Janovic Jr. ready for another opening daywaterford
Waterford, CT- There’s one thing you always can count on when it comes to opening day at New London-Waterford Speedbowl — Rob Janovic Jr. will be in the starting lineup.
The 80-lap SK Modified 2018 Waterford Blastoff will be Janovic’s 24th consecutive season opener. No other current driver has a longer streak.
“When I first started racing in 1986, I was a rookie who looked up at the veterans,” Janovic said. “I remembered they called drivers like Jerry Pearl and Mark LaJeunesse cagey veterans. I wondered how old do you have to be to be considered a cagey veteran? I think I’ve answered that question.”
He’s answered it in a positive way. Janovic has racked up 24 SK Modified wins. Including as victory last season, and seven Late Model victories. His signature achievement, however, was winning the 2007 SK Modified championship. He came very close to doing it again the following year.”
“I would say one of my biggest thrills was that first Modified win,” Janovic said. “As with many drivers, I said before I’m done with my racing career, I would love to race in the Speedbowl’s premier division.”
Janovic moved from the Late Models to the SK Modifieds to make it happen.
“When I actually won a race, — I beat Ronnie Silk and Tommy Fox — I thought at the time I had achieved everything I wanted,” Janovic said. “I was at the pinnacle. Then when I won the championship in ’07 and had my name added to the scrolls of past champions, it was even better. It was not an easy task.”
Janovic’s favorite opening day memory, however, took place in his Late Model.
“It was in 1996,” Janovic said. “I worked on the car until 5 a.m. just to get it done in time,” Janovic said. “I went to the track without any sleep at all. I won the heat race and then I won the feature. And then I slept for the entire day on Monday.”
As far as his 2018 season is concerned, Janovic shows no signs of mental fatigue.
“I ask myself every year why I’m still doing this,” Janovic said. “It’s a universal feeling amongst anyone who has a love for racing — the feeling that you can’t get out of your system. The feeling that makes you want to come back for more. As long as I’m happy and healthy and I can climb in the race car without assistance, I’ll keep on.”
Besides, Janovic remains a contender for the track title, just like always. The competitive juices flow like lava coming out of a volcano.
“I don’t think you lose that desire or drive, just because you’re getting older,” Janovic said. “You might lose a little of that invincible feeling. But that doesn’t make you any slower or less hungry for wins. I’d like to get a few more trophies to put on my mantle. The day that I don’t think I’m a contender is when I’ll re-evaluate the time and money spent racing. But right now, I have every intention of mixing it up at the front.”
He said because there are two off-weeks built into the SK schedule, he may be on hand for all the races.
Janovic has many longtime sponsors, including Big A Auto Parts of North Branford, his anchor sponsor, Macara Vehicle Services, Servpro of Norwich, Eagle Fence & Guardrail, and Interstate Batteries.
His veteran support team consists of partner and co-owner John Volpe, crew chief and spotter Greg Hanner, Ed Puleo, Jonathan Puleo, Damon Schoendorf, Jen Mingo, Greg Teracciano and Jimmy Gumbert.
Janovic also thanks his wife Annette for her support.
“She’s incredibly supportive and completely understanding,” Janovic said. “Early on she asked me when I might consider retiring. And I said maybe when my age matched my car number. She didn’t believe me.”
Here’s why. Janovic’s car number is 51. And he’s about to turn 55.
“Maybe I should change my car number to 61,” Janovic said.
Or maybe change his number to match the number of the national debt. That’s because Janovic’s career shows no signs of slowing down, even after 24 consecutive season openers.
The season-opening Waterford Blastoff takes place Saturday and Sunday with 15 divisions in action. Qualifying for the SK Modifieds takes place Saturday, with the 80-lap Blastoff as the crown jewel on Sunday’s program.
Press release form New London-Waterford Speedbowl