Tag Archives: SK Lites

Mark Alkas Seeing Dream Come to Fruition as Car Owner at Stafford Speedway

Tom Morris/Myracenews photos

(Stafford Springs, CT)—For just about any driver, the goal is to go racing for wins and championships.  Mark Alkas, owner/driver of the #89 Accu-Lift, Inc. SK Light at Stafford, had a different goal in mind when he began racing in 2015.  With only some minor go kart experience on his racing resume before he jumped into the SK Light division, Alkas had a plan to start a team and go racing in order to learn as much as he could about his car so that he could one day turn the car over to his son Tyler and become an owner/crew chief.

“My whole thought was to be able to learn the car because my son is racing Bandoleros right now,” said Alkas.  “He’s 13 now and he’ll be 14 next year and the whole purpose was to build this up for him.  I had never raced anything before I got into the SK Lights.  I’m good friends with George and Tyler Hines and I got my first SK Light car from them.  They helped me out with the car before I sold it and got a SPAFCO car from Ken Barry.  Ken has been a big help and anytime I need something I can call him up and he’ll tell me to try this or do that.  I can’t say enough good things about Ken and SPAFCO and we have a fast car.  My whole thing was to learn as much as I could about the car because I don’t have a big sponsorship behind me or anyone helping me out.  During the week, it’s basically myself working on the car and my son and my father help me out when they can at the shop and at the track.”

After his rookie season in 2015, Alkas has driven a partial schedule from 2016-2019 with a total of 5 top-10 finishes in 57 starts.  The performance of the #89 car was taken to a new level on August 9 as an opportunity arose for Mark Bakaj, who has driven the #76 RH2Way Radios car owned by Gino DiFilippo for the last 2 seasons, to get behind the wheel.  In their first race together, Bakaj piloted the #89 to victory after a thrilling duel with Jonathan Puleo.

“Paul French called me about Mark not having the funds to continue in the 76 car and he asked me what I thought about putting Mark in the car,” said Alkas.  “Winning that race was a good feeling and it was satisfying.  I knew the car was capable of winning and I’m glad because it showed everyone that the car is a winning car.  I feel like the car is a top-3 or top-5 car and Mark’s talents as a driver made the car that much better.  With myself driving, it was never about me as the driver, it was about learning the car enough to where I could turn the car over to someone like Mark or my son and be able to give them a winning car to work with.  It was all about being able to build something bigger than me and I’d rather see my son or someone else like Mark have success driving the car.”

Barring any major catastrophe on the track, Bakaj will finish out the 2019 season behind the wheel of the #89 car and then Alkas will figure out what his plans are for the 2020 season.  With the team’s first win now under their belt, the plan for Alkas is to try to procure some sponsorship that would possibly allow the team to field two cars next season.

“Mark will be in the car for the rest of the season as long as we have no major wrecks and we can keep the car on the track money-wise,” said Alkas.  “My main goal will be to find some sponsorship over the winter to possibly add a second car to our stable where we could have Mark drive for us again if that’s something he would want to do and then have a second car as a backup car that my son would eventually take over.  Right now I have Alkas Motorsports, which is the couple guys I have helping me out, Accu-Lift, Inc. is my Dad’s business, and SPAFCO, so some sponsorship would be huge for us.  I have never really gone out and looked for sponsors because when I was driving, I wasn’t really pushing the car and it’s hard to get someone to come on board and buy into what I was trying to do.  Now I can sit down with someone and explain to them that a driver like Mark is able to get good results.”

Bakaj will go for his second win in the #89 car this Friday night, August 23 as part of the Back 2 SKool Blitz / Maybury Night program.  Stafford’s five weekly divisions along with the Tiger Cubs division of Wild Thing Karts will all be in feature action this Friday as well as 2 kid’s big wheel races.  There will also be bounce houses, games and prizes on the midway, bike raffles, and local team mascots on hand.  All kids 14 & under are admitted free for the Back 2 SKool Blitz program while Adult General Admission Tickets are $20 and Reserved Seating is $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.

Gonyaw Looking for Success in SK Lites

Brett Gonyaw is one of the many SK Lite drivers at the New London- Waterford Speedbowl. Throughout the 2016 season Gonyaw plans to race at tracks beside Waterford, these tracks include Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

The 87 SK Lite team may not have many sponsors on their car but, that hasn’t stopped them from having a top 5 in the first few weeks of the season. “Our first week out here at the bowl we got a 2nd place finish and last week during our second race here we didn’t have such a great finish. The car had to pit with 4 laps left in the race, so we didn’t finish as well as we would have liked to.” Said Gonyaw.

Brett Gonyaw (87) races at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)
Brett Gonyaw (87) races at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

“One of the goals for this season is to hopefully get some more sponsors on the car. We’re always looking for more.” Said Gonyaw. Gonyaw is one of the guys who has a small budget for racing and will at times rely on sponsors to help get them back to racing. Gonyaw is just one of many local drivers who have the need for more publicity and sponsorship.

Gonyaw Runs Strong, Membrino Jr Continues Sweep

After a 3rd place finish in his heat race, Gonyaw started the race in the 6th place position.  A caution came out on lap 6 for Shelby Donovan and Scott Witt who spun into each other in the turn 4 wall, at the time of the caution Gonyaw had fallen back to the 8th position. Donovan spun again to bring out a second caution when there were 13 laps remaining, Gonyaw had made it back up to the 6th position.

With only 7 laps remaining in the race Gonyaw was in the 5th place position as the third caution flew for Nick Riso and Donovan get together on the back stretch and ended up in the grass. 3 laps later Chris Correll spun in the dirt on the front stretch, Gonyaw had made it up to the 3rd position.

Tony Membrino Jr racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)
Tony Membrino Jr racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

Gonyaw was able to finish in the 4th place position after a tough battle with Corey DiMatteo and Andrew Molleur. Tony Membrino Jr., was able to hold of Cory Barry for the win, this was his 7th win of the season.

New London- Waterford Speedbowl Blastoff Successful on Day Two

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl raced the 8 divisions that were rained out Saturday night this afternoon. Throughout the morning it was raining and many people doubted that the track would actually get the event in. Due to this the crowd was a slim once again but that didn’t discourage the racers from putting on a great day of racing as eventually the sun came out and stayed out throughout the remainder of the day.

The first of the eight divisions to race was the Thursday night X-car division.  After qualifying yesterday Rich Nye qualified to start on the pole. Nye was able to outrun all other drivers until Dave Gargaro Jr., took the lead away. The race had a finish of Green White Checkered, Gargaro Jr., was able to keep the lead through the last 2 laps to win the race.

Cory DiMatteo had a strong run finishing third in his rookie start in the SK Lites division at New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)
Cory DiMatteo had a strong run finishing third in his rookie start in the SK Lites division at New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

The SK Lites were the next set of drivers to take the track for their 25 lap feature. Cory DiMatteo was the man on the pole and was able to keep the lead through the first 8 laps. Tony Membrino Jr., took the lead away from DiMatteo on lap 9 and didn’t look back. There were a total of 6 cautions in the race as well as 2 rain delays. Rain was predicted in the early morning and then it showed up during the second feature of the day.

The third division to race was the mini stocks. Wayne Burroughs Jr., qualified on the pole and lead every lap of the 25 lap feature. Burroughs Jr., was able to hold off other drivers in the event through 5 cautions.

The Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series took to the track next with Dave Koening on the pole. Koening wasn’t able to keep the lead for long when only 6 laps into the race Tyler Chapman took the lead. Six laps later with 13 laps remaining in the event Bert Ouellette passed Chapman for the lead. Ouellette was able to hold off Chapman through 2 cautions before winning the truck race.

Wayne Burroughs Jr during his pole winning heat race run on Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)
Wayne Burroughs Jr during his pole winning heat race run on Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

The Legends Cars raced after the Truck Series. Jake Johnson started on the pole, but on lap 2 Dana DiMatteo took the lead away. DiMatteo was able to hold off Noah Korner through 2 cautions before he won the 25 lap race. This was DiMatteo’s 24th career victory win.

The sixth division to race at the Speedbowl Sunday afternoon was the Limited Sportsman. Chris Meyer qualified on the pole but, Al Stone III was the driver who took the lead on the first lap. Stone III lead all 25 laps to a victory. This was Al Stone III’s 44th career victory.

The Thursday night Super X-cars were the next division to race. Ray Reed was on the pole for the race and he was able to keep the lead until there was 11 laps remaining in the race. Dave Yardley was able to take the lead away from Reed and hold off Reed for the win.

Jordan-ChadwickThe final division to race Sunday afternoon was the track’s premier division of the SK Modifieds. Rob Janovic Jr., was on the pole after the redraw. Janovic Jr., was able to keep the lead until there were 10 laps remaining in the race when Diego Monahan took over. Diego kept the lead for two laps until he wrecked on the front stretch. Keith Rocco inherited the lead and was able to keep that lead through the last 8 laps. Rocco held off Ted Christopher for the win. Rocco started 10th in the field and in true Rocco fashion charged his way to the front for his 123rd career win.