R.A.D. Auto Machine Rookie Of The Year Bonus Returns In 2018 At Stafford Speedway

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

For the 6th consecutive year, Ludlow, MA based R.A.D. Auto Machine will present a Rookie of the Year Bonus for Stafford’s Street Stock, Limited Late Model, and SK Light divisions. The highest finishing rookie drivers in each division will receive a $500 bonus courtesy of R.A.D. Auto Machine. All drivers who have made less than 5 division starts in previous seasons are eligible to compete in the R.A.D. Rookie of the Year program.

“All of Stafford’s entry level divisions are great classes with some very talented drivers,” explained Don Wood of R.A.D. Auto Machine. “We really like putting up the bonus money for the Rookie of Year program to help drivers new to each of the divisions. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of very talented drivers win the Rookie of the Year honors and 2017 was no different. Congratulations to last year’s winners and we look forward to the 2018 season.”

The 2017 season saw 45 rookie drivers compete across the Street Stock, Limited Late Model, and SK Light divisions. In the Street Stock division Wild Thing Kart graduate George Bessette Jr. grabbed Rookie of the year honors scoring his first career win late in the season and finishing 2nd in the overall standings. The Limited Late Model division saw another Wild Thing Kart graduate finish as top rookie with Alexandra Fearn finishing the season with 1 win and beating her brother Ryan for R.A.D. Rookie of the Year honors. In the SK Light division, Cory DiMatteo showed his versatility as a driver by not only scoring Rookie of the Year honors but also winning the 2017 SK Light track championship, finishing the season with 4 wins.

“Don Wood and R.A.D. Auto Machine have been great partners of Stafford Speedway over the years,” explained Stafford General Manager Mark Arute. “Their commitment to Stafford’s weekly program has been strong over the years and 2018 will be one of the strongest yet. We want to thank Donny and his team for the continued partnership in the rookie program.”

With number registrations continuing to roll in for the 2018 season a large contingent of rookies across all three divisions is shaping up. The SK Light division is leading the way with 5 rookies planning to compete in 2018. Bryan Narducci, Amanda West, Alexander Pearl, Mike Flynn, and Ted Hodgdon are all graduates of Stafford’s Willd Thing Kart program and are all planning to compete full-time in 2018. The Limited Late Models have 3 rookies registered and the Street Stocks currently have 2 with more entries expected.

R.A.D. Auto Machine, owned and operated by Don Wood, is the exclusive engine supplier of the Limited Late Model and SK Light Modified divisions. With over 30 years of experience, R.A.D. is an engine rebuilding facility with full service machine shop capabilities. For more information on R.A.D. Automachine visit their website www.radautomachine.com.

The 2018 season kicks off at Stafford Motor Speedway with the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on April 27-29. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Spring Sizzler® tickets will be available beginning in March at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores.

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


  1. Don at RAD is one of the nicest guys you will meet in this sport. His continued support is appreciated by all.

  2. Agree with bystander Don Wood is a class act very nice guy who helps any way he can. Years ago we broke a crack in practice on Friday night. Don helped secure a ride in a car powered by one of his motors. When our normal engine builder told us it would take 2 weeks to build us another motor. Son told us he could build one by Wednesday. We went with him. And the motor he built us had more power than the one it replaced. Like I said CLASS ACT

  3. A Stafford Press release singing the praises of the only approved engine supplier for two divisions. Three counting the Street Stocks that use their engines a lot.That’s a thing now and I have no idea if it’s good or bad.

  4. I think this a good thing since he is the only game in town and it shows how much he appreciates their business.

  5. OK now that RAD has the monopoly on three divisions at Stafford maybe now is the time to restrict crate engines. No more enhancements for the high rollers. Baseline changes and sealing only. You want affordable do it. GM advertises the engines as good for two years then recommends selling to a hot rodder and no rebuilding. Just do it. If you have to rebuild establish the base line dyno test parameters for a stock crate engine and stick to it. Engines are literally the only thing that has the potential for being cheaper now as opposed to a couple decades ago and the enhancements are defeating the entire savings.

  6. I disagree, Humphry. Forcing the competitor to purchase a $3800 sealed engine from one person who can now charge whatever he wants. Where’s the competition? Aspiring drivers usually start off in beginner divisions before making the jump to cup. How about aspiring engine builders who would like to start out in the beginning divisions before making the jump? Besides, the original concept of the crate engine was the speedway had an engine that they would swap out with the competitors that they felt were excessively strong. Not sure how many times that happened. No offense to RAD. He is a smart businessman and the tracks taking the easy way out of tech is a no brainier.

  7. Talk to Stafford about their choice of engine builders, don’t tell me about it. Fact is T/A is gone and RAD is now the only game in town. They are the only track that has only 1 SKL engine builder allowed of the 3 CT tracks. I guess it is what it is.

  8. Best, most credible entry I think that has been written from an actual competitor in the Stafford SK Lights who works closely with RAD.
    Goeff Nooney, 10/29/17
    “Doug, thank you and yes i can give some insight. When i purchased my engine the price was 5k for bone stock out of the box with necessary updates only, oil pan, oil pump pickup, and a stronger timing chain. Initially in the season all the way to Dunleavy night i had the stock valve springs, my car had turned a best of 19.4 with only two fresh tires at Sizzler open practice. Only better car that weekend was Dan Wesson who has a T/A and had 4 new tires on ran 19.2. So that being said there may be a slight advantage to the built motor. Here is the story on that. You ARE legally allowed to at any time deck and line hone the block. So when engine is brand new this is a big advantage because from what i here it can increase C/R and true up the stock out of round bores providing better ring seal. The cost of those modifications is $2500-$3000. The only other place to make hp in these crates is the timing and the carburator, tuning them on the dyno. If thats not done and someone just throws a crab and distributor setup together to slap on it could greatly hurt them. The other thing people have to consider is EVERYTHING matters in SKL racing, your setup. rotating mass, keeping your car free and not bound up, this is what people are up against, its not throw a car together and run top 3, its throw a car together well and run top 3, many of the few teams that run up front have seasoned experienced crews as well. When all 3 top 3 engines were pulled and brought to RAD earlier this season from what i here the were all legal and within 4hp of each other. They had a “built” T/A a “built RAD”, and a “favoritism” RAD engine. So with that being said and the numbers being close (i dont know what the torque numbers were) everybody is pretty close. The engine builders were simply making improvements to the engines, not illegally modifying them at high cost lime people are thinking. Its actually a fair cost for decking and honing. My engine is just getting strong in stock configuration at 15 races. Not planning on rebuilding this winter. We raced the first 8 races with a bent clip. Finished p3 once, won a heat on dunleavy night, ran p1 a few times, battled with the “built” engines, and yes you can feel those cars hound your bumper midway down the frontstretch, but if you have a good enough car you can make up for it. I was 2nd quick a few times in practice to Corey, do i feel a “engine” will benefit me or anyone else, yes, but maybe only .1-.15 of a second if its done legally.”

  9. Utilizing only certain approved engine builders may even violate the Sherman Antitrust Act.

  10. Don’t forget the Clayton Antitrust Act.

  11. Yup, forgot that one!

  12. FYI Doug, went by yesterday and nothing has changed.

  13. Very much appreciated humphry.

  14. Doug, take a look at the New London Day on line today. Interesting article.

  15. Dadgum humphry. Always on your game. Thanks again.

  16. No problem, I will keep it coming………

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