelines.
However, at the same time, he believes that reaching your full potential should always be the goal. Therefore, he strives to achieve his full potential on the track by pushing his car to its limit.
“When you are in a race car, and it is not being driven at its highest potential, it doesn’t run good. You have to rev it out, to feel satisfied, to feel like you have done your best,” Rizza remarked.
Dover 'Fast & Furious'
At Dover ‘Fast & Furious’, Rizza officially matriculated to IP3. The move followed successful advocacy from Rizza’s support team Doug and Gunter.
Rizza’s first time racing in IP3 was legendary. He won all 3 races leaving the seasoned racers in the class behind.
“I race for fun. It would not be a big deal for me if I experience mechanical issues on race day. It is what it is. If I work up myself over it, it ruins my goal of having fun,” Antonio expressed.
“I do enjoy winning. It is a big deal, but I like to just go with the flow. The minute you start getting too competitive, it starts to kill the fun.”
With that same mindset Rizza described his most memorable moment from Dover ‘Fast & Furious’. He said,
“I remember I almost ran out of gas on the last lap of the 1st race. Was racing, making one of the final turns and I felt the car jump, like the power cut. If there was one more lap, I would have run out of gas. And you know if that happened, I wouldn’t be mad, its all part of the experience.”
Antonio’s pre-race preparation is not what most would expect. Most work is done hours instead of days prior to race day.
“If something is broken on the car that is fixed right away, but routine checks are typically left until last minute. This is mostly because of my schedule. I don’t have a crew that gives consistent attention to the car, its mostly me,” Rizza said.
Going into the October meet there will be no upgrades to the car. He said, “Everything is working just fine, don’t want to ‘fix’ something that’s not broken and then everything starts to fall apart.”
“I am just going to go and drive the car and have fun.”
Being a racer taught Rizza to be patient and calm.
“My first Dover, was the first I have had other cars on the track with me. You know how it is. It is really the wild wild west. Everyone is doing what they got to, to be number 1. Sometimes, I’ll try to overtake, but to avoid accidents I practiced patience and it helped me to avoid accidents.”
These qualities developed through racing has also made a positive impact on his businesses.
“It helps with work mostly with stress management. If something happens with one of my tow-trucks, and there is always something happening, the qualities of being calm and patient help me to manage these situations better.”
“If you are driving the car erratically, you will make mistakes. Be calm and go with the flow, you will have more time to think and make better choices.”
Antonio stresses the importance of mental health. He now makes it a priority to get in physical activity at least twice weekly.
“Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. While you need your physical health and strength to do what you need to, your mental health keeps you focused,” he said.
“Find something fun to do and keep yourself occupied.”