Story By: PAUL ARUTE / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Gaston Racing Enterprises, the official at track parts supplier at Stafford Speedway, has stepped up to support a High Roller Challenge for the August 16th Late Model 50 lapper.
Similar to the Dunleavy’s Gambler’s Challenge held annually as part of the NAPA SK 5K 100 lap SK Modified® race, teams will be required to pay an entry fee into the challenge with Gaston Racing Enterprises matching up to $1,000 with all proceeds going directly into the bonus pot.
Entry-fee for the GRE Late Model High Roller Challenge will be $50 with matching up to $1,000 from Gaston Racing. Following the conclusion of the Friday, August 16th event, the winner will roll a die in NAPA Victory Lane to select how the money is distributed. The following options will be in play, entire bonus to the winner, divided among the top 5, divided across 6th to 10th, or split amongst the 11th to 20th place finishers. If 20 teams enter the challenge an additional $2,000 will be in play.
“2019 has been a great year for the Late Models,” explained Stafford General Manager Mark Arute. “We’ve seen new faces in the division as well as a bunch of drivers who have returned to Stafford after years on the side lines. We’re excited to add this bonus to throw a little more money and excitement on the 50 lap event. We have to thank Bill Gaston for his continued support of Stafford’s weekly racing program.”
The Late Model 50 is the longest event of the year for Stafford’s Late Model division which regularly runs 30-lap features. Veteran Tom Fearn has once again dominated the season with 7 wins and a commanding point lead while multiple other drivers have scored feature wins including both Al and Cliff Saunders, Mike Wray, and Kevin Gambacorta. Paul Arute won the 2018 Late Model 50 in commanding fashion leading all 50 laps and pocketing the big payday. With the addition of the GRE Late Model High Roller Challenge the 50 lapper becomes an even bigger event on the 2019 Late Model schedule.
“I think it’s great any time that someone like Bill Gaston wants to put up their hard earned money to a short track division and especially the Late Model division,” said Michael Bennett, driver of the #31 Aubuchon Hardware Chevrolet. “A bonus like this can make a huge difference since it’s been a long season and it’s a tough point of the year for teams to find any extra money. Fortunately I’ve won a couple of these 50-lappers in the past and any time there’s extra money on the line, it always gives you some extra motivation to get up on the wheel towards the end of the race. I never imagined when I first signed up with Rob Russell that it would take us this long to get a win so if we can’t win this Friday night, the 50-lapper would be great time to get our first win this season.”
Multiple drivers expected to notch wins who have yet to make it to Victory Lane in 2019 includes 2015 Late Model Champion Michael Bennett, 2013 Champion Adam Gray, and multi-time feature winners Tyler Leary, Darrell Keane, and Paul Arute. All will be in contention when the 50-lapper takes to the track on August, 16th.
Late Model teams can enter the GRE High Roller Challenge by contacting the track office or registering this Friday at the track. The Late Model 50 is scheduled for Friday, August 16th and is paired with Stafford’s 4 other weekly racing divisions including the SK Modified® division. General Admission tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for kids 6-14. For more information visit StaffordSpeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook, or contact the track office (860-684-2783).