RPW Column: The Champ Trail; Looking Ahead At Stafford’s Tri-Track Event & More…

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – It rained pretty hard in Stafford Springs Ct. this past Friday, over one inch, but that’s ok. They needed it as most of Connecticut was in a parched state.

The speedway returns to life this weekend for what is hoped to be the first of many Tri-Track events to take place in the house that Jack (Arute) built. Race fans and race teams are abuzz about the Call Before You Dig Modified Classic slated for Saturday, October 24th.

The event, which serves as the first Stafford appearance for the Tri-Track Modified Series, boasts a purse of nearly $50,000, including $10,000 to win.

Accompanying the 81-lap Modified feature at the late October event will be Stafford Speedway’s SK Light Modified and Street Stock divisions. Both divisions will run 25-lap features, an additional 5 laps from their regular weekly distance of 20 laps. The purse for both events will also be increased courtesy of R.A.D. Auto Machine and Gaston Racing Enterprises. Both the SK Light Modified and Street Stock payouts will be increased by approximately 60% which is huge. The SK Light Modified division features $5,510 in posted awards with the increased base purse courtesy of R.A.D. Auto Machine. The SK Light drivers will compete for $850 to win after contingency bonuses from Dunleavy Truck and Trailer Repair, Maybury Material Handling, and Sunoco Race Fuels. Spark Virtual Reality and Olson Apartments will also pay their weekly $100 and $75 bonuses for 2nd and 3rd. The posted awards for the Street Stock feature is $3,245, with the increased purse courtesy of Gaston Racing Enterprises. The 25-lap feature will pay $425 to the winner after the $75 weekly bonus from Big Haus Racing Enterprises.

Additional rules and regulations have been released for this event. The starting line-up will be determined by the +/- qualifying scoring system also used in Stafford’s Open Modified 80 events. The Stafford Speedway tire inventory rule will not be in effect for the event, teams will be required to use the same tire used weekly in Stafford’s SK Light Modified and Street Stock divisions. Race teams with any questions are encouraged to contact the track office by phone (860-684-2783) or send an email to tech@staffordspeedway.com.

Tickets for the October 24th Call Before You Dig Modified Classic are now on sale at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, capacity for the event remains limited and race fans and teams are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Once the capacity limit is reached additional tickets will not be available. The event will also be broadcast live on StaffordSpeedway.tv for just $30 which is considered the best deal in auto racing.

The New London Waterford Speedbowl was back in action on Saturday night. Eric Berndt made it two in a row in SK Modified action as temperatures dipped into the 30’s at the shoreline oval. In the SKs Cory DiMatteo was second and Todd Owen was third. Rounding out the top five was Joe Gada and Andrew Molleur. Jason Palmer won the 31-lap Late Model feature with Charlie Rose, second and Ryan Morgan, third. Jason Chicolas won the 25-lap Sportsman feature over Josh Galvin and Al Stone III third.

Other winners were Charlie McDougal in the SK Lites, Charles Canfield in the Mini Stocks, Kenny Cassidy in the Trucks, Adam Petty in the Open Street Stocks and Jason Palmer in the Legend Cars.

The SK race was dominated by Eric Berndt, who took the lead early and dictated the pace for most of the 35 laps. Despite his problems Saturday, Timmy Jordan can lock up the title by finishing 10th or better in Sunday’s 75-lap feature, regardless of what Gada does.

SK Modified point leader Tim Jordan was involved in an early altercation during the 35-lap feature and was knocked out of the event. He finished 16th and his 28-point lead was cut to 16 points over Joey Gada.

The Speedbowl winds up their season this coming weekend with the Finale over the three day weekend.

The Riverhead Raceway celebrated the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction of Mike Stefanik with a 160 lap NASCAR Modified event. Kyle Soper in the Wayne Anderson 15 took the win. Infrequent visitor Justin Bonsignore finished second with Tom Rogers Jr, third. Dylan Slepian and John Beatty rounded out the top five.

A big shout-out to Jacob Perry who traveled to Hickory, NC last weekend and finished third in a Super Late Model event.

Joey Coulter piloted his Coulter Motorsports No. 2 to victory in the Smart Chevrolet 99 for the SMART Modified Tour. The former NASCAR Truck Series winner set fast time in qualifying, but started ninth due to a redraw of the top nine qualifiers. That was not enough to slow down Coulter. Burt Myers finished second. The SMART Modified Tour field boasted 19 cars, and the second-place finisher was as much of a testament to Coulter’s accomplishment as any of them. Ten-time Bowman Gray Stadium champion Burt Myers claimed the runner-up spot. Brian Loftin started on the pole for the race after the redraw. However, he had to rally from a mechanical issue to score a podium finish.

The all new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Car owners Bob Garbarino, Len Boehler and Art Barry supported the track from day one in 1967 until the Modifieds were replaced by the SKs. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it in the all new book. Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal181(877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now.