Grand Slam: Tony Membrino Jr. Gets Fourth SK Light Mod Win At Speedbowl

Tony Membrino Jr. celebrates his fourth SK Light Modified victory of the season at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Saturday

Tony Membrino Jr. celebrates his fourth SK Light Modified victory of the season at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Saturday

WATERFORD – In May, when the racing season kicked off at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, it was a whole new world for Tony Membrino Jr.

The Berlin driver had made the decision to run full-time at the track in 2016 and started the season in style with victory.

And since that opening weekend Membrino hasn’t been beaten.

Membrino used a late race pass to win the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature.

It was the fourth victory in four SK Light Modified events this year at the Speedbowl for Membrino.

Cory DiMatteo of Farmington was second and Randy Churchill Jr. of Oakdale third.

It continued a stunning run overall to start the season for Membrino across the state’s three NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanctioned short tracks.

Membrino has won nine of the 11 SK Light Modified features he has started in Connecticut in 2016. He has won four of the six events run at Stafford Motor Speedway and the only event run this year at Thompson Speedway.

Membrino said he never expected a start like this at Waterford.

“We had good runs here last year when we ran here once or twice,” Membrino said. “So I felt like we could do it, but foreseeing it and going through the motions, not in a million years [did I think we could].

“There’s not many people that have had this kind of a run. The one’s that have, their names are [Ted Christopher] and [Keith Rocco], guys like that. Guys that are just the embodiment of Modified racing right now. It’s really humbling to be able to put my name in that kind of a category. And I know it’s the SK Light’s and people like to rag on that, that’s it’s not the same. But you’ve got your fast guys every week, you’ve got your mid-packs guys every week and you’ve got your slow guys every week. So as far as I’m concerned it’s the same thing, just different names. It’s really unreal.”

Churchill moved to the front after a restart with 21 laps left with Brett Gonyaw going to second place and Membrino to third.
Gonyaw was penalized on a restart two laps later, moving Membrino to second.

With 10 laps remaining Membrino looked to the outside of Churchill, but couldn’t find a lane to work to snare the lead away and with six laps left Churchill was pulling away out front.

“The car started fading away a little bit,” Membrino said “I was loosing my speed in the center [of the corners].”

But the caution flew with three laps remaining and it proved the undoing for Churchill. Membrino got the jump on the outside to take over the lead on the ensuing restart.

“That’s the reason I’m here,” Membrino said in victory lane. “Restarts are always prone to accidents. That’s a position I don’t want to be, but it’s a risk you have to take to try to win races and I’m happy to be on the good side of a good luck wave.”

The caution flew again with two laps left, but Membrino got away from the field on the restart and DiMatteo was able to move to second place past Churchill.


  1. Awesome!!!! Unstoppable!!! Congrats!!!! The SK’s better be ready when U think Ur ready to make the jump!!!!

  2. Lights out says

    Does the 05 car have a gas pedal in it or is Churchill just slow.. That combined with the officiating of these so called “jumped starts” from the 87 and the 44 made last nights officiating a steaming load. Who ever made those calls needs to realize that the 87 and the 44 lifted TWICE waiting for the 05 to stop playing games and go. Congrats to Tony but it would have been a better race if that 05 would stop being a clown, not to mention the muffler that fell off his car in turn 3.

  3. Nice job Tony. I agree with lights out the officiating during this race was absolutely appalling! The only question I have is how did the 44 miss a shift on the restart, back up 4 or 5 spots then get moved up to second? I thought if you caused the yellow you were not allowed to get your spot back never mind advancing a spot or was it because the restart got called off because of a jump. Then there is the 05 muffler incident, no rule about parts falling off cars especially without contact from another competitor? Could have injured someone driver or fan.

    Restarts, absolutely to many games up front that could have wrecked a bunch of cars for no good reason at all. Time for an officials meeting, getting to look like the Speedbowl of old!

  4. Didn’t he already try to run sks???

  5. Humphry, I believe Buckler said that the caution came out because of the bad restart. How about Shelby Donovan getting 9th after only her 2nd start? How many cars were in the field, about 20? Sure have come a long way since the days of the X mods.

  6. InTheKnow says

    Ok so the 87 and 44 lifted… Last time I checked THE LEADER FIRES FIRST…

  7. InTheKnow says

    Ok so the 87 and 44 lifted… Last time I checked THE LEADER FIRES FIRST… So if the 05 is the leader… And the 87/44 had to lift doesn’t that mean the leader DID NOT fire first??? Isn’t that a jumped start???

    Hop up on the starters stand and try it out if you think you can make better calls than the “steaming pile” you saw

  8. That answers that Rich. Yes 20 in the field and Shelby did an awesome job. Should be an interesting season with plenty of competition!

  9. Billy,

    He did but it was a family run operation and after junking the car once and 2 blown motors all within 8 races the money ran short as did their season. I’d love to see someone give him the chance he is proving he deserves!

  10. Billy, i am not sure… Did he make the advance to to Run w/ the Big Boys like Kopchick did???… When he’s ready I would think he will.. After all he is putting himself from his own words in the same categories as Christopher and Rocco… Who’s next… Stephanick and Evans???… Stay tuned!!!!

  11. Humphfy.Just some info.The reason for the 44 problem on the restart was the car behind him slammed him and knocked the car out of gear.Not going to mention names.Lots of pushing and shoving on restarts and games.

  12. Yea the front row kind of stacked everything up and it was bumper cars back through the pack. Don’t think it was anything intentional just a product of the front row games. Everyone was getting the big push from behind from what I saw.

  13. Paul Thurlow says

    If the SK Lights can continue to draw fields numbering in the high-teens & 20s, I wonder if or when the Bowl might start thinking about swapping the SK Lights for the Late Models as the #2 division on Saturday nights.
    Maybe 2017 could run the LMs once every couple of weeks or part of the Thursday program?

    Its nothing personal against the Late Model guys. But when I see 10, 12, 13 cars roll out for a Feature (at any track) I get a little bummed, only because I remember how 10 cars in a heat race was considered kinda small.

    Membrino actually described this division pretty well: you have the fast cars, the mid pack cars, and the slower ones too. It all makes up a good strong field, and its good to have a dominant car to root for (and against!) as well. That’s what helps keep the people coming back.

  14. Grey Matter says

    The 05 dogged the starts playing games. It was very evident that Churchill was doing it purposely. If you can’t see it, then get your eyes checked. Same goes for Webby…

  15. What is a lite
    Sk car
    They do 8 laps right
    He got a motorcycle motor in the car 4 modified
    The pro fours are the best show
    That’s why tc and rocco run the pro4

  16. Jeffreyt1285, You are trying to be funny, but you are just an idiot! Your grammar is terrible, and your spelling is worse! Your comment regarding Ryan Preece’s effort, is even less comical. I realize you are just trying to get responses (as I did), but you should just try to enter something that makes a little sense.

  17. Billy, The Kid is stought and a gentlemen just like his Dad… They definatelly have it figured out were ever they go… He has a natural ability to drive, he passes cars high or low… Look at him @ STAFFORD!!! There he has no spooter!!! Look at the moves he makes!!

  18. Beast from the East says

    Yeah. Some people just don’t get it. The leader fires first. Anywhere in the box.

  19. Beast from the East says

    They called that restart back saying the 176 pushed the 44 on the restart. Which I don’t get either. What does the 4th place car pushing the 2nd place car have to do with anything?

  20. mike serluca says

    I was telling him when to go. As his spotter I could see the outside car creeping in the box. When I saw the outside car begin to let up, I told him to go. We can go anywhere in the box. We start the race. We maintain pace car speed. If you don’t like the rules, apply for race director and change the rules. They warned us a couple times saying they didn’t like what we were doing, but it’s not against the rules. It wound up costing us when he missed a shift, but oh well. Randy is a past champion in that division so I’m pretty sure we know what we are doing. Thank you for your criticism though. Please seek me out at the track if you would like to critique my strategy with my driver. As you can see, I use my real name because I don’t need to hide behind the keyboard. I always enjoy a face to face discussion rather than some anonymous back and forth in the comment section.
    Congrats to Tony Membrino, Cory DiMatteo and Corey Barry. Didnt hear any crying from those guys or their spotters, which we all stand right next to each other up there and know each other. Big Tony, Joey, and Matt, great job guys!

  21. They should consider getting rid of the restart box and let the flagman start the races ,like the old days.Dont know if it will work or not.worth a try???????

  22. Not a Sheeple says

    I usually get a chuckle from Jefferyt.

  23. I am just using my freedom of speech
    I am actually a golf pro
    I own a track maybe you heard of it seeekonkk
    Plus I own a race team
    48 car jj

  24. m.membrino says

    If u read the article he did not compare himself to anyone. If you need help reading and interpreting articles in the future just stop by the trailer I’ll be glad to help you. Can if you’re going to throw names out for God’s sake spell the damn things right.(Stefanik) maybe we can help you with your spelling too

  25. mike serluca says

    He’s 4 for 4 in the division and 9 for 11 statewide. I believe he has every right to compare that kind of opening dominance with the likes of the names he mentioned. Reading and spelling are clearly not strong points for some people. Seems like general racing knowledge escapes some people too. Yes, the 05 is definitely slow, we took the gas pedal out of the car, and he is a clown. He’s never won a race, a championship, or even led a lap in his life. He’s never had a restart or been involved in a restart. Great observation by Lights Out. You should quit your day job and become an expert on all things racing. You and Paul should team up. It would be a perfect combo.

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