RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail: A Quiet Weekend Here In The Northeast…Somewhat

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – With the exception of the Big Automotive Flea Market Market at the Thompson Motorsports Speedway it was pretty much all quiet in New England.

The management at the Stafford Motor Speedway is putting the final plans together for this weeks 50th annual Awards Banquet.

In Jack Arute’s first full year as owner-promoter the awards banquet was held on the second floor of the clubhouse building. Ed Yerrington was the 1970 Modified champion. In later years Yerrington would become first, the NASCAR Chief Steward then the tracks General Manager and Promoter. With the advent of the Norwood Arena dropping the NASCAR Modifieds Arute applied for and was given a Saturday night sanction from NASCAR.

This years 50th Annual Stafford Speedway Champion’s Awards Banquet is scheduled for Friday, November 15 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, Ct. Ron Williams became the 6th different driver to have won back to back championships in the SK Modified® division, joining Jerry Pearl (’84-’85), Mike Christopher (’89-’90), Bob Potter (’91-92, ’94-95), Ted Christopher (’00-01), and Rowan Pennink (’15-’16).

Tom Fearn has become synonymous with winning Late Model races and championships at Stafford Speedway. The East Longmeadow, MA native and driver of the #92 King Ward Coach Lines Chevrolet entered the 2019 season with 22 wins and 2 championships from 2016-2018 and added another 8 wins to those totals with a dominant 2019 season that saw him clinch a second consecutive championship and third Late Model championship in the last 4 years.

Teddy Hodgdon was crowned the 2019 SK Light track champion after winning 5 races and holding the point lead for the majority of the season. 5 wins and a championship trophy sounds like a dream ending for Hodgdon but his season was anything but perfect. Hodgdon and the #55 team opened the year with a second place finish and took the point lead for the first time following the May 31st feature event. Hodgdon led the standings for nearly 2 months, but a 20th place finish on July 26 left Hodgdon 4 points behind Steven Chapman. Hodgdon and Chapman would swap the point lead several times during August and at the end of the month, Hodgdon trailed Chapman by 4 points. Hodgdon would go on to win the final 2 races of the season to take the championship by an 18 point margin over Chapman.

Steven Chapman won R.A.D. Auto Machine SK Light Rookie of the Year award. Chapman ended coming up just short of winning the championship in his rookie season and also came up just short of taking down his first career SK Light feature win at Stafford. Chapman logged three second place finishes and one third place finish this season, but heads into the 2020 season still in search of that elusive first Stafford Speedway win.

Other Stafford track champions are Jeremy Lavoie in the Ltd Late Models and Zack Robinson in the Street Stocks. Tickets to the awards banquet are $50 and are on sale now. Tickets can be ordered by calling the track at 860-684-2783 or they can be ordered online at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Evergreen Speedway in Pennsylvania ran a season ending Modified event. Brian Defobo took the 100 lap win over Jerry Hildebrand and Blake Barney. Matt Hirschman was in the field and finished 19th, one lap down.

In other racing action, Tyler Barry son of Kenny Barry and Grandson of Art Barry wrapped up the 2019 INEX Young Lions Road Course Championship at the Atlanta Motorsports Park in Georgia.

The annual North-South Shootout takes place this weekend at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina

The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will celebrate the 2019 NASCAR champions & top 10 drivers in each division with the annual banquet in the speedway club house on Sunday, Nov. 17. Cocktails at 3, Dinner at 4. Tickets are $50 each, with prime rib, chicken and vegetarian dinner options. Please have your dinner option selected before calling to order tickets. To order tickets: call MaryAnn at 860-923-2280 ext. 211.

*It is important to note that the top 10 drivers/teams from each division will be given priority as space is limited for this event.

According to a news release, “The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company have announced the sale of the company and certain subsidiaries, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions (IMS Productions), to Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation.”

Tony George, Chairman of Hulman & Company, Mark Miles, President and CEO of Hulman & Company and Roger Penske, Chairman and Founder of Penske Corporation formally announced the sale at an 11 a.m. news conference on Monday, Nov. 4.