Tony Membrino Jr. Moving To SK Modified Division At Speedbowl For 2017 Season

Tony Membrino Jr. celebrates winning the final the SK Light Modified feature of 2016 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, and also the division championship

A dream season behind the wheel of his SK Light Modified in 2016 has landed Tony Membrino Jr. the opportunity to make a return to SK Modifieds in 2017.

Membrino announced Saturday he will run full-time in the SK Modified division at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in 2017, driving for longtime team owner John Hummel.

Hummel is a former owner on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

“He’s been wanting to get back into racing for a while and he was waiting for the right opportunity,” Membrino said. “I’m lucky enough to have an opportunity with someone who has faith in me and wants to invest in me. And he can go have his own fun and experiences along with me. That’s what I really wanted. If I was going to do this with somebody else … I wanted it to be with someone that wasn’t just a sunny day type of guy. … He understands the challenges we have ahead of us and wants to go through it all together, the highs and the lows and we all have the belief that we’re going to have a good time doing it. We have high hopes.

Membrino, of Berlin, was one of the most dominant short track drivers in the Northeast in 2016, winning SK Light Modified track championships at both the Speedbowl and Stafford Motor Speedway. He finished the season with seven victories at Waterford, seven at Stafford and two at Thompson Speedway.

“I wanted [2016] to be my audition so to speak for the people that maybe were looking for a driver or to sponsor a driver or anything of that matter,” Membrino said. “Anyone can talk the talk, but I wanted to walk the walk and let put my name in their hat.”

It will mark the second foray into SK Modified racing for Membrino. He made the jump to the divison at Stafford in 2014, but it was a short ride. After eight races the team shut down.

“The money went and the motor was the biggest reason because of that,” Membrino said of the ill fated season. “It had to get rebuilt three times in the course of eight races. I definitely have a better feeling about this. I have more confidence in myself and in the people around me. Not that I wasn’t confident before. … There’s a lot more confidence underneath me when we go out to do this.

“The last time we tried to do this it was kind of a partnership, kind of a deal, and I made my decision to go along with it more with my heart than I did my brain. Looking back on it now, there were a lot of vague situations and uncertainties and maybe empty promises that I didn’t think too much on. All I could think was ‘Holy crap I’m SK [Modified] racing.’ Now that I’m a little savvier – more than just working on the car and getting in it and driving – I’ve taken the time to really consider everything and discuss all the different options and scenarios. The feedback that I’ve gotten has left me with a lot more relief and excitement to go do this.”

Last year was Membrino’s first year competing full-time at the Speedbowl and he and his team quickly fell for the historic shoreline oval.

“Waterford just seems to be the best fit for us for a multitude of reasons,” Membrino said. “It all fell into place so nicely over the course of one season that it was almost impossible for me to say no to Waterford. It works out for everybody else also. That’s a big important thing. We had a lot of fun there. I can’t explain what contributes to the difference, and why we seem to have more fun there. But, that’s what it comes down to. I really doubt anyone is making money racing. I know I’m not. We’re not going to be in the same position of winning races like we were [in 2016], so we definitely have to got to have fun, and this is the right way to do it.”

Membrino said he will compete in the inaugural Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night special event for the SK Light Modified division at Stafford on May 26 driving a car owned by Geoff Nooney, but beyond that his focus will be squarely on the SK Modified at the Speedbowl for the season.

“I’ve got people that are putting their 100 percent focus on this and I’m going to put my 100 percent focus on this too,” Membrino said of the SK Modified team.


  1. Good young talent to watch

  2. Good for Tony he’s overdue to move up. But I dont think he should be going back down to run the special SK light show. That should be reserved for drivers who are not running SKs, it’s the SKL drivers chance to be showcased. Hope Stafford puts something in place to prevent SK drivers from ruining that show

  3. I agree with modfan85, if you are a full time SK driver you should not be able to go back down to the lites for a big payout.

  4. Modfan I agree. I am happy for Showtime and his move up to the SK ranks, good kid and good driver. However, once you are there you should not be dropping back to pick the pockets in big paying races or any race in the lights.

  5. Sorry I meant Hollywood………..

  6. I believe stafford has a rule about dropping down a division but if he’s not running an sk full time at stafford it may not apply to him.

  7. season hasn’t even started yet and people hating. give it a rest.
    Good for Noonan and CMR lining up the hottest SK Lite driver ever for the biggest SKL race ever.

  8. How are people hating?It’s valid point and indeed seems to me to be unfair to cherry pick purses in SKL.

  9. Fast Eddie says

    From what I’ve seen of Tony, he definitely deserves an SK ride. Good luck to you and your team!

  10. Geoff Nooney says

    I am the car owner of the 79 CMR SK light modified. I personally asked Tony do me this favor to show me what I’ve put together as it wasn’t an easy task to get to this point. All I have to say is thank you to all those who have helped me get here, Ed Flemke Jr., Gary Teto, Richie Gallup, and others. This is going to be the biggest event of my life and I’m hoping for the best. Tony is a talented clean down to earth driver and my best option besides myself. Tony deserves the opportunity to race in the biggest SK Light race as much as anybody else, and I’m wishing Tony and all the other drivers the best on the exciting night to come.

  11. Well stu, don’t see anyone hating just voicing our opinions when the last I checked we can have.

    And don’t know about the “hottest SK lite driver ever” that’s a pretty bold statement.

  12. Geoff Nooney says

    He didn’t ask to drive my car, I asked him to drive my car. This opportunity means much more to me than any amount of money. Obviously none of you except Stuart Fearn no my situation. Anyway this article is about Tony moving on up and at the same taking a small step back to help a struggling team. The SK light field at Stafford is filled with many talented new and veteran drivers who’ve had to step back due to various reasons or are just starting out. So please think before you talk.

  13. Mr Nooney,Who is going to drive for the rest of the season for your struggling team after you use your ringer on the big nite?It’s not up to me or any other commenters on this thread, but it seems like some people think that SMS shouldn’t allow it.People are entitled to their opinions and Shawn provides the means for folks to state them.If you can’t handle it it is not our problem.

  14. Geoff Nooney says

    Art your assuming things,I’m not mad, My team is not struggling in the way your assuming. I’m owner, driver, and mechanic. I am aware everyone is entitled to there opinion, It’s my car, I can do what I want, I will drive it prior and after, I have many years of diversified experience. I will win races, and maybe Tony will win one in it too. Other than that I’m not wasting anymore time replying to peanut gallery comments.

  15. So it’s fine for multiple drivers that are currently running, or have years of previous experience (wins & championships) in Tour Mods to run full-time in SKs, but it’s unacceptable for one driver with not even a full season of SK experience to run one SKL race? What about the other registered SKL drivers that have multiple years of full-time SK experience, should they not be allowed either?

  16. Sorry Mr. Nooney but this really stinks! If you say that you are going to drive the car in the other races, where do you get off putting a ringer in for the race with the biggest purse? I hope that Tony has a sense of decency and good sportsmanship and reconsiders this.

  17. Best of luck to Tony ,just wish it was at Stafford , but don’t come back just to take the money from these teams that long deserved this day , Woody isn’t running full time on Friday maybe he can get a ride or Keith can get in the team car, don’t think that was the intent for this race

  18. Geoff,I was under the impression that lites were for rookie drivers.I did not know that people stay in lites.I assumed that all drivers moved up to sk when they were ready.Sorry I plead ignorance on this.

  19. I guess what you are saying is it is OK for any driver who runs an open wheel mod as long as they don’t run Stafford full time in the SK’s to get an SKL mod and join in the fun? Really? So how is that fair to every other full time SKL driver out there who deserves the opportunity to run this race and make some real money rather than the peanuts they usually run for.

    How would everyone like it if “Big Money Matt” showed up in an SKL and picked everyone’s pockets. Wow, what a way for Stafford to promote the race, bet that would put butts in the seats. I will bet Mr. Nooney will be the first one in line bitching!

  20. crazy larry says

    Not to worry,
    I see “right hand Clyde” driving on this day , an not just one ! Teams are not going to put up that BS good luck Mr. Nooney front clip or rear clip cost lot of cash ( the scale of justice ) can tip,in the wrong direction drive the car your driver !! and i am just a bleacher creature. AKA Peanut GALLERY !

  21. From the 2017 Stafford Rulebook for SK Lights – “DRIVER ELIGIBILITY – All drivers must have a NASCAR CHD (Charger Division Driver) or higher license. Drivers competing in the SK Light Modified division at SMS will not be permitted in the D.A.R.E. Stock, Limited Late Model, Late Model, or SK Modified® divisions on the same event date. Drivers must be minimum 15 years of age.”

    NOTHING says that an SK driver cannot compete in SK Light, only that they can’t do it IN THE SAME EVENT.

    Mr. Nooney, good luck. I personally think that it’s a smart move, you get someone who obviously has had success running the car to help you figure some things out, and maybe, just maybe, you come away with a big win. Good luck to you and to Tony.

    To the rest of you (Art, Ken, Humphrey) – educate yourselves or be quiet. It took me 30 seconds to find this on Stafford’s website.

  22. Dougdacheater says

    Lot of great eligible drivers for this race. James Civali, Woody Pitkat, Timmy Solimito, Mike Christopher etc. if you are not running an SK that night you can race this race. Tony Stewart could run this race.

    Forget about membrino, I expect at least one tour guy in the field.
    Should be fun.

  23. Fast Eddie says

    Tony Membrino is an accomplished SK LITE driver who is getting his first serious chance to drive an SK Mod. The Dunleavy event is at the end of May. How many SK events will be at the Speedbowl before then, maybe 3 or 4? That hardly qualifies him as a “ringer” SK driver. No offense meant towards Tony, but he will need some seat time before he becomes an accomplished SK Mod driver. If there is no violation of the rules, then Geoff Nooney has himself a heck of a wheel man for this event. Good luck to your team!

  24. It’s a controversial subject. Cup drivers have always Busch whacked and now NASCAR is putting limits on it. I’m sure many light drivers would welcome the potential added competition. But I am also sure many will be adamant about thorough tech of these non regulars.

  25. Geoff Nooney says

    Thankyou to my supporters, this article is supposed to be about Membrino, his accomplishments, and his future in SK racing. He’s doing this as a favor to me. I as stated am my own owner, driver, mechanic. Modified Racing has been a lifelong dream of mine. I worked hard last year on Richie Gallups crew to educate myself of the ins and outs. I have a bare bones chevy truck, I go to the track with an open trailer, I have a paper thin budget, I’ve got no sponsors, and I work a normal job like everyone else. I’ve never asked anybody for special treatment, I’ve always paid my dues. I may not have the privileges alot of people have had, but I share the same desire as anybody who has put a car together. Even as much as I love driving it’s going to be the greatest night of my life getting to finally sit in the stands with my father and watch something with some real meaning to it. I gave up my own seat in what could be the biggest race of my own life to make it a possibility. That wasn’t an easy choice, and believe me I got people saying well, “what if your driving and win the first 3 races”, I humorously replied “let’s be real”. I’m looking for something deeper here obviously, what am I looking for?, I really don’t know, but it’s a feeling I’ve got from within, so I’m sticking with it, I have given Tony the choice to opt out at anytime, we are both men of our words. At the same time being his and his fathers old car he had many misfortunes with it’d be awesome for them to take one more shot at success, Tony in all his time in SKL has never had an opportunity to run in a big race like this either. He deserves it as much as anyone else. They’ve worked hard for their achievements. I deserve this as well. REMEMBER ONE THING CRAZY LARRY, when you threaten a cars well being most importantly you are threatening a driver’s well being. $2500 is not enough to clip a car nowadays l, educate yourself. I personally told Tony not to worry about damages, I understand the cost of racing, Larry if you asked me to take you to dinner and a movie or buy into your SuperBowl pool, I’d say “no its less money I can put towards my car” Anyway there are many talented seasoned and new drivers in the field more than capable of winning this race. Tony is simply making it a possibility for me, Waterford smashed my hopes for running for a championship when they doubled there races and incorporated a non rebuildable “throw away” without being penalized by weight engine. I can’t afford to run Stafford full time either. My choices are slim, ya if I had the dough I could have a very successful season but I dont, I almost made the choice to park it until I asked Tony to step in. I wouldn’t have a snowballs chance in hell and I’d be driving over my head in my 3rd race ever. At the same time like I said, this would be Huge for everyone involved, me and my father, Tony and his father, and Race Works. I am not Jack Roush or Robert Yates, people give me a chance and don’t try and shame me for it. Good luck to everybody on an amazing 2017 race season. I’m done with this.

  26. Geoff Nooney says

    1. Tony is not a “Ringer” and has a strong sense of decency to help me start out with some confidence.
    2. There is drivers in SKL more talented than some SK drivers and SK drivers better than SKL drivers.
    3. There are plenty of talented drivers in the field capable of winning, and have beat Tony
    4. Tony will start towards the back due to handicapping.
    5. I GET OFF doing this because it is my car and not yours.

  27. Geoff Nooney says

    I don’t give a rat who shows up to race, hey if some SKL drivers could get a chance to race against and beat a driver like that, that’d be awesome. You’ve got me all wrong.

  28. Geoff Nooney says


  29. Geoff Nooney says

    One more point I want to get across is, and I hope it does, there are a ton of drivers out there who have plenty of talent to win in any type car they step foot in, by saying one guy is better than the other is just ignorance. Im a talented driver too but I dont feel im ready for that kind of a show yet, my car is though because of the effort. I know of a very talented Dare Stock driver or 2 that could have great success if they had an opportunity to step up. But some guys are happy with just being where they are at, or its what’s affordable for them. At the last race I was at sitting in the stands at Waterford and heard fans yelling to a certain driver who’s giving a victory speech to move up, and certain drunks in the stands saying much worse, you gotta understand teams and drivers can only do what makes sense for them, not what makes sense for somebody else, stepping up from SKL to SK takes a HUGE financial and physical dedication. Not everybody can do it. Financials are no where close to the same, parts are more money, engines, tire inventory increases, fuel, you gotta have more guys on the crew, a pit cart helps. But I think I’ve said enough. If you don’t understand you never will. GOOD LUCK TO TONY MEMBRINO JR ON HIS FUTURE IN SK AT THE BOWL. And see you all at Race-A-Rama, my car and myself will be there if you have any further questions or comments.

  30. Geoff Nooney says

    It’s a lot harder to drive a car and be fast when your the one that has to pay for and wrench on it as well. A driver who just has to get in and race will usually be quicker. That’d be hard for you to understand honestly from the bleachers. God Bless

  31. crazy larry says

    Mr Nooney NO one threated anyone, Drive your own car is what i said . Lot of unexperinced drivers in SKL you should fit in just fine, SKL is a wreck fest !! No need for a Ringer , and i am not the only one that thinks this GOODLUCK from the peanut gallery

  32. So who is the guy that Tony is driving an sk for? Who ran for him on the tour? I’m just curious if it will be a quality ride or just another car riding around.

  33. John Hummel was the car owner for Eddie Flemke Jr. quite a few years ago. Knew what he was doing back then. Have to see what it looks like now.

  34. Mr. Nooney I am not buying any of this you are selling. You are telling everyone you don’t have the money, you don’t have the crew however you have an SKL car and good enough engine (has to be a RAD or TA and they certainly don’t give those away) that you think you can win the biggest race in SKL history with. Really? Where did the car and engine come from? You had to get the money from somewhere. You were going run for the championship at Waterford until they changed engine rules. Then you say you are going to drive the car yourself at Stafford until this race then step aside. Where is the money coming from for those races? What happens if you wreck the car before the race? You told the driver don’t worry about the damage, wow now I am really confused.

    I like Tony, he is a good driver and if this happens good luck to him. But please don’t cry a river here and then contradict yourself everytime you talk.

  35. Geoff Nooney says

    Humphry, I bought the car from profits I made working hard after hours outside of work (buying, transporting and selling trailers) on my own. I had a choice of what I wanted to do with the small profits ($4500). I chose to buy a modified to satisfy my lifelong goal. I used to get in trouble in school for drawing pictures of race cars (particularly Radewicks modified) The car was previously owned by long time car owner Luther Hosmer of my hometown (I grew up watching his cars at Riverside as my father used to crew for Marty Radewick) Richie Gallup who I work on his crew now used to drive for Luther as well) this particular car was put in victory lane at Modified Mania being driven by Todd Owen, Todd then purchased the car when Luther decided to retire. Todd then sold the car to Steve Greer and invested in and driven by Tony Membrino Jr. I purchased the car traded and sold some parts and purchased used parts from Gary Teto to help convert it to SK light. I put every extra penny I had into building the car including some I didn’t have to really spend. My father decided to pull the $ from his small 401k to put the stock RAD engine in it as I was already struggling as it was and he wanted it just as bad as me. It took from November of 2015 to Late September of 2016 to get it race ready and that was pushing it and working my ass off. I was borrowing Ed Flemke Jr’s hans device in my 1.5 races I did because I could not afford one yet and he wanted to see me get the car on the track. I still haven’t bought one yet because I chose to put a body on the car for race arama. My tax returns are gonna buy tires and a fuel cell bladder. I raced with an expired bladder but putting Tony in the car it will be in date and safe. Hey and as for if the car gets wrecked oh well. It’s my investment. If there’s one guarantee in racing it’s there’s no guarantees. I’ve got spares to a point. But it is what it is in the sport. And the Waterford deal went sour because of the implicating of 10 more races then last year which I cannot afford. I could afford 12 but not 21. Now that I tried to some up my story and told you alot of things I never needed to, who the hell are you? I don’t give a damn who you are but really. Here’s my contact if you got any further problems 413 250 5053

  36. Geoff Nooney says

    And as for crying a river, hardly, trying to explain and answer stupid questions by people like you is more like it.

  37. If you think you are the first person who I have heard this story from you are sadly mistaken. There are plenty of people (matter of fact many who I personally know) that scraped here an there, worked overtime, and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and dinner to save up money to race. But when you put buying a safety device such as a Hans before installing a body on the car to make it pretty for a show it sounds like your priorities need adjusting. And by the way thanks for sharing your life story with us. Good luck at Stafford.

  38. And BTW, stupid questions, really? You are the one who opened the door!

  39. Geoff speaks the truth here and I wish him the best. Super hard working and he works tirelessly keeping his stuff clean and ready. I bought the Dare stock Alexandra Fearn drove the last few years from Geoff and she nailed down 7 wins with that piece.
    Possibly the only smarter move would have been to keep it a secret and show up with your rule book and a ringer. This is why they run the race, it’s not decided yet and this is already creating a huge buzz and anticipation!

  40. You are correct Stu, much smarter to say nothing, show up, un load with the driver and let the cards fall as they may. It is easier ask for forgiveness then beg for permission.

  41. Geoff Nooney says

    Humphry, I don’t care about your opinion, you asked and challenged me with questions, I answered them fully and completely, I appreciate Stu Fearns support. And yes initially my intention was to keep it hush, but I was asked if it would be ok to mention the arrangement in the article, I gave the go ahead. I didn’t think it’d create this kinda controversy, but with today’s society I’m not surprised. One thing I’m not is a liar, and the only persons who’s opinion matter to me are mine and those who are going to help me get the car to the front, regardless of who’s gonna drive it,Tony Stewart, Tony Membrino, Geoff Nooney, Geoff Bodine, Bob Potter, John Force, whoever I may chose, that’s my business and nobody elses. See you in Victory Lane.

  42. Geoff Nooney says

    My book is due to go on shelves after the big win. Would you like to reserve a copy? And thanks for your kind words.

  43. Maybe it’s way past time for Mr.Nooney to break the little white pills in half!

  44. Articles like this are great for drivers, and then I got to the comments. I see an article aimed towards promoting an upcoming SK driver at Waterford that somehow turns into an attack towards a so called green car owner of another team. This stuff makes me shake my head. It’s sad. From what I’ve read, this guy Mr. Nooney sounds like he’s dumped all he’s got into getting a car ready to go and just wants to win like anyone else. And then you got people like Humphry and Art plastering the guy and get mad because he actually has the balls to respond to your rude comments and remarks. Actually I see earlier in the comments Mr. Art apologized and pleaded ignorance on a subject he brought up, and now just aimed an elementary level remark for no reason towards Mr. Nooney “break the little white pills in half”. Art sounds a lot a bit bipolar to say the least. Then you got Humphry asking questions that are really none of his business and some comments that are just plain rude. Mr. Nooney probally should have ignored it. But it’s hard to ignore arrogant people. From what I see he just isn’t afraid to share his story because he’s got nothing to be ashamed of and seems proud of what he’s accomplished so far. As for Art and Humphry your a couple of keyboard critics that like to pick people apart. I hate what this has turned into. So anyway back to my original thoughts before I read these disheartening comments. Congrats Tony on your new ride at the Waterford Speedbowl and Good Luck to you and Mr. Nooney in the Dunleavy race at Stafford and ignore these keyboard critics!!!!! They obviously have nothing going on they are happy with in their own lives.

  45. I may be a lot a bit bipolar.But at least I can get to the point without long winded vacuous homilies.My apology speaks for itself.I didn’t know that people stayed in sk lites.I’m from Long Island and we don’t have sk or sk lites but I’m tired of hearing about his long winded tale of suffering and sacrifice.He sounds a lot a bit manic to me.I’m done now with Mr.Nooney.

  46. Art, I like you have had enough of Mr. Nooneys long winded disortations about his tales of suffering and sacrifice. Victory lane? I guess we will have to wait to see how that prediction works out.

  47. I am also done with Mr. Nooney!

  48. Good luck in the 11 SK Tony!

  49. Dan Purcell says

    Hey Art, if you are from Long Island you would know that we do have SK’s on Long Island. Riverhead Raceway, just this past year has a Crate Modified division which is basically an SK lite. Plenty of Drivers from LI who also race sk’s, just not on the Island.

    I wish Mr Nooney luck. I used to work on that car when Luther owned it, so I am pulling for him. Racing is not cheap. When Luther owned the car, We had to take the driver side front wheel off just to fit it in the trailer. If we wrecked in practice, we were done for the weekend as we really didnt have any major parts, except for an extra rear end, a drive shaft and other minor parts. Sure many racers have tons of money, and we saw that when we went racing. In fact, if we qualified for the big race, that was a victory in itself. So I know what Mr Nooney is saying and going through. Maybe you and Humphrey dont get it. Seems to be the case with your shallow words and insults.

    Oh and by the way, cant wait for the Islip 300 All Star Race at Riverhead Raceway on May 27th, 2017 for tour type modifieds. $7000 to the winner. The last 3 tour races at Riverhead were fantastic, and this race could be the best one yet.

  50. Hey Dan, I’m from Hicksville.If a want to run a crate mod at Riverhead should I use their Rule book or maybe I could just borrow your sk lite book?

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