Anthony Alfredo made his NASCAR national touring series debut in 2019, and he’s now at his fifth team in five seasons across the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Craftsman Truck series.
After his 2022 Xfinity team of Our Motorsports retracted from three full-time cars to one full-time car, Alfredo signed with BJ McLeod Motorsports to drive the No. 78 Xfinity car full time for 2023.
New team, no problem, as Alfredo and the team are already on a hot streak. He has scored five top-20 finishes in seven races this season, which is more than the No. 78 car had in the entire 2022 season (four); the only two finishes outside the top 20 so far were due to crashes.
The team has already cleared the bar of last year’s performance, which is something Alfredo alluded to when I spoke with him at Circuit of the Americas in March.
“Well, honestly, it’s gone about as well as it could so far,” Alfredo told Frontstretch. “To take the No. 78 car, which I think was 30-something in the standings last year and run top 20 every week. Daytona, we were 24th, we got turned on the last lap, but we were running third. So yeah, we had a shot to win that one as well as Atlanta, even a lot of great races in between those few.”
The improvement in performance didn’t come over night, and while Alfredo is at a new team, he has retained the majority of the crew members that he had at Our Motorsports last season. Prior experience and chemistry with team members helps prevent a driver from starting over at square one, and Alfredo has praised co-owners Jessica and BJ McLeod for allowing the crew to move with him.
“Just little things, right, we’re just building this program up,” Alfredo said. “You’re asking a lot to come in here and turn it around, but it wouldn’t be possible without Jessica and BJ McLeod themselves for giving not just myself this opportunity, but my crew members and me.
“[The crew] believed in me enough to come with me from Our Motorsports last year, and we have amazing partners who helped us capitalize on the opportunity. And ECR engines, man, that power helps a lot.”
From speaking with Alfredo, it’s clear that familiarity has already paid dividends.
“I think the fact we’re working with the same group is what propelled us to begin with, because we all have great chemistry and communication,” Alfredo said.
“(Crew chief) Pat (Tryson) knows what I like in a racecar and always gives me a fast car with limited resources, him and all my guys do. …
“We all get along really well. We’re like a big family, and Jessica and BJ have welcomed us with open arms and given us what we needed to succeed so far.”
Alfredo’s most notable performance in the young 2023 season was at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, as he was out front for 18 laps in the middle of the race before coming home with a respectable 14th-place finish.
“[Atlanta] was huge,” Alfredo said. “I think the biggest thing is actually making a statement to the competitors, other people in the garage and everyone watching at home too. Because usually if you see a car like ours out front, some people think it’s some sort of crazy outlandish strategy or that they’re going to be in the way on the restart.
“Not only did we take the lead, but we drove away when we got the lead, so we showed we had a really fast Chevrolet Camaro, and it’s really rewarding to have runs like that. Hearing you say top 15 kind of stings honestly, because we should have finished in the top three or five.”
Another perk of Alfredo driving for McLeod in the Xfinity Series is that he has a part-time Cup schedule lined up with Live Fast Motorsports, which is also co-owned by McLeod.
Alfredo made his Cup debut with the team at Richmond Raceway in April, where he finished 33rd in his first Cup start since 2021. That start was the week after this interview, and he was excited to experience the Next Gen car for the first time.
“[Cup starts] are going to be huge because that car is so different, and obviously, I was fortunate enough to run full-time in the Cup Series a couple of years ago,” Alfredo said. “But I haven’t driven the Next Gen car yet, so I’m curious to see what that’s like and how I do in it.
But beyond his Cup schedule, Alfredo has just one goal this season: to score his first career Xfinity win.
“Honestly, I think right now, my goal is to win a race somewhere,” Alfredo said. “Whether it’s on speed or strategy, I don’t care. I just want to win and be in the playoffs because those top-12 spots fill up quick, and winning is your guarantee in.”
With Cup starts and an impressive start to the year, there’s a lot for Alfredo to look forward to in racing for 2023. But perhaps one of the most exciting developments is a coveted sponsorship that he was able to sign.
Alfredo being sponsored by — you know — an alfredo or pasta sauce would be a match made in heaven. And after years of pursuing it, a pasta sauce sponsorship finally came to fruition this season.
“We actually have a new partner of ours, it’s Botticelli, and they make sauce you can find in grocery stores across the country,” Alfredo said. “It’s all imported ingredients from Italy, so it’s the real deal. Not that fake stuff.
“Reminds me of mom’s cooking growing up, so excited to finally land that. Been looking for a long time, and it’s just marketing magic. Really excited about that partnership, and hope to see them on a car here soon.”
About the author
Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.
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