Thriller: Matt Galko Holds Off Heavy Hitters For SK Modified Win At Stafford

Matt Galko celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Stafford Speedway/Driscoll MotorSports Photography)

STAFFORD – The banner that greets fans when they walk away through the main entrance at Stafford Motor Speedway reads “Welcome To The Show”.

Friday night the drivers of the SK Modified division ensured the track lived up fully to that billing promised to fans.

In an ultra-dramatic half-race battle at the front Matt Galko of Meriden held off Chase Dowling, Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Galko and Dowling went side-by-side on the track at the front of the field from a lap 21 restart to the checkered flag, with Preece and Christopher tucked in on their bumpers side-by-side behind them for the last eight laps.

“When you’re out front and running like that, it’s pretty much the last thing on your mind,” Galko said of the show being put on at the front of the field. “You’re pretty much just focused on doing what you’ve got to do. But these fans deserve a great show and I’m glad we could put one on for them.”

It was the second career SK Modified victory at Stafford for Galko, who got his first on June 2.

Dowling, of Roxbury, was second and Preece, of Berlin third.

Dowling went by Glen Reen for the lead on lap 14. Galko moved to second place by Reen following a lap 15 restart.

On a lap 18 restart Galko used the outside lane to take over the top spot, but caution slowed the event once again on lap 21.

On the restart Galko was on a mission to keep Dowling to his outside and not give him a chance to get behind him and find a low lane under him. It made for an intense battle for the final 20 laps.

“I can’t give enough to Chase Dowling,” Galko said. “That was freaking awesome running with him. I had to use him on the last lap, but he would have done the same to me for a win. He came over and said congrats, so I think we had a good hard race. I’ve got to thank him for running me clean, and whoever was behind me for being patient enough. I was trying to keep him [outside] because I knew if they got to the bottom they were better than me.”

Said Dowling: “I mean, that’s pretty badass. I don’t think there’s too many drivers out there that can go door-to-door without cleaning each other out and wrecking people. That’s what’s cool about Matt. We might have hung up the field, but we were both side-by-side there at the end. Matt did what he had to do at the end in turn three, just moved me up a little bit and that was it.”


  1. Jake From State Farm says

    Would someone tell Nick Salva that racing cars is not something he should be doing. Every time he shows up at Stafford a lot of good equipment ends up wrecked because he’s awful. A car gets near him and he’s swerving and wrecking five other cars. And people hype him as having some sort of talent. He’s a load everywhere he goes and in everything he races. He’s a danger on the track.

  2. darealgoodfella says

    Galko and Dowling do not hope to be like TC.

  3. Is that the red 39 in the lights

  4. Just another typical Friday nite racing at Stafford got to love it. The SKL division was nothing but a wreckfest along with the SK division. Had 7 cars on pit rd in skl race without a lap on the board. Pretty sad to have to start the race like that. Thanks to the #88SKL great job taking out 4 cars along with yourself👏👏👏

  5. Dareal
    Yes I’m sure no driver wants to have over 100 wins.
    You will never give TC credit ever.

    That says who you r

  6. I hope dareal gets my money I sent to him
    I sent 5 bucks for a burger
    It’s ok to ask 4 help dareal
    You r truly my bested friend
    Dareal is my good friend
    Give me a call sir
    Dareal is smart too

  7. River head race is final
    No gunni g won the race
    2nd was salva

  8. That was the most unique SK race I’ve ever seen. My belief is the top 4 cars finished inversely to to how fast they were simply because of circumstances. Galko did exactly what he needed to do staying low and hitting his spots perfectly. Dowling seemed faster staying on the outside for what, 20 or 30 laps . In third was Preece who seemed faster but he had no place to go and patience in this case was clearly not working out. Christopher I believe was the fastest car coming from scratch but he as well had nowhere to go. Noticeably absent was bumper tag. Preece could easily been banging on Galko to make something happen but didn’t. Christopher as well. Whether it was probation or the company he was keeping at the front TC was Mr. Clean. Mr. Clean who was clean all through the race and amazing weaving his way to the front. In the end it could have been considered boring watching 4 guys running under a blanket for lap after lap with nothing changing. But everyone seemed to realize they were watching something special with very talented wheel men maximizing their cars position inches from each other for countless laps without a hint of dirty tricks.

  9. Once they got around once or twice, I thought both the SK and SKL features were very exciting and entertaining. I didn’t see many people leaving with 5 to go during the last race, so I’m sure not alone.

    I really wish SMS could acquire a rollback or two and double hooking could fade away in the history books.

  10. We need an s k tour race. Mod tour can’t come close to this excitement .. This is what Friday nite racing is all about.

  11. I love Stafford and my bank account
    Ha ha ha I got 6000000ppp

  12. Missed that part of the article.

  13. Why were some comments about Nick Salva here and now gone?

  14. Turn Fore,
    We’re typically pretty free flowing with comments here and try not to be too heavy handed. Vulgarity, threats, etc. aren’t going to fly. Your comment was on the edge as far being personally insulting in what some might describe as a vulgar manner, and upon further review, we decided it crossed the line of acceptable here.

  15. Turn fore
    Grow up dude

  16. So disappointing no one want’s to talk about the epic SK race last night at Stafford that included our favorite Mr. Ryan Preece. Using his car and getting help on the setup as he said in victory lane from the one and only Mike Paquette whom I had the honor to see in his early years mastering the basics of chassis dynamics in the Stafford Street Stocks. And getting passed by him frequently and very cleanly I might add. Very smart guy. Interesting factoid. Paquette was using a durometer to set up his car before any Street Stock guys knew what a durometer was.
    Salva, he wasn’t the drama that unfolded. 20 plus laps of 4 cars under a blanket was the real story. Did anybody see the race?

  17. Did anyone else see TC push Rowen Pennick half way up the back straight during a yellow? I thought these two were on probation? Pennick and TC had another little dust up over in turn 3 during another yellow, just a few laps later. I watched these 2 during the race to see if they were going to drive each other clean or not. I did not see any other conflicts. The real surprise was when TC finally got right behind the 50 with about 10 laps to go and drove him clean. Was that the real TC driving? It was very obvious that the front 2 were blocking on purpose. Galco admitted in victory lane that he was trying to keep the 50 beside him. The real question is whether or not it is OK to bump someone who is blocking . I suppose we will never know.

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