All posts by Michael Jaworecki

Stafford Street Stock Championship Race Coming Down to the Wire

(Stafford Springs, CT)—With only 3 races left on the 2020 Stafford Speedway calendar, the races for track championships are entering their stretch run.  One of the closest championship fights among Stafford’s five weekly NASCAR divisions is the race for the Street Stock championship.  Heading into the Sept. 25 program, defending Street Stock champion Zack Robinson leads Meghan Fuller by 10 points with Chris Meyer third in the standings, only 14 points behind.  

Each championship protagonist has a unique story in how they got to this point.  Robinson is in the second season of driving the #89 First Class Automotive Chevrolet owned by Bill Anderson and he is looking to join Norm Sears and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. as the only repeat championship winners in the history of the DARE/Street Stock division.  Fuller is in her third season of Street Stock competition behind the wheel of the #2 Propane Plus Chevrolet, has finished second in the standings in each of those years, and is looking to capture her first championship.  Meyer and the #87 D and L Services Chevrolet team are in their first season of competition at Stafford after winning the Limited Sportsman championship at Waterford in 2017.  Each of the contenders shares their outlook for the final 3 races of the season.

“Our outlook is going to be the same as it was last year,” said Robinson.  “We were in the same predicament last year and we just kept our heads high and focused on wins and didn’t worry about points until the last race which is when you have to give it your all and try to stay at the top.  We have the most wins in the division so far this year and we’re going to try to add as many wins as we can.  We came to Stafford for a track rental at the beginning of the season and the car was actually way off. We didn’t realize just how much taking the restrictor plate off the car would change things.  The first race we had a decent car and we’ve slowly improved from there and right now the car is perfect.”

“I was definitely hoping to still be contending for the championship this year,” said Fuller.  “We’ve been a contender the last 2 years and I was a contender at Stafford and Thompson last season, which was pretty cool.  “Our focus is to just keep on doing what we’ve been doing all season long.  Racing others with the same respect that they give me, get the car back to the trailer in one piece, and race the car that I have each and every week and get the best finish that I possibly can.  I want very badly to win this championship and it would be a great achievement and feeling for myself and everyone on the team.”

“For sure at the beginning of the season we were a little surprised because we didn’t expect to be fast at Stafford so soon,” said Meyer.  “Our goal was to win a race and finish in the top-5 in points and we’ve won 2 races and I think we’re pretty solid on finishing somewhere in the top-5 this season so we’ve achieved our goals.  We’ve had some nights where the car was really good and some nights where we struggle a little.  We feel pretty good about what we’re going to bring to the track and we feel like we can get the job done.  If we have a car that can contend for wins, then we’re going to be a championship contender.  We just have to get the car a little better than it’s been the last couple races.  We’ve had some inconsistencies but there’s some things that we can do to help the car be better.  I think if we have a good car this Friday night then we’ll have a good shot at the championship.”

Each of the three championship contenders have gone through the rigors of racing for a championship with Meyer and Robinson both claiming championships, while Fuller is still in search of her first championship.  With all 3 drivers having varying degrees of championship experience to fall back on, none of the 3 feels like they have any advantage over the other.

“We gained a little bit of knowledge last year but I don’t think we’re any better than they are,” said Robinson.  “Chris [Meyer] has plenty of championships and Meghan [Fuller] and her team are great competition.  We’ve had some ups and downs which happens in racing but we always try to hold ourselves to a high standard to represent the track.  We go into each race hoping for a win.  We would love to go back to back.  There’s so many people between family and friends along with Joe Brockett that put their time and effort into this car.  It would mean a lot to be in the record books as a repeat champion along with all the other drivers who have gone back to back at Stafford.  With the points battle as tight as it is, anything can happen over the last 3 races.”

“I think maybe both of those guys have an advantage over me because they’ve both gotten to enjoy earning a championship which I have not yet unfortunately,” said Fuller.  “I’m hoping that at some point I can join them with a championship.  I wouldn’t say it would be disappointing if we don’t win this year because we know we’ve tried our hardest.  We’ve had an up and down year and my Dad always tells me to not look at points but I do and I know we fell back a bunch at one point during the season and it was going to be tough to come back to the top-3 in points.  Being back in second in points only 10 points behind is a pretty good accomplishment for us with the season that we’ve had.”

“Zack obviously won the championship last year and he’s won the most races this year and he’s leading the points, so I would say that he has the advantage so far this season,” said Meyer.  “If you look at the whole season, I think Meghan probably has had the best car of the three of us, but I have more starts in a Street Stock than those 2 combined.  We’ve finished second in points 3 or 4 times and we’ve finished third so our team is pretty resilient when it comes down to the end of the year and keeping our cool.  I’d like to say that experience will play into our hands and if we can get the car rolling right then I think we can have the upper hand.”

The Street Stock championship chase continues this Friday, September 25 with Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, Late Models, SK Lights, and Limited Late Models also in feature action.  Tickets for this Friday night’s Stafford Weekly Racing program are on sale now through the Stafford Speedway website with adult general admission priced at $20.00, $5.00 for kids ages 6-14, kids 5 and under are admitted free.  Paddock passes are priced at $40.00.  The 2020 points race will continue on Friday, October 2 and conclude on Friday, October 9 with NAPA Auto Parts Championship Night.

Fans who cannot attend this Friday night’s races in person but would still like to watch can order a live stream of the event from www.staffordspeedway.tv for $20.  

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

Granite State Pro Stock Series Headed Back to New London Waterford Speedbowl

On Saturday September 26 the Granite State Pro Stock Series will return to the newly remodeled New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford Connecticut. The last event held at the Speedbowl was on October 20, 2018 and it was a thrilling race featuring a side by side battle between veteran Ben Rowe and then newcomer Ray Christain III.

                Christain III comes back to his home track second in points for the first time in 2020 and looks to use home track advantage to retake the lead. The Uncasville CT driver grew up racing at the Speedbowl and couldn’t be happier that the series is going back.

                Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk has a stellar record at the southern CT Speed plant and will arrive as the new GSPSS point’s leader. In four starts there in late models, the Hudson NH driver has scored three wins and looks to continue that pattern of success. Coming off a thrilling victory at the Star Classic, “Pole” holds a slim two point lead over Christain III with just three races to go in the 2020 season.

                Angelo Belsito went to Star Speedway a relatively close third in the point standings but unfortunately had a difficult night at the classic. The Auburn MA driver struggled to a disappointing eleventh place finish dropping him back in the standings. He will head to Waterford thirty eight points behind the leader.

                A number of drivers with ties to Seekonk Speedway will make the short trip to Waterford. Ryan Kuhn comes off a great run at Star while Austin Blais and Tom Scully have both registered to compete for the first time this year. Also registered is defending Seekonk champion Dave Darling while Bobby Pelland and Kevin Casper have run partial GSPSS schedules this season and have filed entries for this event.

                Maine’s Larry Gelinas has filed his entry to compete in the famed Lindblad #48.  The pair have had decent results since reuniting part way through the season and look to improve on their results at the CT seashore oval. Also from Maine, Corey Bubar has entered to compete with the series for the second time this year.

                Other drivers entered include young guns Jake Matheson, coming off a top five finish at Star, along with rookie Casey Call, local driver Tyler Tomassi and SK Lite standout Alexander Pearl.

                Wayne Helliwell has entered and will be joined by Luke Hinkley, two time champ Mike O’Sullivan and other former champions Devin O’Connell and Barry Gray. DJ Shaw will come to Waterford looking for his second series win of the season while fellow Dale Shaw Race Cars driver Gabe Brown will be looking for his first career win.

                Kyle Harvell has entered to compete for the second time in 2020. He will make the boat ride across from East Islip NY on Long Island. Harvell hasn’t competed since the opening round at Claremont Motorsports Park and looks to improve after struggling at the tricky third mile.

Post time for this event will be 4:00 starting with The Crazy Horse Racing Fast Time Challenge. Heat races will then be run followed by the GSPSS redraw for the top three from each heat. A consolation round will then be run if needed followed by the 150 lap main event.

For more information go to www.gspss.net or www.speedbowlct.com. you can also check out both on their various social media outlets.

Big Money on the Line in ACT-Style Late Model Show at Thompson Speedway World Series

Alan Ward Photo

Thompson, CT — Late Model drivers in New England won’t want to miss a big 50-lap feature as part of the 58th Annual World Series of Speedway Racing at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. On Saturday, October 10, some of the top competitors in ACT-style Late Models will bear down on the Thompson high-banks with more than $17,000 in total prize money on the line.

The race pays $2,000 to win, $1,200 for second, and $1,000 for third with a minimum $300 payout to take the green flag. However, the lucrative purse throughout the field isn’t the only value drivers will be chasing. For the first time in recent World Series memory, drivers will also be chasing lap money in the Late Model feature, with most laps slated for $50 to the driver who leads that circuit.

The total value of lap money rises close to $3,000 with $100 from the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) to the lap-one leader and $300 from “The Dumpster Guy” for the leader of the final lap. ACT and Pro All Star Series (PASS) officials are leasing the track for the prestigious World Series in 2020 and running operations.

John Lesnewski, a crew member on Woody Pitkat’s No. 91 Hartwell Motorsports Late Model, and Brian Tagg, a long-time competitor at Thompson, collected sponsors for the lap bonuses within just a few days after an announcement was made by Lesnewski on Facebook.

“John texted me and said he was trying to get some sponsors together and I shared it, and the two of us just went at it trying to sell them,” Tagg said. “It only took us a little bit over two days to sell them all. It makes it interesting… as a driver, you’re always looking for ways to make it more interesting and try to draw more interest from competitors who wouldn’t normally come. The purse was already awesome, and we figured we would spice it up even more.”

Outside of the lap money, two additional bonus awards have been provided. The second-place finisher will earn an extra $100, a donation that reads: “paying it forward in honor of generosity of Cape Towing and Salvage and Streb Chiropractic.” Woody Pitkat, who won the Late Model feature as part of the Thompson 150 on September 3, also has donated a $100 bonus to the sixth-place finisher.

“What John, Brian, and their teams have done to help support the World Series is great to see,” World Series co-promoter and ACT managing partner Cris Michaud said. “We think this is going to be one of the top races of the entire weekend and one that fans won’t want to miss.” 

For Tagg, watching what Michaud and PASS owner Tom Mayberry have done to try and bring Thompson back to the top is special – and he couldn’t be more thankful.

“It’s hard to even describe,” Tagg said. “As a competitor, you never want see your home track go away. When you have people like Cris and Tom… they didn’t have to do anything. They are three states away, but they wanted to do what they could for the local short track… it’s truly amazing.”

The 58th Annual World Series of Speedway Racing takes place October 9-11 with three action-packed days of racing. The schedules include 18 divisions and series with the season finale for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Two additional open shows – a $2,000-to-win 350 Supermodified 30-lap race and a 75-lap, $5,000-to-win Modified Open – will join the Late Model Open on Saturday’s schedule.

Outside of the Late Models, purses for Thompson’s local divisions include a $1,500-to-win Sunoco Modified race, $350-to-win Limited Sportsman and SK Light Modified features, and a $200-to-win Mini Stock main event. Full purse structures for all the local divisions and open shows can be found on the Thompson, ACT, and PASS websites.

General admission tickets are just $55 for a three-day pass and are a hot commodity since Connecticut COVID-19 regulations have the track at just 25% grandstand capacity. Tickets can be purchased by visiting https://happsnow.com/event/Thompson-Speedway-Motorsports-Park-YHPQ/WORLD-SERIES–NO2QX.

For more information about the World Series of Speedway Racing schedule, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963, media@acttour.com, or visit www.acttour.com/thompson-speedway or www.thompsonspeedway.com. You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ACTTour.

For camping information and general Thompson Speedway inquires, call (860) 923-2280 or email oval@thompsonspeedway.com. You can follow Thompson Speedway on Facebook and Instagram at @ThompsonSpeedway or on Twitter at @ThompsonSpdwy.

For technical information concerning all PASS divisions, and for media or marketing questions, please contact passracing@roadrunner.com or visit www.proallstarsseries.com. Don’t forget to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook or follow on Twitter @PASSSLM14 to keep up with breaking news as it happens.