Stafford Speedway’s Michael Bennett Breaking Away To Run Part-Time Schedule In 2016

Michael Bennett is preparing this ACT legal Late Model to run part-time locally in 2016 (Photo: Courtesy Michael Bennett)

Michael Bennett is preparing this ACT legal Late Model to run part-time locally in 2016 (Photo: Courtesy Michael Bennett)

The chances are most likely that there will not be a repeat Late Model champion at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2016.

With three events remaining this season Michael Bennett looks on cruise control to his first Stafford Motor Speedway Late Model division championship.

But the driver from Stafford said Tuesday that he will not be returning to the track full-time in 2016.

Bennett told RaceDayCT Tuesday that he will run a part-time schedule locally in 2016 which will focus primarily on running events in a new American-Canadian Tour type Late Model purchased recently by his car owner Bob “Bingo” Navratil.

Bennett said his team is looking for an escape from the stress of weekly racing. Bennett said family is a needed focus for he and numerous members of his team. Bennett’s three-year old son Chace is currently in remission after the family found out in August that he had Leukemia.

“Between Chace’s situation, having a young family, racing weekly has been kind of a stressful thing,” Bennett said. “So we’re going to take a step back and have a little fun at a few different race tracks. In order to do that we had to have a different racecar since the Stafford car you really can’t bring anywhere. So we had decided to look for an ACT car so we could do a few different things next year. We’re going to circle 10 races to race next year with that car and not race every week and have some fun. And possibly still run the Stafford car a few times. We were going to put the Stafford car up for sale but Bingo wants to keep it.”

“The crew I have, they all have families. Racing week after week after week it gets kind of taxing. I know we signed up to do that, but in the same sense, we can do something a little different and have some fun and we’re going to try to do that.”

The 10-races with the ACT legal Late Model will be run primarily at Thompson Speedway and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in 2016. Bennett said he is also hoping to find his way into the 2016 ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He said the team will run its first with the ACT car at the 2016 Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway.

“Otherwise, I really don’t know what races we will schedule,” Bennett said. “I’ve only ever raced at Stafford. So it will be a challenge to all of us on the team.”

Bennett has six wins in the Late Model division at Stafford this year and currently holds a 44-point lead over second place Kevin Gambacorta in the standings. He has top-five finishes in 15 of 19 events this year.

Bennett returned to the Late Model division full-time in 2014 after running an SK Modified at Stafford in 2013. He won five events in Late Model division between 2007 and 2011. He originally moved to the Late Model division at Stafford after winning a Limited Late Model division championship at the track in 2005.

Bennett has 32 career feature victories at Stafford and is tied with Tom Rosati for 14th on the track’s all-time feature win list. His first victory at the track came on Sept. 28, 2002 in the DARE Stock division. He has four DARE Stock victories and 14 victories in a Limited Late Model to go with his 13 career Late Model wins. He also has one career “Late Model 16” event win, which the track considers a feature victory.

Bennett said just because he’s not racing full-time at Stafford next year doesn’t mean he’ll never return to running full-time again at his home track.

“Maybe we’ll go back full-time in a year or two, that’s not out of the question,” Bennett said.



  1. Stafford needs to go ACT rules next year. Be awesome to see 30 late models every week

  2. Late model rules are already out for next year. No significant changes.

  3. Right on Steve. Exactly what I was thinking. I don’t know how convertible the ACT style is to Stafford current car but the times has come to drop there single track late model and move to a more widely used model. May not get full fields for a year or so but at least teams will have the ability to run three tracks if they choose to. Sk and sk lights are already run at the other tracks so y not. Make your limited late models limited sportsmans. Make your dare stocks limited sportsmans add mini stocks and remove the legend cars. Same amount of divisions but you have a better opportunity to pull in some of those thompson cars collecting dust all year, cause I really don’t think thompson is interested in weekly racing anymore. So get em while you can.

  4. Andy Boright says

    What track gets 30 ACT Late Models every week?

    At most tracks they hover around 9 – 12 like they do at Waterford. Oxford & Lee got rid of them several years ago.

  5. Racing weekly is becoming to difficult.Money,familys,work,and many other more important situations cause team members owners,drivers etc to back out.Family first,dont every forget it.

  6. 30 ACT late models hahahaha. Do you know how to count Steve?

  7. There is to many touring series. Went to stafford Friday for vmrs and I’d say 80% of the field wouldn’t win in a sk race. Tracks need to get together and stop supporting these series. The weekly shows would gain be them going back to there weekly tracks.

  8. Stafford will never switch to ACT late models. That would take attention off of the modified divisions, which are keeping Stafford afloat right now.

  9. I think if stafford went ACT rules and grandfather in the rules for the stafford late model for one year you would see close to thirty a week, at least 26. I can think of at least 5 new cars right now plus stafford would b able to bring in an ACT tour show which their regulars could run.jmo

  10. The ACT Tour itself draws 27-30 cars for many of their shows. I’m anxious to see what the event at the World Series looks like. That will give everyone a good indication of how many locals could run. I agree with Franky though, In general, there are too many tours here in New England.

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