Alfredo Starts Fresh With Our Motorsports, Aims for Cup Series Return

Imagine having a weekly exam in calculus with little preparation every week. No notes to study, no cheat sheet, just show up and do your best. That’s been the majority of Anthony Alfredo’s NASCAR career.

By Dustin Albino

While Alfredo is an avid iRacing participant, admittedly that isn’t the same as strapping into a 3,400-pound stock car with some of the best drivers in the world. But before the COVID-19 shutdown two years ago, the Connecticut native had just 14 national series starts — just one in the Xfinity Series — to his name. When returning to the track post-shutdown, there was no practice or qualifying, which didn’t allow for Alfredo to gain added experience in the Xfinity Series.

Still, Alfredo was competitive in 2020, earning nine top-10 finishes, running a partial schedule for Richard Childress Racing. He ended his season at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing a personal-best third. From there, he was fast-tracked to the Cup Series in 2021, competing full time for Front Row Motorsports.

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In 2021, practice and qualifying was scheduled for eight races. That helped Alfredo, but not enough.

“As an Xfinity rookie, that was hard enough, and then I had to do it in the Cup Series in cars that all the veterans had been driving that generation of car for a while,” Alfredo said of moving to Cup. “I’m trying to learn the car and there were still some tracks that I’d yet to go to. That was just an enormous obstacle to overcome.”

Alfredo’s rookie season in the Cup Series didn’t go according to plan. His lone top-10 finish — 10th — came in the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway, which was rain-shortened. His nine DNFs, three of which came in the final four races of the year, was the second-highest among full-time drivers, only trailing Quin Houff.

One of the bright spots was running inside the top 10 late at Sonoma Raceway, a track Alfredo had never seen before race day. He was turned late in the race and finished 31st, below his season-long average finish of 27.5.

“You can imagine the effort that you put in to try to be as prepared as possible,” Alfredo said, “but you’re going in blind and can only do so much to prepare yourself.”

Two days after the 2021 season wrapped up, Front Row announced Alfredo wouldn’t return to the No. 38 car in 2022. Not knowing what his racing future held, Alfredo went back to his routes in Connecticut to help out his father’s construction business.

While doing some site planning, Chris Our — owner of Our Motorsports — called Alfredo out of the blue. It was an urgent conversation.

“Would you like to drive the 23 car? Our driver announcement is at the Hall of Fame tomorrow, and we would love for you to be there,” Alfredo recalled Our saying on the phone.

Immediately, Alfredo started to scurry, looking at options to get from the tri-state area to Charlotte. He also had to clarify with his partners that they’d still support him in going to Our Motorsports. That was because the driver didn’t think the No. 23 car was still on the table. Neither did Our.

“Originally, we had another young gentleman that was going to be in the car,” Our confirmed. “Unfortunately, I think things changed on their side and their comfort with us with where we were in the points.”

2022 March8 Anthony Alfredo 1 Main Image
Zack Albert | NASCAR Digital Media

While competing against Alfredo in his rookie season as a car owner in the Xfinity Series two years ago, Our was often impressed with the driver. He wanted Alfredo on his team, believing he doesn’t have much of an ego and handles himself professionally. It also doesn’t hurt to have a construction background, as Our runs his own construction company, Robert B. Our Co.

“We knew the potential (he had),” Our said. “He had some frustrating runs in Cup, but he had some good runs. We knew his experience grew a lot last year doing that. So, we thought we would see a lot. I think he’s one of them sleeping dark horses.”

Having watched Our Motorsports progress over the last two seasons, included a finish of 16th in the owner’s standings last season, Alfredo is excited for the opportunity to be competitive again. He knows his team wants to win its first race.

“It’s a new team, but they want to grow,” Alfredo added. “They’re expanding to three cars with experienced drivers that want to win and assembling teams with members that want to win. Chris Our doesn’t have a race team just because he can. He wants to go out and win.”

Going into the season opener at Daytona, Alfredo had to qualify into the field on time, as the No. 23 team had no points to fall back on. He did just that, turning the 16th-quickest time. Early in the 300-mile race, Alfredo went three laps down for his right-side window falling out of the car. Late in the race, he was back on the lead lap and raced his way up to seventh come the checkered flag.

The next week at Auto Club Speedway, Alfredo looked to be in a prime position to get his first victory. He restarted on the front row during an overtime restart with fresher tires than the field, but he dropped back to fifth. However, he still went from the middle of the pack before his final pit stop and earned a solid finish for the No. 23 team. Alfredo is coming off a 17th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Through three races, he sits eighth in the series standings.

“I’m pretty confident that we can go run top 12 every week,” Alfredo stated. “If we could run top 10 every week, that’s probably where we want to be by the end of the year. I think it’s going to take some building.”

Looking back at last year, Alfredo believes the team can battle for a playoff spot. With the depth of the Xfinity Series in 2022, the team will have to do all of the “little things” right.

Fortunately for Alfredo, veteran crew chief Pat Tryson is calling the shots for the No. 23 team. In the past, Tryson has won Cup Series races with Elliott Sadler, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch.

“I feel like I have unfinished business in this series,” Alfredo said.

Similarly, Alfredo feels that way about the Cup Series. At just 22 years old, he has plenty of time to get a second shot in the premier NASCAR division.

And if he does, he says he’ll be more prepared for the opportunity.

“I took the step to Cup so early that I feel like now, being full time in the Xfinity Series, I’m where I want to be at this point in my career,” he stated. “I’ve run more Cup races than I have Xfinity and trucks combined at this point of my career. It’s going to be great to come back now and apply what I learned, which I think is going to help me a lot.

“I want to be back (in the Cup Series) someday in a better situation. I think taking a step back and applying what I’ve learned, performing well and finding a better opportunity when I’m ready to take that next step again will be ideal.”

(Featured photo:  Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images)

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