Tom Fearn Reaches Top Of Late Model All-Time Win List At Stafford Speedway 

Tom Fearn celebrates his ninth victory of the season in the Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – Tom Fearn doesn’t waste much time getting things done when he hits the track at Stafford Motor Speedway.

And apparently that stands true for chasing milestones also for Fearn.

At the start of the 2018 season Fearn found himself nine wins away from the top of the all-time win list in the Late Model division at Stafford. Fourteen races later that deficit was history.

Fearn, of East Longmeadow, Mass., rolled to his ninth victory of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway.

The victory allowed Fearn to tied Ryan Posocco at the top of the Late Model all-time win list at Stafford with 45 victories.

“I guess it feels good,” Fearn said. “I guess it would feel better if [Posocco] was still racing. Another milestone as far as Late Models. Pro Stocks, I’ve got the most wins in that and they’re no longer here. I’d rather be racing Pro Stocks. But we’ve got to race what we can here.”

Earlier this year Fearn set a new record for consecutive Late Model victories at Stafford with six straight wins.

Fearn is also the all-time winningest driver in the former Pro Stock division at Stafford. He had 17 victories in the division, which ran its last season in 2000. Fearn had Pro Stock championships at Stafford in 1993, ’95 and 98. He won a Late Model championship at Stafford in 2016.

“I really don’t look at the milestones that much,” Fearn said. “I guess someday when I retire from driving I may look back and say ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool that we did that.’ Right now we’ve just got to look toward next week. Just week to week we bring the best car we can here. I’ve got a good car, a good crew and great sponsors. It makes my job easier.”

Wayne Coury Jr. of New Milford was second and Michael Wray of Northford third.

Fearn wasted no time getting to the front. He started seventh in the field and by lap two he was up to third. On lap three Fearn got under Chase Cook for second place and began stalking Wray, the race leader.

On lap seven Fearn found the lane under Wray through turns three and four and took over the lead. He never trailed the rest of the way.


  1. It’s just so sad. No one gives better, more thoughtful chats in the winners circle. He could be beating full fields I’m sure. But as he racks up these wins and the announcers and management try to make it a track mile stone of epic proportions it’s clear. He’s racing half the competition the prior record holder did. Fearn deserves better for the decades he’s been excellent.
    Ironic no one was there to see the race.

  2. That is true, easy to set records with a half field charging to the front rather than charging from 20th. Kind of takes away from the excitement.

    Stafford needs to do something with the division, kind of getting boring.

  3. James Scott says

    Doug people who know about Tommy Fearn know he has beaten the best since the Riverside Park days. Beleive me he has won big against the best. Full fields and short fields. Stafford will figure out a solution for all that but to me Tom Fearn is a true champion.

  4. I was there at Riverside Park and don’t disagree with anything you said James. At the time we all just marveled at the singular focus Tom had on making his car the best it could be which was a Street Stock at the time.
    But humphry is also correct as usual. Sorry but he’s just racking up wins in a struggling division.
    We all hope something changes for sure.

  5. First off Congrats to Tom and the #92 team. I was talking with Joe Hamm today and he told me that the car was built in 2007, and was the car that Jim Peterson won the 2009 track championship in. Here it is 11years later and the car is still winning races. Some say it’s tainted because your only racing against a handful of cars, but winning is winning and records are records. Keep on winning Tom and set the bar high. As for the Late Model division as a whole, yes something must be done to increase the car count, and make the cars compatible with other tracks. Sooner than later guys are gonna get sick of losing to Tom, and stop racing there.

  6. I’d agree with that 100% Rob. In 10 years the records will be in the books and no one will know or care about the quality or quantity of competition.
    I’d be more interested to know about your recollections of the Peterson, Possoco, Pitkat, Gray era from 2000 to 2010. What were the fields like and was the competition fierce as you may recall. Or did they struggle with car counts domination by one or two cars.

  7. Congrats to Fearn and his team. I do think the competition he competes against in the late models the past couple of seasons isn’t as good as years past but you race against who shows up. There just isn’t many Stafford Late Models showing up these days.

    Shawn, perhaps a story in which you interview former Stafford late model drivers and ask why they are not racing at Stafford anymore. I know some guys probably just retired and a few moved on to other divisions but it would be interesting to see why they stopped running Stafford. I can think of several which I am not sure what they are up to; Mavlouganes, Quintiliano, Gray, Bennet, JJ Hill, Stuart, St Hillaire. It might give Stafford an idea as to how they got to the low car count and how to fix the issue.

  8. Joe Lajoie says

    Part of the problem with the late models is that they’ve basically evolved into a pro stock. And evolution doesn’t necessarily mean better racing.
    For the first few years after the repave in 1998, there wasn’t much of an outside groove. But they ran on 7 inch tires. So the grip level wasn’t as high, and guys could still hang out there. As long as Dan Pardi was the race director, there was NO WAY the late models were going to wider tires.
    Fast forward a couple years and Pardi was gone. I used to go to the rules meetings at the end of the year, when drivers and owners had input. There were certain owners (or one in particular) that would cry that they wanted the outside to work better, so they went to wider rims, still on 7 inch tires. Well all that did was make the inside groove faster. Then eventually the went to wider tires, which means more grip, but still makes the inside the fast way around. Any rules changes to try and make the outside faster just did the opposite effect. So today’s version of late model racing is root and gouge people out of the bottom groove.
    The guy that gave me my start in crewing 30 years ago came back to race at the Sizzler this year after a 15 year absence from the division. What started out as a 20 car feature was just a matter of survival with just 10 finishing. A weekend that started with giddy excitement ended with him getting out of the car after finishing being totally disgusted saying “This ain’t racing”
    So evolution is not necessarily a good thing. Especially in racing. Call me old and crusty, but if it were my way, they would still be running on 7 inch rubber.

  9. Root and gouge people out of the bottom groove. Best description I’ve heard for it.
    Watching Michael Wray’s in car camera it seems like he was spending an awful lot of time sawing on the steering wheel in the corner even by himself. This uneducated fans view has always been too much motor for the tires.
    Regression can be good and it defines the SK Lights. Less motor, a ton of tire and two wide no problem. Bryan Narducci said Lights were much easier to handle then LLM’s. I don’t pretend to speak for all fans but it seems like the people around me as well as myself are engaged with the SK Lights and the opposite of that with the LM’s and LLM’s. The SK Light hair raising final lap races on a frequent basis speak for themselves.
    You have your ear to the ground Joe and are clearly the most informed Stafford guy here. Any guesses on the future of LM’s and LLM’s would be interesting to hear.

  10. Watching 10 car events each week in the LLM and LM classes are boring and lack excitement. Both divisions will die if unless Stafford is willing to make some changes. I really have no answers regarding the Limiteds but the Late Models could be an easy fix if the track was willing. ACT rules are used on nearly every asphalt track in New England, New York, and Canada. Thompson has fields of 20+ cars for their events that are competitive and entertaining. It also gives Late Model competitors the oportunity to compete in other big events throughout the previously mentioned region. I am sure that rules can be adjusted utilizing weight so existing Stafford Late Models could still be competitive. I have been attending Stafford for over 40 years and have great memories on the days of Pitkat, Rondeau, Sylvestor, Stuart, Quintiliano, Peterson,Posacco, Fearn, and others putting on great races. It is a shame to see what was once such a great division deteriorate to this extent. Their also used to be a number of long distance high paying events for the Late Models each year. Stafford seems to be willing to pay a descent purse for the class. Continue to pay a good purse and switch to ACT rules and maybe the great and entertaining events will return to Stafford’s Late Models. “Pay the Late Model competitors the $$$ and they will come.”

  11. Rich O totally agree with you, the current LM division is sad. I worked with Jim Peterson through his whole career, and for many years was his primary sponsor. Back in the day we had 33-38 cars consistently trying to get into a 24 car field. Even had a few years where they ran a last chance race with 16-20 cars racing for 2 transfer spots. Those days are long gone, the increased price to build a Stafford LM has allot to do with it. Why build a car you can only race at one track

  12. Stuart Fearn says

    Wow it looks like a lot of people here must also write the news for CNN… i see some fake news here! I’ll only point out a couple that stand out to me.
    First off there have only been 14 LM cars at any feature race at Thompson this year. Don’t trust me, please check yourself!
    You can see only 24 drivers competed there ALL YEAR. Only 14 have competed in all 4 races they have run. Possibly racing only once a month is easier to make it back to the next show. I do not see a huge difference here.
    By the way, ACT LM cars are also run at Waterford and whats the car count there? Let me tell you, very low.
    16-20 LM cars in (i think you mean) the 21 means 21 race? I believe that is another huge exaggeration but I don’t have data in front of me now so lets just say I’m skeptical.
    Consider the fact that back in the day there was only three divisions too, SK, LM, Dare stock. Now there are 5 divisions weekly. There are probably the total number of cars now vs. then. Maybe more now I’m not sure. I do know there are 5 divisions, I’ve counted 14 straight weeks now. Many weeks there are more, Mod Tour, Open 80, VMRS, Karts, etc. All these touring series water down the number of racers available to race one track weekly. Then add on the mini-stock tour, truck tour, Street Stock tour, Granite State Prostock, ACT Tour, plus others I’m sure I’ve missed and you get it.
    It’s a chore prepare these cars EVERY week! No weeks off, constant grind, win, lose, or draw.

    I agree the cars are very much like prostocks were. These LM are faster though, with less tire. They are not easy to drive or get to drive well maybe. Perhaps that is the issue…. people want it easy. Well life ain’t easy so there is that

    I like the conversation and discussion, thank you for chiming in

  13. Totally agree with you Stuart. ACT is NOT the way to go at Stafford. As stated before I worked on Jim’s car from the very start of his career. Back then the Late Models were similar to today’s street stocks, but no tube clips. We ran somewhat built motors( nothing close to today’s) and stock frames rear jacking bolts were allowed but had to use GM rear diff. with stock 4 link setup. Boy have things changed. Although they still aren’t quite a prostock, add 180° headers and 1″ more tire, and an under axle rear clip and your there. Don’t forget the 90’s Camaro body. Point being Stafford Late Models are unique. They are expensive to build and maintain, and can’t be raced anywhere else. Allot of money to invest only to lose to your brother every week. Not taking away from toms accomplishments. Wins are wins, and when you win enough you set a record. But the track needs to act soon to raise car counts before more racers quit getting beat.

  14. Stuart Fearn says

    Tom’s my cousin but i get your point. He’s been beat 5 times this year, last time only a few weeks ago so it’s very possible. Like back in the day when anyone beat the Reg at the park they knew they did something! bragging rights. Only going to be one winner every week anyways.
    The LM are pretty simple really and Stafford has been pretty good about keeping the rules consistent to maintain level costs. Every rule change costs money and Stafford has gotten it so they try to minimize that. Only real rule change last year was a different carb base plate. I still do not understand the reason but that’s fine.
    There is a lot of adjustability in the components we can use so that opens up areas to experiment in different philosophies of chassis balance and setup development. Old ford 9″ rear. Same old Koni type 30 shocks. Motor is a spec list of parts that has remained the same or very similar for years. Overall the costs are not that great to come out and run NASCAR division II weekly division

  15. As far as my previous concerns for the Stafford Late Models I stand by my comments. Most competitors do not want to spend the money to field a Late Model for Stafford that is only legal at one track. Also the link that Mr. Fearn mentions does NOT state that the highest Late Model count at Thompson is 14 cars. It states that 14 ran all 4 events with 10 additional cars competing in 1-3 events. Also you can see many of the cars at Thompson and Seekonk running an occasional ACT tour race or the NHIS event. Tom Fearn is a great driver and has been for many years but the fact remains that 10 car 30 lap features are not entertaining for most fans. I enjoy the Stafford Late Models and hope to sometime soon draw fields of at least 20 cars. A change from the current rules is the only way to make this happen.

  16. Gotta call Stu out says

    Thompsons worst count this year was 18 LM….I wouldnt go by waterford, since they cant even get 11sk’s, but even they had a 20 car night for the late models. Stafford should call those “late models” super streets, they are metric junk anyways. I mean a tube metric chassis? Only at stafford….

  17. Ok Stuart, so Tom can be beat. Usually not though. Barring mechanical failure, a wreck, or persistent blocking ( cause at Stafford rubbing ain’t racing ,and moving someone will just get you sent to the back) with the same cars there every week 7 times out of 10 Tom wins. Again i stress winning is winning, but i remember the days when there were full fields and probly a dozen guys capable of winning. Tom won regularly in those days, as did Jim and possocco, but Possocco has an asterick next to allot of his wins, when they blatently cheated and got away with it. But that’s all water under the bridge. Hope Tom wins Friday to stand soley at the top, i know Hamm wishes it too.

  18. Rob p you got me curious. How did Possocco blatantly cheat? I dont know the story. This is a great discussion, what does everyone think about running the Limited late models and Late Models together weekly. You can run them the Late Model distance, just have separate winners for each class. You can easily tell the two divisions apart because the Limited have the wing in the back. If you dont want to throw any additional money at the Limiteds for the extra laps have them pull off at lap 20. I know thompson got a lot of flack for letting the SK Lights run with the SK’s when the SK field was pretty low but I dont remember any on track issues. I know a lot of the fan base is not entertained sitting through 2 divisions of similar looking 10 car Late Model features. They need to do something with the two divisions and perhaps combining them into one event is the answer. At least it wont take up as much time.

    The ACT late model probably is not perfect but at least you have a pool of cars to pull from. Thompson, Waterford, and Seekonk all run the ACT style late model. Locally there is no conflict on Friday night for the division. There is certainly a bigger pool of ACT style Late models than Stafford specific late models. There is also a resale market for the ACT style late model as they run in VT and NH which as some one noted may be why no one is building stafford late models. Maybe Stafford can introduce them next season offer weight breaks for whichever style of late model is slower to equalize the competition. Hopefully with some changes, they can get a more respectable car count. Currently the late model divisions at Stafford do not have enough cars to make for entertaining races. Especially when the same driver wins the vast majority of races going away.

  19. Those who were running LM at the time know the facts behind the cheating. When he drove the 48 they’d chain down the left front, and had a buckle under the car to release the chain. A crew member would kick under the left front before the car went over the scales, which would bring the nose back up to legal height and left side weight back to tolerance. They did eventually get caught. Illegal shocks we’re also an item homemade driveshaft, gun drilled tranny. Illegal carb. You name it they did it and most times it was overlooked because daddy was giving the track money. That’s one thing I’m proud of is that every win Jim got with the 17 was a legit win. It’s hard to beat someone when they tie down the nose by 1/2 an inch and gain 4% left side weight, but there were times we did. Oh yeah almost forgot tires ain’t supposed to turn green when they get hot.

  20. Joe Lajoie says

    Rob P…
    You do realize that the only way you can change left side weight percentage is to physically move weight around?? Left side weight is static. Jacking around with the different corners of the car doesn’t change left side percentage at all.

  21. Joe, get a late model with jacking bolts at all four corners, and put it on scales. Observe your left side percentage Now Jack in on LF jacking bolts till you lower the ride height on that corner 1/2″ and look again at your left side pecentage. Unless your car is bound up the left side percentage will be higher. Now imagine the advantage if you could run that car at the lower height, but with a simple kick under the car return it to legal height. That’s what they were doing with the 48. Watched them do it for almost a whole season.

  22. Back in the day things were different. We ran stock metric frames, we would use a 1000# spring in LF, 1100# RF, and 250# springs accross the rear. We didn’t have a shock rule so we ran fully adjustable, rebuildable Penske’s, not sure where my CC had them set. We also ran a 1 3/8″ sway bar. The car was really stiff. Maybe now with the ultra soft springs they run, combined with the inherent flex of a tube clips the chain down trick might not get the same results, but it affected the cars back then

  23. Joe Lajoie says

    Rob P,
    Again. This is basic Race Chassis 101… The ONLY way to change left side percentage is to physically move lead around. You can move jacking bolts all day long – and your corner weights will obviously change – but your left side weight will always stay the same until you start unbolting lead and moving it.

  24. First off thanks once again to Mr Fearn for bringing his expertise to the fan base.
    Implying that SK and Light drivers avoid the LM’s because they prefer cars that are “easy” to drive. Trying to make Stafford’s anemic LM and LLM fields look less anemic by comparing them to anemic LM fields at other tracks. Making 10 car features seem OK because other divisions are thriving and the paddock count is pretty good. All irrelevant.
    What is relevant is fan interest, competitive racing, car count trends, the flow of new blood through the divisions and frequency of teams appearing to race.
    Looking at the point results the rookie count by division for drivers accumulating over 100 points for the SK, LM’s, SK Lights, LLM’s and Streets are 4,4,4,2 and 7 respectively. As for car counts for drivers accumulating over 100 points the totals are 24,24,15,11 and 21. What I’m seeing here is the LLM’s, supposedly a stepping stone division with an unsustainable rookie and core car count.
    So who’s building new equipment? Justin Bren has a new car but otherwise it’s all old chassis and in some cases really really old isn’t it? .Aren’t the LM’s the only division we’ve ever had that places hopes for increased car counts on guys that used to be regulars with old equipment showing up more.
    So what’s the answer?
    There is only one issue as I see it. There should be only one LM division. The numbers say they’re both weak but the LLM’s are the weakest link.
    Stuart has made it clear in past posts that going to ACT would obsolete his equipment. If it’s possible to allow weight or other rules accommodations during a transition fine. But it’s Stafford, they do what they do and in the end ticking off the current core of experienced teams that have only followed the rules Stafford created would be an epic blunder in my view.Moreover finding a baseline to establish handicaps for ACT vs Stafford rules is just a recipe for hard feelings. It’s bad enough when rules are supposedly equal.
    Running both divisions in one race format has been mentioned before and roundly criticized. Teams don’t like it, it confuses casual fans and is completely outside the tradition of circle track racing.
    I personally would like to see the divisions combined. Less motor, more tire, rediscover passing on the outside and give driver an alternative to the rood and gouge passing that goes on now. Hope the SK Light mentality and participation takes hold with new blood and jump out of your seat racing to the checkered flags the Lights do routinely now. But again that just perpetuates Staffords bastardized, outside the mainstream rules and makes it worse.
    All we know for sure is that the two division SHOULD become one. We also know that LLM’s are a failed stepping stone division and the weakest link. And most of us recognize that ACT is the future like it or not and gives teams limitless options.
    I would just hope Stafford could get all the LLM and LM guys and gals in a meeting and maybe bring in some of the old guard that appear occasionally as well. Say this is our problem. We’re two divisions, we need to be one and ACT rules are the LM standard these days. Any ideas and suggestions. Then see how the conversation goes and if there is any way forward without having everyone walk out.
    Hard feelings are unavoidable but sometimes if you give people a voice in the decision it makes the pill a little less bitter to swallow.

  25. What does “metric chassis” mean? Rafter

  26. Rafter fan the metric chassis is another term for GM G- body cars . ’78- 87 Chevy Monte Carlo and Malibu, Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass, and Buick Regal. They are metric cars. Although the frames all look the same there is a slight variation between makes and years. Andy Johnson Sr pointed this out, and said he prefered either the Buick Regal, or Chevy Malibu as a starting point for building a race car. Nowadays with the introduction of tube chassis the ” metric” car is becoming a thing of the past.

  27. One thing that should be pointed out is that the x-y-g tube clips is supposed to be dimensionally identicle as far as pick-up up points and mounts as the metric clip it replaces.

  28. Joe, you contradicted yourself. If you move a jacking bolts resulting in the addition of weight to a left side wheel, you will increase left side percentage. Put a car on scales and play with it, then comment

  29. Eww, tech talk. I love it.
    In the example above if you tighten the left front jacking bolt you’re increasing the weight on the front left and right rear tires. But the static left right percent stays the same because your reducing equal amounts on the right front and left rear. I think.

  30. Is it Wednesday already?

  31. Joe Lajoie says

    Rob P….
    If you were to jack down on the LF jack screw, you’re also adding weight to the RR, and taking away weight from the RF and LR axis.
    Say you had a table with a scale under every leg and the reading was the same under every leg. If you added a wedge block under the leg of one corner, the scale would read heavier on that corner and the opposite corner, and the readings would read lighter lighter on the opposite axis.

  32. If setting up a fast car were easy, everyone would be fast.

  33. Stuart Fearn says

    Wow i’m busy a day or two and bam I’m 20 comments behind! Thanks for the comments and active discussion. Good to see people care enough to comment.
    Someone anonymous pointed out I was wrong about the Thompson LM car count. Could be, I’m wrong most times according to most so no big deal.
    I feel Ryan Posocco is a very talented race car driver. great support from the family and a very dedicated car owner(s) and crew. Tie down chains, yes. Illegal? Not then, he found a little trick that worked and capitalized on it for quite a while. We used it too when we caught wind of the deal but it was outlawed pretty soon. A Posocco rule! As far as kicking off a chain and things of that nature, maybe true but I’ve never heard of that one. To to honest I was less involved week to week back in those days. There a quite a number of Posocco rules on the books now. When you work the grey area and find an advantage sometimes when the officials find it they outlaw it. Too many times if you ask me LOL.
    For the record I’ll chime in on the left side weight deal too. I’ve used the scales quite a number of times and I can only change left side % by moving mass. Same goes for rear % for that matter. I’ve only had cross weight % effected with the jacking bolts but hey stranger things have happened.

  34. Now that you mention it, might have been cross. Whatever it was, chaining down the front end provided a significant advantage. After Jim won the ’01&’02 championships the track came out with its current shock rule. When we were running the Penske’s, others were too, along with AFCO, & QA1 the track sighted cost as the reason for the shock rule. As far as going ACT i agree with Stuart Fearn, it would be too cost prohibited to make sense. Merge the LM & LLM classes, give the LLM guys something to level the performance, with the stipulation that for 2020 the LM rules will apply, this gives them a chance for a return on equipment they already have, and plenty of time to switch over to LM

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