Monday, June 26, 2017

RIP Michael Emil DeBello

RIP Michael Emil DeBello

Michael Emil DeBello
January 22, 1949 - June 24, 2017

s a NASCAR Official for 18 years at Riverhead Raceway
Michael Emil DeBello was born January 22, 1949 in Corona Queens, NY.

He was the only child of Angelo Carmine DeBello and Itala Clara Cianciulli DeBello.

Michael is survived by his loving wife, Janet Kay Johnson DeBello of 46 years on June 4, 2017. Mike and Janet have two daughters and three granddaughters.

Heather Kay DeBello Brunnhoelzl, Heather is married to George Brunnhoelzl III, and their daughter, Riley Morgan Brunnhoelzl. Emily Janelle DeBello Fischer, Emily is married to Brian Fischer, their daughters, McKayla Paige Fischer and Addison Grace Ann Fischer. Michael retired after 25 years of service from Pete’s Towing and Body Shop in Westbury, New York.

Mike was a NASCAR Official for 18 years at Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, New York. Mike served as the Lieutenant of the Emergency Company of the Syosset Fire Department for 15 years. Mike was also an active member of the Syosset Fire Department Benevolent Association. Mike was also a member of the Nassau County Fire Riders Association for 5 years, a charitable fire fighters organization.

While NASCAR Race Mom did not know 'Big Mike' personally, it was evident that he made quite the impression and a difference in many a racer's lives. 

s a NASCAR Official for 18 years at Riverhead Raceway

From Derek Pernesiglio's Facebook page:

Michael Emil DeBello January 22, 1949-June 24, 2017

"Big Mike", "Tow Truck Mike", "Thunder", "The Boss" Where do I begin? A car owner, a friend, a second father. If there really is a racetrack in the sky, there's no doubt in my mind Big Bob O'Rourke has him working on the towing crew. We met when I was 15 years old. I worked on the track clean up crew and he headed up the tow truck and wrecker service at Riverhead Raceway. As a kid, we went go-kart racing together with his daughters Emily and Heather. Heather would one day marry another go-kart kid by the name of George Brunnhoelzl III who would eventually become a four-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion. In 2004 he packed up the family to start a new home in North Carolina. Not long after moving down South a stroke took away his ability to drive, walk and other daily functions we take for granted. At the time I was already living down here and working for NASCAR. Seeing Mike and Jan at the modified races gave you a feeling of being far from home but still surrounded by family. In 2012 I began racing outlaw Karts at Millbridge Speedway. Mike, having an affection for the old days of go-kart racing thought they were neatest thing since sliced bread. He decided he wanted to go racing again, he even traded in one of his favorite guns to pay for half the first car. Keeping the car at his house put some skip in his step. No longer confined to the house he was able to wheel his way out to the garage and work on the car. He busted chops, we bickered, we bitched at each other like most Italians do but there was always love and respect for each other. We won some races and a Winter Series Championship together. When we won a race Mike would alway's say, "We took one from em." In the last five years his trips to the garage and the racetrack became less and less frequent. He wanted me to keep racing, He gave me a key to the house and said to come and go as I please. At night, Jan would yell into the garage to come inside to eat dinner together, like family. Last week in the hospice after telling him we finished third he scowled at me and wrinkled his face as if to say you couldn't you do any better? That was a Mike, busting chops until his final days. It's kind of fitting Mike passed just a few hours before the Modified Tour race at Riverhead tonight, we had a feeling you wanted to make it there to see the show. I love you like a father, thank you for coming into my life and accepting me as a son. Don't worry about Jan, she's in good hands. I promise you we'll take another one from them...and it'll all be for you.

Love, Your adopted son, Derek

Derek Pernesiglio has worked in racing for more than 20 years. Beginning as a short track announcer, he has also worked for NASCAR as a television producer and on-air talent for the major networks.

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