Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – This Friday August 17th the Call Before You Dig Late Model 50 at Stafford Speedway marks the biggest Late Model race of the 2018 season with the winner guaranteed to take home $1,811.
Despite only having 3 previous career starts in the CBYD Late Model 50 during his 5 year Stafford career, Michael Wray, driver of the #42 DMW Graphics Chevrolet, is looking forward to the race and excited about his chances of taking home the winner’s check.
“We’re excited for the 50 lapper and I think we’ll have a fast car for the race,” said Wray. “I don’t have too much experience with the extra distance races. I think I’ve run the 50-lapper 3 times now and that’s pretty much all the experience I have. We’ve done pretty well with a third and a fourth the last 2 years. It’s a fun race and it gives you time to make a pit stop early in the race for adjustments. It’s also interesting to try to save the tires for the end of the race. We’ve been working on our car and I think we’re in a good place heading into the 50-lapper.”
Although he might lack in experience for longer distance races, when he wins races, Wray has shown a flair for the dramatic. Wray has 6 career feature wins at Stafford and all 6 wins have come on nights where the prestige has been at its highest. Wray has 2 wins when the Whelen Modified Tour has been at Stafford, 1 win each in the NAPA SK 5k and Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night, and 1 win each in the opening and closing Friday night events of a season. With a knack for rising to the occasion in big events, Wray is hoping he can once again take home another prestigious trophy.
“If we can win the 50-lapper, it would be the biggest win of my career,” said Wray. “I seem to have a penchant for the more prestigious races. I have a Fall Final win, an opening Friday night win, the last Friday night, and a couple of wins when the Tour is at Stafford. The entire team would be thrilled with a win and we’d all be looking forward to putting on a hard hat in victory lane if CBYD has them again like last year’s race.”
Along with the trophy, Wray would like nothing more than to take home the $1,811 winner’s check in what has been an up and down 2018 season. After a tough start to the season and struggling with his car during late June and early July, he is ready to get back to NAPA Victory Lane.
“This season has been filled with highs and lows for us,” said Wray. “We wrecked at the Sizzler and we brought my brother’s car out of the weeds and put it together in 3 days and won the next race, so that was pretty cool. We had a stretch of races a couple weeks back where we lost the handle on the car and we struggled. Our year hasn’t been bad but it hasn’t been fantastic either. We’re a small budget team and I pretty much fund the car out of what I make from my job. Any extra money we can get is huge for us and it could make the difference for us finishing out the season. A win would be huge for our whole team and I’d like to give a big shout out to CBYD for putting up the extra money for this race.”
With two top-4 finishes in the CBYD Late Model 50 in the last 2 seasons, Wray is looking to build upon that success with a sound race strategy.
“Our car seems to be better towards the end of the races so we’re pretty much sticking with the same setup we’ve been running with,” said Wray. “I’d like to get out front as early as we can. We seem to have a trend in the Late Model division of having long green flag runs once we get going and it’s tough to make up ground if you get too far back. If we can get out front early we can conserve the tires and save what I have for the end of the race.”
Joining the Late Models in feature action for the Call Before You Dig Late Model 50 program will be Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks. Tickets for the August 17 Call Before You Dig Late Model 50 event are are priced at $20.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 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 $23.00 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.