Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – With the second half of the 2019 season underway at Stafford Speedway, Danbury, CT native Teddy Hodgdon sits at the top of the SK Light points standings. The top of the 2019 SK Light standings are filled with drivers who began their racing careers in Wild Thing Karts, which races Monday nights at Stafford.
Hodgdon currently leads the standings with Steven Chapman second, Alexander Pearl fourth, Mikey Flynn fifth, and Bryan Narducci sixth. The five WTK graduates have each won a title during their time racing in the WTK ranks and Hodgdon says this is a main reason why the SK Light competition has been so close this season.
“The Wild Thing Kart series is one of the most unique divisions out there,” said Hodgdon. “There’s not really anything else that compares to Wild Thing Karts. Wild Thing Karts was our starting point in racing and now running against these guys for the last 10 plus years we know what kind of moves each other makes and I think that’s been a huge catalyst with us all moving into the SK Lights. It’s really insane how we all got started in karts and then split out a little to different areas before all coming back together in the SK Lights. It’s really cool and it shows the dedication of everyone that they want to come to the best divisions in NASCAR and show that they can compete with anyone and win.”
After finishing as the R.A.D. Auto Machine Rookie of the Year runner up to Narducci and finishing 5th in the points last season, Hodgdon and the #55 Montanari Fuel team have established themselves as the team to beat this season. Hodgdon has held the points lead since June 7 and through the first 12 races he has posted 7 podium finishes with 2 wins, 4 second place finishes, and 1 third place finish. Hodgdon’s focus for the second half of the 2019 season will be on duplicating his first half performance.
“The first half of last year was a learning process to figure the car and the track out,” said Hodgdon. “Once we got going the last half of last year was good and this year we’ve been good for the entire season so our experience has definitely helped us get to the points lead this season. Knowing what to do with the tires and how to get through the field is very important in the SK Light division with the momentum you need to carry through the corners. Keeping the number one spot in the points would be great and we’re looking for more wins this season. We make sure nothing that we can prevent goes wrong and then whatever happens on the track happens. We’ve lost a couple wins this year just based on execution at the end of the race so if we can keep ourselves solidly on the podium every week, we should be there at the end.”
Hodgdon is one of five SK Light drivers who have driven to NAPA Victory Lane thus far during the 2019 season. Narducci leads all drivers with 5 wins with Hodgdon, Korner, and Pearl each notching 2 wins while Mark Bakaj has a single feature win. Hodgdon says there are at least 10 cars capable of winning a race and with the level of competition in the SK Light ranks as tight as ever, Hodgdon knows it will be tough to accomplish his goal of winning several more races this season.
“It’s incredibly hard to win,” said Hodgdon. “There’s at least 10 cars that can win on any given Friday night and it’s all about who can get to the front the fastest. It’s tough to run with these guys every week because they’re all really fast and if there’s one car that hits the stagger right or gets a good line going through the corners, they’re very tough to beat.”
In addition to Montanari Fuel, Hodgdon and the #55 team have a host of sponsors as well as setup help from Keith Rocco to help keep them at the top of the standings for the final 9 races of the season.
“I have to thank Montanari Fuel, Ness Auto, Keith Rocco Racing for help with the setup, State Cutters, Simpson Race Products, Jim’s Welding, Ultimate Restoration, Ceric, Pro Kart, my extended family and my crew members Pete, Robert, Trent, Tony, Serious Pizza, and my Dad, Mom, and sister for all their help,” said Hodgdon. “Keith is the premier driver in the SK Modified® division and he knows exactly what to do and what the track conditions are doing. It’s truly amazing to have him helping us out.”
Hodgdon will look to maintain his point lead this Friday night, July 26, which is Maybury Night & Kids Night at Stafford. All Kids 14 & under get a free general admission ticket with games and prizes on the midway, a bike raffle, and local team mascots will be on hand. There will also be 2 kids big wheel races in addition to 2 Tiger Sprint exhibition races this Friday at Stafford as well as the regular weekly divisions. Adult General Admission Tickets are $20.00 this Friday night with reserved seating $23.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking for auto racing events along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles.