STAFFORD – Michael Bennett, the reigning Late Model champion at Stafford Motor Speedway, will voluntarily vacate his throne in 2016.
Bennett had decided to run part-time in the Late Model division at Stafford in 2016 while dabbling in other racing endeavors in the area.
But the Stafford driver made sure the competition at the track knew Sunday just who the reigning king of the division is.
Bennett scored victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature Sunday at Stafford Speedway’s NAPA Spring Sizzler.
It was the second consecutive Spring Sizzler weekend Late Model victory for Bennett.
Bennett took his time exiting his car in victory lane, waiting for his 4-year old son Chace to join him for the celebration.
“The crew, the sponsors, my family, they don’t put the pressure on me to come out here and perform every week, this little guy does,” Bennett said. “I told him this morning we were starting in the back and I said ‘Don’t be disappointed if we don’t win.’ He said ‘You gotta win.” So we won for him. I didn’t want to get out of the car until he got here.”
Michael Wray of Northford was second and Jim Mavlouganes of Bethany third.
Bennett got under Tom Fearn for the lead on lap 10 and never trailed again.
A flat tire from contact with Bennett in the battle for the lead dropped Fearn to the rear of the field just after losing the lead, but he rallied to finish fourth.
“I saw an opportunity to just keep the nose [inside],” Bennett said of his pass for the lead on Fearn. “He just kept coming down. I guess he popped a tire or something. We’re only coming here for a few times and we’ve got to do all we can to win races. I just felt like I was underneath him enough.”
Wray made a bid to get under Bennett in turn four on lap 28, but Bennett deftly defended the spot.
“I tried making a move coming off turn four, he pinched me down,” Wray said. “He did what he had to do.”