(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway’s Late Model division is taking center stage this Friday, August 16 for a 50-lap extra distance event that carries a purse of $10,000. Tyler Leary, Hatfield MA native, is looking to end a victory drought that dates back to the NAPA Fall Final in 2017, a stretch of nearly 2 years. Leary and the #11 Amherst Trucking / Raynor Garage Doors team head into the Late Model 50 feeling like the extra distance event could be the perfect opportunity to end their winless streak.
“I’m feeling pretty good about the race actually,” said Leary. “If you had asked me three or four weeks ago I probably would have said absolutely not. It’s been almost 2 years since we’ve last seen victory lane. It’s been frustrating for sure but we just keep working at it. I almost can’t even describe how frustrating it’s been. I know there’s some other guys out there who have had the same thing where they go through a dry spell. We’ve lacked some consistency this year but it would be such a relief to get another win. I’m hoping if we can hit the setup good and have the tires right where we want them, we can be a contender.”
Leary looked like he was well on his way to ending his winless streak 2 weeks ago, pulling away from the field after starting from pole position but a caution with 4 laps to go erased his large lead and he ended up spinning on the restart after contact from another car. Leary recovered to finish 6th and he followed that up with a 4th place finish last week, which was only his 5th top-5 finish of the season. With the team struggling to find the perfect setup for the #11 car, Leary feels like he and his team are back on track to be able to find their way back to NAPA Victory Lane.
“We finally got the car going pretty good,” said Leary. “We’ve always had a fast car during the day this season, we just couldn’t quite figure out the feature-time setup. We were decent for the first 3 weeks and then we tried chasing the car and we dialed ourselves right out of it. We made a decision with Bob Fill, 2 or 3 weeks ago, to go back to square one and start over. Ever since we’ve done that, the car has been pretty good. We ran away from the field two weeks ago and had a mishap at the end of the race and then last week, I believe the three cars that finished in front of us were all on new tires and we were on old tires. With plenty of tires in our inventory, we feel like we have a good shot this Friday and hopefully we can get the job done. My car gets better as the race goes on and our fastest laps of the race are usually after lap-20.”
With Leary sitting 154 points behind Tom Fearn in the chase for the Late Model track championship, Leary says his focus for the remaining 6 races in 2019 are all about returning to NAPA Victory Lane and putting together a good base for the #11 team to build on for the 2020 season.
“The points chase has been over for us for a few weeks so we’re not even looking at points now, we’re just going for wins,” said Leary. “A win would be huge for us, especially in a big event like the Late Model 50. The High Roller Challenge that GRE6 is putting on is a wonderful thing and not only me, but everyone who races at Stafford appreciates all the contingency sponsors and the people who put up the big money for events like this. It would be huge to not only win, but to have some extra purse money and take these last 6 races and look at some things that we can take into next year.”
In addition to his #11 Late Model machine, Leary will also be looking to get his SK Modified® program on track after struggling through his rookie season behind the wheel of the #1 Amherst Trucking / Raynor Garage Doors SK Modified®.
“I’ll be the first to admit that I’m too hard on myself, but I also know that you don’t just hop into an SK Modified® and find instant success,” said Leary. “Obviously I’d like to be doing a little better and run a little more in the top-10 every week. You have to slowly adapt the driver to the car and the car to the driver, so it’s been a slow process but we’re going to take the next 6 weeks and grind it out and get better prepared for next season.
The Late Model 50 is scheduled for this Friday, August 16th and Stafford’s 4 other weekly racing divisions including the SK Modified® division will join the Late Models in feature action. General Admission tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for kids 6-14 with kids 5 & under free. Reserved seating is priced at $23 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.
For more information visit StaffordSpeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.
THOMPSON, Conn. — For the third time in 2019, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will invade Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday night. The 30th annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 will bring NASCAR’s top stars back to Connecticut for a crucial race in the tour’s championship battle.
Joining the Whelen Modified Tour, all five of Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and the NEMA Midgets will also battle. Not only will fans be able to watch some of NASCAR’s best, they will also witness sprint car veteran and champion Sammy Swindell compete in a Midget for Bertrand Motorsports, and some of the top local talent from New England in their short-track action.
On the Whelen Modified Tour championship front, Doug Coby, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore enter the race as the title favorites with just six races remaining in their season. Coby leads Ron Silk by 24 points, but Silk is coming off back-to-back series victories at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Stafford Motor Speedway.
Bonsignore is chasing some history at Thompson on Wednesday. The driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet has been to Victory Lane in the last six tour races on the high-banks and is showing no signs of slowing down. Bonsignore didn’t lead the most laps in the Thompson 125 in June but was in the right position when it mattered most. He’s become the only driver to win five, and the only driver to win six races in a row at Thompson over the last four months.
Coby and Silk aren’t going to be far behind him. Both have their eyes set on the championship chase and are former winners at TSMP. Coby most recently won the finale en route to the title in 2015, but Silk hasn’t carried the checkered since 2012 in the Icebreaker.
Outside of them, there are over 25 more drivers planning to compete. Jon McKennedy will be behind the wheel of the famed No. 7NY for Tommy Baldwin, while the Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle continues with Sam Rameau entering the race ahead of Timmy Catalano and J.B. Fortin. Fans can also watch for names like Jimmy Blewett, Matt Swanson, Eric Goodale and Chris Pasteryak. Woody Pitkat, who has won the last two Late Model races at TSMP, will also compete in the Danny Watts owned No. 82 Chevrolet.
Through the first five races of the NEMA season, Avery Stoehr leads Todd Bertrand and Randy Cabral in their championship fight.
Speaking of Pitkat, he will be looking to continue to close the gap in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model standings in the 25-lap feature. Pitkat is just 17 points back of former champion William Wall, who has one victory, but top 10 finishes in all five races. Derek Gluchacki, who’s looking for his first TSMP win, is 26 points back.
The Limited Sportsman point chase might be one of the tightest in New England. With the top four drivers separated by just nine markers, anything can, and will happen when the green flag drops for their 20-lap race Wednesday. Kyle Gero, in search of his first title, leads by just one over Shawn Monahan and seven over Meghan Fuller. Ryan Morgan is fourth, while Brent Gleason, with one victory, is fifth.
The top two in the Mini Stock standings are separated by just six points, with two drivers named Michalski showing the way at the top. Scott leads Steve, but both are not going to give an inch going down the stretch. They both have been to Victory Lane, along with four other drivers this season, making it six winners in six races. Fans can watch names like Russ Barboza, Evan Bourgeois and Ian Brew, who are all inside the top 10 in the points chase but haven’t been to Victory Lane just yet.
Albert Ouellette and John O’Sullivan look to close the gap to the top of the SK Light Modified® championship standings. Ouellette is looking for his first career win, while O’Sullivan was able to earn his first checkered flag on July 28. They will join the rest of the competitors in a 20-lap feature race.
Fresh off his second win in six races, Keith Rocco is in prime form in search of another Sunoco Modified title. The Berlin, Connecticut, driver leads the standings entering the mid-week special, but Woody Pitkat is trying to close in. Pitkat was able to earn his first victory of the season on July 28 and followed it up with a second-place finish on August 4.
Grandstand admission opens at 2:30 p.m., while NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams will hit the track for one-hour of practice from 3:55-4:55 p.m. Qualifying races for the NEMA Midgets will begin at 5 p.m. Fans should note that the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 is not the final race of the night – as the Mini Stocks and Late Models will follow the tour race.
Grandstand admission is $50, while seniors (65+), veteran and active military are $45. Children 12 and under are free. Anyone who wishes to purchase a pit pass for the evening can do it for just $55.
For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with a NASCAR Weekly Racing program on Friday, August 9. Ronnie Williams was the winner of the SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray won the Late Model feature, Mark Bakaj won the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie won the Limited Late Model feature, and Meghan Fuller won the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, David Arute took the early lead from pole position but the field completed only one lap before the caution flew as point leader Todd Owen got into the turn 3 wall and came to pit road with heavy damage to his right front suspension.
Michael Christopher, Jr. took the lead on the restart with Arute and Marcello Rufrano side by side for second. Eric Berndt was up to fourth with Michael Gervais, Jr. fifth in line. Rufrano took second from Arute on lap-7 and immediately began to apply pressure to Christopher for the lead.
With 15 laps complete, Christopher was still leading Rufrano and Arute with Ronnie Williams up to fourth and Glen Reen fifth. Keith Rocco was now sixth with Gervais back to seventh in line. The caution came out with 26 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Dan Wesson with Christopher still leading Rufrano, Arute, Williams, and Reen.
Christopher took the lead back under green with Rufrano in second. Arute and Williams were side by side for third with Williams taking third on lap-29 with a pass in the outside lane. Rocco was fifth right behind Arute as the field completed 30 laps.
Williams got a good run to the inside of Rufrano on lap-31 and he took second with a pass going into turn 3. Williams was right on Christopher’s back bumper as they completed lap-33 with Rufrano, Arute, Rocco, Reen, and Gervais lined up behind them. Williams was looking high and low and he made a move to the inside of Christopher in the middle of turns 3+4 to take the lead on lap-35. Christopher came right back with a crossover move to retake the lead on lap-36.
The two leaders took the white flag with Christopher leading Williams into turn 1. Williams got a good run through the first two corners and as the cars headed into turn 3 Williams sent it in deep to the inside of Christopher and the two cars touched with Williams coming off turn 4 to take the checkered flag by a nose in front of Christopher with Rufrano nearly making it a 3-wide finish. Arute finished fourth with Reen rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Darrell Keane took the lead from pole position with Paul Arute in second. Tyler Leary was third in line with Kevin Gambacorta taking fourth before Al Saunders went 3-wide with Gambacorta and Michael Bennett to move into fourth on lap-3. Adam Gray followed Saunders through to take fifth as Gambacorta fell back to seventh with Bennett in eighth as Ryan Fearn was sixth.
Gray took fourth from Saunders on lap-6 and that move opened the door for Ryan Fearn to follow him through and drop Saunders back to sixth as Arute was applying heavy pressure to Keane in the fight for the lead. With 13 laps complete, Arute was still hounding Keane for the lead with Leary and Gray now lined up behind Arute to make a 4-car train for the lead.
Gray got around Arute to move into second on lap-19 and he took the lead from Keane on lap-21 with a pass going into turn 3. Arute was now third in line with Leary fourth and Tom Fearn up to fifth.
Gray led Keane to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Arute finished third with Leary and Tom Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Robert Bloxsom, III and Amanda West were side by side on the first lap fighting for the lead with Bloxsom getting clear on lap-2. Chris Matthews was third in the early going with Alexander Pearl fourth and Jonathan Puleo in fifth. The caution flew with 5 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Rit Dulac.
The field completed one lap with Bloxsom still in the lead befor the caution came back out for Charlie McDougall, who came to a stop in the mini mile off of turn 4.
Back under green, Pearl took the lead with Bryan Narducci quickly moving up to second. Mark Bakaj was third in line with Bloxsom falling back to fourth with Puleo in fifth. Narducci took the lead from Pearl on lap-11 and that move opened the door for Bakaj to pull alongside Pearl for second. Cassandra Cole spun coming off turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 11 laps complete.
Narducci took the lead back under green with Bakaj right behind him in second. Pearl was third with Bloxsom fourth and West in fifth. Wesley Prucker spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 14 laps complete.
Things got bottled up on the restart and Pearl and Joey Ferrigno touched and got into the turn 1 wall to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed. Narducci’s car didn’t come up to speed on the restart and he brought his car to pit road under the caution period and was done for the evening. This put Bloxsom and Bakaj on the front row for the restart with West and Puleo in the second row.
Bakaj powered his way into the lead on the outside of Bloxsom on the restart with Puleo taking second in the high line. Glenn Bartkowski spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 15 laps complete.
Bakaj selected the outside lane for the restart as the leader and he and Puleo were side by side for the lead. The two cars were still side by side as they came to the white flag but the caution came out for a spin in turn 2 by Teddy Hodgdon to set up a green white checkered finish. Bob Charland was black flagged and sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Hodgdon.
Bakaj got a great restart and charged into the lead with Puleo and Bloxsom side by side for second. Puleo got clear on the final lap and pulled to the outside of Bakaj going down the backstretch and into turns 3+4. Bakaj was able to beat Puleo to the checkered flag by a half car length to pick up his second win of the 2019 season. Steven Chapman finished third with Mikey Flynn and Bloxsom rounding out the top-5. Chapman’s car was found to be 2 pounds underweight in post race inspection and he was penalized two positions back to fifth, promoting Flynn to third and Bloxsom to fourth.
In the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Duane Provost led the field to the green but it was Jeremy Lavoie who took the lead on the first lap of the race. Provost slid from the pole back to fifth in line as Gary Patnode was second, Alexandra Fearn third, and Matt Clement fourth.
Lavoie began to slowly stretch out his lead over Patnode while Clement and Provost got around Fearn to move into third and fourth and drop Fearn back to fifth.
The order shifted again on lap-11 as Clement and Patnode touched while dueling for second with Clement taking second and Provost moving into third as Patnode slid back to fourth in front of Fearn as Lavoie continued to slowly pull away.
Lavoie led Clement to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2019 season. Provost finished third with Patnode and Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Meghan Fuller took the lead at the drop of the green flag with Zack Robinson quickly working his way into second. George Bessette, Jr. was side by side with Adrien Paradis, III for third and he took the spot on lap-6. Tyler Trott was fifth when the caution flew with 7 laps complete as Paradis and Trott both spun in turn 3.
Travis Hydar got a good run to the inside of Fuller on the restart but Fuller still had the lead at the line to complete lap-8. The two cars were still side by side on lap-9 with Fuller still in the lead by a nose. Bessette was third in line with Robinson fourth and Marvin Minkler in fifth.
Hydar and Fuller were still side by side on lap-10 with Fuller again leading by a nose at the line. Minkler spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 11 laps complete.
Fuller took the lead with Hydar slotting into second behind Fuller on the restart. Robinson was third in line with Bessette fourth and Paradis was back up to fifth. With two laps to go, Fuller was still in command of the race with Hydar, Robinson, Bessette, and Paradis giving chase.
Fuller led the field to the checkered flag to pick up her third win of the 2019 season. Hydar finished second with Robinson, Bessette, and Paradis rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.