Category Archives: NASCAR Whelen All-American Series

Zack Robinson Wins 2019 Stafford Street Stock Championship

Tom Morris/Myracenews photos

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Zack Robinson came into the 2019 Street Stock season at Stafford Speedway behind the wheel of a new car with a new team.  Robinson was undeterred by the fact that he was driving a new car for a new team.  He and the #89 RSMPCO.com / First Class Automotive team owned by Bill Anderson quickly showed that they had championship potential by winning their third race together and three of the first 7 races of the 2019 season.  Robinson gained the points lead midway through the 2019 season and remained on top until the end of the year to claim his first track championship.

“It definitely feels good to win the championship,” said Robinson.  “We were this close in 2017 and we had some mishaps, which was my own fault.  We moved on from that and we came into this year with our heads held high for a new season.  The Anderson family came to us over the winter and asked us if we could help fix their car.  We went through a couple of things and we decided we would build a brand new car from scratch.  We started with a bare frame from the side of my garage, we went to Joe Hamm for a roll cage, and then we did the rest of the car ourselves.  We finished fourth in the first race of the season and we thought that was pretty good for a new car.  The plan was to win as many races as we could and when we started clicking them off four or five weeks into the season we decided we were going to stick it out and see where we could go with it.”

Where Robinson and the #89 team went with their early season success was an almost permanent place in the top-5 every Friday night during the Street Stock feature events.  After opening the year with a fourth place finish, Robinson finished the second race in 18th place,  That 18th place finish on May 11 would turn out to be the only race of the 2019 season that saw Robinson finish lower than 7th.  Robinson closed out the year with 5 wins, 16 top-5, and 19 top-10 finishes.

“Coming into the season our goal was to win the most races and I think we got that done,” said Robinson.  “First of all I have to thank the Anderson family for giving me the opportunity to drive this car.  Joe Brockett, he’s the one behind this car and he made it happen every week and got the car to the front for us.  Ryan Churchill, his father, his whole family, my stepdad, my mom, my father, my grandparents, everyone that’s involved with this car, thanks to Jeff, Tick Mike, and all the sponsors.  First Class Automotive, Jason with Royal Screw Manufacturing, Jet Electric, JSB, Hopkins Construction, Swanson Buick-GMC, Defenders of Charity, and everybody who’s involved with this car.”

Robinson’s victory on July 12 moved him into the Street Stock point lead for the first time.  From there, Robinson slowly built his lead up to where he came into the NAPA Fall Final with a comfortable 30-point margin over Meghan Fuller.  Robinson recorded a third place finish at the NAPA Fall Final, which was his 12th podium finish of the season in 20 starts and he claimed the championship by a final margin of 26 points over Fuller.

“My plan from the start of the last race was to do what we had been doing all year and that was to go for the win,” said Robinson.  “The car started to fall off a little bit and I was kind of happy that we didn’t get a late caution flag.  This is a great accomplishment and I’m proud of the whole team.”

Now that Robinson has claimed his first championship at Stafford, his plans for 2020 season are yet to be determined..

“Right now our plans are up in the air at the moment,” said Robinson.  “We were thinking about possibly going to the Late Model division next season but now that we’ve won the championship, we might have to come back to try to defend it.”

Robinson will officially be crowned the 2019 Street Stock Champion at the 50th Annual Stafford Speedway Champion’s Awards Banquet, scheduled for Friday, November 15 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor.  Tickets to the awards banquet are $50 and are on sale now.  Tickets can be ordered by calling the track at 860-684-2783 or they can be ordered online at www.staffordspeedway.com

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

Three Drivers Separated By Three Points in Thompson Mini Stock Title Battle

Scott Michalski, Steve Michalski & Doug Curry Set To Fight For Crown at Sunoco World Series 

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park 

THOMPSON, Conn. — The closest of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship battles is going to go right down to the final lap of the Mini Stock feature on Sunoco World Series weekend. 

Right now, just three points separate the top three drivers in the Division V class – with former champion Scott Michalski showing the way over Steve Michalski and Doug Curry. Scott is the only one of the three to have previous championship glory, but the other two are no stranger to Victory Lane. Steve has eight career Thompson wins, while Curry, who busted onto the scene in 2019, has two victories in the nine races so far this season. 

All three drivers will battle it out for the crown as part of the 57th annual Sunoco World Series at Thompson, October 11-13. The Mini Stocks will qualify on Friday night and run their 15-lap finale as part of the Saturday program. 

“My car hasn’t really been up to speed,” Scott Michalski said. “I parked my car for two years, so when I went back racing, I went to the Icebreaker to have fun and turn some laps, and I said, ‘why not, I’ll go back and run another race’. It kind of hooks you in.” 

Scott Michalski has one victory this season, which came during the Thompson 125 in June. Other than his win, Michalski has finished inside the top 10 in all nine races. His worst finish is a seventh-place effort. 

“I’ve been working trying to better the car,” Michalski said. “I had my front end destroyed, and it was basically starting from square one again. I was like four tenths off for the whole season and the last race I was three tenths off. I need those three tenths and I think I might have found them.”

As he looks to earn a second track title, Michalski is feeling confident going into the finale. 

“I have just as good of a shot as they do,” he said. “All three of us have a great shot. It’s anyone’s show.” 

For Curry, the season has been about getting a full grip on Thompson, while also finding the speed he needs under the hood. His original plan wasn’t to run Thompson full-time, but now, he’s right in the thick of a championship battle he doesn’t want to lose. 

“It just worked out,” Curry said. “Despite the bad luck, we’ve been fast, and had some good runs. Just a few races ago we were 35 points out, and here we are now, one point out. Win or lose, it says a lot about our team and our attitude. We never give up. We just keep digging no matter what the situation is.” 

Curry’s season has been filled with success. He might have switched to a different car early in the year, but since then, he’s been on fire. In the last six races, he’s finished inside the top three all but once, and he finished 15th with a car failure in the other.  

“It’s never over until it’s over, until the last checkered flag flies,” Curry said. “We just have to keep doing what we are doing. Ever race is a little bit different – sometimes you must be a bit more on the defensive, and sometimes you have to be more on the offensive. I just approach the World Series the same I have approached the last nine races – go out there and try to win, and if you can’t win, get what you can get.” 

For Curry, the rebound in the standings has partly been because of his success in heat races, where he’s earned crucial points. He knows the Sunoco World Series heat race on Friday night is going to be important in the points battle. 

“The heat race is huge, we’ve gained a ton of points in those this year,” Curry said. “In total, we’ve won over half of the heat races. Five points is five points, and for me, the heat race is going to be just as important as the feature. I could have the point lead going into the feature, which would change how I approach it, but I could also come out of the heat race more points out. It’s going to be important.” 

One year after coming close to the Mini Stock title over at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Curry just wants to seal the deal. 

“It would be everything to me. This is all I’ve ever wanted – I just have wanted to be a champion,” Curry said. “When I lost at the Speedbowl last year, it was like someone ripped my heart out of my chest. I’m really hoping this is my year of redemption.” 

Steve Michalski is no stranger to success in the Mini Stock division. He’s accomplished plenty of checkered flags in his career at Thompson, but not the championship quite yet. He’s hoping to change that this year, after what’s been a trying few months for his team. 

“We’ve been through a few different cars,” Steve Michalski said. “My throttle hung in a heat race, and I demolished the primary car, and that was a stretch where there were a few races in a row, so we had to hop into another car in our stable. We ended up blowing that one up that night, but we got a top 10. We just had bad luck after bad luck.” 

Even with all those failures, Steve Michalski still has found a way to be in contention going into the finale. He’s third, just three points back, and he’s got some extra motivation and an old friend coming with him to the last race. 

“The good news is the primary car is back and I feel more comfortable in that, we are bringing our best piece to the show and it should be a really good one,” Steve Michalski said. “The backup cars, one was a little bit under power, and the other we had some break issues. In the primary car, we’ve been dialed in well and we know where it wants to be. I’m very confident in the car.” 

He just hopes all the bad luck is behind him in time for the champion celebration.

“We just go out there and race and get the best finish we can,” Steve Michalski said. “It’d be great to win. I’ve always ran out there for fun. We put a lot of time and a lot of work and effort into this. I’ve never won it, but I’ve come close. We’re in position to win it, so we have to take advantage.” 

The 57th annual Sunoco World Series will take the green flag on Friday, October 11, and roll through Sunday, October 13. The event begins on Friday, with practice sessions running throughout the afternoon, and heat racing set to begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. Feature racing on Friday includes the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Late Models, Open Vintage Modifieds and Senior Tour Auto Racers. 

Saturday, action begins early with practice at 9 a.m., while qualifying begins at 2:30 p.m. There are 10 different feature races planned for Saturday night. 

Sunday, action begins at 1 p.m., with the season-finale for Thompson’s Sunoco Modified division. The NEMA Lites, ISMA Supermodifieds and TSMP Limited Sportsman will also join the headliner of Sunday — the Sunoco World Series 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. 

Admission to the paddock area for the entire three days is $75, with grandstand general admission set at $55. Any seniors (65+), veterans and active military will have general admission tickets priced at $50, while kids 12 and under are free in general admission.  

Thompson’s annual breakfast and dinner buffets will also take place during Sunoco World Series weekend. The breakfast buffet runs from 7-11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday and is $14 per person. The dinner buffet runs from 5-10 p.m. on Saturday night only and is $24 per person. For any children 12 and under, the dinner buffet is $14.  

For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans should visit the track on the web, at www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Ryan Preece Posts $500 SK Modified® Bonus for NAPA Fall Final

Tom Morris/Myracenews photo

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Ryan Preece Racing has announced a $500 bonus for Sunday’s SK Modified® feature at the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final. The bonus will be split with $250 going to the winner and $250 to the hard charger of the race, the driver advancing the most positions over the course of the feature.  With the bonus, Sunday’s 40-lap SK Modified® feature will pay $2,075 to win, with a total posted purse of $10,060.

“I’m excited to have the ability to post this bonus for Stafford’s SK Modified® teams,” explained Preece.  “I attribute much of the opportunities I have today to my time spent on the Stafford half-mile running against guys like Ted Christopher, Keith Rocco, and Woody Pitkat.  The SK Modified® division is one of the toughest weekly divisions in the country and is home to some of the best short track talent around.”

Preece is no stranger to Stafford Victory Lane, notching 35 career victories including back to back Spring Sizzler® wins and a $12,000 pay day in the NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K, the richest SK Modified race of the season.  Most recently Preece grabbed the win in the June 2019 Stafford Open Modified 80 in Ryan Preece fashion, pitting late and blasting through the field with just 25 laps to go.

“I wanted to post a hard charger award because the challenge at Stafford is starting deep in the field,” continued Preece, driver of the #47 JTG Racing Cup Car.  “With Stafford’s handicapping system and big car counts the top drivers always end up starting outside the top-10.”

Preece is currently in his rookie season in the Monster Energy Cup Series driving the #47 car for JTG Daugherty racing. Ryan has scored 3 top 10’s in his rookie campaign including a career best 3rd place run at Talladega in April.

“We want to thank Ryan for posting this bonus,” explained Stafford General Manager Mark Arute.  “Ryan’s passion for short track racing is unrivaled and he is a great representative of modified racing at the cup level.  All of us at Stafford are proud to have a past SK Modified® champion competing at the highest level of our sport and we look forward to whenever he gets a chance to come back to half-mile to compete.”

Tickets for this weekends NAPA Fall Final Weekend, September 28 & 29, are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission, $10.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seat tickets are $45.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles. Discount tickets are available through participating NAPA stores.

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