Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway has crowned Tom Fearn as the 2019 Late Model track champion but four more track championships are up for grabs. The SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock division titles will all be decided in the season ending NAPA Fall Final Weekend, set for September 28 & 29.
Stafford’s premier SK Modified® division sees defending track champion Ronnie Williams and the #50 Les’s Auto Center team leading the standings by 6 points over Todd Owen and the #81 Cooker Construction team. Keith Rocco and the #88 Wheelers Auto team are third in the standings, 16 points behind, with Michael Gervais, Jr. and the #33 Gervais Brothers Roofing team 4th, 38 points behind.
If Williams finishes in the top-4, he will clinch the championship no matter where the other three contenders finish. If Williams doesn’t finish in the top-4, he cannot finish any more than 3 positions behind Owen, 7 positions behind Rocco, or 19 positions behind Gervais. For Owen to claim the championship, he will have to finish at least 4 positions in front of Williams while finishing no more than 4 positions behind Rocco or 16 positions behind Gervais. For Rocco to win the championship, he will need to finish at least 8 positions in front of Williams and at least 5 positions in front of Owen and no more than 11 positions behind Gervais. Gervais is the long shot in the title race but he can still claim the title by finishing at least 20 positions in front of Williams, 17 positions in front of Owen, and 12 positions in front of Rocco.
Teddy Hodgdon and the #55 Montanari Fuel team lead the SK Light standings by 10 points over Steven Chapman and the #14 Chapman Apartment Homes team with Alexander Pearl and the #7 Darling Auto Parts team third in the points, 24 behind.
If Hodgdon records a top-6 finish, he will clinch the championship no matter where Chapman and Pearl finish. If Hodgdon is outside the top-6, he must finish no more than 5 positions behind Chapman and no more than 12 positions behind Pearl. For Chapman to win the title, he will have to finish at least 6 positions in front of Hodgdon and no more than 5 positions behind Pearl. For Pearl to claim the title, he will have to finish at least 13 positions in front of Hodgdon and at least 7 positions in front of Chapman.
Stafford’s Limited Late Model division has seen a see-saw title fight between defending Limited Late Model champion Jeremy Lavoie and the #6 L & S Equipment team and Matt Clement and the #59 Aquatic Wildlife team. The two drivers are separated by 8 points in the standings heading into the NAPA Fall Final. If Lavoie records a top-4 finish, he will win a second consecutive title no matter where Clement finishes. Otherwise, Lavoie must not finish any more than 3 positions behind Clement to win the title. Clement has to finish at least 4 positions in front of Lavoie to claim the championship.
Stafford’s Street Stock division has Zack Robinson and the #89 First Class Automotive, LLC. team leading the standings by 30 points over Meghan Fuller and the #2 Propane Plus team with defending Street Stock champion George Bessette, Jr. and the #39 Lasco Roofing & Sheet Metal team third in the standings, 42 points behind. If Robinson records a top-15 finish at the Fall Final, he will clinch the championship. If Fuller wins the race, she will have to be at least 15 positions in front of Robinson to claim the title. If Fuller doesn’t win, she must be at least 14 positions in front of Robinson and no more than 5 positions behind Bessette if he wins the race and no more than 6 spots behind Bessette if he doesn’t win the race. For Bessette to win the title, he will have to finish at least 21 spots in front of Robinson if he wins or finishes second and at least 6 positions in front of Fuller to win the title. If Bessette doesn’t win or finish second, he will have to finish at least 22 spots in front of Robinson and 7 positions in front of Fuller to win a second consecutive title.
Eric Sanderson Named Grand Marshal Of Fall Final At Stafford
Stafford Speedway is pleased to name Eric Sanderson, long time car owner and past competitor, as the Grand Marshal of the 47th Annual NAPA Fall Final. The NAPA Fall Final is set for Saturday and Sunday, September 28 & 29 and Sanderson will close out the 2019 Stafford Speedway season with the command to fire engines for the 150 lap event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Sanderson’s racing roots date back to the days of the All-American Sportsman division at Stafford in the early 1970’s. Sanderson got started as a car owner for Warren Bren’s #66 car before taking the wheel himself in the #89 car for the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Sanderson then moved up to Stafford’s modified division behind the wheel of the #43 owned by Ken DePeau in 1974 before stepping down as a driver and becoming a crew member with Everett Manning.
“I got started at Stafford as a car owner for Warren Bren in the All-American Sportsman 6-cylinder division before I drove for a couple of years,” said Sanderson. “I drove a modified for one season in 1974 and I remember the first time I got behind the wheel of the modified I thought, ‘wow, this car is pretty fast’, and then Bugsy Stevens blew by me like I was standing still. Everett Manning was my crew chief for the modified and after I stopped driving I started helping him. We built a Sportsman car for him that became a modified and Everett went on to drive in the SK Modified® division. I had a lot of fun working together with Everett. It’s is a huge honor for me to be the Grand Marshal of the Fall Final and it caught me by surprise when Mark Arute asked me. It’s the first time I’ve ever been asked to give the command and I’m really looking forward to it.”
In 1995 Sanderson debuted the #16 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car with Chris Kopec behind the wheel. The #16 has since been a staple of the NWMT for over 24 years. Sanderson is a two-time championship winning car owner, taking the NWMT championship with Mike Stefanik in 2006 and Ryan Preece in 2013.
“I was helping Chris Kopec out at Riverside with tires and that’s how we came up with the name Flamingo Motorsports,” said Sanderson. “Chris asked me what I wanted to put on the side of the car and I told him let’s make it Flamingo Motorsports out of Orlando, FL. We had a lot of fun with that, people actually thought we raced flamingos in Orlando. We ran part time on the Tour in 1995 and we’ve been full-time on the Tour since 1996,” said Sanderson. “We’ve had Chris, Rob Summers, Mike Stefanik, Ryan Preece, and now Timmy Solomito driving the car. My best memory in racing was winning our first race with Chris at Holland Speedway in 1999 and then winning our first championship with Mike in 2006. We also won the last Modified Tour race that was held at Martinsville in 2009 with Mike driving the car and I still have that grandfather clock in my office. People have often asked me when I’m going to move up to another division but I love the modifieds and that’s where I want to race.”
In addition to serving as the Grand Marshal of the NAPA Fall Final, Sanderson will be looking to take home his fourth career NAPA Fall Final trophy as a car owner. Sanderson won the Fall Final in 2007 and 2008 with Stefanik as well as the 2014 Fall Final with Ryan Preece.
“Having Timmy [Solomito] win the race would be the icing on the cake and make the day for me,” said Sanderson. “We’ve won the Fall Final 3 times before with Mike and Ryan and we’d love to make it four wins with Timmy.”
Sanderson is the owner of Sanderson-MacLeod and Flamingo Motorsports, both located in Palmer, MA. Sanderson-MacLeod designs, manufactures, and supplies twisted wire brushes while Flamingo Motorsports is your one-stop shop for Motorcycles, ATVs, Side x Sides, Snowmobiles, Dirt Bikes, and Jet Skis.
“My father started Sanderson-MacLeod in 1957 and I bought the business after he passed away in 1985,” said Sanderson. “We make all kinds of brushes. Mascara applicators are number one for us but we also do a lot of brushes for medical device cleaners and internal medicine and we also make gun brushes. We started Flamingo Motorsports as Flamingo Racing just to go racing with Chris Kopec and we sold speed parts. We decided we wanted to start to do something for winter so we began to sell snowmobiles and now we’re a full-line dealer selling Kawasaki, Can-Am, Ski-Doo, and Sea-Doo.”
The NAPA Fall Final Weekend will kick off on Saturday, September 28 with practice sessions for the Whelen Modified Tour, Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and the Vintage All Stars from 10:00am to 2:15pm. The Whelen Modified Tour will take to the track for group qualifying at 2:30pm with Stafford’s NWAAS divisions and Vintage All Stars qualifying to follow. Feature events for the Street Stocks, Limited Late Models, Vintage All Stars and Ladies Challenge will conclude Saturday’s festivities.
The NAPA Fall Final Weekend continues on Sunday, September 29 with the popular NAPA Pit Party, a meet and greet with drivers and teams, taking place from 11:00am to noon. Feature racing will begin at 1:00pm with the SK Modifieds® first on track followed by the Late Models, SK Lights, and the Whelen Modified Tour.
Discount tickets for the NAPA Fall Final Weekend are available at your local participating NAPA Auto Parts Store. The NAPA tickets include general admission for both days along with a lunch buffet on Sunday, all for only $38 per person. For a list of participating NAPA Stores, please click the PARTICIPATING NAPA STORES link found at the top of the www.staffordspeedway.com homepage.
Tickets for the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend 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. All NAPA Fall Final tickets are good for admission on both Saturday and Sunday and ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.