Win For The Decades: Dan Avery Tops SK Modified Field At Stafford Motor Speedway

STAFFORD – Dan Avery called it a storybook finish. It was actually a storybook decades in waiting to be told.

Dan Avery celebrates an SK Modified victory Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Stephanie Kimball/Stafford Speedway)

Dan Avery celebrates an SK Modified victory Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Stephanie Kimball/Stafford Speedway)

Avery held off Joey Cipriano over the closing laps to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

It was the first victory at Stafford for the 58-year old driver from Somers since May 21, 1982.

“What a great relief,” Avery said. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy. These guys are really tough. I knew it was never going to be easy, but I thought by now, especially this year, we finally got the car where it was really going good and we had several opportunities to win races and it just didn’t come our way. Tonight, finally. The last Friday night [of the season], it’s almost like storybook to finally pull it off.”

Cipriano, of Waterbury, held on for second and Ted Christopher of Plainville was third.

Christopher, the winningest driver of all-time at Stafford, was one of the first people to victory lane to celebrate with Avery. The connection between the two goes back to when Christopher started at Stafford in the mid-1980’s.

It was Avery who helped Christopher greatly in his early years in getting his SK Modified set up for competition at Stafford.

Avery was a longtime regular at the old Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass. When Riverside closed after the 1999 season Avery focused on competing on the Whelen Modified Tour, but after the 2004 season he retired from competition.

In 2009 Avery and some of his old crew members found themselves wanting to scratch the itch to return to competition.

“We were throwing ideas around,” Avery said. “Nothing was like the old Riverside days. It was the thing to do on a Saturday night and we just fell in love with what we were doing on Saturday nights. Once Riverside went away, that whole feeling was gone.

“We said, then, the next best thing is in our backyard, Friday nights at Stafford.”

Avery said he started attending some races at the track in 2009 to check out how the competition was. It was at the end Fall Final in 2009 that Avery reconnected with Christopher.

“Teddy saw me walking around the pits and looking at cars and we were talking and he said ‘What are you doing here?’” Avery said. “I said ‘We’re thinking about getting back into it.’ He said ‘Before you do anything, come down to my shop, I’ve got a whole bunch of cars.’

“I bought a car and the rest is history. … So that was kind of like paying it back to me, getting me going back into it.”

Two years ago Avery built his first car and this year he seemed on the edge of victory almost weekly.

On lap 30 Friday, Avery went by Cipriano for the lead on a restart and never trailed again.

“I had a ball out there,” Avery said. “[Cipriano] did a heck of a job. I just had a real good outside groove car and on that restart we rolled the top and we were able to get by him. I felt the pressure near the end. I thought, ‘All, I’ve got to do is make one little slip and that guy is going to go by me.’ But we held on.”

Said Cipriano: “I did not need to see that last caution. The first few laps we were just a little too free on the run. I let Dan get by me. My car took a few laps [to come in]. We ran him down at the end. I didn’t get it done. I’m frustrated with myself. I couldn’t pull this one off.”

The chase for the SK Modified division title took a rough turn for Ryan Preece, who had mechanical issues and was 18th of 21 cars. Woody Pitkat was fifth in the race erased what was a 22-point advantage for Preece going into the night. Pitkat will now take a four point lead in the standings into the season finale on Sept. 29 at Stafford.

—- Follow RaceDayCT at Facebook
—- Follow RaceDayCT on Twitter

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing