Stafford Motor Speedway 2016 Mid-Season Divisional Reviews

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

Ted Christopher celebrates victory in the NAPA SK 5K earlier this month at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

Ted Christopher celebrates victory in the NAPA SK 5K earlier this month at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

Stafford’s premier SK Modified division has provided some of the best weekly short track racing in the country and the 2016 season has been no different. The level of competition has never been higher and the drivers are delivering scintillating performances every Friday night.

As the 2016 season hits the midway point, the race for the championship is a tight one with 9-time SK Modified champion Ted Christopher and defending champion Rowan Pennink separated by only 12 points.

The 2016 season has been a resurgence of sorts for Christopher. The 2015 season saw his streak of winning at least one SK Modified feature every year come to an end at 30 years and he managed only 5 top-5 finishes all year and he finished 9th in the standings. Thus far in 2016, Christopher and the #13 JVIII Construction / Sterling Security team have yet to finish a race outside the top-10 with his lowest finish being a 6th and he has won twice to bring his career SK Modified® win total up to 103.

Despite changing crew chiefs after winning the 2015 championship, Rowan Pennink and the #99 NAPA Van Wickle Auto Supply / Independent Wheel team picked up right where they left off in 2015 by winning 3 of the first four races to firmly establish themselves as championship contenders once again. Pennink’s 3 wins at the mid-way point of the season lead the division but consistency has been lacking in his finishes, thus creating the 12 point deficit he currently faces to Christopher in the race for the championship.

Woody Pitkat and the #50 Flamingo Motorsports / Gunsmoke Stables team have won twice in the first half of the 2016 season to match Christopher’s total for wins while other feature winners include Eric Berndt and the #66 Cos’ Central Auto / North End Auto Parts team and Todd Owen and the #81 Cooker Construction team with one win each.

Keith Rocco and the #88 Wheelers Auto team have yet to win a race in 2016, but they are the closest rivals to Christopher and Pennink in the race for the championship. Rocco is currently third in the standings, 58 points out of the lead. Berndt is fourth in the standings, 72 points behind, and Mike Christopher, Jr. has showed that he isn’t suffering from the sophomore jinx as he is fifth in the standings, 92 points behind.

2015 SK Light champion Stephen Kopcik and the #31 Hocon Industrial Gas team are having things all their way in the race for the NAPA Rookie of the Year award. Kopcik has two top-5 and and 5 top-10 finishes through the first 9 races of the season as they continue to chase after their first feature win.

With the second half of the season still to come, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will come out on top in the race for the championship but the competition on the track promised to be as exciting as ever.

Late Model

Tom Fearn (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

Tom Fearn (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

Since the drop of the green flag on the 2016 Late Model season at Stafford Motor Speedway at the NAPA Spring Sizzler back in April, 4 teams have emerged as championship contenders with 20 points separating first place from fourth place in the standings.

Currently leading the standings is Tom Fearn and the #92 SAFCO Foam / King Ward Coach Lines team. Fearn and the #92 team won the most races in the Late Model division last year with 10 and Fearn once again leads all Late Model drivers at the half-way point of 2016 with three wins. Fearn holds a slim 8 point lead over Michael Wray, who was the 2015 Late Model Rookie of the Year.

Just as Mike Christopher, Jr. isn’t showing any signs of a sophomore slump in the SK Modified division, Michael Wray and the #42 DMW Graphics team are building on their Rookie of the Year performance of last season. Wray has been on the podium in 5 of the 9 Late Model features this year and he has one victory to his credit. Wray’s consistency has kept him in touch with Fearn despite Fearn’s margin of 3 wins to Wray’s 1.

Just behind Fearn and Wray are the teams of Kevin Gambacorta and Josh Wood. The #32 Rafferty Fine Grading team of Gambacorta have been in search of a Late Model feature victory since moving into the division in 2012. That search ended on June 17 and they followed up that first win with a second consecutive win the very next Friday night. Gambacorta’s 2 wins have him tied with Josh Wood for third in the standings, 20 points behind Fearn.

Just as Gambacorta had been searching for a Late Model feature win since 2012, Wood and the #17 Flamingo Motorsports team had been so close to their first win of the year with two second and two third place efforts before finally getting a win last Friday night. Gambacorta is a former 3-time track champion at Stafford and Wood is the 2013 Limited Late Model champion at Stafford, so both drivers have been in the thick of a championship fight before and they know how they can claw their way out of the 20 point deficit they both face to catch Fearn.

Sitting fifth in the points standings is rookie driver Joel Monahan. The driver of the #03 Monahan Trucking Chevrolet along with Tyler Leary, the driver of the #11 Amherst Trucking Chevrolet, both made the move to the Late Model division after racing against one another at Monadnock Speedway. The two rookie drivers are separated by only 32 points in the chase for NAPA Rookie of the Year honors and with the familiarity of racing against one another for several seasons, the rookie fight is sure to go right down to the wire.

In addition to the top-4 drivers in the points standings, the only other drivers to have won a race this season include Michael Bennett and Woody Pitkat, who won while driving Bennett’s #16 machine.

With such a tight race among the top-4 drivers in the standings, the race for the Late Model championship promises to be an entertaining duel right through to the end of the year.

SK Light Modified

Tony Membrino Jr. (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

Tony Membrino Jr. (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

The 2016 SK Light season at Stafford Motor Speedway has had everything you could ask for in a season. Tony Membrino, Jr. and Joey Ferrigno have been the two drivers to beat during the first half of 2016 and there are two rookie drivers in the top-5 of the standings as well.

Tony Membrino, Jr. and the #44 Additive Manufacturing of New England team have been white hot to start off the 2016 season. In 9 races, they have recorded 5 wins and they have 8 top-6 finishes. Membrino had his worst finish of the season two weeks ago after a crash relegated him to a 14th place finish. But the #44 team came back strong and rebounded with a victory last Friday night to sit 8 points clear of Ferrigno at the halfway point.

Ferrigno and the #87 RH2 Way Radio Communications team have been almost as dominant as Membrino, recording a win and 4 second place finishes in the first 9 races. Ferrigno also has matched Membrino with 8 top-6 finishes and his lowest finish of the year has been a 14th place effort.

Joe Graf, Jr. entered the 2016 season as an SK Light rookie driver and he has looked like anything but a rookie driver. Graf recorded his first feature victory on June 24th and his performances on track have him sitting third in the points standings, 60 points behind Membrino.

Jay Goff has yet to taste the sweets of victory this season but he is tied with Graf for third in the standings. Goff has recorded top-8 finishes in 8 of the 9 races this season with a best finish of 3rd back on May 27th. With his veteran experience, the driver of the #07 Goff Motorsports Chevrolet can’t be ignored as the second half of the season gets underway.

Just as Graf has had an impressive rookie season, another rookie driver to keep notice of is David Arute. The DARE Stock and Limited Late Model veteran made the move into the SK Light division for the 2016 season and the driver of the #75 Big Haus USA Chevrolet is 72 points behind Membrino and only 12 points behind Graf in the race for Rookie of the Year honors. Arute has 2 podium finishes in his first 9 starts and he looks to be closing in on a first win.

As the 2016 season enters its second half, the race for the track championship and the race for the R.O.Y. are sure to be barnburners. With such a high level of performance through the first 9 races can Membrino and Ferrigno maintain that pace throughout the entirety of a season, or will they falter and be caught or even surpassed? Just as the track title race is close, the R.O.Y. race between Graf and Arute is sure to be a nailbiter right down to the wire as Graf will be hungry for more wins while Arute is hungry for his first win.

Limited Late Model

Paul Arute (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

Paul Arute (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

Stafford Motor Speedway’s Limited Late Model division is once again providing some thrilling full fendered excitement on the track. The top-7 drivers in the points standings are separated by only 50 points, leaving the championship chase wide open for anyone to step up to the plate and take.

The leading winner in the division this season has been Paul Arute and the #82 Supreme Industries team with three wins. Arute is the only driver to have recorded multiple wins this season as Robert Bloxsom, III, Justin Bren, Bryan Narducci, Duane Provost, and the Saunders twins Al and Cliff, have all won one race each. Despite Arute leading the division with three wins, he is not at the top of the points standings as he trails Provost by 10 points.

Provost has been the most consistent driver of the first half of 2016 with 6 podium finishes, including a victory on July 8. Arute has the three wins, but he has one less top-5 finish than Provost. The two drivers are separated by only 10 points, which is 5 positions on the racetrack.

Sitting third in the standings is the defending track champion Al Saunders. The driver of the #04 American Sleeve Bearing Chevrolet is 22 points behind Provost with his twin brother Cliff, driver of the #4 American Sleeve Bearing Chevrolet fourth in the standings, 34 points behind.

Rounding out the top-5 in the standings is 2-time defending DARE Stock track champion Frank L’Etoile, Jr. L’Etoile has recorded two podium finishes in the first 9 races and he is the leading rookie driver but he is only 18 points ahead of Bryan Narducci in the #28 Mosquito Free Organic Mosquito Control Chevrolet.

The 15-year old Narducci comes to the Limited Late Model division after making his name in the Monday Night Wild Thing Kart Series at Stafford. Narducci won 40 races during his 6 seasons of kart racing and he put that winning experience to use this past Friday night as he took down his very first feature victory. With some winning momentum on his side, Narducci is primed to make a run at L’Etoile during the second half of the season for Rookie of the Year honors as well as looking to move up from his current position of 8th in the points standings.

With so many drivers within striking distance of one another in the race for the championship, the race for the Limited Late Model crown may be one of the most entertaining races during the second half of the 2016 season.

DARE Stock

Brandon Michael (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

Brandon Michael (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

With the departure of 2-time defending DARE Stock track champion Frank L’Etoile, Jr. to the Ltd. Late Model division, the race for the track championship is wide open. There are three drivers separated by only 4 points or two positions on the track and the 4th place driver is only 26 points out of the lead.

The championship race through the first 9 races of the season has been a see-saw affair with several drivers all taking turns as the point leader. Entering the mid-season stretch event, Brandon Michael leads Trace Beyer and Johnny Walker by only 4 points with Tyler Trott 26 points back in fourth place. Fifth place Ryan Fearn is 88 points behind Michael.

In limited action during the 2015 season, Michael was a force to be reckoned with as he collected 2 wins and 7 top-6 finishes in only 6 starts. That consistency has carried over to the 2016 season as the driver of the #74 Bet Rock Farms Chevrolet has recorded top-10 finishes in all 9 of his starts including 1 win and 4 podium finishes.

Beyer had a blip on his 2016 season back on June 17 with a 14th place finish, but he and the #29 Riggs Distler team rebounded nicely from that with 2 consecutive wins to put themselves right back into the thick of the championship race.

Johnny Walker returns to the DARE Stock division after a year away and the driver of the #01 Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Chevrolet is no stranger to championship chases with back to back 2nd place points finishes in 2013 and 2014. Walker has one win this season to go along with 8 top-5 finishes in his 9 starts.

Tyler Trott is a 2-time feature winner this season and he has 5 podium finishes, but the driver of the #11 Jet Motorsports Chevrolet has also had 2 finishes outside the top-10, which is why he sits 26 points behind Michael for the DARE Stock point lead. But with 3 wins last season and 2 already this season, Trott knows his way to NAPA Victory Lane and he could erase that deficit at any moment.

Other feature winners this season include Ryan Fearn and his sister Alexandra Fearn, who each have one victory. Michael Hopkins is the leading rookie and he has a robust 90 point advantage over 15-year old Chris Sanford in the race for Rookie of the Year honors.

With 4 drivers so close together in the standings and with each of them already feature winners this season, the race for the DARE Stock championship could turn out to be the closest battle among Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions.

For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at


  1. No review of the car counts?

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