Tyler Leary Gets First Late Model Feature Victory At Stafford Speedway

Tyler Leary

STAFFORD – Tyler Leary sat strapped in his car on the Stafford Speedway access road behind the backstretch waiting for the start of the Late Model feature Friday evening and he had a premonition.

“Tonight had a special feeling to it,” Leary said. “The gorgeous sunset. It was a nice cool night for a racing. I just had that feeling waiting out on the backstretch tonight, I said ‘I’m going to go out and win this damn race.’”

Leary made his prediction a solid one.

Leary, of Hatfield, Mass., drove away from the field in the closing stages to win the 30-lap Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

It was his first career victory in the division for Leary.

Michael Bennett of Stafford was second and Michael Wray of Northford third.

Leary proved the beneficiary of the roughhouse tactics between Bennett and Glen Reen.

Bennett went to the lead past Reen on lap 10, and a lap later Reen spun out of second place. Reen quickly got back through the field and on lap 20 he spun Bennett out of the lead, putting Leary in front.

Bennett and Reen quickly raced back up through the short field and then Reen got by Bennett for second on lap 25. A lap later Bennett regained the second spot, but on lap 29 Reen moved Bennett up the track for second place, but was black flagged for the move.

“It was so comforting,” Leary said of knowing Bennett and Reen were left in combat for second place. “… I was just out there cruising. The car was handling so well at that point. … It was a dream come true.”


  1. He didn’t move him the second time the driver behind the two came over after the race and said we didn’t touch him. Bad call

  2. The 31 got black flagged twice, the second time it didn’t look like there was any contact. That certainly was a head scratcher of a call. The first time reen was penalized and put to the rear, he was back up to third place after 1 green flag lap. They seemed to wave the black flag a lot tonight. The battle between the 16 and 31 was at least something to watch. There were maybe 5 cars on the track at the finish. Congrats to Tyler, it is always great to see a first time winner.

    I wish Stafford would consider running the Late models and Limited Late models together when they have small fields. There just isn’t much to get excited about two half a field features. Now combine them and you have something interesting. If you don’t want to combine them, then please run one of the two divisions last or alternate them each week so fans who are there to just see the SK feature can get out of there a little earlier and you don’t have everyone leaving at the same time. Is Stafford going to go to the ACT ruled late model? It seems the Stafford Late model is going the way of the dodo bird.

  3. I think stafford should add minis. They have a good car count at most tracks and are competitive to watch.

  4. Congratulation to Leary and a suggestion he send Reen a thankyou card for having brain fade this particular race on this particular night.
    Regular shows are a great value. But the tedium of heat like feature races in the Dare, LLM and Late Model divisions can be mind numbing. Small fields, limited side by side action, the podium ritual, thanking sponsors, people chugging in for pictures and back to the stands. Tedious man.
    You wonder why you came. That is until twenty plus cars appear for the SK Light feature. I don’t care what anyone says, more cars is more impressive when they take the green. And the modifieds deliver because they have more tire and use at least 20% of the track width more effectively. Look around at the crowd and you see people start to pay attention more. Then the SK’s roar onto the track and you know why you came. A loaded field and the excitement is electric.
    Agree with CG completely that something should be done with the Late Models. Agree with Tom as well about the mini’s. Waterford gets a strong mini field every week even with their problems and they frequently race two and three wide under a blanket.
    Question: is Stafford considering a change? Is it significant the Lights were just before the SK’s and Dodge referred to them as the junior stars?

  5. getserious says

    Reen normally seems like a clean driver. Bennett? ehhh… And I gave Reen the benefit of the doubt the first black flag incident (although my racing buddies were certain he deserved it). But, Reen had Bennett’s rear end lifted almost off the pavement for 100 feet going into turn one in the 2nd black flag. He definitely deserved that one. Now, cg and Billy, I don’t know where you guys were sitting, or looking, to not see that, but I sit right at the entrance to turn one and there was no missing it. It was more blatant than a TC or Fearn move.

  6. There’s a video on YouTube of the race…..

  7. Getserious no matter what happened in the race ,the drivers spotters car owners meeting was pretty serious about there black flag penalty process they are starting so after the first one he relieved it was pretty obvious they weren’t going to take any contact from the 31 again .

  8. Wills, the thing is he didn’t have any contact the second time. https://youtu.be/D9SqJvGI-D4 Watch the race…. 14:00 I think that’s the second pass….

  9. 2 sides to every story and not all calls can go the way people want , but thanks for the link of the race and to me it looks like there is contact entering the corner which appears to get the 16 loose. Now getting someone loose doesn’t warrant a black flag but the race directors are the ones you need to ask why they made this call it’s probably because of the early incident .

  10. I see 16 coming across the nose of the 31. Bad call by the officials. Spotter had to tell him he was there, or maybe not. Either way, He clips the grass and that is when he got sideways. Driving over his head. 31 may not have been there by much but he was there. 2 sides to every story, yes but video shows reen on the bottom and bennet cone across the nose.

    Of all the divisions they have. They pick the worst one too ruin the ending to. That was probally the first late model race in a couple years i actually watched.

    How much fun would it have been to have reen and Bennett on the podium for those interviews? The late models there flat out suck for entertainment, and when they finally do, you blow it.

  11. I’ll be the first to say the Late Models are boring but was Fridays and did the officials ruin the race?
    What I saw was Reen getting too emotional. He had a fast car, there was limited traffic to navigate and when he got to Bennett he was not patient at all. I could feel him out of control with that special feeling you get when you have a dominant car and want to get to the front as fast as you can. I thought the race, limited cars and all was quite dramatic especially with Leary winning a race when Reen’s emotion made the victory possible.

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