Think of car racing as a corporate ladder and Anthony Alfredo is a newly minted vice president.
Earlier this month, Alfredo, a 20-year Ridgefield native, signed with Richard Childress Racing to compete for its team in the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series. One rung below the top-level Cup Series, the Xfinity division is considered NASCARâs minor-league proving ground.
âItâs similar to the Cup Series, but the Xfinity cars are actually a little faster now,â Alfredo said. âThe top speeds are over 200 MPH.â
After thriving in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour Series (11 top-10 finishes in 13 starts) in 2017 and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (nine top-10 finishes in 14 starts) in 2018, Alfredo moved up to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series this year. Alfredo competed in 13 races and had two top-10 finishes.
âOur end results werenât what we wanted, but for my first time in the Truck Series I thought it went really well,â said Alfredo, a full-time junior at UNC-Charlotte. âWe just seemed to have some type of disaster every week … a blown tire, a pit-road issue, even a motor that blew up right before a race. We were running near the top in a lot of races and then had something happen close to the end that knocked us out.â
Alfredo assumed he would return to the Truck Series in 2020, but after he finished taking a college exam in early December he saw a call from a number he didnât recognize. The message was from Richard Childress Racing, a well-established and highly regarded team founded by former NASCAR driver Richard Childress in 1969. The teamâs most famous alum is the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., who won several NASCAR Cup Series titles in his black No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
When Alfredo returned the call, he was invited to an interview at the Richard Childress Racing headquarters in Welcome, N.C. With two-time XFinity Series champion Tyler Reddick graduating to the Cup Series in 2020, RCR had an opening for a driver.
Photo: Contributed Photo / Anthony Alfredo
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Alfredo was the choice.
âI was extremely fortunate that they wanted me,â Alfredo said. âRichard Childress Racing is the most iconic team in the sport … to drive for an organization like that is every racerâs dream.â
Alfredo will split time with Myatt Snider in RCRâs No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro; his debut is scheduled for March 21 in an Xfinity Series race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida.
âIâve watched Anthony drive in the Truck Series this past season and Iâm certain heâll do well in our Xfinity Series cars,â said Richard Childress, the chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, in a press release announcing Alfredoâs signing. âRCR has had a lot of success over the years producing young, talented drivers through our development program. I believe that Anthony will fit right into that same mold.â
âIâm hoping it goes well and I can move up to the Cup Series in a few years,â said Alfredo, an engineering student at UNC-Charlotte. âRight now Iâm excited to continue the journey and learn from everyone at Richard Childress Racing.â
While Alfredo remains confident and determined about reaching the sportâs premier level, the unlikelihood of his rapid ascent isnât lost on him.
âThere arenât many NASCAR drivers from Connecticut, and I grew up as a race fan and am a first-generation driver,â Alfredo said. âNo one else in my family has ever raced … itâs just me.
âThe same day I went to the interview, I walked across the street to the Richard Childress Racing Museum, where they have the Dale Earnhardt Sr. cars,â Alfredo continued. âI was looking at the cars as a fan, but at the same time thinking that I will be racing for the team he was part of. It was a little bizarre … definitely what I would call a surreal experience.â