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CONCORD, N.C.-- With July approaching, it’s bound to get hot.

For some, it’s the best time to get outdoors and embrace the summer heat, especially for Hendrick Motorsports Event Coordinator Assistant Stephanie Berardi.

BORN TO RACE

Berardi, born and raised in the northeastern part of Connecticut, had racing in her blood from the very beginning. At 8 years old, the young Connecticut native raced quarter midgets before later racing Allison Legacy North Series race cars at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut.

And, in order for the young driver to stay in the sport, Berardi had to know everything about race cars to compete at the track.

“Every single summer we were driving race cars,” Berardi said. “I built my own race cars. I worked and fixed them and knew everything about them. I fell in love with the mechanical aspect of everything.”

Racing didn’t just abruptly stop for athlete. Berardi kept the spirits of competition and racing alive when she was rowing for a crew team at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina.

“Crew is a lot like racing,” Berardi said. “You can change a lot of aspects driving a race car and can do the same thing in a row boat. Our crew ‘shells’ are basically what a chassis would be in a race car.”

But racing race cars and boats weren’t the only summer activities on Berardi’s mind.

WATER SPORTS

Whenever Berardi was not racing on the weekends, she was wakeboarding.


Wakeboarding is a water sport involving riding on a short or wide board that resembles a surfboard and being towed behind a motorboat. And while it may look somewhat easy, it’s not as simple as it looks.

“When I first started learning, I would never let go of the rope in time so I would always face plant right into the water,” Berardi said of her first experience of wakeboarding.

The sport focuses on lower body control with catching the right movement on the board. Anyone willing to try the sport may need to start by taking a risk.

“If you fall, the water will catch you,” she said. “Just let go of the rope if you are going to fall.”

GRILLING OUT

What do racing and wakeboarding have in common? Well, both sports could make one hungry.

It just so happens that grilling is a summer priority for the Berardi family. Grilling ribs, that is. It’s an all-day process, but worth the wait.

“My dad likes to make homemade rubs for ribs,” Berardi said. “He will cook them in the oven for hours and then charcoal them on the grill for 30 minutes. It comes out perfect.”

The Berardi family homemade rib rub recipe includes: brown sugar, chili pepper, red pepper, lemon pepper, garlic and onion salt, paprika, and apple cider vinegar.

Check out the Berardi family homemade ribs recipe and give it a try!

Directions:

  1. Remove the membrane of the ribs.
  2. Rub in the spices and apple cider vinegar on both sides of the ribs. After, wrap them in tin foil.
  3. Put the ribs in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
  4. Once the ribs have been setting in the rub for 24 hours or more, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  5. Leave the foil on the ribs, but insert the ribs in the oven with the meat side up for about three hours.
  6. After three hours in the oven, remove foil and start up the grill.
  7. Keep the grill on low heat for 30 minutes, add BBQ sauce if desired and rotate the ribs every five minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy.

Bon appetit!

TEAM STORE SUMMER DISCOUNTS

In this week’s #HendrickSummer guide, you can receive a special discount on a Hendrick Motorsports official team hat in both the team store and the online store. To receive 10 percent off your hat, use the code HENDRICKSUMMER at checkout.


And remember, look for another of #HendrickSummer feature next week for new stories and a brand new discounted item and share with us your favorite summer tailgating games, recipes and more using the hashtag #HendrickSummer.