Category Archives: Stafford Motor Speedway

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.

1st Career Win and Hot Start Has Bobby Stirk, III Leading Stafford’s Street Stocks

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Coming into the 2022 Street Stock season at Stafford Speedway, Bobby Stirk, III and the #9 A6A Associates team were flying under the radar.  After the first two races of the season, Stirk and team have served notice to everyone that they’ve shed the underdog label and will be serious contenders with a 2nd place finish in the season opening NAPA Spring Sizzler® followed by Stirk taking down his first career Street Stock victory.  Stirk’s hot start to the season sees him sitting at the top of the Street Stock standings and looking for more.

“It can’t get much better than that,” said Stirk.  “We didn’t take a day off at all during the winter.  We went through every channel that we possibly could to try to get every tenth out of the car.  We were close last year but we found a few things over the winter that just weren’t right with the car.  We’ve been working with Jay Stuart a lot to set the chassis up and he and my Dad are coming up with all sorts of new ideas and everything seems to be working perfectly.  We fell behind the 8 ball a little bit when we first came back to Stafford because we thought maybe the 305 engine and some of the older stuff would still work and everything was just outdated.  We figured out where all our flaws were and it took a little time for me to get used to the track and the car and Jay Stuart has helped push us right to the top.  Big thanks to Jay Stuart and JMD Chassis, A6A Associates, PS Engines, DMW Graphics, Top Level Detailing, the whole JET Motorsports crew, my Dad, my sister, my Uncle Tom, Butch Fosdick from Rent A Racecar, Tri-State Elevator and Hoist, and Prvl Creative, we couldn’t have done this without all their support.”

The seeds of Stirk’s success were starting to get planted at the end of the 2021 season where Stirk recorded 6 top-7 finishes in the last 7 races, including what was then his career best finish of second.  Stirk and his crew started to hit upon something with their car setups and have carried that over the winter and into the start of this season.

“We started experimenting with setups towards the end of last season and something that my Dad came up with absolutely clicked with me,” said Stirk.  “It’s not something that Jay Stuart normally runs, but he and my Dad have been working well together and we were starting to finish races last year instead of breaking down.  I have a lot of good guys in my corner with Jay Stuart on the chassis side, Buzzie has been helping us a lot with the rear ends and transmissions, and the crate motor from R.A.D. has been a massive change for us.  I never imagined a first and a second, I was just hoping for a top-5 finish to start the season.  I knew we were going to be a contender even if no one else counted us a contender.  I’m ok with being the underdog and this is my first season where I’m a contender for race wins.”

Stirk’s second place finish during the 2021 season not only helped boost his confidence, but it also served as a huge motivating factor as coming so close to winning left that race stuck in Stirk’s mind during the entire off-season.

“That second place finish last year really helped a lot but at the same time I relived that moment in my head all winter long,” said Stirk.  “I got a little loose going into turn 1 and that opened the door for Frankie [L’Etoile, Jr.] to get by me.  It helped my confidence but it was also ‘what could have been’.  That race stuck with me all winter long which I used as motivation for this season.”

With the 2022 season just 2 races old, Stirk has his focus solely set on winning more races and maintaining his consistency of finishing races in the top-5 rather than starting to worry about the championship at season’s end.

“The key is to just finish races and spend as much time in the shop as I can going over the car,” said Stirk.  “Other than that, you can’t really control what happens on the track.  You just have to keep your nose clean and keep as many friends as you can because once you start making enemies, that’s when you start losing consistency because you’re not going to be finishing races.  We have 20 or so more weeks to keep going and I’m not worried about the championship, I’m just here to try to win races.  In the bottom half of the season we’ll take a look and see where we are and play things by ear then but right now I just want to win more races.”

Stirk’s first career victory was not only a high for himself, but being able to share the victory with his father Bob, who raced many years at Stafford without recording a victory, was an extra special experience.

“Winning that race was something that I’ve been working towards for a long time,” said Stirk.  “There was a lot of raw emotion in the car and it was definitely a huge weight lifted off all of our shoulders.  My father raced at Stafford for a lot of years and it was nice to be able to finally get into victory lane with him.  He won a lot of heat races and he was on the podium a bunch of times, but he never won a race so that was great to be able to share with him.”

Stirk will look to continue his hot start this Friday night, May 20th as part of the CBYD Open 81 program.  The Street Stocks will be joined by Stafford’s other 4 weekly divisions with Open Modified cars highlighting the program.  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 in person, 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.