BRAMPTON – After battling through the most frustrating season of his career in 2017, resilient third-generation racer Billy Zardo is intent on starting fresh in the biggest way possible during this Saturday’s Sunset Speedway 2018 lid lifter.
“My expectations are to come out swinging on opening night and battle our way to the front,” says Zardo. “We need to make sure that we leave all of our bad luck in 2017 – and the absolute best way to do that is to win the Season Opener. It’s a tall task for sure but I don’t see one reason why we can’t make it happen.”
And, although Zardo is well aware that the Sunset Ltd. Late Model season is a long 18-weeks, he’s also conscious of just how vital the first race of the year can be for a team’s morale and momentum.
“We’ve been on the wrong end of a [Season Opener] – where we’ve had a bad night and it sort’ve hangs over you all year,” explains the Brampton, ON wheelman. “So, we definitely understand and respect how important it is to set the tone early in your season.”
“A big finish on Night 1 is a huge shot of confidence for a driver and a team,” continues Zardo. “We didn’t put in 100-hours in the shop just to come out and run 20th. We expect way more of ourselves.”
With Opening Night less than a week away, the multi-time Sunset Speedway feature winner is characteristically candid when discussing where his mind is set.
“I know I can win on any given night,” insists Zardo. “Wether it’s Round 1 or the last night in September, our team has the knowledge and the equipment to beat anyone. It’s just all about taking advantage of the opportunities in front of us and making the right decision at the right moment.”
“I’m already feeling the nerves coming into [May 5th],” admits ‘Z3’. “I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing – but it absolutely has me focused on what I need to do this Saturday. Nobody could ever put more pressure on me than I put on myself. My guys work too hard on our stuff for me to not go out and make them proud. That’s what’ll be motivating me this weekend.”