Speedy Starter: Tony Membrino Jr. Wins NAPA Spring Sizzler SK Light Mod Feature At Stafford

Tony Membrino Jr. (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway)

Tony Membrino Jr. (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway)

STAFFORD – Tony Membrino Jr. opened his 2016 racing season with a victory at Thompson Speedway’s Icebreaker weekend on April 9.

Saturday Membrino completed the iconic event double.

Membrino, of Berlin, held off the charges of Joey Ferrigno over the closing circuits to win the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature Saturday at the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway.

“The prestige and the history in both of those events is really overwhelming to take in,” Membrino said. “Not to mention last year we started off with back to back DNF’s, so this is quite the turnaround for us. It’s a hell of a rollercoaster feeling. I’m just excited and blessed to be able to experience it. Whatever luck I’m on I hope I’ve got more in store for me.”

Ferrigno, of East Hartford, held on for second and Vinny Anglace Jr. of Ansonia third.

On lap 12 Ferrigno got under Membrino and the two came to the start/finish line side-by-side battling for the lead. Membrino cleared Ferrigno off of turn two on lap 13 before the caution flew on lap 15. After the restart Ferrigno found another lane under Membrino briefly but still couldn’t find the way past him.

“That’s Mr. Bottom right there and he had the inside line,” Membrino said. “But this car is Mrs. Outside. I love putting that car there and that’s the first time in a while that I didn’t choose the outside on a restart. Thank you racing for me clean. He gave me a couple taps, but that’s Modified racing. It’s good hard love. I’m so stoked to be here for Spring Sizzler victory lane.”

Said Ferrigno: “We were in good in different places on the track. He had me coming out of [turn two] and I had him in the center of [turns] three and four. It’s just the way it played out. If I can’t win I’m glad it’s another low buck [Italian] that won the race.”


  1. Street stock fan says

    How does he race in the lites? He moved up choked and dropped down a division. Does this mean if TC has a bad year he could race a lite. Is their a rule once you move up a division you can’t go down?

  2. Street Stock Fan,
    There’s no rule at Stafford that you can’t return to the SK Light Modified division if you race an SK Modified.

  3. Maybe some teams can’t afford or want to spend what it takes to run an SK ,not sure sure losing a motor is exactly choking

  4. Ronald Trump says

    There shouldn’t be a rule against dropping down a division. Obviously SK Lights is what he can afford and continue to race as often as he likes. Good for him for not being like our government and spending more money than he can afford to…
    Tony is a smart young man who has often made insightful comments to stories on this site. I don’t always agree with him, but he has my respect and I wish him the best in 2016…

  5. beserious says

    I still can’t understand why Stafford forces these guys to only run 20 lap features. They should be 30 and the single-file-ten-car Late Models should be cut back from 30.

  6. Great job
    I’m not sure what the rest mean about dropping down
    He owns that division clearly
    My guess 8 or 9 wins this year maybe ten

  7. This was the best feature race of the day. Clean racing and action at the front.

  8. He owns division please caught cheating many times but track does nothing last year 3 times caught with rev limiter not plugged in which let’s car run faster then others and he wasn’t the only one but if rev limiter not on should be DQ’D

  9. Maybe getting junked the first race and blowing the motor twice all before the halfway mark did it. It was a budget move..know the facts before you judge.

  10. Prestige and History? C’mon, we’re talking about lights that race the saturday before, let’s not get carried away. Not sure I’d want to be called Mr. Bottom…oh well

  11. Sharpie Fan says

    I believe the rule interpretation is that you cannot run in an sk light feature and an sk feature on the same day.

  12. If you can run a tour mod and a sk mod on the same night, then why can’t you run an sk and sk lite on the same day? makes no sense that you can run a late model? Dirt tracks have 2 modified divisions. one is open and the other is crate – or big block, small block.
    If you are calling the sk lites a beginner division then you need a win rule like they used to have in dare.
    SK lites is still not affordable due to the poor purse and the poor engine rule.
    Purses should be determined by car counts – sk lites should be a better purse than the late models

  13. It’s all pretty impressive as far as I’m concerned. Just look at the Times some of those lites are turning with a lot less horsepower than an SK. This division is far from a joke and far from being inexpensive. There’s an amazing amount of talent in this class and they’re doing it all without spotters. I think Stafford is doing the best they can to make good drivers out of these kids. We are sure to see some good racing this year in this class and remember the names of the kids doing it because a lot of them are going to go somewhere. But I must admit I wouldn’t mind seeing a Polish kid ahead of those two Italians!!! Lol

  14. Tony Membrino says

    I know I shouldn’t throw bananas into the monkey cage, but I can’t sit idle when highly unsupported and false accusations of foul play are directed at my father, Ed Flemke, and the people on my team that work tirelessly within the confines of the track/division rulebooks to give me the best opportunities to win races.

    So, Mod Fan, allow me to enlighten you with some justifiable facts. Fact – Since we began competing in the NWAAS in 2008, our team has never been issued a penalty or a warning of any kind due to an infraction found during or following pre or post-race technical inspection. Fact – Our car was never found with the MSD rev limiter unplugged at any point during the 2015 season.. Fact (I think) – I haven’t analyzed dyno sheets or the numbers one of our crate engines puts out on a dyno, but I am willing to bet that most of them are at their peak horsepower and torque before reaching 6000 RPM, which would pretty much render your theory of the absence of a rev limiter useless..

    However, there was one particular situation in post-race inspection last June where the MSD rev limiter was tested and was not working properly. It was discovered that the box had burnt out, and was throwing sparks at the connectors while attempting to reconnect it. Therefore, this box would not have been keeping our engine below 6000 RPM. Not that it mattered, considering in the heat of June and lap times in the 19.9 – 20.1 second range, I’d be extremely skeptical if any SK Light was reaching 5900 RPM, let alone 6000. However, this was not the first, second, or third box to burn out on us. In fact, over $1,000 was spent on replacing boxes over the course of 2 seasons. We had been in continuous contact with track officials about this issue, and we found out that other teams were also having issues with boxes burning out as well. The SMS tech officials had every right to disqualify myself and the third place finishing car that afternoon, and I would have understood that completely because my car was not operating within the technical requirements stated in the rulebook. But they decided not to because of the ongoing problems our team and other teams were having, and I am grateful for that leniency. 1 week later, Stafford issued a change in the rules allowing the use of a different type of MSD rev limiter box, it was in our car the next week, and we haven’t had or heard of such an issue since then.

    Interestingly enough, the references you made have me quite certain which car/team you are affiliated with, which is odd because I feel like I have good relations with most of the people in that group. But let me just point out the obvious and say that spreading lies and rumors to try and cause problems for the competition isn’t going to help your driver win more races than they already are more than capable of doing, especially considering that they had the better car this past Saturday. And if I am correct about your affiliation, perhaps you should follow the slogan on the back of the t-shirts many members of that team wear.

    *Sips tea*

  15. Tony,

    Worked on cars that ran against your Dad and Uncle in the Pro Stocks back in the 80’s. Worked on 600’s at Whip that ran against you. Worked on Lights at Stafford that ran against you and your cousin. Reality check for all of the keyboard jockeys out there. Never ONCE have I heard accusations against a Membrino that they were cheating. They run you hard, never give an inch, push the edges to the point that sometimes there may be a “racing incident” -_o , but never cheating. Don’t let the monkey’s take over the monkey house. Good luck the rest of the season.

  16. I guess we are running great guys,here come the all the haters,keep it all coming,just makes us work harder and Tony drive harder.Thank u.Makes us want to win more with less.

  17. I have a solution to this mud slinging.. I think mod fan an Mr Hollywood should buy a truck load of beer and pizza, we will all go out in the parking lot Friday night after the race, be friends, eat there pizza and drink there beer! Sound like a good plan? Does to me! Especially since there buying!!!

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