But, Silvestri said, being a good driver is more than just what you can do on the track.
“The racing is the fun part of the job, but the real thing is making sure I can afford to race the next weekend,” he said.
That’s where Silvestri draws a parallel between his life on the track and his life in Pamplin.
“Racing is very entrepreneurial in itself,” he said. “In racing, you have to be able to fund your operation, which means raising thousands and thousands of dollars. That means working with sponsors and really marketing yourself.”
According to Silvestri, much of that marketing is done through various social media platforms.
“I always try to build my brand on social media,” Silvestri says. “I spend a lot of time reaching out to people, companies. Cold calling is rough and you knock on doors not knowing who or what you will find. It’s a lot of nos, but sometimes you get a yes. And that makes all the work worth it.”
Combining college with a burgeoning career in racing is a lot for Silvestri – or any 19-year-old for that matter. However, he commends the support and flexibility of Pamplin’s faculty in enabling him to continue his passion.
“It’s actually not that bad balancing the two as I’ve been doing it for a while,” he said. “When I was in middle and high school, I missed a lot of Fridays because I had to move tests and assignments. If anything, studying at university made everything a little easier because my classes weren’t every day and the faculty was accommodating. It’s all about establishing open lines of communication.”
This summer Silvestri plans to race every other weekend, while also working as a driver coach on his home track for the younger generation looking to follow in his footsteps.
“I will be at the track pretty much every weekend this summer,” he said. “Which is now quite normal for me.”
As for his future as a professional race car driver, Silvestri shows no signs of slowing down.
“The next step is to get into one of NASCAR’s top three racing divisions,” he explained. “I am currently in the fifth division with the Weekly Racing Series.”
When you move up to a higher division, you will use just as much of Silvestri’s skills off the track. Fortunately, he has his Pamplin business training to get him started.
“Because of how much race operations cost, it’s more about how much money you can bring in to fund a team,” he said. “I’m checking all the boxes already on the track, now it’s about ‘Can I pay this bill that the team has to pay to go racing?’ That’s kind of where I am now, working towards 2023.”
Silvestri continued: “The key is to find partners and people who want to work with me to make this happen. The best way I know how to do that is by getting my name out there and putting into practice what I’ve learned in class about doing business.”