Category Archives: Stafford Motor Speedway

Doug Coby Charges To Fourth Spring Sizzler Victory

Holds Off Craig Lutz For 26th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Win

STAFFORD, Conn. — Doug Coby was going for his fourth NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 victory Saturday. Craig Lutz was chasing his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win.

In the end, it was the veteran Coby who made the winning move – diving under Lutz with just over 10 laps remaining – and then fending off the fierce challenge in the closing laps to return to Victory Lane in the iconic event that’s earned the moniker, “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.”

It was Coby’s 26th career win on the tour and his 12th at Stafford. His first career win came in the 2006 Spring Sizzler, Stafford’s iconic early-season event. He also won the race in 2012 and 2016.

“This is the race everybody wants to win,” said Coby. “That was the hardest I’ve ever drove a race car, to hold off Craig. I just kept drive harder and driving harder.”

Following Lutz, Ron Silk, Max Zachem and Eric Goodale rounded out the top five.

“This is what you dream about,” Lutz said. “He’s obviously one of the best here. To be able to run with him for the last 10 laps was run. This was probably the most disappointing second-place I’ve had, because I felt like all day we had a really good car.”

It was the third career runner-up finish in 56 career starts for the Miller Place, New York, driver — including one in last year’s NAPA Fall Final at Stafford.

RACING-REFENCE: NAPA SPRING SIZZLER 200 RESULTS

Justin Bonsignore came home sixth. Bonsignore was fastest in practice back on April 26, the weekend the event was originally slated. Rain postponed three times, finally pushing it from Friday night to Saturday afternoon. Bonsignore was then fastest in final practice and won the Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award.

Patrick Emerling was seventh, followed by rookie Sam Rameau, Timmy Solomito and Blake Barney.

RELATED: PHOTO GALLERY – LOOKING BACK: SPRING SIZZLER HISTORY

With Coby’s second win in four races in 2019, the five-time tour champion has opened a 17-point lead on second-place Emerling and 20 over Silk. Blewett and defending tour champion Bonsignore are fourth and fifth, respectively.

RACING-REFERENCE: WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be back on track in seven days with the Jersey Shore 150 at Wall Stadium Speedway on Saturday, May 18.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-48th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 200 Results

Saturday

At Stafford Motor Speedway

Stafford Springs, CT

Lap length: 0.5 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (2) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 200 laps, 55.530 mph.

2. (11) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200.

3. (15) Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT, Chevrolet, 200.

4. (17) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn., Chevrolet, 200.

5. (12) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200.

6. (1) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY, Chevrolet, 200.

7. (8) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, NY, Chevrolet, 200.

8. (24) Sam Rameau, Westminster, Mass., Chevrolet, 200.

9. (10) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 200.

10. (19) Blake Barney, Lakewood, N.J., Chevrolet, 200.

11. (21) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 200.

12. (25) J. B. Fortin, Jr., Holtsville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200.

13. (26) Timmy Catalano, Ontario, N.Y., Chevrolet, 200.

14. (20) Gary Putnam, Vernon, Conn., Chevrolet, 200.

15. (23) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 199.

16. (28) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Ford, 198.

17. (16) Tommy Catalano, Ontario, N.Y., Chevrolet, 196.

18. (32) Kyle Ellwood, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 196.

19. (29) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 186.

20. (22) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon, Conn., Chevrolet, 179.

21. (18) Kyle Bonsignore, Bay Shore, N.Y., Toyota, 176.

22. (31) Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn., Chevrolet, 176, accident.

23. (33) Tyler Rypkema, Owego, N.Y., Chevrolet, 171, accident.

24. (4) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Pontiac, 169, rear end.

25. (34) Joey Mucciacciaro, Wolcott, Conn., Chevrolet, 155, handling.

26. (3) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 143, accident.

27. (7) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass., Chevrolet, 125, accident.

28. (14) Jeff Rocco, Meriden, Conn., Chevrolet, 125, accident.

29. (27) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Ford, 119, accident.

30. (6) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Dodge, 117, accident.

31. (9) Rob Summers, Manchester, CT, Chevrolet, 117, accident.

32. (13) Joey Cipriano, III, Waterbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 100, accident.

33. (30) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 75, accident.

34. (5) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Chevrolet, 70, rear end.

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 48 minutes 3 seconds

Margin of Victory: 0.253 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: J.Bonsignore (100.925 mph, 17.835 seconds)

Caution Flags: 13 for 77 laps.

Lead Changes: 12 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: D. Coby 1; J. Bonsignore 2-64; C. Dowling 65-128; E. Goodale 129-139; C. Pasteryak 140-143; D. Coby 144-150; R. Silk 151-152; C. Dowling 153-166; R. Silk 167; J. Bonsignore 168-175; R. Silk 176-183; C. Lutz 184-188; D. Coby 189-200.

Standings: 1. D. Coby, 171; 2. P. Emerling, 154; 3. R. Silk, 151; 4. J. Blewett, 145; 5. J. Bonsignore, 138; 6. E. Goodale, 134; 7. C. Lutz, 132; 8. C. Pasteryak, 131; 9. W. Pitkat, 126; 10. B. Barney, 124.

Max Zachem to Honor the Late Cliff Nelson at the Rescheduled NAPA Spring Sizzler

By Michael Jaworecki

There are many people in racing that help teams get through a long expensive race season. One of the really great people that helped so many was Cliff Nelson. Cliff passed away early this month and with his passing left a huge hole in New England racing.

Cliff was big supporter of Max’s racing career, and with his passing the team and another good friend and supporter Bruce Bachta wanted to do something special to honor Cliff.

Max had limited plans to run the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2019, only a June race at Thompson and the July race at New Hampshire were on Max’s radar. His 2019 season was to be spent working around the NEMA schedule for his future brother-in-law and future wife Meg Cugini.

Then Max’s unofficial “step dad” Bruce approached Max and inquired about what cars he had in his garage. Max had an SK and an MRS Modified in his garage . Bruce responded “That’s great lets going Whelen racing” from there the rest is history and the 2019 NAPA Spring Sizzler to honor Cliff was added to the schedule.

Since Bruce came on board to get Max to the Sizzler Max and the team have been busy preparing the black #20 ready to enter in the weather delayed NAPA Spring Sizzler. On the back of that car will be the familiar Cliff Nelsons Motorsports decal that has graced many a race car.

Max spoke so highly of Bruce ” He has done so much for me I can’t thank him enough. What makes this weekend more special in a sad way is the passing of Cliff Nelson who was such a big supporter of mine”.

Max also wanted to thank all the sponsors that help to get his race cars to the track. Lu Macs, MPZ Trucking LLC, East End Sanctuary, New England Race Fuels, Billy the Kid Engines and Foxwoods Resort Casino. With out great sponsors the race cars in his garage would probably stay in the garage.

The NAPA Auto Parts 200 48th annual Spring Sizzler will finally get the green light this Saturday May 11th at the Stafford Motor Speedway. In the field will be the #20 Max Zachem Modified to honor his late friend Cliff Nelson.

Eddie Harvey Enjoying Time Chasing Victories on NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

EWS & NOTES: NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford

Eddie Harvey is no stranger to success in racing.

But, the last two years have seen a bit of a transformation for his team, and he’s along for the ride.

A ride that he has enjoyed since day one, and a ride that he hopes will point him back to NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Victory Lane before long.

Four years ago, the ride was already well underway, while Harvey was celebrating a second straight championship as a car owner on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour with Andy Seuss.

It wasn’t anything new for Harvey, who had also been part of championships down south with George Brunnhoelzl III, and has deep racing roots in his family, with his father as a car owner for veteran Jamie Tomaino up north for many years.

“We had one phenomenal year where Andy and George were teammates and we won 11 of the 13 races and won almost all of the poles,” Harvey said. “It was a great relationship. Andy and I were together seven and a half years, and Andy had the opportunity to do some ARCA stuff, and he was able to pursue his dream. My specific vision is the Modifieds, and that’s what I wanted to do going forward, so we mutually agreed to move on but that door is still open even for the future. He stops by every once in a while. I think we won about 17 races together. It was definitely fun.”

After the two parted ways, Harvey tabbed Chase Dowling to drive at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing fourth in their first effort together. After that, it was current Monster Energy Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie who drove the car at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and it was then that Harvey found the relationship that would set him up for the future.

“It’s a funny story, that’s how Burt Myers and I ended up together. Corey was at a Cup Series race in Dover and said he’d be at the shop on Monday and I told him I needed a seat. He couldn’t quite get one, and he asked me how well I knew Burt Myers, and I called Burt and after Burt had unfortunately destroyed his car at Bristol, he said he had his seat, and he told me to come by and grab it,” Harvey said. “I got it, used the seat for Corey, and then Burt asked me what he needed to do to keep the seat in the car for the World Series at Thompson. Once we left there, we were talking about keeping the seat in there permanently.”

That relationship sparked success towards the end of last year, and the team has rolled it right over to this year, coming just a few short laps away from victory at South Boston Speedway on March 30, and running solidly inside the top five for much of the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Even though Myers finished sixth at Thompson, the combination left there pleased. Myers has finished seventh or better in the first three races of a new year.

“This past race at Thompson was our 13th race together, and since Bristol last year, we’ve pulled off top 10s and top fives with chances to win. Burt hadn’t seen a lot of the tracks, like Stafford and Riverhead. He had never really seen them before we went there. We also had to get used to working together,” Harvey said.

“It took us about five races together and we just had to build a little bit of a notebook. We had to use about five races to pretty much throw away it felt like just learning, but it worked out. The strategy and the tires were much different for us. Down south, we only got one change tire. Up north, you can get some more changes. Down south, you do a lot of riding and you don’t race until the end, but at these tracks up north, you race hard right from the start. Once we got a handful of races together, it started becoming fun.”

And even though that relationship is steered in the right direction with the combination hoping to continue that success for days to come, it’s on hold for now. Myers will begin his quest for a 10th track championship at Bowman Gray Stadium this weekend in their Modified division, meaning he won’t be making the trip to Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual NAPA Spring Sizzler 200.

Instead, Harvey will have Jeff Rocco sit behind the wheel, another driver who has joined the stable, run some previous races and is enjoying the ride.

RELATED: PIT BOX: Whelen Modified Tour Headlining NAPA Spring Sizzler Weekend at Stafford

“I get it, but it sucks that we have to stop that momentum,” Harvey joked of Myers heading to Bowman Gray. “Jeff wasn’t doing anything at Stafford for the Fall Final last year and he just jumped on board as a crew member. All of a sudden, he became a full EHR guy, coming to the tracks and doing whatever we needed him to do. With Doug Dunleavy in the mix, we put a deal together last year and put him in the car at Seekonk; then at Langley, Brian Loftin couldn’t show up there for me to drive the car and Jeff drove through the night and got in it there and ran inside the top 12.”

“He offered over the winter to put the new car together for me and help take some of it off my plate. He really has jumped right into this deal 1000 percent, he gets along great with all of us.”

arvey says Rocco will drive at Stafford, followed by Danny Bohn returning to action at Wall Stadium Speedway on May 18. From there, Harvey will take a look at the situation and figure out the immediate future.

Eddie Harvey (left) and Burt Myers (right) enjoy a New England Patriots game last year. (Eddie Harvey Facebook)

“It isn’t just a driver and owner relationship, we have become great friends. We text every single day and it’s important to have that relationship outside of racing as well. If we can’t go at this and have fun doing it, I don’t really want to do it,” Harvey said of his drivers. “We win and lose together as a team. We just try to put our minds together to figure out how to get faster.”

Outside of racing, Harvey is also back on track after some health issues forced him to make a pit stop late last year.

His motor is fired back up, screaming like never before.

“I dealt with some cancer a few years ago, got through that, then all of a sudden about eight months ago I started having some heart issues and I had a few stents put in, and then I had a blood clot and they had to get rid of it. But everything is really good now,” Harvey said.

“I’m fully working out again, back to pushing as hard as I can with this whole racing deal looking to move forward. It’s allowing me to go after this full-time if all of the stars align for us.”

NAPA SPRING SIZZLER 200: RACE CENTER | ENTRY LIST |SCHEDULE & TICKETS

Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Spring Sizzler News & Notes

  • Stafford Motor Speedway regulars Joey Cipriano (SK Modified) and Mark Bakaj (SK Light Modified) will both make their Whelen Modified Tour debuts Sunday. Cirpriano will drive for Steve Greer, a car owner he ran some tour-type Modified races with at Stafford last year. Bakaj will wheel a car for Jason Nogiec driving with his family company as the sponsor.
  • Doug Coby, who leads all active drivers with 11 career Stafford wins, leads the series standings entering the half-mile. Coby has one win already this season, and led the most laps in the Icebreaker at Thompson before a pit road penalty ended his chances of returning to Victory Lane.
  • Sam Rameau, who will make his first start at Stafford this weekend, leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings at the end of the first three races. Timmy Catalano, the brother of defending Sunoco Rookie of the Year Tommy Catalano, trails by 16 points.