Driver of the Month January 2008

January 2008


How Perry and I met. I started in 1994. I met you after my first event, I saw you lived in Edison, which was pretty close to Iselin, so I looked your number up in the member directory, called you, and as they say… The rest is history.

I started in CSP where I went up against Tom Bracci, James Wynn, and yourself in my very first event. Needless to say, I didn’t fare too well that first day, but I didn’t finish DFL!

As for the progression of the black Civic, well, it went from CSP (1994 to 1999) to STR (2000) to STS (2001 to 2002) to FSP (2003) to STX (2003 to 2004) to SM (2004 to 2005). My goodness that car was all over the place! But I am happiest running in Stock with the new 2006 Civic. I should have listened to you Perry years ago!

Good times man. Good times.


tony5 tony6





Name: Anthony Crea (aka: Tony “Mario” Crea)

Age: 33

City/State: Matawan, NJ

Profession: Spec. Ed. Teacher, soon to be principal

Daily Driver: 2006 Honda Civic LX

How’d you get started in Autox?
I saw an article in Car and Driver about it. I called the number, got a contact for a local member and got involved in May of 1994 with my first event at Raceway Park.

Funniest autox story? Every event is like a sitcom with you guys (The NNJR Crew), but the laughs are real.

Scariest moment? Spinning at 60mph for the first time during my rookie year.

Worst advice you ever received? To buy Enron stock. Just kidding. I can’t say any of the advice has been horrible. Everyone has their own experiences and viewpoints on what works and what doesn’t.

Best advice? Follow your heart and your gut. Neither one lies.

What you wished someone had told you when you started?
Stay in Stock.

What year did you first get interested in (or start) autocrossing, and what did you drive?
I started in 1994 with the same 1993 Honda Civic DX that everyone remembers up until I sold it in 2005!

What kind of car do you currently compete with, and which class do you run in?
2006 Honda Civic LX in HS

What made you choose your current autox car?
I really like a lot of the technical aspects of the new 2006+ Civics, but I knew the Si would get demolished in GS and on paper the LX is a great fit for HS against the base MINI… Can’t beat a PAX challenger that gets 40mpg on the highway! 🙂

Who is your biggest influence in the sport? Why?

You are Perry. Do you need me to tell you why, your ego is big enough. 😉

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now in the sport? Driving What?
I love being in Stock and can never see myself modifying a car beyond that rule set again. I plan on being in my current car.

In the past year or so, what have you learned to help improve yourself as a driver and your car setup?

Going to Stock and its inherent limitations regarding changing parts took a little getting used to because you can’t make a FWD car rotate better simply by adding a gigantic rear sway bar, for example. We used other methods like alignment and shock valving.

Do you left-foot brake? In your opinion how has this helped you?
No, but at least Rubens Barrichello and I have something in common.

What can you tell a Novice who is just starting out?
Stay home! Just kidding. As a spec. ed. teacher, I have to simplify difficult concepts for my students on a daily basis so they can understand the material. Therefore, I feel I do a better job being able to explain this sport and its components to a novice slightly better than some of my peers just because it’s what I do all the time.

How much of the sport do you think is attributed to driver skill vs. car setup?
Being in Stock, 90% driver and 10% car. If you get it wrong in a lower hp (but momentum-based) class like HS or GS, your run is done. That changes a little for the SS guys where the cars sheer accelerative capabilities can make up for a little faux pas here and there.

What is it about autocrossing that keeps you interested?
The challenge and the competitiveness of the sport itself, mixed, of course, with the close-knit family-like camaraderie one can see at both the local and National level.

How do you critique yourself, during your runs, after each run, or after the event?
I don’t think I breathe during a run, you want me to think as well? What am I Daddio or something?

How do you feel after a fast, clean run?

After being in it for almost 14 years, if you get the shakes after a run (due to the adrenaline rush) you know you’ve put in a fast one. I get that feeling more at National events because those events just force you to raise your game.

What techniques do you use to memorize the course?
Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk…..

Would you consider expanding your skills to wheel to wheel racing or even doing a HPDE?

I’ll go to Thunderbolt when it opens. But as for wheel-to-wheel racing. No, too expensive, and remember when you and I crewed for Alex that time? Two rolls in one day? No thanks.

What trophies or titles have you won?
A bunch of local events, a few class championships, a Divisional trophy and a few National trophies. I have yet to win a National Tour or ProSolo, we’ll try to change that in 2008 now that the new Civic is more developed. Kansas is out of the question due to my profession.

What is your primary goal for the upcoming 2008 season?

See the previous answer.

If you could have ANY autocross ride imaginable, what would it be and why?

As much fun as it is, being in an HS Civic, anything with over 150 hp or RWD or AWD is a treat for me! It’s kind of like a 90 year old taking a Viagra… Moving along, I can handle 500+ hp Vipers just as easily as my 140hp Civic, so if anyone reads this and wants a good, consistent driver who respects people’s equipment to co-drive with them, look me up. Betcha you didn’t see this question turning into a shameless plug, huh Perry? 🙂

What was your favorite subject in school?

History and Science followed by English

Did you get any tickets as a teenager when you first had your driving license?

No, but mom and dad would have beat me silly.

What is your favorite-

Food- Look at me… It’s all good.

Drink- Water with lemon

TV Show- LOST, Family Guy, The Simpsons

Movie- Don’t have one

Music/band-  I’m very eclectic with genre. As for bands, The Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Red hot Chili Peppers, Nickelback, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys… You know Perry, Christmas is coming.

Car–   Attainable= Honda S2000     Dream time=  2007+ Z06

Other hobbies besides AutoX?  With grad school and work, I don’t have time for much else lately.