No Defense: Reigning Champion Adam Gray Leaving Stafford Speedway Late Model Division

Adam Gray celebrates his first Stafford Speedway Late Model championship in 2013 (Photo: Stephanie Kimball/Stafford Speedway)

Adam Gray celebrates his first Stafford Speedway Late Model championship in 2013 (Photo: Stephanie Kimball/Stafford Speedway)

Adam Gray said Tuesday his defense of the last two Late Model division championships at Stafford Motor Speedway is over.

Gray said he will not return to the track this season to keep chasing a third consecutive title.

The Belchertown, Mass. driver was disqualified from a victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature Friday at Stafford.

According to a Stafford Speedway release, Gray was disqualified for use of an unapproved part, which was a driveshaft that didn’t measure to rulebook standards for diameter.

According to Gray the rulebook states the driveshaft must measure two and three quarters inches around, minimum and his was measured at two and five-eighths inches.

Gray is not contesting that his driveshaft was illegal. Gray’s issues with the track’s decision to disqualify him involve when the infraction was found.

Friday’s event was the fourth feature of the season for the Late Model division. Gray finished second in the first three events of the season and went into Friday’s feature as the division’s points leader.

Gray said that his team watched tech inspectors measure the driveshaft on his car after he finished second on May 8, but nothing was said to him about the legality of it. He said tech inspectors did not measure the driveshaft after his win on Friday, but used their findings in tech on May 8 to disqualify him from the victory. Essentially, accusing the tech staff of using previously found issues and waiting for him to win to call them out.

“We overlooked it,” Gray said. “Somewhere within the last year or two years, NASCAR changed the rule and we overlooked it. We never even thought of it. The week before when they measured it, had they done something at that point, we would have said ‘You’re right, it is what it is.’ But the fact is, we physically watched them measure it and they didn’t say nothing. … They did not say anything [on May 8]. Had they said ‘We know it’s not a performance advantage, but can you fix it for next week’ we would have done it. Even if they had disqualified us for it the week before we would have said ‘It is what it is, our mistake’ and it would have been what it was.”

Tom Fox, director of racing operations and competition at Stafford Speedway, said Tuesday that the first time the driveshaft on Gray’s car was measured was after his victory.

“The tech staff confirms with me prior to the event on what we are going to tech, before we know who is in the top-three,” Fox said. “We have never, to my knowledge and per our inspection log book, inspected driveshaft diameter on his car prior to [May 15].

Gray said he will put his car away for the season.

“It’s a very tough decision with the way our season has been going,” Gray said. “We had a shot at getting our third championship there. But the way they went about it this time, who’s to say they don’t look at something else in a couple weeks that’s not a performance advantage and then disqualify us again later for it. Grasping at straws and disqualifying us over something so minimal, what’s the point of going back?”

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  1. Well, looks like Waterfords late models will give Staffords a run for their money! Lol. Darn shame. Single digit car counts for a division that was doing well up until a decade ago. Stafford cares too much about its mods and now look at them- support division drivers are dropping out faster than tech can DQ them.

  2. Chris D. says

    Stafford cannot afford to lose another front running car from this division. My hunch is this situation will somehow be worked out between Gray and management. If not, the division should be eliminated all together, can’t have a 10 car or less 30 lap feature on a half mile track, it will be a joke.

  3. Time to merge the LLM and LM and be done with it… Stafford is beating a dead horse with these two divisions right now.

  4. 5/8 < 3/4…..ya got caught, doesn't matter when the inspectors saw it, its still illegal.

  5. Here’s an idea, I doubt it will ever happen but what if all three CT tracks worked together to fix the problem with the LM’s. Let face it none of the tracks have enough cars to make a feature race very exciting and heat races are even more dismal. The plan would be to make all three tracks run the same ACT rules (including tires etc) and work together to make the seasons schedule of about 15-18 races Non-Conflicting. Maybe have a points fund that would be paid out according to the points won at all three tracks. You could still have individual track champions. I recall back in the day there were over 50 cars in the pits for a Saturday event at the Speedbowl with many cars running more than one track. I don’t know whatever caused all the CT tracks to change their rules but IMO it definitely was a big mistake in hindsight.

  6. They wont even have enough late models for a good heat race soon.hey have to change something and fast.Stands are empty and car counts suck.

  7. Stop crying when you don’t follow the rules. So your going to park it in your shop for the year. What does that prove. Be a man and get back out there and win the right way. Ted Christopher’s team got caught at the bowl, took there lumps and came back and won. Man up for your mistake.

  8. Sicklajoie says

    This is not the first time this has happened. The first year of the SK lites a car was found to have illegal brake components during the summer, but inspectors kept that info in their hip pocket until the Fall Final when the team finally got dq’ed for that infraction and wound up losing the championship.

  9. Bring it to Thompson they seem to have a pretty goof late model car count this year

  10. Franky, his point is that Stafford saw it was illegal but didn’t say anything to them for over a week. Maybe they did change the rulebook and it wasn’t noticed, but when they measured it and found it was too small, something should have been said then, not a week later.

    Dingus is correct, combine the two full fender divisions.

  11. The diameter of a driveshaft isn’t going to change car counts. The rule is the rule. Gray even said he overlooked it. So he gets caught and is going act like a child and sit out.

    Performance advantage? Maybe not too much. But a safety advantage for sure. The thinner shaft will wrap up and twist sooner than a larger diameter shaft. Big safety issue.

    The inmates are trying to run the joint.

  12. Just because you weren’t caught or called out doesn’t mean using something illegal is now okay or that you can’t be called out on it. You do something illegal and it can be called out at any time. You are taking the risk when you violate the rules. You are responsible for knowing and following the rules. The inspectors are only there to nab you when you don’t, and they can’t catch everything all the time. You are gambling and taking a chance when you go outside the rules.

  13. speed kills says

    lets see I sponsor a race car .. we win and an unapproved parts is found.. not lightweight just improper diameter OK where do I get the right driveshaft and see you at the track friday case closed… very poor decision and totally without class ..poor representative /champion.. Also possible the tech person alleged to have measured the driveshaft previous flunked math..(possible scenario tape/calipers) ???? lets face it car counts down as everyone wants to run an sk ..raise the purse and or make the rules between the three tracks the same and they will run where the nmoney and treatment are best ….

  14. Larry – I believe Thompson and Waterford LM and SK rules are fairly close and Stafford is the one further apart.

  15. Billy Parker says

    Safety issue??? Safety Issue???? The shafts diameter dictates failure rates??? Oh My God!!! That is the single Dumbest thing I have ever read…….. If you took engineering classes, you should go ask for a refund…… W O W!!! That is absolutely incorrect, and extremely false…. Wow!

  16. They should definitely consolidate the rules and make it a tri-track touring series. Share the goodness.

  17. Just because there are so few cars doesn’t mean the remaining cars can hold the series hostage by leaving or threatening to leave if rules violations are enforced.

  18. Not sure what the track gains by waiting to DQ him as Gray states???? Pretty fishy story..,, He will be back, where else can you get paid for winning a heat race

  19. Adam gray never questioned the driveshaft . He is absolutely right.If the track saw a problem with the car they should have immediately brought it to his attention.They waited to disqualify him for it.WTF.Work with the teams,Car counts are on the decline,this is why.Stafford made a big boo boo here.I don’t blame Adam Gray.

  20. Billy,

    You might want to read this before you make any more comments – especially the part about diameter to strength …

    “Critical speed is the rpm at which the driveshaft becomes unstable and begins to bend into an S shape. The longer and smaller (diameter) a driveshaft is, the lower its critical speed. Critical speed is felt as excessive vibration that could cause the unit to fail. To calculate the critical speed, the length, diameter, wall thickness, and material module of elasticity must be known. Then using the critical speed calculation formula (see the Speed sidebar), the numbers are plugged in and you will know the driveshaft’s critical speed.”

    Love the drama, though, might just convince someone that you know what you’re talking about.

  21. Billy Parker, clearly you have no engineering knowledge at all. Shaft diameter dictates the load carrying ability of the shaft. Did you ever notice that larger diameter shafts transmit larger loads? Very little cognitive ability required to make that connection. When a shaft is overloaded, it twists, gets short, goes out of balance, flies all over the place. And that is very dangerous, also known as a safety issue. If a shaft is overloaded, the shaft needs a larger diameter to safely transmit that load. Pretty simple, if you knew it.

    Just look at a tool box… there are ¼” drive, ⅜” drive, ½” drive, etc. For good reason. See if you can figure it out. I’ve broken many a ⅜” drive wrench, extension and sockets when I should have used a ½” drive.


  22. Billy Parker, if shaft diameter is not a safety issue, what kind of issue is it? Is it a performance issue?

    “It’s a very tough decision with the way our season has been going,” Gray said. “We had a shot at getting our third championship there. But the way they went about it this time, who’s to say they don’t look at something else in a couple weeks that’s not a performance advantage and then disqualify us again later for it. Grasping at straws and disqualifying us over something so minimal, what’s the point of going back?”

    and this

    “Had they said ‘We know it’s not a performance advantage, but can you fix it for next week’ we would have done it.”

    Do you agree it is a performance issue? Billy Parker, please let us know!!! Inquiring minds want to know!!!!!

    Hey Billy Parker, show us the equations!!!!!

  23. If Adam and crew saw the officials measuring the drive shaft, as they claim, maybe he should have changed before returning to the track. Maybe that was the officials way of giving him a break, let them see the drive shaft being measured and leaving Adam to do the right thing and not bring it back. That aside, it has been my experience that when you get DQ’d for something you take issue with, you change it and come back and win to prove it had no advantage. JMO

  24. “raise the purse and or make the rules between the three tracks the same and they will run where the nmoney and treatment are best.”

    This is exactly why Stafford has no interest in adapting ACT rules. They intentionally keep their rulebooks different than the other tracks to prevent people from going elsewhere without major changes to their car (or having to buy a new one). They get people financially committed, then tell them to go somewhere else if they don’t like how they’re treated. They’d have to actually respect their competitors if they had to worry more about people switching tracks when they get fed up with the bs.

  25. Have him go to seekonk speedway cars are up this year in the late models plus it would be nice to see some new guys there

  26. Richard a Stafford late model is not and act car. Seekonk, Waterford and Thompson are all act lm tracks.

  27. Rules are rules.
    Good riddance cry baby

  28. Crazy in NY says

    I’m total agreement with Adam here. If and when a rule violation is found by tech it should be dealt with
    right then and now. “Banking” it for some weeks later is jive for sure. Since most agree it wasn’t a performance advantage a warning would have sufficed or if you really need to ,yeah go ahead a DQ him for that night (as he said he’d accept) but springing it on him down the road is chicken shi…
    We all want fair play and a level playing field but that goes not only to the racers but to tech and/or management as well.
    Screw Stafford.

  29. A competitor like Adam gray doesn’t dominate like he has the past couple of years because he and his crew are ignorant. Has anyone heard of moment of emerita? That driveshaft is absolutely an advantage, both in acceleration and deceleration. Just plain physics. The advantage might be minimal, but it sure doesn’t hurt. As far as safety, risk vs reward. Smokey Yunik is rolling in his grave listening to some of these comments. Don’t know who smokey is? I bet Adam knows.

  30. Crazy in NY says

    It’s moment of inertia and this Wiki entry makes it clear

    The moment of inertia, otherwise known as the angular mass or rotational inertia, of a rigid body determines the torque needed for a desired angular acceleration about a rotational axis. It depends on the body’s mass distribution and the axis chosen, with larger moments requiring more torque to change the body’s rotation. It is an extensive (additive) property: the moment of inertia of a composite system is the sum of the moments of inertia of its component subsystems (all taken about the same axis). One of its definitions is the second moment of mass with respect to distance from an axis r, I = \int_m r^2 \mathrm dm , integrating over the entire mass.

    For bodies constrained to rotate in a plane, it is sufficient to consider their moment of inertia about an axis perpendicular to the plane. For bodies free to rotate in three dimensions, their moments can be described by a symmetric 3 × 3 matrix; each body has a set of mutually perpendicular principal axes for which this matrix is diagonal and torques around the axes act independently of each other.

    clear as mud. yeah most non engineer racers get this and make these calculations in the garage when the beers flowing on Weds night. Get real!! It’s a minor infraction at best and should have
    been dealt with when found. If it’s a safety violation (as some here claim) shame on the officials then
    for allowing Adams “unsafe” car on the track at all.

  31. Hey Bob, what is “moment of emerita”?

  32. I’m with Tom on this. If they watched the driveshaft being teched, and they were not dinged back then, then they should have interpreted that as a gift, and they had better not try to get away with it again. Tech gave them a chance to make it right, they didn’t take it. Instead, it looks like they thought tech was clueless and they got away with it, and can do it again. Huge mistake. And if Gray didn’t know what the rule was, that was a tough way to be informed.

  33. It’s plausible that the inspector who performed the measurement either wasn’t aware of the current rule or botched the measurement. Either way, that doesn’t mean it’ll continue to pass going forward, or that the part is now an approved part. This is no different than speeding by a cop and not getting stopped. Just ’cause you didn’t get pulled over doesn’t mean speeding is now legal.

    I’m with the folks above on “gifts”… An illegal or incorrect part that clears tech is a gift. If you know it’s not legal, take the gift and fix the part. If the team didn’t know the correct specs to meet the current rule, that’s on them.

    If Gray’s team got a wink from an inspector, who knowingly let them cheat, maybe they should share that inspector’s name publicly.

  34. Grey Matter says

    Shaft diameter means nothing unless there is a plausible lack of wall thickness to attract failure. just because is smaller doesn’t mean its weaker folks.

  35. I’m glad that people are finally recognizing that this is not just Stafford Motor Speedway’s fault. You can say all you want about the low car counts, but the people that have left the division this year are doing so for all the wrong reasons. The physical altercations on and off the track this year for the Late Model drivers and crew members is embarrassing. Maybe instead of fighting or complaining about things through their computer screens, they should try talking to people such as Mark Arute or Tom Fox as grown adults.

    A few things that no one has mentioned yet – why do we just automatically believe Adam Gray when he says that the driveshaft was checked in a previous week? If Tom Fox said that it wasn’t inspected in tech yet this year, why aren’t we believing him? They have a log book that details the inspections. Maybe someone should be talking to the other two drivers that were in tech the night that Gray says that his driveshaft was checked.

    Another thing – how could Adam Gray actually not know about the rule change? They clearly post the rule books for every year and even highlight the changes. In just a few minutes, I searched through last year’s rule book online and it was not a change for the 2014 racing season. Therefore, it had to have been changed for the 2013 season or earlier. So Adam Gray has been illegal all this time, most likely throughout his two championships. Shame on him to say that he had no knowledge of the change. Any race car driver, crew chief, and owner should know the rules to a T, and if they don’t, they should at least know where to reference the rules.

    Lastly, I don’t know why Adam Gray would even say that the driveshaft isn’t a performance advantage. It clearly can be an advantage, as some of you have stated. You’d think a championship driver would know more about racing.

  36. Chris D. says

    Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before positive changes seem necessary and changes take place. I think it is fair to say that Stafford’s LM division has hit rock bottom, so hopefully some changes will occur to improve the car counts for the fans and the rules package for the teams. I’m a mod fan first, but I do believe you need to have at least 2 good support divisions. NOT 5 or 6, 2or 3…

  37. Grey Matter: “Shaft diameter means nothing unless there is a plausible lack of wall thickness to attract failure. just because is smaller doesn’t mean its weaker folks.”


    Well, with all the debate over what the benefit of a smaller diameter shaft is, well, what? LOL!!!!

    The diameter of the shaft determines the strain in the shaft wall. I do believe that the minimum wall thickness is also specified. The smaller the diameter, the more strain in the wall material. Strain can be considered deflection, shearing, deformation. The more strain, the closer the stress gets to the critical yield stress of the material, and then you have a failure. Plain and simple basic mechanical engineering. Think about it… a smaller diameter shaft has less material to carry a known load. There will be more stress in the wall of the smaller diameter shaft because there is less material to carry the load. And that is aside from the higher stress simply due to the smaller diameter, think in terms of increased leverage. Are there driveshaft containment requirements in the rules?

    I guess all those engineers that designed the 10″ diameter shaft to carry 25,000 hp could have gotten away with a little weenie 1.75″ diameter shaft. NOT! LOL!!!!

    And as far as those of you that think is it a performance issue, think again, but don’t hurt yourself. The moment of INERTIA issue only applies during acceleration, or deceleration. The deceleration doesn’t matter, the brakes can lock up the wheels and the driveshaft has no say in the matter. But on acceleration, it’s different, do you really think the diameter difference is going to affect one of these car’s ability to accelerate such that it is noticeable and an advantage? We aren’t talking about high tech F1, NHRA Top Fuelers, Indy cars… we are talking about local small track late model cars.

    Do you really think that the diameter of a driveshaft was specified in the rules as a performance limiting/controlling criterion? LOL!!!!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!! For a local short track late model class?????

    Grey Matter and Billy Parker… do the math and show the conservation of energy results.

  38. Yeah…I’m a terrible proof reader. But you guys knew what I was talking about. Point is, nothing is done these days by competitors without intent whether it is an actual advantage or just in their imagination. Sometimes the reason can be because you got a good deal on a nonconforming item and you couldn’t afford the actual rule change. (You know the ones your engine builder pushed for) If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Suck it up!


  40. speed kills says

    Pete I believe Stafford has the most level playing field and has been the most consistent in the treatment of racers over the years .. are there going to be exceptions of course .. Mr. Grey in my opinion needs to get a driveshaft and go racing.. if i still owned a car I would be racing at Stafford.. PS I believe every driver hopes to say one day he was a winner at Stafford.. Thompson,Waterford,Seekonk not so much although I love those tracks too… Stafford has a little more juice.. again just my opinion …

  41. Crazy in NY says

    Folks were talking about an 1/8 of an inch not the 8 1/4 dareal was flapping on about. Is that 1/8 why
    the guy was track champ 2 years running? Are the Pats 29 point better than Indy because Brady
    had 1/2 pound underinflated balls.? THAT’S IT>>>> ADAM MUST HAVE GOT THE D SHAFT FROM

  42. Andy Boright says

    Unbelievable, guy gets caught red handed with an illegal part and there are people on here claiming it’s the race track fault – LOL

    It absolutely is a performance advantage and the track did the right thing in DQ’ing him. If he doesn’t like running by the same rules everyone else has to go by, he won’t find many places to race.

  43. beserious says

    Adam Gray crying and taking his ball and going home? Oh, what a shame! Who’s going to run into everyone and push people out of the way now? Well, I guess there’s still Fearn and Stuart possibly , and a couple more in this rough mess of a division.

  44. Amazing… you people complain when rules are enforced, and complain when the rules aren’t enforced.

    There’s just no pleasing you.

    But it is funny.

  45. Adam Gray comes from a great racing family. His father Barry has been racing for years and as far as I know never quit when handed a defeat. OK Adam, we get it. You feels as though you got handed a raw deal. And maybe you did. But champions don’t quit. They pick themselves back up and get back into the game. It’s time for you to get back into the game. You can still do a three peat. Dust yourself off and get back into your car and do your family proud.

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