Tag Archives: Stafford Motor Speedway

Matt Galko Looking for First Open Modified Victory in Stafford’s Twisted Tea Open 80

(Stafford Springs, CT)—With open modified cars taking center stage this Friday at Stafford Speedway for the Twisted Tea Open 80, many would look at drivers like Keith Rocco, Ronnie Williams, Tommy Barrett, Jr., or Eric Goodale as the favorites to win.  While all 4 drivers have multiple tour style modified wins at Stafford, one driver who might be flying under the radar as a potential open modified winner is Meriden, CT native Matt Galko.  Galko, the driver of the #3 AAA Consulting, LLC. Chevrolet, is a former 2-time SK Light champion at Stafford and he has also tasted the fruits of victory in the SK Modified® division.  Galko is still searching for his first tour type modified victory but in 7 open modified starts from 2018-2020, Galko has posted 5 top-5 finishes with a worst finish of 8th.

“Everything has been great and we can’t ask for much more,” said Galko.  “The car has been really good and we’ve had good pit strategy, we just can’t seem to seal the deal at the end of the races.  We put ourselves into a good position for the end of the race and then one thing or another happens and we don’t have the luck to close out races.  I really have to thank Tim Rowe with AAA Consulting, LLC.  We’ve had to cut down on our budget and he’s really stepped up for us and my Uncle Roger has bought us some tires so thanks to all my sponsors and all my crew guys for dedicating their time.  Hopefully I can get them the win that they all deserve this Friday night.  I’m confident, the whole crew is confident, and we’re all due for a win.  They’re getting disappointed of doing all the work getting into post race tech inspection and not having a win.”

In each of his 7 open modified starts at Stafford, Galko and the #3 team have put themselves into a good position for the end of the races, but they have struggled to close out their good runs with a victory.  The team starts races off with a good car but the handling seems to go away from them during the second stint of their races.

“In the first Stafford race this year, I think we had a bad tire from our pit stop and that kind of messed the car up at the end of the race, the second race we had fresh tires at the end and we took the lead, but the car tightened up and we couldn’t hold Keith [Rocco] off, and in the last race we put ourselves in a hole at the start by not qualifying through the heat and we were able to get back up to fifth but we just didn’t have enough to get by the guys ahead of us,” said Galko.  “Right now we need to focus on our adjustments on the pit stops and making the car better for the second half of races.  We seem to hit the nail on the head for where we want the car to be for the start of races but once we put tires on it throws the balance off and we have to learn how to compensate for that.”

Galko began his modified career in Stafford’s SK Light division and won back to back championships in 2010 and 2011 before moving to the SK Modified® division.  Galko raced in the SK Modified® division from 2012-2018 and he scored his only 2 SK Modified® wins during the 2017 season.  Galko gave up full-time racing in the SK Modified® division so he could create his own tour type modified team and while his results have been stellar for a still relatively new team, he wants to add a tour type modified victory to his resume.

“Last year out of the 4 or 5 open shows we ran all together, I think the worst finish we had was fourth,” said Galko.  “We hit the ground running starting our own Tour type team and it’s a combination of having Stash Butova as the crew chief giving me a good car right out of the trailer and having really good horsepower from Mike Pettit.  Having a good motor is a big piece of the puzzle when you race at bigger tracks like Stafford and the longer races are not an all out brawl like the SK Modified® races are, you have to learn when to use your stuff and when to not use your stuff up.  We’ve been knocking on the door with 4 or 5 third place finishes so a second place finish would be great but we’re really looking for a win.”

One factor that Galko is hoping to play into his favor is the weather for the Twisted Tea Open 80.  The first three open modified races at Stafford in 2020 have all been run in the heat of Summer while the Twisted Tea Open 80 will have more of a Fall feeling as temperatures are expected to be in the 60s.

“We’re hoping that the cooler weather might play into our favor,” said Galko.  “We’ve struggled to get the car balanced like we had it last season so we’re hoping the cooler weather will allow us to go back to some of our notes from last year.  As a driver you love the cooler weather because the tires have more grip and the engines make more power.  I think we have a good plan to compensate for the cooler weather and I’m hoping it will be the right plan.  I think we’re one of the top cars that will be contending for the win.  There’s going to be a lot of good cars at this race but I like to consider ourselves as part of that top tier of cars.  I’m as confident as I can be without getting ahead of myself.”

This Friday night’s Twisted Tea Open 80 will pair the open modified cars with Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, Late Models, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks.  Tickets are priced at $30.00 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. Paddock passes are $50 and all tickets for this event are available for purchase now at www.staffordspeedway.com.  The first 3 open modified races at Stafford have sold out this season and this race is expected to sell out as well.  If there are any remaining tickets available, they will be sold the day of the event with the price increasing $5 at the gates.

Any fans who can’t make the race in person can watch a live stream of the entire evening starting at 6pm with qualifying heats all the way through the final feature event of the night on www.staffordspeedway.tv for only $30.

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

Todd Owen Wins SK Modified® Feature and TC 13 Shootout; Gray, Puleo, Fearn, & Robinson Score Sept. 11 Feature Wins at Stafford

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on September 11 with the TC 13 Shootout joining Stafford’s five weekly divisions in feature action.  The SK Modified® division ran their regularly scheduled 40-lap feature as well as the 3rd Annual TC 13 Shootout, a 13 lap race contested between the top-13 finishers from the 40-lap feature that paid the winner an extra $1,313 from a purse of over $7,000.  Todd Owen not only won the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, he also won the TC 13 Shootout, giving him a total payday of over $3,000 for the night.  Other weekly feature winners were Adam Gray in the Late Model feature, Jonathan Puleo in the SK Light feature, Alexandra Fearn in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson in the Street Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Marcello Rufrano took the lead at the green with David Arute applying heavy pressure.  Michael Christopher, Jr. got by Arute to take second on lap-2 just before Dan Avery brought the caution out when his car came to a stop at the entrance of turn 3.

Rufrano took the lead on the restart with Christopher and Cory DiMatteo side by side for second.  DiMatteo got clear into second on lap-4 and Todd Owen came up to third to drop Christopher back to fourth.  Keith Rocco went to the outside of Arute to take fifth on lap-5.  Owen made a move to the inside of DiMatteo for second on lap-6 and the two cars were still side by side when the caution came back out for a multi-car incident in turn 2 involving Teddy Hodgdon, Jeff Malave, John Catania, Tyler Hines, Glen Reen, and several other cars.

Rufrano took the lead back under green with Christopher right behind him in second.  DiMatteo and Owen were side by side for third with Arute in fifth, Ronnie Williams in sixth, and Rocco in seventh.  Christopher took to the outside lane and he made a move around Rufrano on lap-12 to take over the race lead.  Owen was right behind Christopher and he took second on lap-13 and made a move to the inside of Christopher for the lead.  Christopher came right back on lap-14 and nearly retook the lead but Owen was able to hold him off.  Rufrano was third in line behind Owen and Christopher with DiMatteo fourth, Williams fifth, Arute sixth, and Rocco seventh. 

At the halfway point of the race Owen was in the lead followed by Christopher, Rufrano, DiMatteo, Williams, Arute, and Rocco.  Owen was starting to stretch out his advantage over Christopher and the rest of the field and with 10 laps to go he was in front by 1.5 seconds.  Rocco got around Arute on lap-35 to move into seventh as Arute drifted up the track in turn 3 but the order out front was still Owen, Christopher, Rufrano, DiMatteo, and Williams.

Owen led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2020 season after two weeks of bad luck on the track.  Christopher finished second with Rufrano, DiMatteo, and Williams rounding out the top-5.

In the 13-lap TC Shootout, Michael Christopher, Jr. took the lead from polesitter Troy Talman with Matt Vassar right behind the lead duo in third.  Todd Owen quickly moved up to fourth with David Arute in fifth.  Owen took third from Vassar and then second from Christopher on lap-4 as Talman had retaken the lead from Christopher.

Owen went back to the front on lap-7 after he and Talman touched coming off turn 4 on lap-6.  Christopher was third in line with Arute in fourth and Stephen Kopcik fifth.  Kopcik got around Arute to move into fourth on lap-9 while Owen was inching away from Talman and Christopher at the front of the pack.

Owen led Talman to the checkered flag to take the $1,313 winner’s check and score two wins in the same night.  Talman finished second with Christopher, Kopcik, and Arute rounding out the top-5.

In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Rick Lanagan and Marc Curtis went side by side for the lead at the drop of the green and they were still side by side on lap-3.  Just behind them John Blake and Duane Provost were side by side for third with Wayne Coury, Jr. in fifth.  Curtis slid back to fifth on lap-5 as Blake took second, Coury third, and Al Saunders fourth with Lanagan out in front.

Coury worked his way around Curtis and on lap-10 he was applying heavy pressure to the back bumper of Lanagan in a fight for the lead.  Saunders was now in third with Blake fourth and Adam Gray was up to fifth with Tom Fearn and Michael Bennett right behind him.  Paul Varricchio, Jr. brought the caution out with 16 laps complete as he came to a stop coming out of turn 4 with a flat tire.

Saunders went 3-wide with Coury and Lanagan on the restart and he took over the race lead in turns 3+4.  Gray took second with Bennett up to third before Lanagan got into the backstretch wall and brought the yellow back out with 17 laps complete.

Gray took the lead from Saunders in the outside lane on the restart with Coury third, Tom Fearn fourth, and Bennett fifth.  Coury powered his way by Saunders to take second with a pass in turn 3 on lap-20.  Tom Fearn and Bennett followed suit on lap-21 to move into third and fourth and drop Saunders back to fifth as Gray stretched out his lead with all the position swapping going on behind him. 

Gray led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2020 season.  Coury finished second with Tom Fearn, Bennett, and Saunders rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, a multicar incident broke out on the very first lap going into turn 3 that involved at least 12 cars including Joey Ferrigno, Anthony Forino, Alexander Pearl, Chris Bagnall, Steven Chapman, Alina Bryden, James Houghton, Josh Carey, Wesley Prucker, Derek Debbis, Ed Chicoski, and Nicole Chambrello that brought the yellow and red flags out.

Tyler Chapman took the lead on the start with Jonathan Puleo quickly coming up to second.  George Bessette, Jr. was third in line followed by Bob Charland and Amanda West.  Bessette took second from Puleo on lap-3 and Charland and Puleo were side by side for fourth with West in fifth as Chapman continued to lead the race.

Charland took third on lap-6 with Chapman and Bessette still out front and Puleo and West behind him.  Brian Sullivan took fifth from West on lap-7 while Puleo was now on the outside of Charland looking to take over third place.  Charland fell back into line in fourth and then lost fourth to Sullivan on lap-10.  Puleo was looking to the outside of Bessette on lap-12 for second and he completed the pass at the line.  Sullivan was now working the outside lane against Bessette for third and he took third on lap-14.  Up front Puleo made a move to get around Chapman and take over the race lead.  With 5 laps to go, the order was Puleo, Chapman, Sullivan, Bessette, and Charland. 

Puleo led the field to the checkered flag for his second win of the 2020 season.  Chapman finished second with Bessette, Sullivan, and Charland rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, the race started with a bang as Jay Clement spun and points leader Andrew Durand made hard contact with the backstretch wall to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.

Matt Clement took the lead from Lucas Leone on the restart with Jeremy Lavoie in third.  Gary Patnode spun on the frontstretch to bring the caution out with 1 lap complete.

Clement took the lead back under green with Leone and Alexandra Fearn right behind him.  Fearn took second from Leone on lap-3 with Lavoie in fourth and Patnode was fifth in line. 

Fearn made a move to take the lead from Clement on lap-7 with a pass in turns 3+4.  Lavoie took to the outside lane on lap-8 to get around Leone and take over third place while Patnode continued to run in fifth place.  Leone came back to the inside of Lavoie and they were side by side for third on lap-14 while Fearn was slowly pulling away from Clement in the fight for the lead.

Fearn led Clement to the checkered flag to pick up her second win of the 2020 season.  Leone finished third with Lavoie and Patnode rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, George Yuska took the lead at the drop of the green flag and began to set the pace with Brandon Michael, Zack Robinson, Jason Lafayette, and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. lined up behind him.  Michael charged his way into the lead on lap-4 and his move opened the door for Robinson to follow him by into second which dropped Yuska back to third in line.  Robinson took the lead from Michael on lap-5 while Lafayette was now third followed by L’Etoile and Yuska, who was starting to fade backwards. 

Lafayette made a strong move to the inside of Michael on lap-8 and he took second on lap-9.  L’Etoile followed him by Michael to take third and drop Michael back to fourth as Robinson continued to hold the race lead.  Travis Hydar was up to fifth as Yuska had fallen back to ninth in line.  The caution came out with 12 laps complete for Christopher Phelps, who spun in turn 2.

Robinson took the lead back under green with Lafayette and L’Etoile going side by side for second.  Lafayette took second on lap-14 with Michael in fourth and Hydar in fifth.  Chris Meyer, the winner of the last 2 Street Stock races, was up to sixth.  Hydar got around Michael to move into fourth place on lap-17 while Lafayette and L’Etoile were still trying to close down the gap to Robinson for the race lead.

Hydar made a move to get by L’Etoile for third on the final lap of the race but it was all Robinson at the front as he scored his fourth win of the 2020 season.  Lafayette finished second with Hydar, L’Etoile, and Michael 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.

###

SK MODIFIED® (40)

1) Todd Owen, Somers

2) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott

3) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven

4) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington

5) Ronnie Williams, Tolland

6) Keith Rocco, Berlin

7) David Arute, Stafford Springs

8) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott

9) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA

10) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown

11) Chase Dowling, Roxbury

12) Matt Vassar, Plantsville

13) Andrew Molleur, Shelton

14) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA

15) Burt Myers, Kernersville, NC

16) Jeff Malave, Manchester

17) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA

18) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford

19) Marc Burke, Enfield

20) Fran Siana, Enfield

21) Bryan Narducci, Colchester

22) Tyler Hines, North Haven

23) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury

24) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA

25) Tony Membrino, Jr., Wolcott

26) Noah Korner, Canton

27) John Catania, Agawam, MA

28) Dan Avery, Somers

SK MODIFIED® TC 13 SHOOTOUT (13)

1) Todd Owen, Somers

2) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA

3) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott

4) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown

5) David Arute, Stafford Springs

6) Keith Rocco, Berlin

7) Ronnie Williams, Tolland

8) Matt Vassar, Plantsville

9) Andrew Molleur, Shelton

10) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott

11) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven

12) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington

13) Chase Dowling, Roxbury

LATE MODEL (30)

1) Adam Gray, Granby, MA

2) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield

3) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

4) Michael Bennett, Willington

5) Al Saunders, Stafford

6) Michael Wray, Northford

7) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA

8) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington

9) Darrell Keane, Enfield

10) Paul Arute, Northridge, MA

11) Cliff Saunders, Stafford

12) Duane Provost, Palmer, MA

13) Marc Curtis, Brookfield, MA

14) John Blake, North Haven

15) Dave Wray, Durham

16) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, MA

17) Gary Theriault, Enfield

18) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

19) Richard Lanagan, Broad Brook

20) Jim Mavlouganes, Bethany

21) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin

SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)

1) Jonathan Puleo, Branford

2) Tyler Chapman, Ellington

3) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury

4) Brian Sullivan, Tolland

5) Bob Charland, Stafford

6) Norm Sears, Andover

7) Chris Matthews, Stafford

8) Amanda West, Colchester

9) Wesley Prucker, Stafford

10) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester

11) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington

12) Chris Bagnall, Winsted

13) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, MA

14) Peter Bennett, Cromwell

15) James Houghton, Springfield, MA

16) Todd Clark, Bristol

17) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford

18) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford

19) Steven Chapman, Ellington

20) Josh Carey, East Longmeadow, MA

21) Andrew Les, Palmer, MA

22) Alexander Pearl, Salem

23) Derek Debbis, Oakdale

24) Nick Anglace, Oxford

25) Anthony Forino, Waterbury

LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)

1) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

2) Matt Clement, Wethersfield

3) Lucas Leone, Southington

4) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks

5) Gary Patnode, New Hartford

6) Rich Hammann, Tolland

7) Damian Palardy, Willington

8) Jay Clement, Wethersfield

9) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA

STREET STOCK (20)

1) Zack Robinson, Putnam

2) Jason Lafayette, Somers

3) Travis Hydar, Woodbury

4) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield

5) Brandon Michael, Granville, MA

6) Chris Meyer, North Franklin

7) Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin

8) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck

9) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA

10) George Yuska, South Glastonbury

11) Kyle Johnson, Manchester

12) Daltin Mccarthy, Oxford, MA

13) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen

14) John Orsini, Morris

15) David Macha, Sr., Columbia

16) Ryan Borges, Rutland, MA

17) Thomas Hanley, Winsted

18) Marvin Minkler, Stamford

19) Tyler Trott, East Hartford

20) Christopher Phelps, New Salem, MA

21) Jason Futoma, Avon

22) Jason Finkbein, Manchester

23) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville

Stafford Speedway Hosting 3rd Annual TC 13 Shootout in Memory of Ted Christopher This Friday

(Stafford Springs, CT)—For the 3rd consecutive season, Stafford Motor Speedway will pay tribute to one of its greatest champions with the TC 13 Shootout in memory of Ted Christopher this Friday night, September 11.  Christopher made the number 13 famous at Stafford, taking that car number to 109 SK Modified® wins and 9 track championships.  This Friday night will see the number 13 back in the spotlight with the top-13 finishers from the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event transferring into the TC 13 Shootout, a 13-lap race that will pay the winner $1,313 thanks to contributions from event partners Justin & Tabitha Manafort, Greg and Venetta Narducci of the Florida Connection, Big Haus USA Racing Products, Gaston Racing Enterprises, LifeCare Family Chiropractic with Dr. Sean Noel, the Tri-Track Modified Series, John and Maina Rufrano with Wheelers Auto, and anonymous donors.  Glen Reen won the Inaugural TC 13 Shootout in 2018 and Keith Rocco won last year’s TC 13 Shootout.

“We’re excited to host the 3rd Annual TC 13 Shootout,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute.  “We can’t thank those who have supported the purse enough, without their support the event is not possible. Between this event and the amazing work Quinn Christopher did this season with the Ted Christopher Safety initiative Teddy’s legacy lives on.”

Christopher ranks as one of, if not the greatest, champions in the long and storied history of Stafford Motor Speedway.  Christopher made his Stafford debut in 1983 driving in the SK Modified® division and although it took him several seasons before he scored his first win in 1986, once he got his first win he continued winning at an amazing rate through the 2017 season.  Christopher scored at least 1 SK Modified® feature victory every year from 1986 through 2014, which was a 29 year winning streak.  Christopher’s 131 career Stafford wins are a track record with his 131 wins spread out over 6 different divisions.  Christopher won races in the SK Modified®, ProStock, Whelen Modified Tour, Valenti Modified Racing Series, Busch North Series, and Pro All-Stars Series.  

Christopher’s 9 SK Modified® track championships are also a Stafford record and those 9 championships were spread out over 4 decades of racing (1987, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014). Christopher was the 2001 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Champion and he won the 2008 Whelen Modified Tour championship driving the #36 car for Eddie Whelan.  Christopher recorded 12 of his 42 career Whelen Modified Tour wins at Stafford, including the final WMT win of his career at the 2011 NAPA Fall Final.  

“Teddy is missed everyday,” continued Arute. “When we came up with this event we were looking to develop a race that we could hold each year in his honor. The race has really taken a life of its own and serves as a great memorial for TC. He’s an important part of Stafford’s history and will never be forgotten.” 

This Friday night, September 11, the TC 13 SK Modified® Shootout and regularly scheduled 40-lap SK Modified® feature will be paired with Stafford’s Late Models, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks for a full night of NASCAR Weekly Racing.  Tickets are priced at $20.00 for adult general admission, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Paddock passes are $40 and all tickets for this event are available for purchase now at www.staffordspeedway.com.  Don’t wait, most events have sold out.  If tickets are sold the day of the event the price increases $5 at the gates.

Any fans who can’t make the race in person can watch a live stream of the entire evening starting at 6pm with qualifying heats all the way through the final feature event of the night on www.staffordspeedway.tv for only $20.

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