WATERFORD – The driver nicknamed Hollywood made for another seemingly movie scripted ending Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Tony Membrino Jr. came to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in May with some questions about just how well his first full-time season in the SK Light Modified division at the track would go.
Saturday he closed out that season celebrating his seventh win of the year at the track along with his first SK Light Modified championship at the shoreline oval.
Membrino, of Berlin, held off Brett Gonyaw over the closing laps to win the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature at Bemers Big Show at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
“You can’t write it any better,” Membrino said. “Maybe to not have to work as hard to secure that win. It just shows that we earned it. We didn’t sneak in the backdoor, we kicked the front one down and stormed in and took what we came for.”
Gonyaw, of Vernon, was second and Paul French of Andover third.
It was the seventh victory in 14 SK Light Modified starts this year at the Speebdowl for Membrino.
“We won 50 percent of the races here,” Membrino said. “That’s unbelievable just to think of where we started, what we’ve come from and what we come to the track with. There’s all this theories and these all rumors about what we have in our racecar and our engine and all these things. There’s a lot of naysayers and that’s part of racing. But if those people actually knew what we have for equipment and what little we have and what we do with that little bit their jaws would hit the floor. It makes me extremely proud to accomplish what we have and I’m very thankful as well.”
It closed out a stunning season overall for Membrino, who also won the SK Light Modified championship at Stafford Motor Speedway. He had seven victories in seven starts at Stafford. He also had two victories in four SK Light Modified features at Thompson Speedway.
“This was our goal,” Membrino said of the Speedbowl title. “We ran two races here in 2015 and our first time here, after the end of the heat races we were the fastest car o the track. Then we ran strong in the finale, came close to winning that. It was a good confidence builder when we made the decision that we were going to run here fulltime and see if we could put together a championship season. Going back to May, to start it off with a win – I don’t want to say it was beyond our expectations because we believe that we can win every race we show up to – it was just to actually see it through and do it was pretty breathtaking to us all. Then we get six more after that.”
Membrino took the lead Saturday from French following a restart with 12 laps remaining and never trailed again.