The Legends Million is not only bringing Legend Car drivers from all over the country together, but it also brings the Pistone family closer as they will be making the event a family affair July 15-17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The one-of-a-kind race will put the Pistone clan head-to-head as three brothers and a cousin will compete for their share of the unprecedented $1 million purse.
The Pistone family's passion for racing started when their grandfather Tiger Tom Pistone drove stock cars in the NASCAR Grand National Series, now known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, in the '50s and '60s making the Pistone name synonymous with racing.
Tiger has since passed his love for the sport on to his grandsons, Tom, Tommy III, Nick and Chase Pistone, each of which he will anxiously watch battle it out in the largest grassroots race of its kind.
"I have four grandsons that will be running in the $1 million race,"
said Tiger. "I am going to have to eat a loaf of bread to get all the acid out of my body, because I will be so nervous watching them. It's going to be very nerve wracking because I want them all to win."
In 1950, Tiger further embraced his love for the sport by opening Tiger Tom Pistone's Race Cars and Parts. All four grandsons have followed in his footsteps and have businesses of their own that build race cars and supply parts to various racing divisions, including Legend Cars, late models and Bandoleros, among others.
Perhaps the grandson who has taken after Tiger the most is his namesake Tommy III. When Tommy was just 18 months old his father passed away, leaving Tiger to raise him and this created an extra-special bond between the two.
Although Tommy grew up around racing his whole life, he instead chose to play soccer. It was only after medical issues sidelined him from soccer that he began driving race cars. In 1994, at age 20, Tommy first stepped into a Legend Car competitively. He then moved up to late models and eventually began competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
In 2003 Tommy's racing career seemed to plateau and he stopped driving competitively. He then began to take on a larger role working at his grandfather's shop. In the last two years he has gotten back into racing competitively, and recently his motivation for driving a Legend Car was sparked by the Legends Million.
"When the Legends Million was announced, that's what gave me the idea to get back into a Legend Car," said Tommy. "I was shocked they were going to put up such a large amount of money for a Legend Car race. You usually hear about something like this for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, but I never thought we would have an opportunity to race for $1 million purse and I don't want to miss out."
In a special tribute to his grandfather and racing mentor, Tommy will run car No. 59 in the Legends Million.
"The No. 59 goes back to when grandpa was racing," explained Tommy.
"Grandpa had his best year of racing in 1959 and that was his car number in NASCAR Grand National Series. The number is important to him, so I feel a sense of responsibility to carry it on because I know how much it means."
Not only is Tommy excited about racing the No. 59 car, he is also looking forward to competing against his family in a race of this caliber.
"It's going to be fun racing with my cousins," said Tommy. "We are family on and off the track. If I finish second to one of my cousins I am going to be bummed that I didn't win, but at the same time I am going to be happy because he's family. We are going to race hard, but I won't do anything dirty to cause them to wreck."
While they may all be related, not all of the Pistones agree when it comes to racing family.
"We already have a precedent for beating on each other," said Tom, who is the older brother of Nick and Chase, and a cousin to Tommy. "There have been flips through thorn bushes and all kinds of things when we've raced. If it comes down to the last lap I will drive through the grass and t-bone one of them to win. I will run all of them harder than any stranger."
While Tiger is thrilled that all of his grandsons will be racing, he also knows it will be a no holds barred race between the four.
"They are very competitive and they all work on their own cars,"
said Tiger. "It's no secret they will be out there to beat each other, once the race starts there will be no love, no love whatsoever."
The Legends Million is a one-of-a-kind grassroots race featuring a total purse of $1 million with the A-Feature winner guaranteed to take home an unprecedented $250,000. The final spot in the feature is assured $10,000.
Competitors who register for the Legends Million must register in one of three divisions: Young Lions/Semi-Pro, Masters or The Legends Million, which is open to all drivers.
Each division will run heat races and an A-Main race, with the Legends Million A-Feature serving as the grand finale of the three-day event. The winners of the Masters and Semi-Pro/Young Lions division A-Main races will earn an unprecedented $30,000 and $25,000, respectively.
For additional information on competitor registration for the Legends Million, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or call the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.