Title Time: Tom Fearn Gets 12th Win, Clinches Late Model Title At Stafford

Tom Fearn celebrates a victory and a track championship Friday following the Late Model feature at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – A magical season for Tom Fearn in the Late Model division at Stafford Motor Speedway offered up another amazing highlight for the veteran Friday.

Fearn celebrated his 54th birthday Friday by getting his 12th victory in 19 starts this year in the 30-lap Late Model feature.

Darrell Keane of Enfield was second and Tyler Leary of Hatfield, Mass. third.

And there was more reason to celebrate than just a win and a birthday Friday for the East Longmeadow, Mass. driver.

Fearn clinched his second Late Model championship at Stafford. With two races remaining this season., Fearn’s victory gave him an insurmountable 100-point lead in the Late Model standings over second place Tyler Leary. A driver gets 50 points for winning a race. Fearn would win a tiebreaker by virtue of total victories.

“I’ve never done that before,” Fearn said of clinching the title with two events remaining. Always a first for something. I guess we could throttle back next week, but man we still want to win races. It would be nice to win a couple more. … When you’re going that good you just want to keep going.”

Earlier this season Fearn set the division record by winning six consecutive features. On Aug. 3 Fearn’s 10th victory of the season gave him sole possession of first place on the track’s all-time Late Model division win list. Friday was his 48th career victory in the division.

“My crew does this all for me,.” Fearn said. “Hard work in the garage. I’m guess I’m the lucky guy that gets to drive it and hopefully put in victory lane. … You can’t complain at all, it’s been a great year.

“We stayed with it all year. We made some small changes week to week to try to make it better or keep up with the track or the weather or the heat. … It’s a wicked lot of fun. I feel sorry for the competitors a little bit.”

Fearn is also the all-time winningest driver in the former Pro Stock division at Stafford. He had 17 victories in the division, which ran its last season in 2000. Fearn had Pro Stock championships at Stafford in 1993, ’95 and 98. He won his first Late Model championship at Stafford in 2016.

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Comments

  1. wmass01013 says:

    Ho Hum
    No need for any changes!!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS to Tom Fearn, and the #92 team , R.A.D. & HAMMS Chassis for winning the 2018 SMS Late Model track championship. Good job by all

  3. With the Fearn’s winning all the features in the LLM’s and LM’s that last two weeks there is more then just Tom’s championship to celebrate with two events to go.
    Just sitting here wondering what guys race for. To win features and championships isn’t it. Clearly the 92 has zero left to race for having mastered the discipline for this year anyway. What a novel and unrealistic idea it would be if he sat out next week and see if a real race in the LM’s would break out.
    It’s not just the LM a LLM’s that provide minimal drama in heats leading up to the big dance each regular show. Short fields and guaranteed starting positions in the feature are more then ample reason to take zero chances in heats.
    That leads me to conclude how great some of the special shows have become. 27 VMRS modifieds opening the show with heats that really mean something. Then the features for the regular divisions where nothing is held back. Interrupted only by a VMRS consi thrown in that is a desperate last chance for many. Stem to stern action that is meaningful. The Opens are dramatic as well having zero idea who will show up or how they will perform.
    At $30 bucks they are a terrific value. I’m hooked.

  4. James Scott says:

    combine the divisions now! add weight to the LM and give a bonus to the first LLM much like the old 340 bonus at the Park. These cars are not that far off in times so why not? Open it up like the street stocks. 22 cars last night. just sayin……. plus the show is over way to early in my opinion. why not start at 7? give people a chance to get out of work and get ready!

  5. You are right wmass, booooooooooooooooooooooring!

  6. That ship sailed James unless you’re talking 2020.

  7. James Scott says:

    guess your right Doug.

  8. Tom Fearn:
    “Little patience helps then hit the go button”
    Every driver has it and decides every lap when to hit it. Or not.

  9. Congrats to Tom Fern, He won the championship with 2 races left. He currently has a 63% win percentage this year. If he can somehow manage to sweep the last two races, he can get the percentage up to 67% win percentage. Basically he wins 2 out of every 3 races and is rewriting the record books with his performance this year.

    Thankfully Stafford is keeping the rules essentially the same, so we can continue to see this thrilling competition and record breaking performance continue next year. Stafford should put more workers in the concession booths when their late model divisions hit the track.

    Combine two similar looking, half a field, late model divisions which are only separated by a few miles per hour into one feature. That is a question we have asked for a couple of seasons now. They seem quite happy with the state of their late model divisions as there was no significant changes to their rules for next year. Keeping the rules the same will cause the division to increase in car count next year, even though under these rules the numbers have decreased every year for the last several.

  10. Yes cg we are all frustrated about the status quo.

  11. Actor Michael Rapaport known for playing Daryl Crowe Jr on the popular TV show Justified has said sports is the only way to hate people and teams in a safe and fun way. He used it to admire and hate the Patriots in football. I feel the same way about the Fearns. With the possible exception of Tom Fearn’s victory lane chats that always seem to be the perfect mix of humility, appreciation of those that helped him and gratitude for the sport in general.

  12. Stuart Fearn says:

    Well thank you Doug (I think) for the compliment.
    We have had a very fortunate year by all measures that is for sure. The caution came out at just the right time as soon as Tom got into 3rd place and we restarted on the bottom and got the lead from Tyler Leary (11) after the restart. Darrell Keane (79) had a great car and I was most concerned about him that night. He brings a very well prepared car every week that’s for sure and Darrel clearly is very talented up on the wheel. I felt the restart with Darrel in second won us the race on Friday. He would have been very tough to get by.
    Zero wrecks in the LM (I donT believe in luck or jinks so don’t worry) and both kids running very consistent and fast as well. Every other LM has had wrecks or DNF so that’s a big part of the explaination of the huge point lead. A few years ago Tom won 10 races in a single year and finished 2nd in points so that’s the way it goes.
    The cars are very similar, that is the LM and the LLM. In my opinion the LLM is the perfect feeder division into the top fender division. Motor, tranny and gear is the only difference ! Little rear suspension too but that’s very easily accomplished. Every dare stock team or entry level driver should consider the LLM division. It’s the same exact cost to run weekly as the Street Stock. One tire plus fuel. Bonus is more laps (is that even right?) and you have a real race car that drives a lot easier then the Street stock because of the locked rear primarily. Better front suspension helps a lot too. This is the best kept secret at Stafford. Once people find out there should be a lot more LLM in my opinion.
    Stafford is setting it up right. The air box removal from the LM is to eliminate one more difference between LM and LLM. Last year they made the wheels exactly the same. Every step is made with a purpose.

  13. The Arute family has been in charge for approaching 50 years and it looks like the 3rd generation of Arutes are getting more involved, so I think the decisions they are making are made for the long term . It’s nice to here from someone like Stuart who has a lot invested not someone who has nothing invested think they are going in the right direction

  14. Agreed Elect and amen. Whether it’s Stuart, Goeff Nooney or even Justine Bonsignore who has contributed in this forum twice to my knowledge participants opinions always come first.
    That said respectful questioning and alternate views are also not out of place especially when the participant has a vested interest that may or may not coincide with the fans.
    How about we take a look at who has moved up from the LLM division and where they went using the Sizzler participants since 2013 as a starting point. Not 100% accurate I’m sure but in the ball park.
    To LM’s I have Paul Arute, Al Saunders and Cliff Saunders. I didn’t see Gambacorta but let’s throw him in as well.
    To the modifieds I have Wood, David Arute, DJ Burnham, Robert Bloxom, Narducci and Norm Sears.
    I trust Stuarts assessment of the Arutes plans for the future of the LLM and LM division as correct. However I’m not seeing the statement that historically the LLM’s have been a feeder division for LM’s as correct. More a feeder division for the modifieds.
    I’d also like to know where the chassis’ will come from if there was a sudden interest in Street teams to move to the LLM’s and what they would cost. Used Modified chassis seem to be prolific. Are Stafford boutique rules chassis readily available?
    How about they weld up the Street rears like we used to or spool them, lower the gears and see how the lap times compare to the LLM’s.

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