Family First: RJ Surdell Scores First Career Limited Late Model Win At Stafford Speedway

RJ Surdell celebrates his first career Limited Late Model victory Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – It’s not uncommon after a feature at Stafford Motor Speedway to see a driver’s crew chief in victory lane offering congratulations for a job well done.

What’s a rarity is seeing a crew chief jumping into the arms of the winning driver. But that was the case Friday at Stafford for Limited Late Model division driver RJ Surdell of Willington.

Surdell’s crew chief is also his wife Meg, which made Friday’s first career victory for the family that much sweeter.

Surdell started second and went to the lead past Matt Clement on the first lap and never trailed again on the way to victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway.

“It’s huge,” RJ Surdell said. “We don’t have a ton of crew members like most teams. It’s just me and [Meg Surdell] and our 12-year old son [Damian]. We do it together all week. He runs go-karts and I run Friday nights. It’s good. We work together and it’s a good family sport. We work hard and we finally earned it.”

Said Meg Surdell: “It feels completely different when you know that you have put at least as much into it as the driver has. There’s something that’s really special about that. It really feels like it’s my win too in my own way.”

Bryan Narducci of Colchester was second and Duane Provost of Palmer, Mass. third.

The 37-year old RJ Surdell arrived in the Limited Late Model division at Stafford in 2014 with zero racing experience. During that time he’s had plenty of nights when he had a fast car up front, but more bad luck than he wanted. The 2017 season has seen a host of struggles for the team, including a rough wreck in the division’s last feature on June 23.

“After two weeks ago the wreck we had, we bent the front [frame] and we spent like 40 hours between me and Meg just getting the car back together,” RJ Surdell said. “We’re going after it and it just came to us. We go out there every week and sometimes it’s bad and sometimes it’s good. Tonight it ended good.”

Narducci went to second past Tyler Trott on lap three and by lap 10 had erased RJ Surdell’s massive lead. But over the closing laps RJ Surdell was able to pull away from Narducci on the way to the checkered.

“Hit your marks,” RJ Surdell said of what was going through his head over the closing laps. “Hit your marks and keep it down. Don’t slide up and give them anyting. That’s all you can tell yourself in your head when you’re going.

“When I realized I had almost a six-car lead, I saw them further back, I started laying up a little earlier in the corner and being easier on the throttle to not burn up the right rear [tire]. … I had to save it. If they were coming after me I wanted it for the last three laps. And it worked good.”

Said Narducci: “I just beat up the right rear [tire] too much trying to catch him. I was driving as hard as I possibly could. It was good in the beginning but once I got to him it just got way too free.”

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Comments

  1. Sharpie Fan says:

    Congrats on your first of what will hopefully be many wins!

  2. jeffrey says:

    What is li.ited late model????
    Is that people with no money
    I only pay attention to sk
    I am a firm believer in if you don’t got money then I got no use for you then
    I make about 50 million a year

  3. Brian n says:

    U sir just Cant Understand Normal Thinking type of guy.

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