STAFFORD – In 2006 the Arute family introduced the SK Light Modified division to the southern New England racing season as lower cost alternative to SK Modifieds.
Today the division is one of the strongest in short track racing in Connecticut.
And Friday night at Stafford Speedway, the family that created the division got to celebrate its first victory in it.
David Arute, son of Stafford Speedway chief operating officer Mark Arute, scored his first career SK Light Modified victory in the 20-lap feature for the division.
David Arute, of Tolland, is a rookie in the division. He stepped up to the SK Light Modified this year from the track’s Limited Late Model division, where he had 11 career victories from the 2012 season to last year.
“It’s just an awesome feeling,” David Arute said. “I know when I first started racing, the first win I got, it was just, just the feeling of being in victory lane, the feeling to win, the excitement that everybody else feels weekly. And to do that in a Modified, an SK Light [Modified] especially, it’s awesome. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I was excited the whole race. I knew on the first few laps we had a fast car and I just had to do all I could to get to the front and stay there. It was just awesome.
“It’s just a great feeling to win in a Modified. I’ve been watching them since I was here every Friday night, seeing everyone come up through the ranks. To be in the same victory lane as them with a Modified is awesome.”
Joe Graf Jr. of Mahwah, N.J. was second and Marcello Rufrano of North Haven third.
David Arute went to the lead past Wesley Prucker on lap six and never trailed again. Graf moved to second past Prucker on lap 11 but never mounted a challenge to David Arute out front.
“I was hoping there was no cautions there at the end,” David Arute said. “I just told myself ‘Don’t look in the mirror, just keep driving it.’ I just kept sending it in the corner harder and harder every time. It’s awesome to stand here in victory lane, especially with a Modified.”
David Arute spent last season running part-time at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl with the SK Light Modified before moving to his family track this season.
“I’ve got to thank [Stafford SK Modified division veteran] Todd Owen for letting me use his shop and all of his advice,” Arute said. “I had no idea about Modifieds when I started this season and he’s taught me a lot.”
Tyler Trott took the lead from Johnny Walker on a lap eight restart then never trailed again on the way to victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
It was the third victory of the season for Trott, of East Hartford.
Walker, of Ludlow, Mass., was second and Ryan Fearn of East Longmeadow, Mass. third.
Walker inherited the lead when first place running Trace Beyer and second place Brandon Michael got together in turn three on lap eight.
On the ensuing restart Trott cleared Walker for the lead off turn two.
Cliff Saunders of Stafford got his second victory of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature.
Paul Arute of Tolland was second and Robert Bloxsom III of Stratford third.
Josh Wood of Palmer, Mass. won the 30-lap Late Model feature. Glen Reen of Wilbraham, Mass. was second and Tom Fearn of East Longmeadow, Mass. third.