"A Power Duo" - Anthony and Michele - The inside Scoop!
Michele Abbate and Anthony Philleo are the ultimate power-couple in recent club racing history. Both on and off the track, they are an inspiration to many, and we felt it would be a great opportunity for race fans and fellow drivers to get to know them a little more.
If you don't know who these superstars are, Michele is a multi-champion in SCCA (and Moto IQ), and has been competing in all areas of racing, from time attack, autocross, circle track, and desert racing, just to name a few. Her husband Anthony, is a multi-talented individual, wearing many hats in and around Grrracing, including crew chief, mechanic, spotter, coach, ect.
Be sure to follow them on Instagram @m1cheleabbate and @anthonyphilleo
We had a moment to hang out with them, as we asked some typical, and not so typical questions....enjoy! (scroll to bottom for pics!)
*M= Michele’s Answer
*A= Anthony’s Answer
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
M - Bacon and Eggs.
A - Steak Eggs and breakfast potatoes .
Ate this at our favorite place, Rustys, in Lake Havasu AZ on our way home from racing the Parker 250.
If you had to choose a spirit animal, what would it be?
M - Killer whale because they’re awesome.
A - A dragon because they can fly and blow fire.
Favorite sneaker brand?
M – Supras.
A - RIP Soap shoes.
Favorite music artist?
M - Reel Big Fish.
A - Reel Big Fish.
Song you search for the most in your music library?
M - I typically just hit random... but let’s go for Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing”.
A - This past year it has been “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin, because that was our wedding song.
Last band you saw live?
M - Less Than Jake
A - Less Than Jake
If health had no concern, what food would you eat every day?
M - Dutch Bros Coffee.
A - Pizza - all types, all the time, every day!
Favorite off-track activity?
M - Eating and sleeping.
A – Relaxing.
How do you de-stress?
M - Go to the gym.
A - I never stress - don’t sweat the small stuff.
Favorite adult beverage after a long day?
M - Jack and Ginger.
A - Stella or some whiskey.
Most inspirational person you admire?
M - Ernie Francis Jr.
A - Travis Pastrana.
As a husband/wife team, how do you balance racing and daily life?
That’s easy, racing is our daily life. Every single thing we do is pretty much dictated by our racing agenda.
Who gets yelled at the most?
Do you ever NOT talk about racing in some form or another?
Only when Michele can’t decide what she wants to eat
Favorite thing to do as a couple that doesn’t involve motorsports?
We like to go out to eat, go to the gym, shoot our guns, and build stuff.
Most used tool in your toolbox?
The torque wrench
Who do you seek when you need help?
M - I always go to Anthony first - He always helps me through all the smallest and biggest things that I am always over thinking, or stressing about for no reason. Anthony never stresses-out and always simplifies everything. I’m really not great at that...
A - Usually Michele’s dad or Michele.
First response that comes to mind, when you drop a tool in the engine bay and you don’t hear it hit the ground?
M - “F%*# why does that happen EVERY TIME”
A - “Damn, Michele dropped it, again”
Favorite work out music?
M - Pandora station - Krafty Kuts
A - Pandora station - Thousand Foot Krutch
How important do you feel fitness is in motorsports?
M - I think it’s super important. The worst feeling after a race weekend, is being sore and feeling like you’re worn out. Anthony is my PT, and we always work on strength training and endurance.
A - Extremely important.
Any advice you can offer to a racer who wants to start exercising as a benefit to their driving?
M - I would say focus on your weaknesses. Racing is a lot of upper body, so check out workouts that will build your core and upper body. This will help with fatigue.
A - Work to increase your stamina.
Preferred post-workout meal?
M - Chicken and rice from Teriyaki Madness
A - Preferred = pizza…Actual = protein shake, some form of protein, and veggies
Is sponsorship feasible on a club-level?
M - Absolutely. You get out of it what you put into it. Our entire program is supported by the best companies; and although I hold professional licensing, we have had mutually beneficial partnerships while we compete at the Club Level as our focus.
A- what she said.
How important is social media to creating brand awareness?
M - social media is the best outlet for creating brand awareness. For the most part, it is an absolutely free platform where you can craft, create, and design EXACTLY what makes you and your brand. Social media for our team is one of the single most important channels for ROI with our sponsors.
*A - I’m going to let Michele take over for the next couple questions:
Any advice you can give to amateur or club drivers who want to seek sponsorship?
M - #1 KNOW WHO YOU ARE APPROACHING. AKA do your research. and #2... UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU CAN PROVIDE THEM. It is so important, and so many people get it wrong. It’s not about what they give you, it’s what you give them. It is a MUTUAL partnership. You have to show them how you are more valuable than the thousands of other starving race car drivers and teams out there.
Do you feel there are any misunderstandings or false beliefs that amateur drivers might have when searching for sponsors?
M - I think that a lot of people think it’s easy and it’s just a matter of slapping a decal on a car, or making an Instagram post. There is SO much that goes into developing a relationship with companies and PROVIDING them with the ROI that they need to justify supporting drivers.
I also think that many people think that it is impossible. Typically, those people don’t put enough effort in, and expect the world in return.
What advice would you offer to drivers who want to “up” their social media game, and make themselves more presentable as a brand?
M- Get a website, and maintain and update it regularly. OR get a logo or symbol that people can associate with you, so when they see it, they think of you, or know its related to you and what you do
I’ve noticed you’ve been making stickers, can you tell me about that?
M - Heck yeah! We should have been making stickers years ago. After 3-4 years of buying decals and paying premium for last min stuff, we decided it was something we could do on our own.
A - It’s really fun making stickers for people and being able to print our own whenever needed. We are going to start doing printed stickers soon, so keep an eye out! #stickGRRs
So the big question….What’s next?
M - 2018!!!!!! Man, this year is shaping up to be one of the busiest, but best yet! We are racing all of the 2018 SCCA US Major Tour Western Conference Division to qualify for the SCCA National Run Offs. In addition, we are racing the full Best in the Desert UTV series with Rookie Motorsports. And lastly, we are planning to get into some practice races with our freshly built GT1 victory circle chassis- Chevy Impala with our teammate Tim Adolphson and car builder Craig Raudman!
A - I’m look forward to earning another championship or two and learning more about the off-road car, and the new GT-1 chassis, as well as perfecting our current Toyota 86 platform.
*All photos submitted by interviewees at time of publication. All photos are property of appropriate photographer. Monaco Racing does not claim of ownership of photos. Photo credit highly welcome!