Cantorelli Wins Station Car 500
With steam spraying from its radiator, Willy Cantorelli’s 1993 Toyota Carolla sailed across the finish line of the 9th Annual Station Car 500 today, narrowly edging out defending champion Larry Ferguson in his 1996 Chevy Corsica.
Two hundred and eighty fans at the Roosevelt Field Mall parking lot in Garden City New York cheered an unusually tight race this year, with 55 station cars competing for the coveted Station Car 500 Spill-proof Coffee Mug.
Cantorelli entered the race knowing his fan belt was failing but said he couldn’t have it replaced because of alimony payments to his first wife and pending orthodontic treatments for his daughter.
“This baby’s never let me down before,” said Cantorelli, 41, an insurance agent from Syosset, noting the Carolla’s 96,786-mile odometer reading.
Ferguson, 47, an office supply salesman from Ronkonkoma, completed the race with three worn tires and one temporary “doughnut” tire because, he said, he was $15 short of the cost of a new set of radials and his credit cards were maxed out.
Ten of the 55 cars broke down during the race and pulled over to the side to call AAA. A Jeep Cherokee driven by Kelvin Pritchard, 56, an accountant from Stamford, Conn., burst into flames when a fuel line ruptured at the same time the electrical system shorted out. Pritchard completed the race after being picked up by Speed-Dial Car Service.
The race is open to suburban railroad commuters. To qualify as station cars, vehicles must be made before 2000, have moderate to extensive body damage, mismatched tires and/or mileage exceeding 85,000.
Both Cantorelli and Ferguson are expected to compete next month in the Nearly Repossessed Minivan and SUV 500 in Scotch Plains, NJ, in which they will race their wives’ cars.