Bryan Narducci Wins R.A.D. Auto Machine SK Light Rookie Of The Year Title At Stafford

(Press Release from Stafford Speedway)

Bryan Narducci celebrates victory in an SK Light Modified feature in September at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

The 2018 season at Stafford Speedway saw Bryan Narducci come very close to a fairytale ending to his rookie season in the SK Light division.

A graduate of the Wild Thing Karts, Narducci moved up to the SK Light division after 2 seasons and 6 wins in Stafford’s Limited Late Model division.

Narducci was bidding to become the fifth driver in Stafford’s SK Light history to win both the championship and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season but he ended 2 points short of winning the championship.

Narducci will take home the R.A.D. Auto Machine Rookie of the Year honors and the $500 bonus that goes along with the award.

“It was a great season,” said Narducci. “It would have been nice to win the championship along with the rookie of the year, but we only lost by 2 points so that shows we were right there. It’s definitely nice to have a bonus from R.A.D. Auto Machine. We’ll definitely put that to use next season. I have to thank The Florida Connection, Chris Our, Baldwin Automotive, Curley’s Kids Care, Waddell Communications, Preece’s Auto, R.A.D. Auto Machine, Todd and all the guys on the crew, my Uncle Jeff for the transmission, and everyone who helps us out for their support this season.”

When the first green flag of the 2018 season was unfurled at the season opening NAPA Spring Sizzler, Narducci looked like a grizzled veteran rather than a rookie driver making only his second start at Stafford behind the wheel of his #01 The Florida Connection Chevrolet. Narducci opened the year with back to back second place finishes before scoring his first win in the third race of the season. Narducci continued his hot start, racking up 11 podium finishes in the first 15 races of the season, which gave him a 48 point lead over Marcello Rufrano with 6 races to go. Although he won twice more in the closing races, several finishes outside the top-10 in that span allowed Rufrano to be tied with Narducci in the championship race and Rufrano would clinch the championship in the final race. Narducci is proud of what he accomplished this season and is already looking forward to the 2019 season.

“The season was real good for us,” said Narducci. “We won 5 races and we had only 2 finishes outside the top-4 in the first 12 races so it was going real good. Then we had a couple rough weeks towards the end of the season and in any season you’re going to get caught up in something or something happens. We went into the last race tied for the championship and lost by 2 points but we were real close to winning the championship and it’s always a good year when you can go into the last race and be in contention for the championship. I’m definitely itching to get back racing. We’ll make sure everything is right over the winter and I’m sure we’ll have a fast car once again next season.”

Narducci’s five victories this season, while an impressive total, was only the third most wins by an SK Light rookie driver at Stafford. Tommy Barrett, Jr. holds the SK Light rookie record with 10 wins in 2010 and Chase Dowling is second on the rookie win list with 7 wins back in 2013. Although he expected to reach NAPA Victory Lane at some point during his rookie season, Narducci never imagined winning 5 races.

“I expected to run good and we thought we could maybe win a couple of races but we didn’t expect to win 5 races and be tied for the championship going into the last race,” said Narducci. “If you look at some of the rookies who have come through the SK Lights at Stafford, Matt Galko won 2 championships, one as a rookie, Tommy Barrett always ran really well and won a lot of races, last year Cory DiMatteo won the championship and 4 races as a rookie, and guys like Michael Gervais and Chase Dowling are now in the SK Modified® division, so I think that rookies seem to adapt pretty well to Stafford. Hopefully I can be racing against all those guys in a couple more years.”

Narducci will officially be crowned as the 2018 R.A.D. Auto Machine SK Light Rookie of the Year at the 49th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 16 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor.

Tickets to the 49th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony are $50 per person and can be ordered by calling the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or by paying for tickets online at www.staffordspeedway.com.

For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

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Comments

  1. Dramabaga says:

    Congratulations to Bryan and the entire 01 team! Now I know why they call you “Flyin Bryan”. Can’t wait for 2019 race season.

  2. “Cryin Bryan” also fits.I am sure this will go over well!!!!!

  3. Al Coholic says:

    We are very lucky to have this division at Stafford. It definitely is a huge stepping stone towards the bigger modified divisions. It’s a shame we cant find away to make it more affordable for all. Just to run all of the 20+ shows one can spend an easy $40k when you factor in a few good wrecks.
    These boys like Bryan, Moller and Marcello are extremely lucky being able to also run some of these Dry Sump shows. There parents and sponsors are definitely dropping some serious cash.

  4. I agree that the SK Light division is too expensive and that is why there are only 8 teams that make every race. I believe it would be more affordable if they raise the weekly purse, ran smaller tires and let car owners buy either stock engines or rebuild their engines themselves. Supporting one engine builder is totally insane.

  5. So now Bryan is racing with the big boys can we draw any conclusions about his style or prospects? Still a little bit early to tell. He was outstanding in the VMRS at Thompson and was doing well in the SK’s at Waterford in a Todd Owen car until something happened and he collected Christopher. Too bad because both were really fast. One thing that is pretty much been put to rest is that he is some kind of out of control menace and over his head.
    So no Narducci or Rufrano next year in the SK Lights it would appear. So what. The front runners always move up in the division and it only gets better with the new blood that emerges. Narducci and Rufrano were unknowns at the seasons start and they and others produced one of the best seasons competition wise in any division at Stafford………….ever.

  6. Doug , he mentions that he hopes to be competing against previous SKL champions in a couple years, sounds like he’s not moving up

  7. You’re right of course Elect.
    It’s funny how I just assumed that given his post Stafford season activities in higher divisions and being in the Pearl clan he’d be SK bound. Sloppy reading comprehension on my part.
    It was 7 teams making every race in the SK Lights wasn’t it? But the season was brutal with only one rain out. A fairer number might be 14. That is the number of teams that made 17 races or more that is the number of total races run in the previous two years. 14 is a solid number.
    SK Lights expensive? Compared to what? The purse? Not racing and putting the money in the bank. Agreed.
    But fiddling with a division that consistently has the highest car counts and the best side by side action just seems counter productive. I especially dislike that tire suggestion that has been circulating on occasion. They buy one tire a race and the tires make it possible to have side by side racing all night. You want to fix something, fix the LM’s and LLM’s where the outside groove’s only relevance is for the starts.
    Face it, there is no boot strap division at Stafford. Even the Streets are sophisticated pieces of equipment, hugely expensive and Street Stock in name only. My preference would be to have something like a four cylinder or front wheel drive division where a clever person could put together a budget car and get out and race like at Waterford. Where guys can show up in a 1988 Chevy Blazer pulling an open air trailer and not be ashamed. That isn’t Stafford. You want to race on a budget hope Waterford opens next year and build an X car.

  8. Sk’s were speced out to have an affordable modified division at Stafford because the modifieds were too expensive. Now the same thing is happening again- sk’s are too expensive so a cheaper division was created at Stafford SK Light but the only difference is the purse is so much lower than when the sk division was created and you have to purchase engines which is not affordable… in reality there is no longer an SK Modified division at Stafford. Now that is a shame

  9. You’re usually right and always on the side of the people that race Steve and that is never bad. But the point is moot. The rules are out and it is what it is for 2019 anyway.

  10. SK Lights expensive? Yes…. The spending is out of control with these cars. Motors getting refreshed 4-5 times during the year, a new engine costing right around 10k with all of the “updates” when the original plan was to have a crate motor that cost somewhere around 6500 to go racing. So your largest expense on the car has now risen by about 50%. I’d say it has gotten way to out of hand in the terms of what this division was supposed to be. If the original intent for this division is to be maintained in any sort of way there should be a claimer rule or cap how many motors a team can have and how often they can refreshed.

  11. Al Coholic says:

    Then add the Steel pro shocks with the aluminum sleeves Wich end up as expensive as an aluminum bodied threaded shock, the $10.50 a gallon fuel, the $175 ea tires….. It’s insanity… No matter how you slice or dice it your spending $1k a night!!!!

  12. Not $1k a night but figure at the minimum of $175 a tire, 8 gals of gas $80, $30 pit fee a night plus some of these guys change the oil weekly that’s another $80. don’t forget 8 tires the first week. Last should pay at least a tire plus gas but u need to finish top 3 to cover that.

  13. Geoff Nooney, 10/27/17
    “Doug, thank you and yes i can give some insight. When i purchased my engine the price was 5k for bone stock out of the box with necessary updates only, oil pan, oil pump pickup, and a stronger timing chain. Initially in the season all the way to Dunleavy night i had the stock valve springs, my car had turned a best of 19.4 with only two fresh tires at Sizzler open practice. Only better car that weekend was Dan Wesson who has a T/A and had 4 new tires on ran 19.2. So that being said there may be a slight advantage to the built motor. Here is the story on that. You ARE legally allowed to at any time deck and line hone the block. So when engine is brand new this is a big advantage because from what i here it can increase C/R and true up the stock out of round bores providing better ring seal. The cost of those modifications is $2500-$3000. The only other place to make hp in these crates is the timing and the carburator, tuning them on the dyno. If thats not done and someone just throws a crab and distributor setup together to slap on it could greatly hurt them. The other thing people have to consider is EVERYTHING matters in SKL racing, your setup. rotating mass, keeping your car free and not bound up, this is what people are up against, its not throw a car together and run top 3, its throw a car together well and run top 3, many of the few teams that run up front have seasoned experienced crews as well. When all 3 top 3 engines were pulled and brought to RAD earlier this season from what i here the were all legal and within 4hp of each other. They had a “built” T/A a “built RAD”, and a “favoritism” RAD engine. So with that being said and the numbers being close (i dont know what the torque numbers were) everybody is pretty close. The engine builders were simply making improvements to the engines, not illegally modifying them at high cost lime people are thinking. Its actually a fair cost for decking and honing. My engine is just getting strong in stock configuration at 15 races. Not planning on rebuilding this winter. We raced the first 8 races with a bent clip. Finished p3 once, won a heat on dunleavy night, ran p1 a few times, battled with the “built” engines, and yes you can feel those cars hound your bumper midway down the frontstretch, but if you have a good enough car you can make up for it. I was 2nd quick a few times in practice to Corey, do i feel a “engine” will benefit me or anyone else, yes, but maybe only .1-.15 of a second if its done legally.”

  14. Racing isn’t just insane now it has always been so. Spending ungodly amounts of money, working like a dog and all for a fleeting thrill. You want to be sane play golf and put the savings in your 401K.
    Check all the tracks in the region. The SK Lights hands down have some of the strongest car counts for any division at any track on a weekly basis for asphalt racing. The people racing now appear to be people with resources that can afford to spend the money. A lot of parents and extended family with money footing the bills for their younglings. I’m not saying that cost saving should never be examined but for goodness sake the SK Lights don’t seem to have a real urgent need at this stage.
    In 1 full season and two part time racing seasons in the 1980’s I dropped 15 grand that is over 40 K now. For a crummy mid pack Street Stock when the cars were real street stocks. My motor cost $2300 which is more like $6600 in todays dollars. The motor guys ran that won usually had a T/A that cost thousands more.
    My only point is that racing has never NOT been ridiculously expensive. If you do a careful comparison of engine costs now under crate rules compared to the inflation adjusted numbers that were spent decades ago they are less now. That’s right less.
    Howling about the expense of racing is a time honored tradition that goes back decades that generally changes pretty much nothing.
    If you can’t afford it, play golf, bowl or get a camper.

  15. Doug…. The SK Lights were supposed to be cost effective right? This means a more cost effective route over the SK’s…right? So explain to me.. much as Al Coholic says about the shocks costing as much as the typical SK shocks, why a motor costs nearly 10k, why only 5 cars with biggest bank accounts seem competitive in a class that is supposed to keep costs down and why motors are being refreshed as many times as they are. SMS has car counts for now but when everyone wises up to the fact you can’t be competitive unless you have the “new” motor and the “new” heads… which was clearly evident with an entire field that was more competitive last year than this year. It makes me wonder how a few of those cars pulled off upper mid pack SK times and don’t even tell me it was talent.

  16. I don’t want to argue. All I have tried to do is pass on Nooney’s observations that for we fans are about as informed and credible as it gets. I’ve also tried to make the point that adjusted for inflation the motor costs at least are lower now then they used to be. If you don’t think the observation have an merit that’s absolutely fine as well.
    As I understand it you can get a motor package with the bolt on for 7 to 8 thousand. Doing all the other little things because everything is important as Nooney said a person can run top 10. To me that is completely reasonable. There will always be people with more money and resources in racing that will buy better equipment and more often.
    I’ve also noted that while Nooney tends to be a driver that tries to field a car on a budget he never complains about the guys that are spending big money. If fact he takes pride in those occasions when he runs with them.
    If I had my way the Lights would do it like Riverhead with iron fisted rules and 100% control over engine costs. Then again Riverhead doesn’t get the car counts Stafford does so what do I know.
    If you are a competitor in the division and feel you have a beef you need to give your feedback and suggestions to Stafford. Enough teams complain and they’ll likely listen.
    As for me as a fan I like the way it is. Correction, I love it the way it is.

  17. I try to take your observations seriously. When you say that there are 5 competitive cars I wonder if it’s true so I checked. I consider podium finishes as being very competitive. I confess to not doing a written tally like I usually do but got up to 12 different teams with podium finishes and stopped counting. I don’t think there is merit to the observation that only a hand full of teams enjoy success in the division.
    If I get motivated I’ll compare 2017 and 2018 and do a real analysis to see who is winning, how often and if the competitiveness is in fact decreasing from year to year.

  18. Al Coholic says:

    I appreciate all the healthy input in this thread! Everyone has some great input!! I’ve ran the numbers in my head several times of what we spent to run a SKL and it was a safe easy $1k a night. Gas to get there and back, admissions for the crew and driver, at least one tire, the race fuel, the welding insurance, at least a front bumper, possibly a side bar, perhaps a dinged now junk rim, change the oil every two to three races and that’s a cheap night!!! No matter how you slice or dice it it’s a grand! Now come off the track double hooked a few nights…. What did we spend that night???

  19. $500 or $1000 a night it makes no difference. That’s like saying you read the book after reading the first chapter. Add up the entire cost of putting a legal car on the track. Then add in the cost for that fancy enclosed trailer, the beast to haul it all that gets 10 miles to a gallon that you have to feed while its not hauling you to the races. Add in all the specialty tools and equipment. Don’t forget the shop you have set up at home and the cost of heating it in the winter while you work on the car. Plus all the lost space you can’t use for other things cause the race car is spread out everywhere. Then amortize it over the races you intend to run and see what number you get. No you’re not going to do that cause if you did you would realize you are insane. $1000………..chicken feed!
    So you decide to go racing regardless of the insanity of money expenditure it entails and before you know it, it becomes a way of life. The rhythm of the week, season and off season. Prepping the car, looking forward to Friday night and hoping all the money and time results in a good finish. Getting out of work, driving to the track, unloading, prepping and interacting with the track officials. The social enjoyment of mixing it up with friends, your crew and competitors in the pits and the alternating excitement and boredom of race night. A summer in the same rhythm then a winter in the shop going through everything with a fine tooth comb or building a new car. Spending even more money hoping that the upgrades you make with get you better results. It becomes an expensive addiction much like gambling that gets in your blood and in short order you can’t imagine not having that steady racing weekly and seasonal rhythm in your life.
    On the flip side if you can survive it financially and otherwise, no matter what division you raced in or how successful you were you’ll retain some of the most pleasant memories of your life, make friendships for life if you’re lucky and learn a ton of useful mechanical and trades skills.
    If you’re going to do it or you are doing it that $1000 bucks is the least of the things that you should be worried about.

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