Dogged Chase: Eric Berndt Continues Bullish Hunt For SK Modified Title At Stafford Speedway

Eric Berndt

Eric Berndt

STAFFORD – In the realm of the short track racing landscape, it’s one of the crown jewels.

A field perennially deep with talent like few other weekly divisions in the country ensures that a Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified division championship carries some hearty meaning across the galaxy of short track racing.

And it’s a treasured jewel Eric Berndt of Cromwell has been chasing for nearly 20 years.

“It means a lot,” Berndt said during an open practice Friday at Stafford Speedway in preparation for this weekend’s season opening NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler. “It’s been their in our grasp and we’ve had it slip away due to mechanical issues or things like that.”

Berndt, who turned 35 years old this week, began racing in the SK Modified division at Stafford when he was 16 years old. He sits 12th on the division’s all-time wins list with 13 career victories, the last coming last August.

“This is a track that if you can win a championship at it, that fits up high on the resume. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got. It’s a studded field again and we’ve got some new hitters.

“Everybody talks about 30 or 40 years ago and how the fields up here were star-studded. You had guys like Richie Evans and Geoff Bodine. I don’t think it’s any different now. Where are you going to go to any weekly [track] and see the caliber of drivers you have in this division?”

Berndt, dubbed “The Bulldog” by track announcers, finished eighth in the SK Modified division standings last year, in a top-10 that included six full-time NASCAR Modified Tour regulars.

“This year I think Keith [Rocco] is going to be really strong,” Berndt said. “I think he’s got a lot to prove because last year he struggled a little bit. Woody [Pitkat] is going to be strong. Ryan [Preece] will be strong. Ted [Christopher] will be strong. I mean, the list just goes and on and on.

“Last year were got ourselves in a hole the first three races. We need to consistently finish. Whether it’s 8th or 9th, you still need to finish. You can’t get those [Did Not Finishes]. Those hurt and they’re hard to dig out from. If we can stay in the top-five, top-10 week after week, I feel like we’ve got a strong car and a stout program. I know we can win a few races and contend for a championship.”

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  1. Ray Skoglund says

    Very talented drive who never seams to have any luck.
    Hope this year is his year!

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