Building The Beast: Stafford NAPA SK 5K Quick To Earn Cache As Major Event On Local Racing Calendar

Ryan Preece

Ryan Preece

Ask Ryan Preece why this Friday is so special at Stafford Motor Speedway and two words fire out immediately.

“Big money,” Preece says.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that, especially when it comes to a race where cash money is literally the name of the game.

The NAPA SK 5K as in $5,000 plus for standing in victory lane.

The second year event at Stafford Motor Speedway, which takes place Friday, has quickly become a calendar circler for those across the SK Modified racing landscape in Southern New England short track circles.

“Not many places you can make money like that,” Preece said. “You can do it on the [Whelen Modified Tour] but it costs a lot more. When we go to Stafford it’s probably going to cost us $800 or $900, but you go out there and win that and it could be $7,500 or $8,000. That’s huge. I think it’s really cool that with Dunleavy [Gambler’s Challenge] being involved and NAPA being involved and with Stafford, having races like this really helps competitors just because, if you look at the rundown, I think the top-10 pays better than a second place on any other week. For guys that don’t usually get top-three’s and can take in the money to help recover some, it really helps. I think it’s good for everybody. But it’s real good if you can win that race.”

The event offers some very unique aspects. The Dunleavy Gambler’s Challenge offers at this point a $4,800 in bonus money above and beyond the purse for the 16 drivers who have chosen to enter it. Fan voting will decide how the Gambler’s Challenge bonus will be distributed.

The event also offers fans the chance to decide aspects of the race format and payoffs for heat race finishes.

Former Stafford Speedway SK Modified division champion Keith Rocco appreciates the massive promotional push the track has made to quickly turn the race into a showcase event.

“Stafford does a great job with it,” Rocco said. “They’re taking it, I know it’s only the second year, but they’re taking it above and beyond and trying to draw people’s attention. It’s really cool.”

Rowan Pennink used last year’s inaugural event to turn around some early season struggles. Winning the first SK 5K turned out to be the springboard to a five-win season in 2014 for Pennink.

Going into Friday’s SK 5K Pennink is the hottest driver in the SK Modified division at the track. He goes into the race having won his fifth race of the season last week and holding the division points lead.

“I’d like win this one and be able to say I’m the only one who has won it ever so far,” Pennink said. “And then try to defend it next year again.”

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