STAFFORD – A week ago at Stafford Motor Speedway it looked like the simmering drama of the championship battle in the SK Light Modified division got cooled.
Last Friday Tony Membrino Jr. and Joey Ferrigno came into the evening tied at the top of the standings. By the end of the night it was Ferrigno celebrating victory and opening up a 32-point lead in the standings after Membrino had a spark plug wire issue and finished 17th.
After winning Ferrigno didn’t want to talk about the points or the big advantage suddenly discovered.
“It could all change in a week,” Ferrigno said last Friday. “We were tied going in. Next week same thing could happen [to me] and he could be right back up front.”
Nostradamus it seems has got nothing on Ferrigno.
Friday at Stafford Speedway the roles got reversed and it was Membrino racing to victory and Ferrigno suffering disaster.
Membrino, of Berlin, scored his sixth victory of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. Ferrigno, of East Hartford, got caught up in a lap 16 incident while running fifth and ended up 20th.
It meant Ferrigno’s 32-point advantage became a six-point advantage for Membrino with four events remaining this season.
“For it to happen the following week is a little absurd,” Membrino said. “We’ve got karmic issues we’ve got to work out. One seems to have bad luck when the other seems to have the best luck. … It’s just a tough break for a lot of people tonight.”
Joe Graf Jr. of Mahwah, N.J. was second and Vin Anglace of Ansonia third.
Membrino said he was “relieved” to see the battle for the championship essentially reset to heated.
“Him and I get along very very well,” Membrino said. “Him and [his crew chief Paul French] and [his lead sponsor Gino Difilippo Jr.] they are not only the first to come over and offer help – even go get me one of their cars when I need – but they’re sometimes the only ones. Whatever it comes down to when this thing is over, either of us deserves it. Obviously with the season we’ve had, we deserve to win the championship. But he’s driving a lot more with his head than he has in the past and I’ll tell him that to his face. Just their selflessness and they’re hard working people. They deserve it too if it comes down to it that they win.”
And Membrino said don’t believe Ferrigno’s regular mantra that he doesn’t think about points or the standings.
“Joey is feeling it,” Membrino said. “Don’t let him fool you. Do you know how many races Dale Earnhardt won in his career? Do you know how many championships he won. Yes you do. People remember those championships and they mean a lot. They mean more to people than they put on.
“Moving forward, now we can just race. Now it’s like not playing catch up. Now it’s, who can top the other every single week and that’s going to make exciting for the fans, for the crews, for the teams for the competitors, and that’s what it’s all about and I can’t wait.”
Daniel Wesson went past Graf for the lead following a lap 16 restart, but on a lap 19 restart Wesson’s night ended when contact between himself and Graf put him in the turn one wall.
It put Graf in the lead and Membrino in second for the final restart of the night and Membrino made the outside lane work in going around Graf for the lead off turn one on lap 19.
“Just a lot of things didn’t go right as far as the car goes today and we just were lucky enough to rebound as good as we did,” Membrino said.