Marcello Rufrano Looking To Chasing Championship – And Maybe More – In 2016 At Stafford Speedway

Marcello Rufrano (left) works with his dad, SK Modified team owner John Rufrano in the pits at Stafford Motor Speedway

Marcello Rufrano (left) works with his dad, SK Modified team owner John Rufrano in the pits at Stafford Motor Speedway

Through 18 races this year at Stafford Motor Speedway, Marcello Rufrano morphed from the new kid on the block to weekly contender for victory at Stafford Motor Speedway.

When the 2016 season kicks off, with the new face characterization long in the rear view, Rufrano hopes the description instead is filled by the words championship contender.

The 15-year old Rufrano is the son of SK Modified team owner John Rufrano, who fields a car at Stafford Speedway full-time for former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco of Wallingford.

Despite missing three events due to a mid-season trip to Italy, Marcello Rufrano completed his rookie season eighth in the DARE Stock standings, with two victories, nine top-five’s and 14 top-10’s.

Marcello Rufrano scored his first career victory on July 17 at Stafford.

“I felt we did pretty good this year,” Marcello Rufrano said. “We had a little bit of a learning curve. It certainly went better than I expected it would be, getting the wins and all that. They really meant a lot and they gave me a lot of [confidence].

“Pretty much the performance grew greater and greater as the weeks went on and I grew more comfortable with the car.”

Marcello Rufrano said the toughest part of the season was missing events just when he was feeling comfortable enough to contend regularly for victories. He left for Italy the week after getting his first victory.

“That was really hard,” Marcello Rufrano said. “The week leading up to us travelling back, I kept asking my father if I could find a connecting flight back to Connecticut. I was really bummed that we were there. I had so much momentum. I got that win out of the way and then I had to leave and go to another country for two weeks and that pretty much brought my hopes down.”

“I know this year we could have finished a little bit higher in the standings if I didn’t go away. Next year I will not be going to Italy and that may help us in the championship, and also considering [two-time division champion Frank L’Etoile] is also leaving the division, that might help too.”

John Rufrano was pleased with the progress he saw through the year.

“He did a lot better than I thought he was going to do,” Rufrano said. “He was competitive with the guys out there, from getting out of a go-kart and getting right into a full-size car.

“He’s got a good mind-set with racing. I wish he had that a little bit more with the school. But the kid eat, drinks and sleeps and racing. He watches videos all day long. He’s a little too attached to it, but maybe that’s why he’s progressed so well.”

Marcello Rufrano leans on Rocco for advice and mentorship each week at the track.

“Since he was a kid – I started racing with Keith back in 2009 – and he was little then, he’d come to the track with my wife on Friday nights and all he ever did was idolize Keith and talk about Keith,” John Rufrano said. “He thought he was Dale Earnhardt to him. I think that has a lot to do with what he’s doing. He watches him on the track. Some of the things he does he learned from seeing Keith doing. He’ll talk to Keith before a feature or something and he’d go out there and feature and do things that he was taught or told or seen from Keith.”

As far next year, chasing a DARE Stock title is the goal, but there could be more options in the works.

“I’m not 100 percent sure, but I have a spare SK [Modified] that we may run toward the end of the season as an SK [Light Modified] and see how he gets around with that,” John Rufrano said.

Said Marcello Rufrano: “I’d like to see myself in an SK Light [Modified] after the end of next season, if not a little bit earlier. On the pace we’re going right now, it may come sooner than I expect. You never know.”


  1. Don’t Marcello or his family personally….. but was there the night he won his first feature and thought his post race excitement and comments were what local short track racing was all about… you could here the gratitude and genuine excitement in the kids voice ( squeaky as it still may be ) Wish him the best of luck next season racing needs more young kids like him …

  2. Best owner in all of racing
    Rocco is like a big brother to that Kid
    Dare stock cars are very slow and that’s good for beginners out there

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing