Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – For the 4th consecutive season, NAPA Auto Parts will post a $1,000 bonus for the 2019 SK Modified® and Late Model Rookie of the Year winners.
Entering their 6th season as Stafford Speedway’s Elite Corporate sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts has become synonymous with Stafford Motor Speedway, serving as title sponsors of 3 of the most prestigious short track racing events in New England including the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K, and the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final. The additional support for Stafford’s rookie program exemplifies NAPA Auto Part’s continued support of short track racing and the local race teams that compete at Stafford.
“We’re proud to once again continue supporting the Rookie of the Year program for both the SK Modified® and the Late Model divisions,” said Domenic Greco and Mike Wheeler from NAPA Connecticut. “We believe strongly in developing and recognizing rookie talent behind the wheel and helping them to get acclimated to a new racing environment. We hope with a little NAPA Know How we can help them continue to develop their driving skills.”
Stafford’s premier SK Modified® division has a robust class of 8 drivers that will vie for NAPA Rookie of the Year honors. The 2019 SK Modified® rookie class is headlined by three drivers making a move up the racing ladder at Stafford. Late Model driver Tyler Leary will join the SK Modified® division in a Todd Owen prepared machine while also still driving his #11 Late Model. Defending SK Light champion Marcello Rufrano will make the move to the SK Modified® ranks along with Andrew Molleur. Between them, Rufrano and Molleur combined for 10 SK Light feature wins last season. The SK Modified® rookie class of 2019 will be filled out by Zach Leone, Tyler Jones, Paul Buzel, who won the 2015 SK Light championship at Waterford, Nick Giardina, and Michael Rutkoski.
In the Late Model division, the 2019 rookie class is full of drivers who have all raced at Stafford in a lower division and will be making the move up to the premier full fendered division. Ryan Fearn won 6 races and finished second in the Limited Late Model standings last season; Justin Bren has won 8 races in the Limited Late Model division from 2014-2018, Richard Ciriello makes the move after one season of Street Stock competition, and R.J. Surdell makes the move to the Late Models after scoring his first win in 2017 and finishing a career best third in the standings last season. With all four rookie drivers having previous experience at Stafford, the race for Rookie of the Year honors should be wide open and anyone’s guess as to which driver will claim the $1,000 NAPA bonus at the end of the season.
The race to become 2019 Rookies of the Year kicks off with the rescheduled 48th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on May 4-5. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $10.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $45.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. Tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Tickets are now available at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores. For a full list of the 70 participating locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, please call the speedway office or point your web browser to www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores.