Don’t be fooled by the crown.
Tommie Piantanida may spend her Friday Nights being crowned homecoming queen but raceday rolls around she’s chasing another dream. Racing runs through the Piantanida blood.
For 17-year-old Tommie the 2018 season represents the first time she has ever raced anything. After dabbling in the motocross scene, in which her father Pete found prominence, a broken collarbone, and subsequent sidelining surgery, was an indication she would fare better in a Roll cage.
“She was going to race something,” says her father Pete. “This girl just wants to win. She’s so competitive, her drive to be the best is unbeatable, she was bound to end up racing something.”
For years Tommie was a competitive Volley Ball player, but nothing offered an outlet for her competitive nature quite like racing. According to her father, she doesn’t do anything unless she does it up to her standards. Her standards are nothing less than excellence. She’s a lifetime strait A student, was the captain of her volleyball team, a leader at school, and most recently the homecoming queen. Piantanida aims to do it all, and do it all well. On her latest list of goals to check is becoming a winning race car driver.
As her rookie micro sprint campaign comes to a close, all signs point in the right direction.
Her decision to jump in the car was a long one, but she’s jumped in with both feet. After breaking her collarbone it took about a year to finally pull the trigger. Then finally the 2017 Lonnie Kaiser Memorial rolled around and she called her father ready to give it a go. Being from Discovery Bay her father lives in a fast neighborhood. After her spur of the moment decision Pete was able to get a car together and get he and his daughter to Dixon Speedway where the dream turned to a reality.
After the racing at Dixon was said and done,Tommie got to take her first laps ever. Not only were these her first laps in a race car, but they were also her first laps in ANY car. When she put her foot to the floor for the first time Pete knew it was all in from there.
Over the off-season, he put a program together with a lifelong friend, Dustin Bloomfield, and the rest is history. In actuality, it was a turning of the tables, and two family’s stories coming full circle. Pete himself actually played a role in getting Dustin into motocross racing which he fell in love with and shared a prosperous career in. Now all these years later, with his son Dylan making a stout name for himself, Dustin turned the tables and helped Pete get Tommie into micro sprint racing.
They bought Dylan’s rookie PMP Restricted car, made a plan, set some goals and ended up surpassing each one of them.
The first goal was to just be competitive, they checked that box on night one. The next goal was to get a win. Being realistic Pete meant any win, a heat, a qualifier, just cross the checkered flag first. She checked that box too. As the season progressed so did their list of goals and the Piantanida Race Team ended up racing twice as much as they initially intended.
Now with one year of racing under her belt, Tommie is slated to move up from the Restricted class into Super 600 and she’s ready for a competitive run.
The experience gained in year one was above and beyond expectations, and now they have their eyes on winning. As for the rest of 2018 big races lie ahead and the goal at hand is landing on the podium or perhaps even capturing her coveted first victory. She’ll contest in the final rounds of the King of California series, next weekends California Cup at Lemoore Raceway, and the Turkey Bowl at Delta before her one year anniversary and final Restricted race at the Lonnie Kaiser memorial.
This 17-year-old may be all glitz and glam during the week but as soon as the weekend arrives the only spotlight she wants is shining on the winner’s circle.
She’s Sweet enough to be loved by all who’s see’s, smart enough to build a car from the ground up with ease, but Tommie Piantanida will not be denied the racing glory she dreams.
She may not have another opportunity to be her high school’s homecoming queen but she’s got her eyes on another crown – Queen of California Micro Sprint Series Champion.
Countdown 2019 is on. Watch for the 96.
Tommie Piantanida doesn’t settle for anything less than excellence.
Catch Tommie Piantanida in action next this weekend at –
King of California Rd. 15
October 5, 2018
King of California Rd, 16
October 6, 2018
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JJ Cox -
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Grew up going to 50+ Sprint Car races a year and Raced Motocross for 10 years.
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Just a rolling stone.