All posts by Michael Jaworecki

Stan Mertz Racing, Matt Galko Set For Battle in Open 81 at Stafford Motor Speedway

By Souza Media/Kyle Souza

WHITINSVILLE, Mass. – Just over three weeks after showing speed and leading laps at the 50th running of the NAPA Spring Sizzler, Stan Mertz Racing and driver Matt Galko will get back to work this Friday night, May 20, at Stafford Motor Speedway. The team will compete in the second Open Modified race of the season at the half-mile, the Call Before You Dig 811 Modified Open 81-lap race.

In the Spring Sizzler, Galko led laps and was running inside the top-10 for the duration of the race – scoring a sixth-place finish to open the 10-race schedule for Stan Mertz Racing in 2022. The Stafford event will mark the first of two races in two weeks for the team – as the operation plans to head to Claremont Motorsports Park next on Friday, May 27 for a 100-lap, $15,000 to win race with Woody Pitkat at the controls. 

“I’m very excited to get back to the track, as much as we get put under the radar, we proved at the Spring Sizzler that we are contenders,” Galko said. “We learned a lot as a group and I think we can take what we learned and come back even stronger for the race this Friday night. I can’t thank Stan and the entire team enough for providing a race winning program and I think without a doubt we will be a threat for Victory Lane.”

Some of the sponsors of Stan Mertz Racing include Koopman Lumber, Pomfret Wine & Spirits, Cape Towing & Salvage, Mike Holmes and Son Excavating, J&S Motors, JW’s Home Improvement, Black & White Grille, Performance Engines by Billy the Kid and Reed Property Services. 

Stafford’s race day schedule on Friday includes practice at 3:45 p.m., followed by the start of heat racing at 6 p.m. The green flag for the Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81-lap race should be around 9 p.m. Tickets are available in advance at StaffordMotorSpeedway.com and also will be available at the track on race day. For those who can’t make it to the track, fans can watch the racing action live on FloRacing.TV.

For more information on Stan Mertz Racing, visit the team at StanMertzRacing.com and also on social media for the latest update

Woody Pitkat Looking to Rebound From NAPA Spring Sizzler Mechanical Issue in Call Before You Dig 81 at Stafford

(Stafford Springs, CT)—When the Open Modified cars were last at Stafford Speedway for the NAPA Spring Sizzler®, hometown driver Woody Pitkat, who now calls Bellingham, MA home, looked like a contender until an on track issue after a restart sent him to the rear, eventually a mechanical issue eliminated him from the race and left him with a 24th place finish.  Pitkat and the #88 Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair team will be looking to rebound from that misfortune and once again be among the contenders to win the Call Before You Dig 81 this Friday night, May 20 at Stafford.

“I’m excited to come back to Stafford as good as we were with a brand new car,” said Pitkat.  “We learned a ton during the whole Sizzler® weekend and we ended up having a mechanical issue at the end of the race and you’d rather have something like that happen in a race other than “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.”  We had something in the rear end let go and that caused a vibration but we figured that out and got everything fixed and the rear end is more bulletproof now than it was.  I was more disappointed after we made our pit stop that I got hit in the left front and the car wouldn’t turn so I had to stop on the track and get everything reset so we ended up going to the back of the field.  We’re ready to get back at it and hopefully we can unload just as good as we were and we can make some small adjustments.”

Pitkat will be bringing the same #88 car to the CBYD 81 that he ran in the Sizzler®.  Despite the car being brand new to the team and the team itself being new to working with each other, Pitkat showed plenty of speed before retiring from the race.

“I expected to be good just because of the fact that the team works so well together,” said Pitkat.  “We’ve put this crew together over the past couple years with Eddie Harvey and Doug Dunleavy bought the team.  I also brought some people over from the 6 car that I was driving for Stan Mertz and I figured everyone would work really well together.  We tested the car a few days prior to the Sizzler® and the car had a lot of speed right from the get go so that gave us a lot of confidence going to Stafford and I can only assume we’re going to get better and better.”

One variable that Pitkat and the CBYD 81 field will have to contend with will be the fact that the temperature will be somewhere in the vicinity of 20 to 30 degrees warmer than it was in April for the Sizzler®.  Pitkat is going to leave the setup decisions to his crew chief Cam McDermott but he expects to once again have a fast car and be a contender for the win.

“It’s going to be different with the temperature and then going from day to night,” said Pitkat.  “At the Sizzler we started in the day and then the race ended up starting in the dark where this time around we’ll be starting and finishing in the dark.  I’m not sure how much the temperature difference is going to affect the car, I’ll leave that to Cam [crew chief McDermott].”

One thing Pitkat is positive about is making his car better on the longer runs than he was at the Sizzler®, where he says his car suffered from being too good too early in the run.

“We had a good car at the Sizzler® but I think our issue was the car was too good a little too early,” said Pitkat.  “I don’t know if we had a shot to beat Matt [Hirshcman] or Ryan [Preece] but we definitely had a good top-5 car and maybe even a top-3 car.  We learned a lot about the car and we’ll be looking to contend for more wins.”

The 4th Annual CBYD 81 is scheduled for this Friday, May 20.  Stafford’s SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions will join the Open Modifieds in feature action.  Tickets for the CBYD 81 are available now online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets and tickets will also be available for purchase at the admission gates.  Tickets for the CBYD 81 are $30.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under.  Reserved seating is priced at $35.00 for all ages and pit passes are $45.00 with a valid 2022 Stafford Competition License and $50.00 without a Stafford license.  If you are unable to attend the event, tune into the live stream on FloRacing, the official streaming partner of Stafford Speedway. 

For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

Justin Bonsignore Heads To Lee USA Speedway For Granite State Derby 

By Souza Media/Kyle Souza

Photo Michael jaworecki/Myracenews

HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. – Justin Bonsignore and the Ken Massa Motorsports team are heading to Lee USA Speedway this Saturday, May 21, for round four of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. 

The Granite State Derby 175 presented by USA Insulation will mark the first time the Whelen Modified Tour has been to the New Hampshire track in over two decades, and Bonsignore is heading there looking for redemption and to get back on track. Even though the Holtsville, New York, driver won the Richmond Raceway race on April 1, in the other two events during the 2022 season, Bonsignore failed to finish – both with mechanical failures.

However – with plenty of races left to go on the 16-race schedule, all eyes are on Lee, where Bonsignore does have some previous laps in a Modified. Saturday’s race will include tire conservation at one of the most abrasive tracks the Northeast offers, and pit strategy will matter in determining who ends up in Victory Lane.

Bonsignore is excited to get back to Lee and see how it all shakes out.

“We’re looking forward to getting to Lee USA Speedway and coming out of there with a strong run,” Bonsignore said. “All we can do is keep our heads down and do what we know we can do, and let the rest play out. Lee is a difficult track with tire conservation, and it should be interesting to see how all of the strategy plays out at the end of the race.”

Saturday’s race day schedule at Lee USA Speedway will include one Whelen Modified Tour practice from 1:40-2:40 p.m., followed by Mayhew Tools qualifying at 5:30 p.m. The green flag for the Granite State Derby presented by USA Insulation is set for 7 p.m., live on FloRacing.TV. Fans can purchase tickets in advance at JDVProductions.com and also at the track on race day. The event includes the Granite State Pro Stock Series, NHSTRA Mini Stocks, Pro 4 Modifieds, NEMA Lites and the Whelen Modified Tour.

For more information on Justin Bonsignore, visit JustinBonsignore.com and follow his athlete page on Facebook for the latest updates, including from the track on race day.